Key Facts

Government type: Parliamentary republic
Capital: Prishtina
Total Area: 10,908 km2
Population: 1,809,203

GDP Per Capita (PPP) $9,570
Official languages: Albanian. Laws are also published in Serbian and English. Other minority languages include Turkish, Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Gorani and Romanian.
Religions: 95.60% Muslim, 3.69% Christian, 0.1%, Others 0.06%, None 0.10%, Not stated 0.55%
Country code: +383
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Voltage: 220 V

Brief Overview

Kosovo represents an important link between central and southern Europe and the Adriatic and Black Seas. With a population estimated 1,809,203 as of 2014. Kosovo has an area of 10,908 square km. The border of Kosovo is approximately 700.07 kilometers long. Most of Kosovo’s terrain is mountainous; the highest peak is Gjeravica (2,656 m/8,714 ft). There are two main plain regions, the Dukagjini region is located in the western part of the Kosovo, and the Plain of Kosovo occupies the eastern part.
The main rivers of the region are the White Drini running towards the Adriatic Sea with the Erenik among its tributaries, the Sitnica, the South Morava in the Goljak area, and Iber in the north. Languages: Official languages in Kosovo are standard literary Albanian. Laws are also published in Serbian and English. Other minority languages include Turkish, Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Gorani and Romanian.

Prishtina

Prishtina is Kosovos capital city and its largest. Preliminary results of the 2011 census put the population of Pristina at 198,000. The city has a majority Albanian population, alongside other smaller communities. It is the administrative, educational, and cultural center of Kosovo. The city is home to the University of Pristina and is served by Pristina International Airport.

Pristina is located in the north-eastern part of Kosovo close to the Goljak mountains and covers 572 square kilometres. From Pristina there is a good view of the Šar Mountains which lie several kilometres away in the south of Kosovo. Pristina is located beside two large towns, Obilić and Kosovo Polje. In fact Pristina has grown so much these past years that it has connected with Kosovo Polje. Lake Badovac is just a few kilometres to the south of the city.

There is no river passing through the city of Pristina now but there was one that passed through the center. The river flows through underground tunnels and is let out into the surface when it passes the city. The reason for covering the river was because the river passed by the local market and everyone dumped their waste there. This caused an awful smell and the river had to be covered. The river now only flows through Pristina’s suburbs in the north and in the south. Pristina has an oceanic climate, with continental influences. The city features warm summers and relatively cold, often snowy winters.

Culture

Pristina as the capital city of Kosovo is the center of cultural and artistic development of all Albanians that live in the Kosovo. The Department of cultural affairs is just one of the segments that arranges the cultural events, which make Pristina one of the cities with the most emphasized cultural and artistic traditions. The “Hivzi Sylejmani” library was founded 70 years ago and it is one of the largest libraries regarding the number of books in its inventory which is nearly 100.000. All of those books are in service for the library’s registered readers.[89]

The “Mbretëresha e Dardanisë”(Queen of Dardania) or “Hyjnesha ne Fron”(The Goddess on the Throne) is an artifact that was found during some excavations in 1955 in the area of Ulpiana, a suburb of Pristina. It dates back to 3500 BC in the Neolithic Era and it is made of clay. In Pristina there is also “Hamami i Qytetit”(The City Bath) and the house of Emin Gjika which has been transformed to the Ethnographic Museum. Pristina also has its municipal archive which was established in the 1950s and holds all the records of the city, municipality and the region.

Pristina has only three active theatres: National Theater of Kosova, ODA Theatre and DODONA Theatre. They give live performances every week. There are 21 well-known Kosovan actors employed. They are placed in heart of Pristina. National Theatre (Teatri Kombetar) is placed in the middle downtown of the city, near the main government building. ODA Theatre (Teatri ODA) is placed in the Youth Centre Building, and Dodona Theatre (Teatri Dodona) is placed in Vellusha district, which is near Ibrahim Rugova Square.

PriFilm Fest also known as Prishtina Film Festival is one of the biggest cultural events that happens in Prishtina.

The National Theater of Kosovo (in Albanian: Teatri Kombëtar) was founded in 1946 in the city of Prizren, Kosovo. It is the highest ranked theater institution in the country which has the largest number of productions. The National Theater is the only public theater in Kosovo and therefore it is financed by Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. This theater has produced more than 400 premieres which have been watched by more than 3 million spectators.

Kosovo does not have an official religion. Like the rest of the country, the majority of Pristina’s population consider themselves Muslim. Even though the majority of people are Muslim, not many attend mosques or religious services to the frequency in other Muslim countries. Many however do fast for Ramadan and praying is widely practiced. The small minority of Pristina’s religious population that is not Muslim practices Christianity in the form of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Prishtina has a small area, but with a lot of coffee bars, that are near each other. Nightlife amazes the foreign visitors and it is mainly concentrated in the Mother Teresa boulevard, Fehmi Agani road and Pejton neighborhood. Past Korza where the youth walked in the Mother Teresa boulevard has already been replaced with night clubs, discos and different coffee bars.

Sports

Basketball has been, since 2000, one of the most popular sports in Pristina. Pristina BC is the most successful club in the country, now competing also on the Eurocup. Streetball Kosova is a traditionally organised sport and cultural event at Germia Lake in Pristina since 2000.

Football is also very popular. Pristina’s representatives KF Prishtina play their home games in the City Stadium.

