Pristina

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People seldom go out of their way to visit Pristina (Albanian: Prishtinë), the capital city of Kosovo: Communist rulers destroyed large chunks of Pristina to build a model city for the new man during the early years of their rule in Yugoslavia, leaving few major sights in the city.

Yet the city has an edge to it—it holds the physical remnants of the different periods of history that are so densely packed into such a short time frame. An odd Ottoman clock tower that escaped the destruction overlooks the fairly ambiguous post-independence 'Newborn' monument, and the unfinished (and probably never-to-be-finished) Serbian Orthodox cathedral that would mark the Serbian hegemony unto the city is face-to-face with the quite avantgarde Yugoslav-era mass of the cubes and the domes of the library. On the streets neatly extending between these buildings are the chic residents enjoying the bustling street life and the nightlife scene of their city that was war-torn only a little more than a decade ago. And even if the architecture and drinking aren't your things, it's just plain interesting to witness what was once a socialist backwater transforming, under the watchful eye of the international community, into the glitzy capital of a prosperous nation that lives up to its name.

Talk[edit]

The main language you will hear in the street is Albanian. English is widely spoken in the 3 square kilometre space in the centre of town where internationals and those working for international organizations predominate; the further you go from the centre, the less likely you will be to find English widely spoken. However, most people from Pristina, especially young people speak at least a little English so can more than likely get by. Navigating around the city is easy - the city centre is small and walkable (watch out for crazy drivers who often hop sidewalks and plow through intersections) and people are generally receptive to efforts to communicate in broken Albanian and English. Serbian is Kosovo's other official language, but it is seldom heard on the streets in the capital. You should be able to speak Serbian in some government offices, but should be cautious about how you speak it in public, except in Serbian areas, where you should be careful of speaking in Albanian. German is easily the next most widely spoken language. Ties between the Kosovo Albanian diaspora in Germany and Switzerland and Kosovo are very strong; many older Kosovo Albanians have worked there as guest workers in the past.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  •    Pristina International Airport (IATA: PRN, ICAO: BKPR, Pristina International Airport Adem Jashari, Albanian: Aeroporti Ndërkombëtar i Prishtinës "Adem Jashari"; Serbian: Међународни аеродром Адем Јашари / Međunarodni aerodrom Adem Jašari), Slatina village (located 15 km (9.3 mi) southwest. - Airport buses are available 24 hours a day at two hourly intervals.). Flights from London, Zurich, Geneva, Gothenburg, Copenhagen [1], Vienna, Hamburg, Hannover, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Verona, Ljubljana, Budapest, Tirana, Istanbul and Oslo. There are low-budget flights to Pristina from Liège, Belgium and with Easyjet from Switzerland. There are cheap connecting flights via Tirana and Ljubljana, but also from most of German airports. - It is an international airport that handles over 1.6 million passengers per year. It is a secondary hub for Adria Airways of Slovenia. The airport is named after Adem Jashari, a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army. - Services: sduty free stores, special services within the waiting room for business class passengers, has a restaurant and three bars for coffee and snack, and parking for more than 1,750 vehicles

If you arrive at Pristina airport - small, haphazard but recently modernized and efficient in a Balkan kind of way - you should get from the plane to the outside world within 15 minutes. The city itself is about 25 minutes away by car. The many taxi drivers outside the airport will quote you €25-30 for the trip but will happily be haggled down to €20. If you call a local taxi dispatch agency beforehand, a driver can be waiting for you for €15 (plus the price of the phone call). If you pretend to be waiting for a lift from someone else they'll compete with each other down as far as €5, but it hardly seems fair.

By bus[edit]

From Albania, there are several daily direct bus connections to Pristina, from Tirana (€ 15), and Durres (€ 16). In Tirana the bus office and stop is right behind the Hotel International. As of Dec 2011, there are two buses daily, at 06:00 and 15:00, and a ride takes approximately 6 hrs. There is no formal bus station in Tirana.

There are also direct bus links from most cities in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Turkey, Macedonia, Bosnia, and Montenegro.

(As of 15 July 2012) From Podgorica in Montenegro there is a daily night bus at 9:30PM that runs via Peja and arrives in Pristina at 5AM - €16.

There is one bus every night that runs from Pristina to Ulcinj, Montenegro with stops in Peja, Prodgorica and Bari. The buses leave at 7PM from both Pristina and Ulcinj. The trip is €20 round trip and take 9 hours.

From Skopje in Macedonia there are 8 buses per day at 10 past the hour. It is supposed to take 1.5 hours, but we took 3 hours due to traffic! It costs only 320 MKD (just over €5)

  •    Prishtina Bus Station (Stacioni i autobusave, Prishtinë), Lidhja e Pejes. This is quite a safe place to await sunrise.

From Serbia there are several direct buses from Belgrade (6 hours, 1 day bus & 2 night buses), run by Kosovo Albanian companies, cost less than €20, stops depending on the route in Niš or Kruševac. There are twice daily mini-buses from Niš, they cost 600 dinars and the guys at Niš Hostel (http://www.hostelnis.rs/) will help you get in contact with organizers, even if you aren't sleeping there, as it is necessary to book in advance (information dates from October 2009). If entering direct from Serbia, be aware that you need to leave by the same way that you came in so that you get Serbian entry/exit stamps (see note under Kosovo).

