Not my favourite place in Kosovo but it’s capital Prishtina had plenty of interest. The communists after WW2 were pretty brutal with their city planning, and little remains from before then. There are three rather nice Ottoman era mosques dating from the 15th century, though they have all been or are being heavily restored by the Turkish government. The Sultan Mehmet Fatih Mosque is the largest and most decorative inside.

Jashar Pasha Mosque wasn’t far behind, while Carshi Mosque was undergoing restoration. Somehow I caught this unexpectedly colourful shot of the sun behind it’s minaret.

Far newer, still under construction in fact, is the Mother Teresa Cathedral, home to some interesting stained glass windows featuring some familiar faces.

Just down the road from the cathedral was another familiar face. A hero here for his intervention during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

By the mosques the Museum of Kosovo was more interesting than expected, with archaeological artefacts downstairs, and more recent items from the Kosovo War upstairs, including the flags of the ~118 counties to date that have recognised Kosovo as an independent country. The portrait of Mother Teresa is made of staples!

Liburnia was a lovely spot for lunch, filled with character, and good food.

There are a number of sights of interest outside the city centre, starting with the Field of Blackbirds, home to an important battle between the Europeans and Ottomans in 1389 marked with this sizeable monument.

Nearby is the tomb of Sultan Murat who died just after the battle.

Ulpiana is home to the most important Roman ruins in Kosovo, with the outline of buildings and churches from the 4th-6th centuries clearly visible.

The Bear Sanctuary was both better and sadder than expected. Opened in 2013 it provides a decent home for 19 bears rescued from some horrific situations, often caged in restaurants for many years. I’ve seen bears before but never like this, it was quite a shock for a huge brown bear to come out of the bushes toward me, before stopping before the electric fence. Some were clearly still scarred by their experiences, pacing up and down by the fence continuously.

Finally Gracanica Monastery was the third Serbian Orthodox monastery I’d seen in nearly as many days, but each is different (other than none allowing photography inside), with beautiful frescoes and strongly atmospheric.

Author: jontycrane

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