Food

The best known of all and most distinctive one, flija, is prepared year-round but is a summer favourite. Flija made with saç is a specialty from the traditional Albanian cuisine, that is mostly prepared in mountainous areas. It is most certainly one of the typical Kosovar dishes that everyone local will recommend. Baklava is one of the traditional pastries of the Kosovar cuisine, although of Turkish origin. Bakllasarem is also a traditional food of Kosovo it is a salty pie with yoghurt and garlic covering.

Tourism

Visiting Prishtina is not all there is in Kosovo. There are other cities in Kosovo that are visited by locals and foreign visitors too. Places worth visiting are:

The Rugova Mountains, located near the city of Peja, a group of villages located in the mountains with some of the highest peaks in Kosovo.

The Sharr Mountains, located near the city of Prizren, also very high mountains and some of the highest peaks. The Sharr Mountains also are host of Brezovica Ski Center, the most popular Ski center, visited by many locals and foreigners during the winter season.

The City of Prizren, is the most visited city after Prishtina, with the river flowing through the center of the city, with some old bridges and old pathways. The castle right above the city, where a good picture of the city could be seen from above. The City of Prizren is also the host of DOKU Fest. One of the biggest Film Festivals in the region, which attracts a lot of foreign visitors.

Tourism in Pristina attracted 36,186 foreign visitors in 2012, which represents 74.2% of all visitors that visited Kosovo during that year. Foreign visitors mostly come from countries like Albania, Turkey, Germany, USA, Slovenia and Macedonia, but also from other places. Some of the most visited places near Pristina are Batllava Lake, Badovc Lake and Gadime Marble Cave, which are also among the most visited places in Kosovo.

Sights

The Newborn monument was unveiled on 17 February 2008, the day that Kosovo declared its independence. It is decorated with the flags of the 99 nations which recognised its declaration.

The Grand Hotel Prishtina was the property of the Yugoslav government before the Kosovo War in 1999.

Kosovo Museum is located in an Austro-Hungarian-inspired building originally built for the regional administration of the Ottoman Vilayet of Kosovo. From 1945 until 1975 it served as headquarters for the Yugoslav National Army. In 1963 it was sold to the Kosovo Museum. From 1999 until 2002, the European Agency for Reconstruction had its main office in the museum building. The Kosovo Museum has an extensive collection of archaeological and ethnological artefacts, including the Neolithic Goddess on the Throne terracotta, unearthed near Pristina in 1960 and depicted in the city’s emblem. A large number of artefacts from antiquity are still in Belgrade, as the museum was looted in 1999.

The Clock Tower (Sahat Kulla) dates back to the 19th century. Following a fire, the tower has been reconstructed using bricks. The original bell was brought to Kosovo from Moldavia. It bore an inscription reading “this bell was made in 1764 for Jon Moldova Rumen.” In 2001, the original bell was stolen. The same year, French KFOR troops replaced the old clock mechanism with an electric one. Due to Kosovo’s electricity problems the tower is struggling to keep time.

Religious sites in the center of the city include the Cathedral of Blessed Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic church which was started in 2007. While just outside the center of the city there are a lot of Muslim Mosques. From Ibrahim Rugova Square three of the oldest Mosques can be seen, which are Çarshia Mosque, Jashar Pasha Mosque and Sulltan Mehmet Fatih Mosque.

Prishtina has a number of parks like The City Park, Taukbahqe Park, Arberia Park, and the most known, Germia National Park.

Germia is a regional park located in the north-east of Pristina, capital city of Kosovo, and it covers an area of 62 km2. This mountain massif is a part of the Rhodope Mountains, which lie from the Black Mountain of Skopje to Kopaonik Mountains. Germia’s highest point, Butos’ Peak, is 1050 meters above sea level and its lowest is 663 meters above sea level. Due to its geographical position and climate conditions, Germia mountain massif has a rich fauna with 63 species of animals and a variety of about 600 species of flora.In 1987, the “Germia” complex was taken under protection by Pristina’s Municipal Assembly in the category of the Regional Nature Park.

Education

Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, houses a great number of public and private institutions that have withstood the different periods that this country has experienced, fulfilling the academic aspirations of many generations. Pristina is known for its many educational institutions such as the University “Hasan Prishtina”, the National Library of Kosovo, and the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo. Throughout the last century Pristina has attracted a considerable number of students from Kosovo. Today, the city of Pristina hosts a considerable number of intellectuals, professors, academics, students, and professionals in various spheres.

Currently in the city of Pristina there are only eight public preschools, in which 1,886 children attend education while overall there are 2,074 pupils aged 5–6 years attend pre-primary class in Pristina. 80 percent of children aged 0–6 years are outside the system. In fact, families who succeed to enrol their children in public kindergartens are very privileged because demand exceeds supply up to tenfold. Based on the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, during years 2011 and 2012 in Pristina there were 7,685 children born from mothers with permanent residence in Pristina. Therefore Pristina has more than 40 private kindergartens. The cost of sending ones child to a private kindergarten in relation to the living standards are quite high and mostly difficult to be affordable for most parents since this drains 80 to 100 Euro. Moreover, a large number of these kindergartens work without a license and they often accept more children than their capacity can handle, resulting in low quality education but also increasing risks to children.

The city of Pristina has 41 primary schools and lower secondary schools with 34,342 students. The large number of students in elementary and secondary schools, resulting in a situation that affects the quality of education attained and student success.

The number of secondary high school in the municipality of Pristina is 14, 12 out of the total number are Albanian Schools and 2 are mixed one. Statistics show that the recent total number of students in secondary high schools is 6562 female students and 6838 male student with an average of 33.1 students per class.

There is one special school in Prishtina, Përmarimi, for children that have difficulties in development with a total number of 146 students.

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