There is also a bus service from Sarajevo (via Novi Pazar; Buy ticket to Novi Pazar on 10PM bus, the bus continues to Prishtina, tickets available on board,i.e. the ticket Novi Pazar-Prishtina have to be bought on the bus, but after Novi Pazar; it is not possible to buy the ticket Novi Pazar-Prishtina on the bus Sarajevo-Novi Pazar, although it is the same bus that then continues to Prishtina); so from Sarajevo to Novi Pazar you buy the ticket for that trip (15 euro one way and 22 euros return - return has to be within a month)and after Novi Pazar you buy the ticket to Kosovo (7euros to Prishtina one way). You arrive in Novi Pazar at around 5.30. At 5.45 there is one bus that heads towards Skopje (Macedonia)with stops in Mitrovica and Prishtina as well as sometimes along the road (€7-8 is the ticket to Prishtina - the bus will stop on the road outside of the main bus station). It passes at the EULEX patrolled border post in North Kosovo, which might be quicker and more preferable. At 6.am there is a bus from Benko tours that leaves Novi Pazar direction Kosovo (final destination is Prizren). The bus used to pass through North Kosovo (only Serbian border post) - there are no security issues,even after July 25, 2011, but when there is heavy snow the bus will not be able to the trip. In that case, you have to do the alternative route (if the weather permits) over Rozaje pass in Montenegro and Pec/Peja - bus to Rozaje from Novi Pazar at 9.30AM (4,50€) and then with taxi to Peja/Pec bus station (taxi will cost around €30), in Peja/Pec every 20 minutes buses to Pristina (4€). Overall the trip Sarajevo-Novi Pazar-Prishtina over Mitrovica lasts around 11 hours and costs around €22 (one way - return is a bit cheaper.) The bus should be in Prishtina around 9AM and continues to Prizren. Advantage of passing through North Kosovo (non Eulex border) is that you enter Kosovo via Serbia, which might save you trouble if you exit Kosovo via Serbia. Whether this is important very much depends on the political climate and on the agreements between Belgrade and Prishtina. Alternatively,if you pass through Montenegro, you can ask Kosovo police not to stamp the Kosovo entry stamp in the passport as you have to exit via Serbia. Even better,though,is if you use your passport for Kosovo (which is necessary), and your ID card for exiting Kosovo through Serbia (for instance, Italian ID is sufficient to enter Serbia)

By train[edit]

There are trains which travel from Macedonia and Serbia to Pristina. These take long to get there. See Kosovo#By train

  •    Train Station (Stacion treni), Rr. Tirana (near the end of Rruga Garibaldi). trains to Peja and Skopje
  •    Fushë Kosovë train stationSheshi i Lirisë (7km W of centre. Take a taxi (€7-10) or with the N°1 minibus (€0.40), which departs every 10 minutes from Bulvar Bill Clinton (between Rr. R. Doli and Rr. Perandori Justinian).), e-mail: . trains for Pristina, Peja and Skopje.

Get around[edit]

  • City buses are the preferred method of local travel. They run on set routes and cost cca. €0.40 (2012) . It is usual to pay when you get in so try to have some change. Minibuses were replaced by city bus since Oct. 1st 2006. For detailed maps and timetables, visit [2]
  • Taxis are readily available but more expensive. Make sure your driver has a meter in his vehicle. No trip around the centre or from the centre to Dragodan / Arberia, Valenia, Sunny Hill, etc. should cost more than €3-7.
Rush hour traffic on Bill Clinton Boulevard

The roads in Pristina (and in general throughout Kosovo) are pretty bad, but the government is doing a lot in improving that. A lot of times you will be stuck in traffic due to road repairs. This is a result of a number of factors such as: they were never especially good, Yugoslav tank treads and UCK mortars fired at those tanks did nothing to help the situation, and NATO sealed the deal in '99 with its stealth bombings and armoured convoys. Since then, UNMIK and the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG, Kosovo's nascent government) have simply not had the money to invest in infrastructure. Two or three of the main roads that make up the major road network have been repaved. Some roads have disintegrated to the point that they are pretty much just dirt and gravel.

See[edit]

Sacred Places[edit]

