Pristina

View of Pristina.
Overview

Scratch below the surface of this unusually friendly university city and you'll be rewarded. People-watch as you sip a glass of cherry juice in the huge bazaar. Go for a walk or jog in Germia Park in the hills to the east of town and admire the beauty of centuries-old mosques everywhere. Chat with locals over a Peja beer or macchiato coffee with frothy milk in a Santea cafe or bar.

Background

Established at the crossroads of trading routes dating from Roman times, Pristina is Kosovo's capital and largest city. Splendid mosques and colonial buildings have survived numerous wars, conflicts and socialist 'urban planners'. Many of the sights centre on the 19th-century Clock Tower near the junction of Nazim Gufurri and Emin Duraku streets. Nearby, government buildings line Agim Ramadani street. Virtually all city streets are named after local historical figures and heroes, so Boulevard Bill Clinton comes as a bit of a surprise.

First-time visit

Learn about the country's history and see a Neolithic-era clay statue at the Kosovo Museum, housed in a fine colonial building. Admire the 15th-century Fatih Mosque in the Old Town centre. Wander the vast bustling bazaar offering everything including the kitchen sink. Stroll along the paths and forest trails of leafy Germia Park: in summer, swim in its huge open-air swimming pool and refresh yourself with a Peja beer. After dark, experience the local nightlife in the city-centre bars and clubs around Fehmi Agani and Garibaldi streets ("-rruga"). Head to the village of Gracanica three miles away to see its 14th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery.

Return visit

Snack on a burek filo pastry with cheese or minced beef filling washed down with a tangy yoghurt drink. Visit the 19th-century Jewish Cemetery on Tauk Bahqe hill, a reminder of a community that thrived in Pristina for 500 years. Dig deeper into local culture and heritage at the Ethnographic Museum. In Prizren, Kosovo's cultural capital, you can admire Ottoman houses, a 15th-century bathhouse, and the 11th-century Kalaja Fortress. Before heading back to Pristina, relax with a drink in a cafe on Shadervan Square.

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