Friday, April 20, 2018

Pristina: A visit to Europe's youngest capital

‘Travelers Insight’ -a travel blog of Munich Airport has dedicated an article to Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. The author Matthias Derhake writes about his tour in Pristina which was offered by Kosovo Holidays, a Destination Management and Tour operator company in Pristina . Derhake is impressed by the culture in Pristina, by the positive vibe of young people who live and study in the capital. “Pristina is moving. You can really feel the updraft pulling through the streets.”
You will be surprised by the culinary in Pristina: “Whoever strolls down the city promenade from Skanderbeg Square - this is where the theater is located - should do so on an empty stomach. Because here are numerous stalls with Albanian, oriental and international delicacies. Especially between April and October, this food mile is a real culinary highlight.
Read more about his trip below in English, or the original article in Dutch.  

National Museum of Kosovo

Visit to Pristina - departure mood and coffee culture
In the youngest country of Europe proportionately, most young people live, much of them in Pristina. On the one hand, the city with its old buildings still has the Yugoslavian charm, on the other hand, one encounters more and more hip and modern cafes, theater and art.
People in the Balkans are passionate coffee drinkers, as you can see in Pristina. Many politicians and members of parliament are attracted to this because the seat of government of Kosovo is right around the corner.
If you like to work on a laptop or mix with the locals, you should make yourself comfortable in the Soma Book Station , which by the way is run by a cat. Well, not quite. The cat belongs to the owner. She spends most of the day in the café and is very sociable with the guests. Also recommended are the Cup o Tea, Tartines , Tiffany , MIQT Pub , Kadare Bar Books and the Mana Board Game Bar, which offers a wide variety of board games for their guests.
Visit to Pristina's city promenade: Delicacies galore

Interpretation desired - the National Library of Kosovo
Pristina is not too big, the city center can be explored on foot. Here you will also find the most beautiful buildings, attractions, museums and mosques.
Among the most impressive sights in Pristina I would count the National Library of Kosovo, which was unfortunately named by the English Telegraph as one of the ugliest buildings in the world and located on the campus of the University. Nonetheless, it is the most visited attraction in Kosovo. There are many different and controversial interpretations about the symbolic meaning of the 99 white, glass domes with the large grid-like metal net. If you're traveling to Pristina, you can find out about what the Serbs and Albanians are discussing here as part of the Kosovo Holidays Walking Tour 
A few meters away is the Mother Teresa Cathedral. Muslims and Christians live peacefully together in Kosovo and have been for a long time. For one euro, my tour guide Armend and I take the elevator up the cathedral. From the top you have a breathtaking view over the city and the nearby mountains.
National Library of Kosovo

Pristina's story - shocking, but with a happy ending
The history of the country is reflected in almost all the sights of the city. So also on the Ibrahim Rugova, the Skanderbeg Square and the  National Museum of Kosovo. While finds of early history are shown on the ground floor of the museum, on the first floor you will find the very interesting but also disturbing exhibition on the Kosovo War from 1998 to 1999.
After a 60-minute history lesson, it's time to go outside again. Actually, I'm more of an outdoor and nature lover, but the story of the collapse of the former Yugoslavia has captivated me so much that I try to go to any museum and talk to people about it as soon as I'm in the area.
Right next to the museum is the Great Mosque of Pristina. Armend begs me in, we take off the shoes before. A very warm, peaceful and above all welcoming atmosphere surrounds us.
Bonding with the West - Bill Clinton and the Symbolic Lego Stone
So many impressions and information. And we were not even in the city center. The large yellow Lego stone on Ibrahim Rugova Square symbolizes not only the six regions of Kosovo, but is also seen as a missing puzzle or Lego piece of the EU.
Kosovo is pro EU and America, as the UN and some big politicians strongly supported the Kosovars during the war. As a sign of their attachment, they not only created Bill Clinton Avenue, but also erected a statue in honor of the former US president. Many parents have called their sons Bill or Bill Clinton. I had to ask twice when I heard that.
From Suxhuk to Kifle - Pristina's culinary surprises
Whoever strolls down the city promenade from Skanderbeg Square - this is where the theater is located - should do so on an empty stomach. Because here are numerous stalls with Albanian, oriental and international delicacies. Especially between April and October, this food mile is a real culinary highlight.
Be sure to try the pastries in the small bakeries.

