If you are thinking of traveling to Pristina, Kosovo, you are in the right place. Pristina is the capital of Kosovo. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Pristina is the most developed and most populated city of Kosovo. As in all Kosovo, both Serbian and Albanian are spoken in Pristina. Few people speak English. It is connected to other Balkan capitals such as Pristina, Belgrade, Skopje, Tirana by both road and rail, and the distance between these cities is quite short.
Pristina’s sister cities are Ankara and Tirana. Since 2009, Kosovo has benefited from the IMF’s relief fund. The countries with which Kosovo trades most are the Balkan countries, the USA and Turkey.
The human history of Pristina dates back to the 2nd century BC, but we can say that the first turning point for the city was the earthquake in 518 AD, and therefore the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I built the city from top to bottom. The emperor named this city “Justiniana Secunda”. In the 6th century AD, the Slavs conquered most of the Balkans and also occupied Pristina.
For 800 years, Kosovo remains within the Serbian Kingdom. Pristina is important for trade due to its location in the middle of Western Europe and Asia. Moreover, metals such as zinc and silver come from the mountains in Pristina (especially the Kopaonik Mountains). Within a few centuries, this place becomes one of the important trade centers.
The domination of the Serbs lasted until the Ottomans captured Kosovo in the Kosovo War in 1389. However, Kosovo and Serbia remained under Ottoman control from 1389 to 1912. Over the centuries, the Muslim population in Pristina began to outweigh the Christian Serb population, thanks to the Albanians and Kosovars.
Although the Albanians were the first to rise up against the Ottomans in August 1912, only a month later, in September, the Serbs captured Pristina and the first seeds of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia to be established in 1918 were planted. This kingdom would cover the borders of 7 present-day Balkan countries (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia).
Where Is Pristina?
Let us share with you some of the things you need to know when traveling to Pristina. Pristina is the capital of Kosovo, a Balkan country. Pristina is located in the northeast of Kosovo. Kosovo is an independent republic recognized by 115 countries in the world. Kosovo’s neighbors are Serbia, Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia.
When To Go To Pristina?
The ideal months to go to Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, are May, June, July, August and September. Because in Pristina, which is under the influence of continental balkan climate, cold air waves dominate most of the year. In January and February, the temperature sees a maximum of 3 degrees. It snows and there is a dry cold. You can enjoy Pristina neither during the day nor in the evening. In March and April, it is around 10 degrees and gets cold. May and June pass in the range of 18-20 degrees.
Even though it is cold in the evenings, you can walk outside during the day without the need for thick clothes. In July and August the temperature will reach 25 degrees and will probably be the hottest days in Pristina. If you do not plan to go to a city by the sea, you can come to Pristina and experience a different summer vacation. However, you should not forget that in a city without a sea, summers can be overwhelming.
Moreover, many tourists will come to visit the city during the summer months to take advantage of the hot weather in Pristina, and the crowd can be another overwhelming factor. September, we think, is one of the best months to explore Pristina. Because the schools have opened, the tourists have returned to their homes; Moreover, the weather is not as hot as July. It might be a good idea to wander the streets of Pristina in the most beautiful month of autumn.
The best months to visit Pristina are October, November and December. Because the weather will get very cold and your trip may not be satisfactory.
Best Places To Visit In Pristina
In our article on places to visit in Pristina, you will be able to read details about Skanderbeg Square, Kosovo National Museum, Fatih Mosque, Clock Tower, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Zahir Pajaziti Square, National Library, Gracanica Monastery, Kosovo Martyrdom and St. Teresa Boulevard.
Skanderbeg Statue is one of the most central points of Pristina. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the daily life in Pristina flows at this point. There is a large ornamental pool and a statue of Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg is an Albanian nobleman from Pristina, known by the Ottomans as “Iskender Bey”, and served the Ottoman Empire between 1423 and 1443.
However, he later declared himself “Lord of Albania” and betrayed the capital. That’s why some Kosovar Albanians still see Skanderbeg as a national hero. By a twist of fate, today the Skanderbeg statue and the Fatih Mosque can coexist in Pristina and are visited by tourists every day.
Sultan Fatih Mosque (Albanian: Xhamia e Mbretit), also known as “Hünkar Mosque”, is the most important place of worship from the Ottoman period in Pristina. It was built in 1461 by the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet himself. It was built with a typical Ottoman architecture. This place of worship was used as a church when the Austro-Hungarian Empire dominated Pristina in the late 17th century. Although extensive restoration work was carried out on the mosque after World War II, the minarets were damaged in the great 1955 Pristina earthquake.
Today, Fatih Mosque has only one minaret. Fatih Mosque was included in the list of “Cultural Buildings of Exceptional Importance” by the Republic of Serbia in 1990. Today, the Fatih Mosque is given great importance as the majority of the population of Kosovo and therefore Pristina is Muslim.
