• Spike

Pristina - Kosovo

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Taking the bus from Serbia into Kosovo should have been simple, but the lack of English signage as well as having to buy a separate ticket to access the gate to the bus (a nightmare when you have exchanged all your local currency to Euros and have to find somewhere to change it back), made it a little tricky. Thankfully due to similarities with Russian language, I was about to understand the Cyrillic language and ask a local in Russian for information.

It was a little scary passing through the boarder as there were many military officers with guns, but to be honest I'm sure there was no need to have worried.

There are of course still many tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, as Serbia still believe they own Kosovo, in fact the majority of the world (by a narrow margin) also think so, which means Kosovo cannot yet be recognised as an independent country. I'm happy to say that the UK considers it to be a country, and so I also consider it to be an independent country. It definitely felt like a different country to Serbia, and to be honest it felt a lot more like I was in Albania. There is a larger Albanian population here, but it was more the feel of the city that reminded me more of Tirana than of Belgrade.

I think the evidence of a war torn nation is noticeable in Pristina. Although it was over 20 years ago now, the effects of the Kosovo War are sure to have had an impact on the countries economy even to this day.

The city appeared rather run down in places, although there were some areas where it appears the city is hopefully on the way up, but I think this will take time.

Kosovo is not a typical tourist destination, there isn't a huge amount to see here for the average tourist. But I found it to be an interesting city to explore. Kosovo was very different from anywhere I'd been before, and it further enhanced my knowledge on the recent wars in the Balkans.

Newborn Monument

A sculpture made from large letters spelling out "Newborn". It was erected the day that Kosovo claimed independence back in 2008, and as such is a symbol of the country's independence. Every year on the birthday of Kosovo's independence, the monument is repainted in a different style, often with a message of peace.

People often write or graffiti on the monument, which is allowed and encouraged provided it's a positive message. I was more than happy to add my name and date on which I visited Pristina.

Bill Clinton Statue

Bill Clinton did a lot to help Kosovo achieve independence and end the war in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990's. Therefore Pristina have named a road after him "Bill Clinton Boulevard" along with an 11-foot brass statue. Behind the statue attached to a tower block you'll also see a huge American flag and a huge photo of the former president.

It's a short walk from the centre of the city, but as there are not a huge amount of sights to see in Pristina, I recommend taking the short walk to check out the statue.

Church of Christ the Saviour

What looks like an old ruined church is in fact an unbuilt church which was abandoned before its completion due to the Kosovo War.

It appears as though the entrance is closed off, and I was a little too scared to explore to see if there was a way inside. There were many people on the campus who would have seen me, and I wasn't sure if I was allowed to attempt to go inside.

You can find it on the Pristina University campus close to the National Library. Although it's an incomplete church, I found it to be an interesting but sombre sight.

The National Library of Kosovo

Also located on Pristina University campus is the National Library of Kosovo. Compared to the rest of the city, this building feels out of place as it's quite a modern and abstract style. A lot of the locals feel it's an ugly building and looks like a prison, but I simply think it look futuristic.

Inside, there are more than 2 million library items, including books, newspapers, manuscripts, maps and photographs.

Mother Teresa Boulevard

Mother Teresa is just as important in Kosovo as she is in Albania and North Macedonia. So, it stands to reason a road would be named after her in Kosovo. A pedestrian street with several small shops, restaurants and cafes, fountains and a statue of Skanderbeg similar to the one in Tirana. Its one of the more modern parts of the city, and this is actually the only place in the city that I encountered other tourists.

Cathedral of Saint Mother Teresa

When I visited I assumed the cathedral was under renovations, but it turns out that it was still being constructed. At the time I was unable to enter, but as far as I'm aware, I think people can now enter the cathedral.

The cathedral was beautiful from the outside, although it looked a little small for a cathedral. It's fairly well placed in the centre of the city and is in walking distance of all the interesting sights.

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