On the huge bazaar Armend shows me the hidden alleys and the traders, who besides fruits, vegetables and textiles also offer oriental delicacies, spices and traditional garments. Anyone who wants to buy something here should definitely negotiate or have a local with them, as communication problems can arise.
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#NewBornMonument - Pristina's creative monument
At the southern end of the promenade you suddenly find yourself in front of a monument that you want to revisit every year once you've been in Pristina: The NewBorn Monument is redesigned annually by the creative minds of the city, so it always looks different - but always full of meaning and inspiration!
If you do not have time to visit Pristina every year, check the Instagram #NewBornMonument hashtag or the NewBorn Monument Pristina hashtag. Last year, the monument contained the message "No Walls" and this year the country's tenth anniversary. I am very curious to see what next year will be like.
NewBorn Monument

Monday, March 26, 2018

Visiting Kosovo:from Pristina, a city on the move to Peja and Prizren

Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, is very impressive city with busy streets, numerous small shops and shops, cafes and restaurants, which are all well visited. This is how a Dutch tourist describe its impressions about Kosovo. Matthias is a travel blogger from Holland, and recently he visited Kosovo and wrote a blog about it. He goes from Pristina, a city on the move, to Peja, the city by the green mountains and Prizren, Ottoman architecture and oriental flair.

Pristina- a city on the move
You find Pristina very impressive with busy streets, numerous small shops and shops, cafes and restaurants, which are all well visited. The people here are very western. Especially the women are dressed up nicely, wearing short dresses, high heels and lots of makeup.
Eating out is very cheap in Pristina. A big burger for just € 1, for babs there's the vegetarian option (ie without meat patty) for only 50 cents.
New Born Monument of Independece

Pristina on a walking tour
We visit the Great Hammam, over the extensive local market, to various mosques, to the Skanderberg place, to the architecturally unique library and of course to the Newborn monument.
Three days in this lively and eclectic city come to an end. From the inconspicuous Pristina station, our trip to Kosovo continues to the extreme west of the country, very close to the Montenegrin and Albanian borders, to Peja. For 3 euros you can travel comfortably by train for two hours through the beautiful landscape.
National Library of Kosovo

Peja - city by the green mountains
In Peja you can do a lot. In addition to the Patriarchal Monastery Peć worth a trip to the Rugova Gorge. There is a Zipline, you can climb and hike very well. I would even go so far as to say that the region is a real Eldorado, especially for abseiling and via ferrata fans. Peja is also the perfect starting point to go on the long-distance hiking trail Peaks of the Balkans. The mountains here are really beautiful. You can also just try to hitchhike and, with luck, have a local take you up to the mountains like we did.
Old Bridge in Peja region

On another day we grabbed the two bicycles from the hostel (5 Euro per person) and cycled to the White Drin Waterfall. The waterfall itself is very impressive and offers a welcome cooling off on hot days. In the cave we did a guided tour and climbed 90 meters down for 7 euros per person with helmet and lamp. Pretty exciting. For this warm clothes are recommended, as it is just 10 degrees in the cave.
Landscape in Peja

Prizren - Ottoman architecture and oriental flair
After the beautiful and intense time we had in Peja, every place would have had a hard time to please us. The first night in Prizren we spend in the city hostel, which we unfortunately not recommendable, as it from the - admittedly very nice - roof terrace at night incredibly loud. Then we switch to Driza's House. This hostel is tucked away and exudes a family charm.
Prizren stands out for its Ottoman architecture. The fortress, the Sinan Pasha Mosque and the stone bridge offer perfect photo opportunities, but also attract many other tourists. That's why it's enough for us to spend just one day in Prizren.
Stone bridge in Prizren

