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!