Kosovo – Mountains, medieval architecture and unexpected night life
Mountains, medieval architecture and unexpected night life.
Just over a decade ago, this Albanian enclave was a troubled province of Serbia; Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbian forces destroyed myriad towns and cities and killed thousands in their pursuit of independence fighters. NATO ended the fighting, but flare-ups continued.
The last few years have seen Kosovo — which declared independence in 2008 — attempt to rise from the ashes. Despite problems and controversies, there is progress on the travel front: a $1 billion highway project is under way, government-owned hotels have been privatized and refurbished, various historic sites have won Unesco World Heritage status, and the airport now welcomes the European budget carrier EasyJet.
Travelers will be greeted by rugged mountains and pine forests. They’ll also find that Europe’s youngest nation boasts the Continent’s youngest population, with about half of the people under 25. That statistic comes to life in Pristina, the capital. Thanks in part to the return of enterprising young Kosovars living abroad, the city is filling with cafes, nightclubs and restaurants.
But remnants of Kosovo’s Slavic and Ottoman past are the marquee attractions. Once the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the city of Peja contains the Patriarchate of Pec, a complex of medieval churches overlooking a jagged gorge, with interiors that glow with frescoes, and the Decani Monastery, filled with vivid biblical scenes.
— SETH SHERWOOD ( www.nytimes.com)