Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why go to Kosovo?

More and more tourists are exploring Kosovo. They are all surprised by hospitality, normality of life, history, culture and weird architecture. Here how the blogger Dom Giles, describe Kosovo:

"Kosovo is in our heads because of the war in 1999 and the NATO bombing campaign on Serbia when it refused to accept Kosovo's Independence in that year. Ultimately, Kosovo gained independence ( in most people's eyes) in 2008 making it Europe's newest country. I wanted to see what it looked like. 
I hoped and expected to find a 'normal' county with 'normal' people doing 'normal' things. And I did. 

I went to the Enthnologocal museum and had a long chat with the curator who was quite upbeat about Kosovo's future. More than 50% of the countries population is under 25, which bodes well for the future. 

So, little Kosovo (you can ride across it in about an hour) used to belong to Yugoslavia and Orthodox Christian Serbia refuses to recognise it. So it's a little weird that the tourist highlights of Muslim Kosovo are two Orthodox Serbian Monastery's protected by NATO. We had to hand in our passports to visit. 

The 20 or so nuns in the first one and 25 monks in the second one live in almost total isolation as the local populations want them to leave.

My final stop was also the highlight. Lovely little Pritzen. Kosovo's third largest town ( 180,000 people) It had a river, a castle, churches, mosques, coffee shops and when we were there, an eight day film festival.

Castle at the top. 

Prizen was also the place where I've seen my first ( for 10 minutes!) rain on the whole trip! So there you have it. Kosovo. Just a regular place full of people trying to get on with life."

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lonely Planet: Five reasons to visit Prizren, Kosovo’s cultural capital

If you’re looking for culture in Kosovo, it’s best to head south to Prizren. Seated at the foot of the Shar mountains and close to the Rahovec (Orahovac) wine region, Kosovo’s second city packs a heavy punch with its rich history, traditional handicraft shops and gastronomic delights. Mix that with incredible nearby nature and a renowned summer film festival, and you have a ‘must-see’ destination to add to your Balkan travel itinerary. Here are the five reasons to visit Prizren (in short)

1. Exploring the old town. Throughout history Prizren has played an important role in the region which was first settled in Illyrian times
2. Unique film festival. To witness Kosovo’s cultural capital at its liveliest and to enjoy a unique cinematic experience, there’s no better time to visit Prizren than during Dokufest (
3. Shopping for traditional handicrafts. The ultimate shopping experience in Prizren is paying a visit to one of the city’s many filigree shops.
4. Local cuisine and wineries. From its famed ëmbëltoret (confectioneries) to the best qebaptore (barbeque restaurants) you’ll find in the country, Prizren is the gastronomic heart of Kosovo.
5. Trekking in the Shar mountains. Prizren is a perfect starting point for exploring the Shar mountain range, which borders Macedonia and Albania, on either a day trip or overnight. Though barely updated since its heyday in the 1980s, when it was a downhill-ski backup for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Brezovica (about 40km east of Prizren) is Kosovo’s main ski centre.

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