Partially accepted

NEWBORN monument, Prishtinë

Kosovo is a stabilized de-facto regime accepted by 114 of the 193 member states of the United Nations – in addition to Serbia (which claims this country to be part of Serbia as the region ‘KosMet’, Kosovo i Metohija) and its close friends many states with regions that want to be independent don’t support Kosovo. It is a very young country with young citizens and old ethnic conflicts. It isn’t really prepared for tourism but it is a good place for travellers. Many of them seem to come from the United States of America; a country that is still beloved by the locals because the 42nd president (Bill Clinton) took side for the country and forced NATO to attack the Serbian army on Kosovan grounds until they left. Kosovo declared independence on February 17th, 2008.

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Flag and hymn

Kosovo flag, Prishtinë

Kosovo is a young state which is split up into two areas: north of Mitrovicë the majority of people are Serbs, south of it Albanians. The flag used most widely in the North is the flag of Serbia: red, blue and white with a white double-headed eagle and a crown. In the rest of the country the flag of Albania is shown most: red with a black double-headed eagle. But Kosovo has for sure an own flag which I could only find in the center of Prishtinë. It hasn’t a long tradition and was introduced only in 2008 after a competition.

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Miners monument

Miners monument, Косовска Митровица

The city of Mitrovicë, Kosovo is mainly known for two things: that river Ibër splits the city and the country itself into the Serbian north and the Albanian south and for its mining tradition. On Serbian-controlled territory in the northeast you can find the Miniera e Trepçës or Rudnik Trepča – the largest mine for lead and zinc ore in Europe (which is additionally also gathering silver and gold). Up to 23000 workers were once employed there at the same time.

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Driving school

Electric mini cars, Mitrovicë

It’s an observation I made on the Balkans and also in the Baltic states, but nowhere else – maybe it is a tradition coming from the Eastern bloc or it’s only seen there because the regulations aren’t as strict as in western European countries: miniature electric cars for kids. On major public spaces you can find them for rental and kids cruise around having a lot of fun.

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Mitrovicë

River Ibar, Mitrovicë

Mitrovicë isn’t the most beautiful city of Kosovo. It has mountains behind like Prizren, but these are the mountains used to mine for ore. Yet it is sensible to get here because it is a place where the ethnic conflicts of the country get very visible. Kosovo (or ‘KosMet’, Kosovo i Metohija) wanted to become independent from Serbia because of its Albanian majority – but that doesn’t account for the whole area. There are cities with Turkish or Serbian majority and a lots of minorities like Roma, Ashkali, Gorani or Egyptians. Especially the north of Kosovo with the green border to Serbia has a Serbian majority.

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Malet e Sharrit

National park Malet e Sharrit, Kosovo

At the border between Kosovo and North Macedonia you can find a fantastic mountain range called Malet e Sharrit, Sharr or Šar Planina. It is a great contrast to the flat land in the Kosovo Polje and contains high mountains, deep valleys and endless green forests. The area is especially known for the artisan products created here and the possibility to go skiing in the upper parts. A good way to explore the Malet e Sharrit nature protection zone is to start from Prizren and to drive into the direction of Brod – you will then cross the complete mountain range

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Prizren

Ura e gurit, Prizren

The name Prizren still triggers memories of the Kosovo war in my head. If you get close to it you immediatly see its beauty: with the high mountains in the background carrying the Kalaja fortress that protected the city located at an important trade route from Albania to the Kosovo Polje. In the center there is the fantastic mosque Xhamia e Sinan Pashës located at the river Lumbardhi. An ancient bridge made of rock – the Ura e Gurit – spans the river and minded my much of Sarajevo.

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Kalaja

Kalaja fortress, Prizren

The Kalaja fortress is located high above Prizren, Kosovo. Under its protection the city became an important trade city connecting Albania and its coasts with the Kosovo Polje. The medieval fortress was built in the 6th century CE on a place that was already used by earlier generations of the Illyrians and Romans. The terrace 200 meters above the city gives great views on the area.

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Xhamia e Sinan Pashës

Prizren, Kosovo

When coming to the city center of Prizren, Kosovo you cannot overlook the Xhamia e Sinan Pashës, the biggest and most beautiful mosque of the city. It is located close to the river Bistrica and the ancient stone bridge (Ura e gurit). It was built between 1608 and 1615; the main room is 14 x 14 meters large and therefore the biggest Osman mosque in Kosovo. To build the mosque stones from a former Christian cloister were recycled.

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