High fences, barbed wire, numerous CCTV cameras, dogs and guards. No sign is leading to this place, there are no other visitors, you are not allowed to take anything inside and you’ll have to hand over your passport to the guards. The Gazimestan monument near Prishtinë, Kosovo is a place you don’t want to be at. But if you want to understand the conflicts between Serbs and Albanians about the Kosovo Polje it is a key element. The medieval-shaped tower built in 1953 contains different nationalistic texts and is dedicated to an important fight in 1389.
On June 28th, 1389 a Serbian Christian army lead by Lazar Hrebeljanović and Vuk Branković tried to stop the muslim army commaned by sultan Murad I who wanted to conquer the complete Balkans. The Serbs lost as you can see by the many mosques on the Balkans but as an both sides important leaders (Lazar and Murad) died the Serbs defined this a draw. And the beginning of a united and bigger Serbia. 600 years later Serbian Communist leader Slobodan Milošević held a speech here and the western world read from his words that nationalism would bloom in Yugoslavia and that ethnic cleanings are planned. Unfortunately this became true later.
The Gazimestan monument is official the memorial for the Serbian heroes of Kosovo and it is an important place for the Serbian nation. Therefore they can never accept that this place is now part of the Kosovo with an Albanian majority. And on the other hand this memorial is hated by the Albanians – in 1999 the UÇK has put a bomb into the tower but could only destroy the lowest steps of the staircase. After several other attacks the tower received the protection it has today and which creates a very creepy atmosphere. At least you have very good and unhindered view on the complete Kosovo Polje. On the other side of the village (near the roundabout) you can also see the türbe (tomb) of Murad I – well preserved by the local Turkish community.
Gazimestan monument / Газиместан monument
Prishtina / Prishtinë / Приштина / Priština