The Clock Tower was built in Pristina by Mehmet Yaşar Pasha (Jashar Pasha), who was the governor of Skopje in the 1840s. This clock tower was built on Nazım Gaffuri Street to remind the people of Pristina about prayer times. When reminded of prayer time from this tower, shopkeepers were expected to lower their shutters. The clock tower, 26 meters long and built in a hexagonal shape, was the tallest structure in Pristina in the 19th century.
It is thought that the bell in the clock tower was made in Moldova in 1764 and was brought to Pristina when the tower was built. It is understood from the inscription on the bell that it was made for Voivode Jan Moldovan, the King of Moldova, in 1764. The original clock mechanism of the tower worked until the 1970s.
Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas is the only Orthodox church serving in Pristina, where the majority of the population is Muslim today. The church building, which was built in the 19th century, was restored in 2004 with the funding Kosovo received from the European Union. As a matter of fact, during the events that broke out in Kosovo in 2004, the church became unusable.
It is known that the interior design and stained glass were made by Macedonian and Serbian painters. Only a few hundred Kosovo Orthodox attended the ceremony for the church, which was reopened in 2010.
The National Library is one of the most interesting buildings in Pristina. The building, which was completed in 1982 by the Croatian architect Andrija Mutnjakovic, is located on Hasan Prishtina Square in the middle of the public park. The lines of both Eastern Roman and Islamic architecture are seen in the architecture of the building. There are more than 5,000 books, newspaper archives, maps and original handwritings of important names in the library.
The reason why the library is so important for Kosovars is that the most important works related to their history and culture are found here. Inside the library, there is an amphitheater with a capacity of 150 people and a meeting room with a capacity of 75 people.
Gracanica Monastery in the town of Gracanica, 8-10 kilometers from Pristina, is an Orthodox place of worship that attracts great attention from tourists. The monastery was built by Serbian King Stefan Milutin in the 13th century on the ruins of the Holy Theotokos Church. Gracanica Monastery is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can reach Gracanica in a maximum of 1 hour by taking intercity buses from Pristina bus station.
You can spend a day or even half a day of your trip to Pristina by seeing a different city in Kosovo. In Gracanica, mostly people of Serbian origin live. The monastery was built with typical medieval Serbian Architecture. Do not forget to buy honey and wine produced in Gracanica from the souvenir shop located right next to the monastery.
St. Teresa Boulevard
When you proceed from Skanderbeg Square, you will enter the St. Teresa Boulevard, which is closed to traffic. You will see cafes, restaurants and boutiques on both sides of the boulevard. Azize Teresa Boulevard is the point where social life is most intense in Pristina. There are also some hotels on the boulevard, but the most important is that the St. Teresa Church, which has the same name as the boulevard, is located here. If you wish, you can also visit the church while you are here.
Another important structure you will see on the boulevard is the Bill Clinton statue. This statue, made of gold and 3 meters high, was unveiled by Bill Clinton in 2009 during a ceremony during his visit to Kosovo. During the war in 1999, Kosovars erected the statue of the former US President at the most popular spot of the city as a thank you for the support they received from the Bill Clinton government.
Transportation In Pristina
When you travel to Pristina, you should also know how to get there. Although Pristina is a small city, there are 14 city bus lines and it is very practical to get around the city by bus. Since the civil war years, Kosovo has been lagging behind in the technology of roads and public services, as it has been in every field, and is modernizing its capital city over time. Since 2017, environmentally friendly and modern buses have been used in Pristina.
Cycling in Pristina is also very enjoyable. You can cycle around the whole city. Being on foot in Pristina will give you a different pleasure. There is no direct bus from Pristina Adem Jashari Airport to the city centre, you will need to transfer. The distance between the airport and the center is 18 kilometers. There is no metro service in Pristina.
You can reach Pristina from Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, by bus. If you want to do a mini Balkan tour, these buses will be very practical for you. These buses depart from the main bus stations of the cities in question every 20 minutes, every day of the week. It is also possible to travel by train from Pristina to other Balkan cities, but it will not be practical as it will take at least 4 hours. If you want to go to other cities of Kosovo from Pristina, you can choose to take the train.
Your trip to Pristina continues, if you can’t decide what to eat, then it’s time to talk about what to eat in Pristina. Central European cuisine is generally eaten in Kosovo, but Kosovo cuisine is culturally and historically influenced primarily by Albanian and Serbian cuisine. Again, culturally and historically, Kosovo food is very similar to the food in Turkey. For example, Yaprak Sarma (Japrak Sarma) is a well-known and eaten dish in Kosovo.
Bread, vegetables and red meat form the basis of the cuisine in Kosovo. Fresh vegetables are consumed in spring and summer, while pickled vegetables are eaten in autumn and winter. Kosovars like tomatoes, cucumbers and cauliflower pickles the most, and they consume a lot of bitter just like Albanians. Albanian pastry (Bürek) and pumpkin dessert, Albanian dessert trileçe is very popular and consumed abundantly in Kosovo. Potato salad and shepherd’s salad will not make you feel like a stranger in Pristina.
