Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lufthansa Magazine: Why should spend holidays in Kosovo

A church in a suburb of Prizren © Meiko Herrmann
Lufthansa Magazine has published a long article about Kosovo, giving some good reasons to spend holidays in this landlocked country. 
Florian Sanktjohanser is the author of the article, where he presents the most impressive things about Kosovo’s nature, culture, attractions and people. 
“A holiday in Kosovo? Yes, please! Pristine nature, cultural traditions and a vibrant urban scene are just some of the young nation’s charms. Best of all: the people and the warm welcome they offer you.”
First he starts with DokuFest, a music and film festival, and a magnet for creative minds and culture fans from all over the country. The festival attracts 30 000 people, and locals rent out their spare rooms to make up for the lack of hotel beds.

What’s about Pristina?

The city’s patriotic heart beats here, and statues of the national saints stand proud: Skanderbeg, Ibrahim Rugova and Mother Teresa. It’s a strange boulevard, seamed as it is with an eclectic mix of glass bank tower, luxury hotel and swathes of socialist concrete. Only a handful of Ottoman mosques remain, and there’s no intact historic center. It takes true determination to admire the other landmarks: the national library with its veil of steel bars and 99 domes, and the Palace of Youth and Sports, a masterpiece of brutalism. Everyone loves the monument in front of it, though: the word “NEWBORN,” spelled out in three-meter steel letters. Unveiled on February 17, 2008, it celebrates independence. Each year since 2013, the letters have been presented in a special way to mark the anniversary. This time, the letters N and W were laid flat and connected with white paint to read “NO WALLS” as a reminder of the limited freedom of movement Kosovars have.

Mirusha Waterfalls

Mirusha Waterfalls © Meiko Herrmann
The Mirusha Waterfalls, widely considered a natural spectacle, seem disappointing, as a blue pipe connecting two kiosks spoils the lowest fall. At the fourth fall, the banks narrow to form a dramatic gorge, and only a threadbare, partly broken rope hooked to the wall provides support. 

Sacred Sites in Kosovo
Two of the most sacred sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church are in the west of the country; both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites protected by high walls and KFOR soldiers at the gate. The Visoki Dečani Monastery is a place of pilgrimage; King Stefan Uroš III Dečanski lies buried here, “uncorrupted after 700 years,” as the young guide earnestly explains. We are the only visitors crossing the immaculately kept courtyard to the marble church. The only other place even more sacred is the Patriarchate of Peć, the medieval spiritual seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It is also silent and deserted. A Japanese tourist skulks around the 800-year-old mulberry tree; a stern-looking nun ensures no photos are taken.