Christ the Saviour Cathedral
  •    Mother Teresa Cathedral (Cathedral of Blessed Mother Teresa in Pristina, Albanian: Katedralja e së Lumes Nënë Tereza në Prishtinë), Justiniani Street. This is a Roman Catholic cathedral being constructed. In 2007 the Government of Kosovo approved plans for the building. The cathedral will be one of Pristina's tallest buildings when it is complete.
  •    Saint Saviour Serbian Orthodox ChurchAgim Ramadani Street/Sheshi Hasan.
  •    Saint Nicholas ChurchRr. Shkodra (Nazim Gafurri Street off). Daily mass ~17:00. This is the only remaining operative Serbian Orthodox Church in Prishtina. It is housed in a 19th-century building. It used to showcase 18th century wooden icons, created by painters based in Debar, Macedonia, several 18th century frescos and an iconostasis of 1840 from Belgrade, Serbia, which were all irreversibly damaged during the 2004 unrest. The Saint Nicholas Church once again began to hold liturgies in 2010 in a ceremony attended by a few hundred Serbian Orthodox believers. It now features a revamped exterior, restored roof, new marble tiles and new icons.
  •    Çarshia Mosque (Bazaar Mosque, Taş Mosque literally, the Stone Mosque, or Xhamia e Çarshisë), Rr. Meto Bajraktari. This is the oldest building in Prishtina and it marks the beginning of the old town. The basement of this mosque was laid out in 1389 during the rule of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I and its construction was continued during the reign of Sultan Murad II in the 15th century. The Carshi Mosque was built to celebrate the Ottoman victory of 1389 in the Battle of Kosovo
  •    Jashar Pasha MosqueNazim Gafurri Street (near the clock tower). is currently being restored, and is closed to the public [2010], however the work that is visible on the exterior is beautifully executed in calming blues. - It was named after Jashar Mehmet Pasha, a wealthy citizen of Prishtina and mayor of Skopje in 1842. Inscriptions found inside the mosque led to the conclusion that it was built in 1834. Jashar Pasha Mosque is a typical architectural monument for old cities with Ottoman heritage. It symbolizes a sacral building of ‘Kosovar style’ with an acknowledgement of oriental influence. Its aim was to speed up the acceptance of Islam among the citizens of Prishtina. It is composed of a hall for prayers, hayat and a minaret. The mosque is disguised by a cupola supported by four pendentives. The original portico was torn down to give way to an expansion of the neighboring street.
  •    Pirinaz Mosque (Xhamia e Pirinazit), Rr. Ismail Dunoshi (Three blocks east from Kosovo Museum). was built in the second half of the 16th century and was founded by Piri Nazir who served as Vezir under two Ottoman Sultans. The Pirinaz Mosque is made of the same stone as Mbretit (Fatih) Mosque but its construction began 100 years later. This mosque represents an important cultural value, which is further increased by the belief that Prince Lazar’s remains were buried on the location of today’s Pirinaz Mosque with the permission of Sultan Bayezid, son and successor of Murat, who died in the battle of Kosovo in 1389. Later on, Lazar’s remains were moved to Ravanici Monastery in Serbia.
  • Sultan Mehmet Fatih Mosque (Imperial Mosque, Albanian: Xhamia e Mbretit) (opposite the clock tower). It was built in 1460–1461 during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, also known as al-Fatih or the Conqueror and was named in his honor. Its interior features ornamental decorations and detailed floral designs, as well as a 15 m dome, which was quite impressive for a 15th-century construction. It was recognized region-wide as the largest construction of this nature. In 1689, the mosque was temporarily converted into a Jesuit church dedicated to Francis Xavier by the Austrian occupants during the Austrian-Turkish wars. The Imperial Mosque was restored during the rule of Sultan Mehmet IV in 1682–1683, whereas the present-day minaret is a reconstruction of the original, which was damaged during the earthquake that struck Prishtina in 1955.

Galleries, Museums[edit]

  •    Kosova Art GalleryAgim Ramadani Street (Агим Рамадани), 60 (Universiteti i Prishtinës, Behind the National Library),  Behind the National Library, e-mail: . Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00, 15:00-18:00, Su 10:00–15:00. Owned and operated by the Ministry of Culture & Sports.
  •    Kosovo National Museum (Muzeu Kombëtar), Ibrahim Lutfiu Street (East from Parliament). Free (2012).
  •    Kosovo Museum?Sheshi Adam Jashari (Ibrahim Lutfiu). Tu-F 09:30-17:30, Sa, Su 11:00-15:00. Admission free.
  •    Pristina Ethnographic Museum (Emin Gjiku House Museum, Muzeu Etnologjik Emin Gjiku), Zija Prishtina, Rr. Iliaz Agushi, e-mail: . 10:00-17:00. tucked back in the old town streets about 5 minutes walk from the main museum. Beautiful house, costumes and traditional tools. - Don't miss it. Sells traditional gifts. - The complex once belonged to Emin Gjinolli (Turkish Emin Kücük); literally, ‘little Emin’ - who was a member of one of the most recognized families of Prishtina in the 20th century. The Ethnological Museum “Emin Gjiku” is composed of a traditional guest house, an arts studio, a family home and a permanent ethnological exhibition. €2.50 (2012).
  •    Independence Museum (Kosovo Independence House “Dr. Ibrahim Rugova”), Rr. Fehmi Agani (beside the Tiffany’s restaurant). Open M-Sa 10:00-17:00. A small museum about Kosovo’s recent history free.
  •    Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art PrishtinaZija Prishtina Street +381 38 222576fax: +381 38 544472, e-mail: . Tu-F 11:00-16:00, Sa 11:00-14:00. This is the only place in the country with regular contemporary art exhibitions and events.

Monuments[edit]