Mitrovica - the divided city
Unfortunately we did not make it to Mitrovica. Above all, the city is so interesting because the small northern part, bordering on Serbia, is predominantly Serbian-speaking and the larger southern part is Albanian-speaking. Administratively, the city divided by the river Ibar forms independent municipalities.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Kosovo's medieval monuments among 15 destinations to visit before they disappear forever

The Independent has recently published an article listing 15 destinations to visit before they disappear, and among them are 4 medieval monuments in Kosovo.
Church of Holy Saviour

‘Kosovo boasts plenty of medieval architecture, however, those structures endured quite a bit during the unrest in the Balkans in the 1990s.
Patriarchate of Peć Monastery 

According to Condé Nast Traveler, the churches and monasteries in the region contain Balkan art from 13th through 17th centuries and still need more work to stabilize them after the war.”
Kosovo has four cultural monuments protected by UNESCO.
Dečani Monastery

‘The four edifices of the site reflect the high points of the Byzantine-Romanesque ecclesiastical culture, with its distinct style of wall painting, which developed in the Balkans between the 13th and 17th centuries. The Dečani Monastery was built in the mid-14th century for the Serbian king Stefan Dečanski and is also his mausoleum. The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery is a group of four domed churches featuring series of wall paintings. The 13th-century frescoes of the Church of Holy Apostles are painted in a unique, monumental style. Early 14th-century frescoes in the church of the Holy Virgin of Ljevisa represent the appearance of the new so-called Palaiologian Renaissance style, combining the influences of the eastern Orthodox Byzantine and the Western Romanesque traditions. The style played a decisive role in subsequent Balkan art.
Our Lady of Ljevis Prizren

Read original article here!

Friday, February 16, 2018

US Media: 10 Things you didn’t know about Kosovo

Kosovo is celebrating the 10th anniversary of independence on February 17th. The newest state in Europe is recognized actually by 116 countries, where 112 are part of UN. Still the Government of Serbia does not accept the fact the Kosovo is now an independent state, but for the sake of its integration in EU, Serbia started to normalize the relations with the Government of Kosovo, in accordance with Brussels Agreement.
US news published an article about “10 things you didn’t know about Kosovo” as listed below:

1. Kosovo is the second-youngest country in the world, declaring its independence from Serbia on Feb. 17, 2008. The only country to declare its independence recently is the island country of Barbados officially recognized the Republic of Kosovo on February 15th 2018, becoming the 116 country to do so.
2. While Serbia and a handful of other countries – including Russia and China – do not recognize Kosovo's independence, the International Court of Justice ruled that Kosovo is a sovereign nation in 2010.
3. Kosovo, a landlocked country slightly larger than Delaware, is the smallest Balkan nation. About 40 percent of its land is covered by forest, and slightly more than half of its land is agricultural.
4. With a median age of 29.1 years, Kosovo has among the youngest populations in Europe. More than 40 percent of the population is under 25.
Visar Kryeziu/AP

5. Kosovo is one of the poorest European nation, with a per capita gross domestic product of about $10,400 in 2017.
6. The majority of Kosovo's population of nearly 1.9 million is Muslim, with Albanian and Serbian serving as the country's official languages. Kosovo means "field of blackbirds" in Serbian.
7. The Ottoman Empire ruled Kosovo from the mid-15th century to the early 20th century, during which Islam grew in prominence and the number of Albanian speakers significantly increased, leading to tensions between the new Muslim ethnic Albanian majority and Eastern Orthodox Serb minority.
8. Tensions boiled over into conflict in the 1990s, when Albanians opposed both Serbs and the government of Yugoslavia – then a recently dissolved federal state – in Kosovo. Hundreds of civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced before NATO intervened to resolve the conflict, though several thousand peacekeepers remain in the country today.
9. A statue of former U.S. President Bill Clinton stands on a street that also bears his name in Pristina, the capital. Clinton helped end the conflict in the late 1990s, and former President George W. Bush, who also has a street named for him in the capital, recognized Kosovo's independence in 2008.
10. Pristina is also home to a Roman Catholic cathedral named for Mother Teresa, who was Albanian and lived in a small village in Kosovo as a teenager.

