Prishtina is the largest city in Kosovo, and its capital. It has around 572 square kilometers, with its 48 surrounding villages. It holds 400 thousand inhabitants within the city, while with the villages it holds around 470 thousand. After the flux, of the last ten years, it is estimated to hold between 500,000 and 600,000 inhabitants. Most of them being ethnic Albanian, however there are other minorities such as Turks, Bosnians, Roma, etc.
The surrounding territory of Prishtina has been inhabited since the antique age; Neolithic ruins in Matiqan, Graqanica and Ulpiana date back to VIII B.C. During the Roman Empire, city of Ulpiana was one of the most important areas in the Balkans.
The first written artifact about Prishtina, goes back to year 1342 by the Byzantium Emperor, Johan Kantakuzen, who describes Prishtina as a village. After that year, there must have been the Catholic Church of Saint Mary, since in documents of that time there are names of Albanian priests like Don Lasio. Since during antique age there was the city of Ulpiana (Ulkiana), while during early middle age it was known as Artana, as city of miners, one can come to conclusion that until the period of Ottoman Empire, has not had a significant role. During XIV and XV centuries when Prishtina, Kosovos capital today, starts its development period; the capital also starts to become as a significant trading center. The old city was situated between the rivers Vellusha and Prishtevka, whereas none of them can be seen today, since both rivers have been covered.
Prishtina can be reached via different routes, since as a capital city it has good links with the world and other cities in Kosovo. International Airport of Prishtina is located 30 km away from the city, making it possible to tie with different cities of the world. From the airport, probably the best way from the airport is taxi service, costing 15 euro. The traffic may be, occasionally, jammed due to constant reconstruction of roads and bridges. For full itinerary of flights, please visit: http://www.airportpristina.com/
The International Airport of Prishtina is located 18 km South of Prishtina and 3 km South of village Sllatina; however it is not more than 80 km away from any other city in Kosovo.
For a lower cost ties with Prishtina, one may definitely try by bus. There is no transportation linking downtown Prishtina with the Bus Station, however the distance can be easily walked in about 2 minutes. One may also use taxi services, located outside at the Bus Station. For more information on different destinations, please call these numbers: 038 550 011 and 038 540 142.
One may also travel to Prishtina by rail from Skopje, twice a day. Then from Prishtina to other cities connected to railroad. The main train station is in Fushe Kosove, 7 km West of Prishtina. The train station in Prishtina is located 1 km away from downtown Prishtina.
For destination information, please visit the webpage: http://www.kosovorailway.com
Even though it doesnt seem to offer much, at first sight, it still has a lot to offer; from the different building that unfold its history, cultural activities, night life, and many other attractions, but above all is the love that its citizens have for their city. The city has inspired many generations that have given it a rich cultural life.
For a promenade through historical compounds and monuments, one should start at the Mother Theresa Square, recently constructed, even though it has served as a walking boulevard, long time ago.
Through the walk in the square, at the first street on the right, there are the old city pubs known as the Rakia (Balkans strong alcoholic drink) places. These are pleasant pubs, serving homemade Rakia with different appetizers, mostly grilled meat and different salads followed by old traditional Albanian music. At café Tirona, you may also experience the breezy terrace and a collection of citys old images, so little preserved nowadays. For a clearer image of the city, please visit: http://www.prishtina-komuna.org/?cid=1,69,197.
Along the square, after passing the Ministry of Culture in the walls of which you may see portraits of Kosovar artist is the Mother Theresa statue and statue of Skenderbeu our hero, known worldwide a copy of the original statue in Kruja, Albania. A similar statue is also found in Skopje and Tirana. Opposite to the statue are the debris of the old Hotel Union, an Austro-Hungarian architecture compound, which has served as the referring point for the city. Just beside, is the National Theatre, where one may see the schedule for incoming plays. The same road leads you to the Government Building, and the National Assembly building. Following is the Prishtina Municipal Assembly building, on the way to the old part of the city. On the left side, you may see an old monument dating from Communist Yugoslavia, symbolizing Unity and Brotherhood. Walking towards the old part, you may see small shops with wooden roofs, silver and goldsmiths, offering mainly fabricated silver and gold, but one may also find hand-crafted jewels. On the right side, is Carshi Mosque or the market Mosque which was built in the 15th century by Sultan Bajazid. In the yard of the mosque, is the fountain which separates the mosque from the National Museum, which had served as the administrative building for the Vilayet of Kosovo, during the Ottoman Empire. For a period of time it has also served as the headquarters of Yugoslav Army. Currently it serves as Museum, worth visiting for the significance of historical remains exposed there. Mbretëresha në Fron (the Sitting Goddess) is among the relics that were stolen during the war. In the vicinity is the Jashar Pasha Mosque, dating back to 1834. If you continue forward on, you may see Kullën e Sahatit (Clock Tower), which is right next to the citys tyrbe (tombs of the dervish muslim sect). Opposite to it is the Grand Mosque, and the most beautiful mosque in city. With beautiful paintings in the front wall and a cute yard in front.
This mosque was built by Sultan Mehmet II, aroung 1460 1461, some eight years before conquering Constantinople. Once upon a time, it had the title of having the biggest cupola in the region.
If you continue through the causeway, along the market to the left and the road to the right; there are many compounds of high cultural significance. Ethnologic Museum of Kosova, old traditional houses compound called Emin Gjiku, which gives the exact impression of how the old Prishtina looked like. The Museum works from 10 am till 6 pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, entrance costing 2 euro.
Other worth visiting places, are the Sports Palace (used to be called Boro and Ramizi), a compound of different shops and sport halls. Just behind the Sports Palace is the city stadium and ODA Theatre.
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