  •    Parliament (Assembly of Kosovo), Agim Ramadani Street (North of the Independence Park).
UNMIK Headquarters
  •    UNMIK's compound (KFOR Base?), Gjergj Balsha Street (in the centre). to penetrate without an UNMIK card, but you spending a half-hour in Phoenix bar just outside the fence will provide you with a basic idea of what's going on in there.
  •    OSCE headquartersLuan Haradinaj (North of the American School). A worthwhile destination; if you can get yourself inside, the view from the restaurant on the ninth floor is excellent.
  •    Old Hamam remains (Great Hamam, Thermelet a Hamamit), Agim Ramadani Street (Агим Рамадани). Founded in 15th century. It used to be part of the complex of the Sultan Murat Fatih Mosque and according to the legend, the construction workers who were hired to build Fatih Mosque were ordered by Sultan Mehmet II to take daily baths in the hammam. It had two symmetrical baths, one for women and the other one for men. The hammam is composed of 15 domes with small holes which are used to let the light penetrate in. A fire that occurred in 1994, resulted with an illegal opening of three shops which blocked the old entrance. Unfortunately, a hammam that once used to be a prestigious social venue for men and women, for many years looked abandoned with only few remaining walls full of rubbish, overgrown trees and wastewaters flowing inside of the building.
  •    Shadërvani Fountain (Shadërvan), Nazim Gafurri (Next to Çarshia Mosque). This is a marble fountain located between the Carshi Mosque and the Museum of Kosovo and is a typical component of Ottoman architecture. The fountain is the only one remaining in the city from over fifty that once existed. In addition to providing a source of drinkable water, Shadërvan has been traditionally used for ritual ablution.
  •    Clock Tower (Sahat Kulla), Rr. Ylfete Humolli (Next to Kosovo Museum). It was built in the 19th century by Jashar Pasha. It served as a means of informing the town during the Ottoman Empire rule, in order to let people know when to pray as well as the traders closing their shops. The 26-meter high hexagonal clock tower was made of sandstone and bricks. The original tower was burned in fire and its bricks were used for reconstruction. The authentic bell was brought from Moldova and had the inscription “This bell was produced in 1764 for Jon Moldova Rumenin”
  •    Academy Building (Akademia e Shkencave dhe e Arteve e Kosovës (ASHAK)), Rr. Nazim Gafurri +381 38 249303fax: +381 38 244-636, e-mail: . extraphones=+381 38 249304,+381 38 249305
  •    The Hynyler House and other Ottoman konak-style private houses (Bajraktari Türbe) (next to the clock tower). Here stands Ottoman hoses another of Pristina’s few remaining 19th century. It is currently used by the Academy for Sciences and Arts (Akademia e Shkencave dhe e Arteve, ASHAK) who have added a rather ugly glass winter garden to the building. If you ask you can enter to walk around the courtyard. - The Hynyler House symbolizes a typical Ottoman konak. It is a private house, which has been under the list of the protected monuments since 1967
  •    Mausoleum of Sultan Murat I (Tomb of Meşhed-i Hüdâvendigâr, Tyrbja e "Sulltan Muratit 2"), A bit out of the city in Mazgit settlement (4km NW). This object built in honour of Sultan Murat I, who was killed in the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. The building constructed in 1850, does not actually contain the remains of Sultan Murat since they have been moved to the imperial museum in Bursa, Turkey. There is little to see inside of the building; an important of the garden is a 700 year old mulberry tree which survived from the war.
  •    Former Hotel Union building (Hoteli "Union"), Bulevardi Nënë Tereza. The building of the former “Hotel Union” was built in 1927 under the supervision of the Austrian architect, Andrija Kremer. It combined elements of neo-Renaissance, neo-baroque and Art Nouveau and was one of the few buildings in Prishtina with European-architecture influence. During the first few decades of its existence, it was named “Hotel Skënderbeu” after the 15th century Albanian resistance leader, Skanderbeg and this was witnessed by his ingrained icons on the building.
  •    Monument of Brotherhood and UnityRr. Meto Bajraktari (North from UCK). This symbolise the ‘unity and brotherhood’ of the Albanians, Serbs and Montenegrins
  •    Palace of Youth & Sports (Pallati i Rinisë dhe i Sporteve), Rr. Luan Haradinaj +381 38 249424.

Parks[edit]

  •    Arbëria Park (Parku Arbëria), Street Stambolli and Tony Blair (North from UNMIK's compound).
  •    City Park (Parku i Qytetit) (East from Agim Ramadani Street).
  •    Gërmia ParkDr. Shpëtim Robaj, (at the end of bus 4, 5 or 9). Here are outposts of green, the biggest and best of which is Gërmia Park. During the summer, the lake-sized swimming pool here is a hot spot for families and young people, but year-round the park itself offers grassy spaces to relax or kick the ball around, and a network of mine-cleared trails through the dense woods perfect for dog-walking or drunken hide-and-seek tournaments. A couple of restaurants at the top of the park have good food and nice views. Also interesting to check out the cluster-bombed police bunker, just up the road from the best restaurant.
  •    Independence Park (Park i Pavarësisë), Agim Ramadani Street and Bulevardi Nënë Tereza (Near to Former Hotel Union building).
  •    Jewish Cemetery (Varrezat e Jahudive (hebreje)) (on top of Velania’s Tauk Bahqe). Founded in 19th century, is a burial site in the outskirts of Prishtina consisting of 57 tombstones. The city was once home to a Jewish community numbering over 1,500 people, who settled in the Balkans during the late 15th century from Spain after escaping the Reconquista.
  •    Park of Martyrs (Parku Varrezat e Dëshmorëve), Rr. Isa Kastrati (Mahalla e Muhaxherëve) (East from City Park). This is a cemetery Also there is the National Martyr’s Monument (Varrezat e Dëshmorëve).
  •    Taukbashçe Park (Parku i Taukbashçes), Nazim Gafurri Street (East 1.5km).
  • Tjerrtorja Archeological Site (NW outskirts of Prishtina). Tjerrtorja was a neolithic settlement which was identified accidentally in the 1950s. The neolithic site was named after the discovery place, where a factory was started to be built known as the cotton and textile production plant Tjerrtorja. The area was believed to have had an abundant collection of terracotta figurines, human shaped statues and baked clay anthropomorphic artifacts.