See here the original article!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Brezovica ski resort attracting visitors in Kosovo

You’ve probably heard of Kosovo, but not so much about the fact the Kosovo is a ski destination. Brezovica, is the largest ski resort in Kosovo and is attracting a large number of visitors this winter.  Brezovica is a touristic village, close to Prizren. The place is situated in the beautiful Sharr Mountains. The Brezovica area is a 1, 5 hour drive from the Pristina international airport, and close to the airport of neighboring country Macedonia. 
Photo credits: Kosovo Holidays

There are nine ski runs located in the area, with distances between 300 meters and 3.500 meters. The top of the biggest hill is around 2.500 meters (8200 feet) high.
Photo credits: Kosovo Holidays

Even New York Times dedicated a long article about skiing in Kosovo.  Also the British Travel Guide, Bradt Travel Guide recommends Brezovica among 10 alternative skiing destinations in 2018.
 “ Kosovo's premier ski resort, the Brezovica Ski Centre was built for the 1984 Olympics in Yugoslavia and still provides the best skiing in the country for cheap prices.
Photo credits: Kosovo Holidays

Many tour operators in Albania and Kosovo are organizing daily tours to Brezovica. You can go there just for some hours to enjoy the deep snow and learn to ski. There are special centres, where you can take some lessons how to use the equipment for skiing. You can go to the cable car and enjoy the amazing view of this resort. This is a place for entertainment for the ages. Even for beginners there are plenty of small sleigh (cost for rent is 3 euro for all the day) just to have e ride in the snow and to enjoy a wonderful experience.
For a tour to Brezovica contact:

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bradt Travel Guides: Kosovo among ‘Exceptional places to visit in 2018’

‘Few people think of Kosovo as a tourist destination, but this intriguing corner of Europe has slowly started to grab the attention of those in the know.’ This is how 'Bradt Travel Guide', a British popular online guide write about Kosovo, recommending it among 15 Exceptional places to visit in 2018.

Church of Holy Saviour -Kosovo Holidays

Kosovo is packed with historical treasures, ranging from Ottoman-era mosques to magnificent monasteries.
Few people think of Kosovo as a tourist destination, but this intriguing corner of Europe has slowly started to grab the attention of those in the know. The country was a shambles only 15 years ago, but today you'd be hard pressed to find visible traces of the past conflict.
Boge, a touristic village in Kosovo
With new hotels opening country-wide and tourist infrastructure really starting to take place, there's never been a better time to explore this compact and eminently welcoming country, a land of gorgeous landscapes, fascinating cultural treasures, adrenalin-pumping outdoor activities and the best coffee outside of Italy.

National Museum of Kosovo

What are you waiting for? Take a tour full of adventures in Kosovo!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Independent: In Pristina you can live with £437.88 a month

In Pristina you can live with £437.88 a month, being one of the cheapest capitals in Europe to live in. The prestigious media Independent in the article “26 European cities where you can live on less than £600 a month”,  ranked Pristina (Prishtina) on the 4th place.

Business Insider has compiled a list of every European city where you can live on less than £600 a month — that's less than a third of the monthly cost of living in London (£1,838), and significantly less than living in Manchester (£1,128), Glasgow (£1,024), and Liverpool (£1,010).

The data was compiled from Numbeo's Cost of Living Index, which looks at the everyday costs in major cities around the globe and is updated every month.
The index takes into account a multitude of factors including the cost of groceries, eating and drinking out, travel, rent, utilities, and even spread-out and occasional splurges such as clothing and cinema trips — and one country emerged at the clear winner.
The index takes into account a multitude of factors including the cost of groceries, eating and drinking out, travel, rent, utilities, and even spread-out and occasional splurges such as clothing and cinema trips — and one country emerged at the clear winner.
The cost of living in Pristina, Kosovo:
Cappuccino: €1 (£0.89)
Three-course meal for two: €15 (£13.41)
Domestic beer (0.5 litre bottle): €0.64 (£0.57)
Monthly travel pass: €8 (£7.15)
One bedroom apartment outside of city-centre, monthly rent: €150 (£134)

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