Kosova > Prishtina

Prishtina is the capital and the largest city of Kosova, it and its suburbs have a total population of over 400,000. It is the administrative, economical, and cultural center of Kosova.

Mother Teresa Street

Bill Clinton Boulevard

The area of Prishtina has a long history, in its vincity archaeological discoveries have been found which date back to the early neolithical ages.

The remains of Ulpiana, near Prishtina

Southeast of the city, the remains of Ulpiana were discovered, the center of the Illyrian province of Dardania. Ulpiana was founded in the 2nd century during the rule of Emperor Trajan, and renewed in the 6th century during the rule of Justinian, after whom it was called Iustinana Secunda. According to inscriptions on the monuments from Ulpiana, it is apparent that it was one of the most beautiful cities of the Illyrian Dardania, as it was often reffered to as Ulpiana Splendissima. A number of articles were discovered here such as coins, ceramics, weapons, jewlery, all of which are exhibited at the Museum of History of Kosova in Prishtina.

After the incursions of Slavs and barbarians during the early Middle Ages, the destroyed town of Ulpiana was abandoned, creating the locality for the new town of Prishtina.

During Serbian rule, Prishtina was a major political center. Near Prishtina is the site of the Battle of Kosova (1389), in which a Balkan alliance, led by Serbian Prince Lazar, fought against the Ottoman army. The battle marked the begining of Ottoman rule of the region.


The Gracanica Monastery (14th century) near Prishtina

Prishtina developed in the 14th and 15th century as a mining and trading center of the Novoberde and the Mount Kopaonik (Albanik) mining industry. During the Ottoman rule in the region, it was an important administrative center, seat of the ruling Pasha, and for a while it was the center of the Kosova Vilayet.

During the Austrian-Turkish Wars of the 17th century, the Albanian population of Prishtina under the command of Pjet'r Bogdani fought aside the Austrian army against the Ottoman Turks. During Piccollominni's campaign and later Austrian campaigns, Prishtina suffered considerably, as was the case during the 1859 and 1863 fires.

A rendering of the building of the Academy of Arts and Sciences
(18th century), an example of Prishtina's traditional architecture

Faith Mosque (15th century)

In the 19th century, according to the writings of A. Bue (1838), Prishtina had 7000-9000 inhabitants, and Hilferding (1857) wrote that the town had 1500 houses, one fifth of which were Serbian. In the middle of the 19th century, Prishtina was famous for its fairs (panair) of various crafts and trade articles, especially goat hide and hair articles, coppersmiths, pottery, embroidery, etc.

During World War II, Prishtina (with around 16,000 inhabitants), was included in the zone occupied by Italians, and was the center of the prefecture with the same name.

Historical monuments near Prishtina include the Gracanica Monastery, built in 1321 on the basis of an older church, and the Mausoleum of Sultan Murat, reconstructed in 1850 by Hurshid Pasha.



View of Prishtina from Grand Hotel

Prishtina became the capital of Kosova after World War II. Up to this point, Prishtina had retained its appearance as an oriental town, but the intensive modernization of Prishtina in socialist Yugoslavia had managed to completely change the structure and look of the city, and had even destroyed the old ,arshia (shopping street) and 18th and 19th century buildings to replace them with new ones.
The old narrow cobble stone streets and low mostly mud made houses were replaced by new modern complexes and wide streets, and attractive public buildings: the Assembly Building, Radio Station, the Television of Prishtina, Press and Publishing Hall, the University Library, several banking centers, etc.

The Grand Hotel in Prishtina

After Serbia revoked Kosova's autonomous status in 1989, virtually all public buildings and companies of Prishtina were taken over by Serbian appointed managements, which dismissed virtually all Albanian employees.

Prishtina is the most significant high education center of Kosova. The University of Prishtina, founded in 1970, is located here with its 13 faculties (colleges). Prishtina is also home of the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Kosova which gathers Kosova's most prominent intellectuals, the Institute of Albanology, and the Institute of History. Unfortunately, after the Belgrade authorities revoked Kosova's autonomy and took over its administration, in an attempt to close down these institutions deprived them of their buildings and offices, forcing them to find alternative working space around the city. In addition, the Serb police frequently harrass members, professors, students and employees of these institutions.

The most popular localities of Prishtina are Kurrizi (The Spine) in the Dardania quarter and Qafa (The Neck) near the center of the city, which feature many shops, cafés and hangouts, opened in tunnels built within residential buildings.

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