Walking Tour[edit]

  • No visit to Pristina is complete without a walking tour. To see the city from street-level is best: start off in the Dardania neighborhood, in front of the three-storey portrait of Bill Clinton, and stroll past the university to the Grand Hotel and UNMIK. Follow Nena Tereze street towards the Skenderbeg monument and the new Government Building, then point yourself toward the historic mosques and meander through the tight lanes of the old quarter. You will see street market stalls, kids hawking cigarettes and phone cards, qebabtores and cafes, and the vibrant community life of Kosovo's biggest city. If you have more time, it's also worthwhile wandering up into Dragodan / Arberia or Velania (especially City Park, also referred to as "the Italian park," and the park dedicated to now-deceased President Ibrahim Rugova).
  • Lately, Pristina is rebuilding, and some of the city roads now are new! But you still must be on the look out for large potholes!

Do[edit]

  • Do as the locals do: In Pristina, this means korza. In the evenings, when it's warm, a large proportion of the population heads out into the streets and promenades, between cafes or in with no particular destination. The objective is to see and be seen, chat with friends, and take in as much fresh air as possible before the horrific winter descends. Note that 53% of Kosovo's population is under the age of 25, so most of the people on the street around dusk are teenagers and people in their early twenties. Being in one of the poorest countries in Europe, Kosovans struggle to afford nights out and meals in restaurants. Instead, they get dressed up in their best clothes and walk up and down the main drag. Join them, or if you prefer, grab a beer or coffee in an outdoor cafe and watch them go by.
  • Alternately, you can sit at a table in an outdoor cafe and watch the white UN vehicles enter and exit the UNMIK headquarters building. For some reason, it is strangely hypnotic.
  • Stay out late because the streets are safe and Albanians love foreigners. Also go out to bars and such, as they are usually filled but make sure you drink some "Peja" beer (Key word PEJA)
  • Privately-owned outdoor swimming pools are springing up around Kosovo, some just outside the city and worth the euro to cool off in the summer.
National Theatre
  •    National Theater of KosovoMother Theresa Square. (Sheshi Nëna Terezë) nr.21, (North of the 'Independence Park'),  +381 38 243 930, e-mail: . Former named "The Regional Populist Theater" then the "Provincial Populist Theater" - The repertoire of this theater was built on many national, international and former Yugoslavian dramatic scripts. This theater performances, which were presented in different festivals with national and international character in the former Yugoslavia, were praised highly by critics of the time and were honored with various artistic awards.
  •    Dodona Theater (Tetari i Qytetit të Prishtinës - “Dodona”), Rruga Xh. Mitrovica, pn (200m East from Kosova Art Gallery),  038 230623, e-mail: . first known as the Theater of Youth, Kids, and Doll - "Dodona"
  •    ODA TheatrePallati i Rinisë dhe i Sporteve nr. 111 (Luan Haradinaj?) (next to City Stadium),  +381 038 246 555fax: +381 038 246 555, e-mail: . Theatre venue with variety of cultural and artistic events, including theatre performances, concerts, exhibitions, International Jazz Festival in November and much more.
Library of the University of Pristina
  •    Library of the University of Pristina (Universiteti i Prishtinës). It looks like it is constructed of massive concrete Lego bricks and then covered with chain mail. It is certainly worth a look.
  •    National University Library of Kosovo (Albanian: Bibloteka Kombetare e Kosoves) (located in the campus of the University of Prishtina, right in front of the National Gallery of Kosovo),  +381 038 212 416. It is the highest institution of its kind in the Republic of Kosovo. With a fund of thousands of books it is one of the biggest libraries in the region. Every year more than 40000 exemplars are added to the library archive - The building: It was designed by the Croatian architect Andrija Mutnjakovic. Its space consists of 16,500 square meters. It is made with zenith windows, with a total 99 domes of different sizes and is entirely covered in a metal fishing net, which have their own particular architectural symbolism. It houses two reading rooms with 300 and 100 seats respectively, a reading room for periodicals, rooms for special collections, cataloguing and research, a 150-seat amphitheatre and a 75-seat meeting hall. The lobby of the library is used for various cultural events. The floor of the hall is a unique work of diverse mosaic marble stone. The largest dome of the library is the main ornament of the hall's high ceiling, thus providing ample natural lighting. - According to the architect of the National Library of Kosovo the building is meant to represent a style blending Byzantine and Islamic architectural forms.

Buy[edit]

  • Shopping-wise, Pristina is full of good bargains but low on selection (and if you happen to be a man who wears M shirts or pants, forget about it). Silver is sold in the old quarter and is a pretty good value; Albanians are known throughout the former Yugoslavia as silversmiths.
  • The outdoor bookstalls adjacent to the Grand Hotel are a good place to pick up your copy of the Code of Lekë Dukagjini. Or a map of Pristina that most likely has names for all the streets no one has ever heard of.
  • Also on the streets: CDs and DVDs that are cheap, and more likely than not, illegal. The In Your Pocket guide recommends a few places to buy these.

Eat[edit]

There are a variety of restaurants with something for everyone's taste. Radio taxi drivers will know the location of most major restaurants frequented by internationals. Try a traditional qebabtore (you can find one anywhere), or a Turkish doner shop (best ones around the corner from Payton Place, near UNDP) for a real taste of the local food and great value. If you are a foreigner you may have to do a fair bit of pointing to order, but it should be worth it.

