Posted by: Alex MacGregor | April 21, 2010

The Other Side of Kosovo

We were having such a good time in Kosovo that we decided to stay another night and take a day trip into the countryside. We scoured the internet for a gem in the mountains just outside of the capital where we could spend a day, like the Bachkovo Monastery near Plovdiv or the Princes’ Islands near Istanbul, but we couldn’t find anything quite so pleasant and accessible.

Instead, we decided to set off on the two hour bus journey to the other side of the country to the city of Prizren, located near the Albanian and Macedonian borders.

Unlike Prištinë, Prizren is mainly a historic city, with small buildings lining cobbled roads instead of glorious brutalist monstrosities towering over asphalt and concrete. Like most other historical cities in the area, it has the requisite mosque, stone bridge, and fortress set overlooking the town.

It’s a bit surprising to see Prizren’s cafe-filled center, given the state of Kosovo’s economy…

…but we’ll take as many delicious, 50-cent macchiatos as we possibly can before we get to Western Europe.

Some of the old buildings that line Prizren’s streets.

Just because you’re in an idyllic old city doesn’t mean that you can escape the country’s bitter ethnic tensions.

One of the most treasured Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo requires ongoing military protection.

Sadly, if you walk a bit further uphill, you can see that the church was already mostly destroyed by bombings during the war.

Many of the old neighborhoods overlooking the center of town were also destroyed, never to be rebuilt.

Caroline in the fortress.

From up on the fortress you get a spectacular view of Prizren and the snow-capped mountains behind it. It would have been even better if it weren’t gloomy and overcast all day! But after spending a great day in the city we realized that if Kosovo develops a tourism industry, Prizren is going to be an important part of it.


  1. […] us of Eastern Europe (or the Balkans, specifically): SS prides itself on its old bridge. Just like every Balkan city. The bridge in Sancti Spiritus is definitely a lot more out of context, sitting […]

  2. […] Albania t-shirt didn’t hurt. He was glad to learn that we had made a trip to his hometown of Prizren! After he said the obligatory ‘I love America’, he laughed when we thanked him in […]

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