  •    AromaRexhep Luci (near Strip Depo and the ABC Kino and Metro across from the Grand Hotel). For quick snacks, have terrific sandwiches;
  •    Aurora Fast FoodXhorxh Bush (across RTK tower).
  •    AmadeusAhmet Krasniqi,. Another restaurant in the Dragodan neighborhood. Serves pizza and other western dishes.
  •    Ben-afDardania. Very good food/meals, self-service, downtown location. Recommended by local taxi drivers! reasonable prices.
  •    Ciao (Past Bau Market, on the road out to Skopje),  +381 49 305470. This Macedonian restaurant on the road out of town to Skopje and Gracaniza, is a popular stop for internationals and aid workers craving a bacon-wrapped pork medallion, or some of the best bread and salad in the city. (You can find Pristina's first miniature golf course just a hair further down the street .) ~10€.
  •    City BakeryPërmendorja e Nënës Terezë?, Bulevardi Nënë Tereza, 41 (Centre),  045 785 785. Traditional food of Kosovo.
  •    Chalet Denis and Mumtaz Mahal (Hotel Denis), Ahmet Krasniqi. The chalet offers great views of the city from Dragodan Hill, near the US embassy and NATO's KFOR Film City base. Friendly service and the best banana splits in Pristina, presented in a Swiss chalet-style atmosphere. Now incorporates the menu and staff of the Mumtaz Mahal Indian/Nepalese alongside its normal Italian/Albanian menu.
  •    Restaurant ExFehmi Agani (Near to Ministry of Public Services). Friendly, English-speaking staff, varied menu including curry.
  •    Himalayan GorkhaQafa Gallery, TMK Street (Luan Hardinaj cnr). Fine Asian restaurant. Pineapple lassi or Masala tea is a great non-alcoholic drink if you don't like beer, vodka or the local drink (Rakhi rrussi). For starters there is chicken pakora which is nice fried chicken which tastes exactly like Kentuky Fried Chicken or vegetable pakora. Best thing about this restaurant is you can have both spicy and non spicy items. For main course there is Chicken Tikka with Roti or Naan. They also have Chicken Biyani, Vegetable Biriyani and Butter chicken. If you are fond of Chinese you can have Chicken fried rice and Veg Fried Rice. Meal for two €10-15 with drinks.
  •    Home restaurant and barLuan haradinaj/Sheshi "Nëna Tereze" (on front of EUROKOHA, 300m from Grand Hotel or Hotel Prishtina and just 200m from Diamond Hotel),  + 044 336 336, e-mail: . Lively atmosphere and variety of delicious food. Serves Medterranian, Italian and Kosovar food. Visitors come from many international staff of the surrounding offices, embassies and national ministries. Local actors and well known singers. Very good selected music, English speaking staff and very good wines.
  •    Il PassatoreHil Mos (East). This is an authentic Italian restaurant, run by a real mama and her family. Go there in a taxi as it's a bit hard to find, but all the cabbies know it.
  •    Lai Thai (Film City NATO base). It is owned by the lady that has a restaurant with the same name in Kabul. The Thai food is excellent.
  •    The LoungeMother Teresa Blvd (Opposite Radio and Television of Kosovo building,). Smart and upmarket bar/restaurant. Food is very good. Offers a mixture of international and local cuisine.
  • Pilat restaurant (not difficult to find, but it's probably best to ask someone to point you in the right direction.). Albanian food (with possibly the best bread in the world). Seriously delicious local food. Gets very busy at lunchtimes with Kosovan politicians.
  •    PjataRruga Dubrovniku nr.1 (Ali Pashë Tepelena) (a block away from the UNICEF office),  +381 38 220 739, e-mail: . WiFi connection for free and good food. The only con is that you will think not to be in Kosovo.
  •    Pinocchio restaurant and hotelDragodan/Arberia neighbourhood, Rr.24 maj 115 (near USAID and the British Embassy). Excellent food and a warm atmosphere, as well as a panoramic view of Pristina below. For lunch, hit Te Komiteti on Qamil Hoxha street and have the gazpacho and chicken sandwich.
  •    Pi ShatDragodan neighbourhood (KFOR Headquarters area). this is a traditional Albanian restaurant with a wonderful atmosphere. If you are unfamiliar with Albanian food, just ask the waiters to put together a platter for you - you'll end up with a delicious range of grilled meats. A meal for two ~30€.
  •    Rron RestaurantVeternik or Ravine district (On Route Rat towards Gjilane, top of the hill before turn for Swebat. Right turn immediately after sign.),  +381 044 141-215. Rron Restaurant is actually just outside the Pristina city limits on the way to Gracanica. Hidden behind an under-construction building for the past couple of years, Rron is a treasure that is popular with local and international politicians as well as the normal guests. The bar area is quite impressive with vaulted ceilings and shelves lined with all different kinds of alcohol all the way up. The far end of the restaurant has a plate-glass wall that looks out into the garden seating area which is lovely during the summer. There is a small playground for children outside on the far end of the garden which can make summer meals a bit loud at time when there are groups of children running around. +phone=+381 044 347-777
  • Sarajeva. sells Burek (5 locations)
  •    Sarajevo Fast Food (Qebaptore Sarajeva), Andrea Grupa Street (close to RTK and one behind the old Post Office.). Sells kebab made in Banja Luka (bosnian) style (banjallucki qebab)
  • duelling South Asian restaurants (the mall on UCK St.?). (one Indian, one Nepali) are both great for a long, quiet dinner.
  •    Tiffany PizzaFehmi Agani (directly behind Home). with an eerily simliar layout, features perhaps the best pizza in Pristina. The spinach pizza is highly recommended, as is the special Raki, all the way from Mitrovica. Another good pizza place is Margarita, opposite of main Police building, wide menu including fresh summer salads and tasty pastas are at your disposal. Home pizza "Margarita" is highly recommended.
  • Not to be missed: Panevino, Pellumbi, Pishat.
  • Aroma 2Rrustem Statovci. Does Albanian and international fast food, take away or eat in, for low prices - e.g. a mixed grill which two people can stuff themselves on, €6.

Drink[edit]

Cafes and bars are especially crowded on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Clubs open up and close down on an almost seasonal basis, but there are some reliable standouts, and neighborhoods where something good is bound to present itself. In cafes, a good cup of coffee can be bought for under €1.

  • If you like coffee, and have a massive amount of time on your hands, Pristina is the city for you. There are cafes absolutely everywhere, and most of them are packed through the warm season with fashionably-dressed young people, dropping a euro a day to keep themselves amused. Unemployment / underemployment is pervasive throughout Kosovo, and tends to affect people from all walks of life and different levels of education. Which means that dude in the sleeveless t-shirt with streaked-blond hair at the table beside you could just as easily be an economist as a farm kid from Kamenicë, so learn to say "Mirëdita" with a passable accent and feel free to start a conversation. What to order? "Macchiato" (espresso with hot milk, similar to the American latte) is the catch-all term for "coffee" throughout Kosovo. Lately, some top-end coffee bars have installed WIFI zones and access to Internet.
  • Hot cafe districts include the strip down from OSCE near Tiffany's (especially Kaqa), the area at the beginning of Luan Haradinaj street across from KTA, and the student hangouts on Bill Clinton in Dardania.
  •    The White Tree (Druni i Bardh'), Mujo Ulqinaku No. 15 (The White Tree is a five minute walking distance to the city centre, situated in the quiet, calm and peaceful Peyton neighbourhood. It is located just behind the well-known alternative cocktail bar Crème de la Crème, on Mujo Ulqinaku Street, opposite the 42 floor skyscraper under construction.),  +38649166777, e-mail: . 08:00-23:00. The White Tree is a hostel with the best summer bar in town. When you get into the garden it seems like you're in a different place! People like to call it as the beach of Prishtina. 0.70-5.
  • Zanzibar (, near the ABC Kino cinema, and Strip Depo down the street from there). Internationals gravitate to here.
  • Little Cafe and Outback (around the OSCE). These are also popular
  • Phoenix Bar. For the ultimate foreigner experience, down a pint at here on a Saturday night with the folks from UNMIK, but be warned: if the idea of drinking and dancing with fourtysomething long-term single expats in a downscale Yorkshire pub doesn't appeal, this is not the place for you.
  • Toto & Morena (near the ABC cinema). These are favoured by young Kosovars, nice decor

Clubs[edit]

  •    Crème de la Crème (Crème de la Crème), Mujo Ulqinaku (Peyton Neighborhood on the crossroad of Robert Doll and Mujo Ulqinaku Street.),  +38649315783, e-mail: . 21:00-03:00. The best cocktail bar and night club in Prishtina! Alternative and Rock'n'Roll music, sometimes good underground electro music. It's a 4 floor building with a basement which usually has DJ's and other floors with different music! 1.5-5.
  • Duplex Club. Good for dancing, usually play American hip-hop.
  •    Spray Club(Zona industriale)? (Industrial Zone South),  +386 49 660 066, e-mail: . Not the first but definitely the best night club in Prishtina. Spray has established itself as an international brand in the music’s cultural horizons, in the past 5 years some of the industries leading producers and dj’s have had the chance to perform at Spray club. The venue has a capacity of approximately 1,500 pp or 1,000 square meters. The building has a unique architectural shape. Indoor, with minimalistic exterior design, and a modern entertaining look, and outdoor with the shape that reminds you of a castle.
  •    Sabaja Beer House (Behind the Prishtina Stadium, near the Red Cross),  +381 49 582-000. Lunch and Dinner, 7 days. Sample Gracanica craft brews over an American-style bacon cheeseburger a brief walk from downtown.

Sleep[edit]

Accommodation can be very expensive in Pristina, as everything is tailored for internationals on expense accounts and hefty per diems. If you look around you should be able to find fliers offering accommodation. If you can find these place(s), go there as the cost is usually €10-15 per night.

Budget[edit]

  •    The White Tree HostelMujo Ulqinaku No. 15 (Peyton Neighborhood) (The White Tree is a five minute walking distance to the city centre, situated in the quiet, calm and peaceful Peyton neighbourhood. It is located just behind the well-known alternative cocktail bar Crème de la Crème, on Mujo Ulqinaku Street, opposite the 42 floor skyscraper under construction.),  +38649166777, e-mail: . 08:00-24:00. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. Free internet access and Wi-Fi, Free cable TV in the lobby. (Taxi from the bus station shouldn't be more than €2 and from the airport about €15) €10-30.
  •    Velania Guesthouse (The Professor's Guesthouse), (Velania 4/34), 34 Emrush Miftari, Prishtinë +377 44 167 455. Free laundry service, free cable TV in every room and 24-hour free internet access (desktop computers + WLAN). Reception is open 24/7. (Taxi from the bus station shouldn't be more than €5.) €13-30.
  •    Hostel PristinaRexhep Luci? +386 49 187 791. Free pickup from bus station for the group of 3+ person with minimum stay of 2 nights, washing machines, cable TV, Wi-Fi in whole building. All rooms with shared bathroom. €8-12 per person per night.
  •    Hajde HostelIsmail Dumoshi 40 +377 44 945 015. breakfast, cinema nights, WiFi and cable TV, detailed map of Pristina showing best places to visit, homemade book of top 10 must-see's in Kosovo, laundry service and private room available. €10-12.

Mid-range[edit]

  •    Hotel AfaAli Kelmendi Nr. 15 +381 38 225226, e-mail: . Check-out: 12:00. Free Internet and a cheap restaurant. sgl €45-75, dbl €75-112.
  •    Hotel AldiCagllavica nr. 303 (Çagllavicë settlement, 2.5 km South from the centre),  +381 38 548802, e-mail: . Check-in: after 12AM, check-out: 12AM. Fresh, modern family-run hotel. sgl €25-35 and dbl €45-55.
  •    Hotel BegolliMaliq Pashë Gjinolli (off Mother Thereza Street), e-mail: . An exceptionally clean family-owned boutique hotel with five fully furnished self-contained apartments and eleven rooms. Apartments have kitchens and well appointed amenities and one suite has a full sized jacuzzi spa. Some other rooms have private jacuzzis or three beds for families. sgl €40, dbl €50, apt €50-65 (2012).
  •    Hotel Princi i Arberit27 Nëntori, (Near to Stadiumi Te Adnani. - some 4 km from the centre),  +381 38 244244. Modern five star hotel. It is often empty, with a risk that the restaurant may be closed and the heating switched off. Internet is available. - Recreation Center include Massage Room, Indoor Pool, Sauna, Solarium. - Conference hall up to five hundreds persons sgl/dbl €40/50 suite €80-100.
  •    Hotel SaraMaliq Pashë Gjinolli St (in the heart of the bazaar),  +381 38 236203. Rooms for one to three people and renovated albeit very simple. Clean and basic, this hotel features lurid red and green corridors, a handful of satellite television channels, a few rooms with small jacuzzis and a garage for two cars. Sgl €30, dbl €40, triples €60, apartments €60, suite €99.
  •    Hotel VictoryMother Teresa, p.n. +381 038 543277fax: +381 038 543 286. On the southern side of the city, about 15 minutes walk from the centre. A friendly and upmarket hotel. Rooms have air conditioning and wireless internet works well throughout. Excellent breakfast with lots of fresh fruit and pastries. Dinner in the restaurant - about €10 for a meal with drinks. €80.

Splurge[edit]

  •    Grand Hotel Pristina Unio CommerceGaribaldi. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. A state company during the Communist era and in the process of privatization, The Grand Hotel has not been substantially renovated yet—and as such the place is very worn and rightfully mocked for its ironic name. Dangerous electrical connections, and substandard bathrooms especially require attention. The hotel offers seven halls for every kind of activities, Meeting/Conference rooms, Bar, Restaurant, Room service, Fax. wireless and cable internet, business center. Room Facilities: Minibar, Telephone and cable TV.
  •    Hotel SiriusAgim Ramadani, +381 038 222280. Centrally located and offering a luxurious top-floor restaurant providing unique city views. Rooms are supremely decorated and equipped with air-conditioning, an LCD TV, a minibar and a safety deposit box. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. Wake-up service can be arranged. Private bathroom provides a shower and hairdryer. - +phone=377 044 111111 sgl./dbl. €85/110.
  •    Hotel PrishtinaRr. “Pashko Vasa” nr.20-Qyteza Pejton (Just two or three blocks from the UNMIK headquarters),  +381 38 223284. The Hotel Pristina is used by many international workers, including UN workers and members of the international police. It is very clean, has comfortable rooms, offers free internet access (including wifi), and the price of the room includes breakfast.
  •    Hotel OraRruga Anton Zako Çajupi 4 (North 1 km),  +381 38 233 709. Ora has welcomed many guests, beginning from the deceased President of Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova, statesmen from all the world, beginning from Bill Clinton to continue with current vice president Joseph Biden, former EU representative for foreign policy, Javier Solana, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, his Russian colleague Sergej Lavrov and well known European and American politicians. Laying in the city centre, near central local and international institutions of Kosovo, with its calm, discretion and adaption for the guests, with a professional staff. +Phone: +377 44 157 835; +email=hotelora@yahoo.com
  •    Hotel BaciBulevardi Dëshmorët e kombit. close to a couple of the more important transportation hubs (i.e. bus station, taxi roundabout, intersection to other towns in Kosova etc.). There's also a decent restaurant downstairs and free Internet in the lobby. Besides this, Hotel Baci offers to its clients free laundry, free fitness and sauna. Breakfast is included in the price, there is 24/7 electricity and water.
  •    Hotel Ambassador (Near the Swiss Liaison Office in the Velania neighbourhood). This is also up to the standards of a discerning visitor.
  • Hotel Dion. In centre close to UNMIK headquarters.
  •    Emerald Hotel (South 4 km),  +381 038 588888, e-mail: . One of Pristina's largest hotels, the Emerald is located on the south-western edge of the city on the highway to Skopje, past Bau Market. Large conference center. 89 to 395€.

Stay safe[edit]

In Dardania neighbourhood (the residential blocks between the bus station and the centre), be careful when the beggar kids are around—they may follow you for a while, speaking (presumably in Albanian), and may just come too suspiciously close to your bag and pockets behind you in the meantime.

Cope[edit]

Embassies[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • A day trip to Prizren can be interesting. Buses depart from the bus terminal or you could hire a taxi for the day.
  • Trips to nearby Gračanica can be arranged by taxi for roughly 5€ from near Albi Mall.
  • The capital city of Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is only a two hour bus ride from town, and departs regularly from the bus station. The trip will cost €5, or €10 using the Skopje airport shuttle.
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