Lamb dish called Tavë kosi and served with yogurt on the side, plesavitsa, which is a kind of hamburger, and pasta known as macarohi are among the delicacies you can taste in Kosovo. You can eat the freshwater fish called pike perch, which is fried and served in Pristina. Pristina fish; They eat it with garlic and tomatoes, along with bay leaves and parsley. Rice pudding, halva and baklava are the main desserts of Kosovo.
The drinks you can try in Pristina are rasol, known as “German juice” and consumed by Germans and Central Europeans, and boza, which is obtained from millet semolina and is known in a wide geography from the Caucasus to the Balkans; We can count rakija, an alcoholic beverage with ayran and grapes, known as ajron. Finally, we would like to remind you that a tip of 10% of the account is expected in restaurants.
Shopping In Pristina
Wouldn’t you like to beautify your Pristina trip with shopping? When it comes to shopping in Pristina, the first thing that comes to mind is to buy products that represent the culture and past of the country. For example, figurines of the goddess Hyjnesha, representing fertility and abundance in the entire region, especially in Kosovo, are sold in every corner of Pristina. That’s why you can buy a Hyjnesha trinket to take home or gift it to your family. It is possible to find any size of these trinkets. You can visit the original figure of the goddess from 4,000 years ago at the National Museum.
We also recommend that you buy it from local hat pleats. Your pleated hat will be one of the best memories of your trip to Pristina. Apart from these, we recommend that you buy grape raki, pear raki and quince raki, which are also unique to Kosovo. It will be a pleasant experience for you to taste different versions of raki, which is the indispensable drink of Anatolia, Aegean and the Balkans. In Kosovo, it is both tradition and fashion to use carved wooden handicraft accessories, and you can gift yourself handcrafted accessories.
While exploring the streets and avenues, especially when you walk around Pristina, it will be enjoyable to go shopping in boutique shops, traditional markets and peddlers. In Pristina, which has just erased the traces of the war in the 1990s and tried to keep up with the trends in the world after the declaration of independence in 2008, shopping centers have also started to emerge gradually. If you want to walk around the mall, you can go to ALBI Shopping Mall and Pristina’s City Park Hypermarket.
When you travel to Pristina, do not leave without tasting the nightlife! Nightlife in Pristina has started to get active in the last 5-10 years. You will be able to have fun at night as well as during the day in this small European capital, which has started to keep up with the modern world by erasing the traces of the civil war from its daily life. The very young population is one of the important factors that color the nightlife of Pristina.
You will be able to have dinner in nice restaurants, sip a drink with soft music in a bar, or dance in a nightclub if you wish. In our article, we will also give you the addresses where cultural events take place in Pristina evenings. As a matter of fact, these events are worth seeing as they generally reflect Albanian-Kosovo culture and art.
The most important venues in Pristina are located in Fehmi Agani Street, Garibaldi Street, Azize Teresa Street and Peyton (Pejton) District. Legere where you can taste their cocktails, Rings with a restaurant section besides the bar, Strip Depot with its avant-garde theme and decoration, Duplex, a nightclub that promises unlimited entertainment to its customers, Spray Club, where the best DJs of Kosovo take the stage and attracting attention with its minimalist design, where you can listen to live music.
and Jazz Club 212, the oldest venue in Kosovo, are the addresses you can go to after dinner in Why Not Pristina, where blues, funk and rock performances are exhibited. If you want to attend a cultural event in Pristina instead of dancing for an evening, you can go to the Kombetar Theater on Azize Teresa Boulevard and watch a theater play or a ballet performance. Kombetar Theater is the most important theater stage of the city.
The ODA Theater (Tearti ODA) is an independent theater in Pristina. Both theatrical performances and some concerts are staged here. The jazz festival, which is held in November every year, also takes place here.
Although Pristina is a small capital of a small country, it hosts an unexpected amount of festivals and various organizations. We give you details of the main events taking place in Pristina.
Pristina Running Marathon: The Pristina Running Marathon, which brings together all the athletes from the Balkan countries, is an event that is eagerly awaited every year. The race, in which non-athletes can also participate, took place on 14 May 2017. As in every sport, a message of peace was given in the Balkans through the running marathon.
Pristina Jazz Festival: Pristina Jazz Festival is the organization that the art-savvy population of Pristina awaits with excitement every year. The most important names of jazz music such as Uri Caine, Tom Kennedy, Reggie Washington, Giulio Martino, Willard Dyson, Bob Albanese come to Pristina for the festival, which took place on November 1, 2017 at the Pristina ODA Theatre. Apart from these, local names also find the opportunity to show themselves and their art thanks to this festival. You can find ticket information on the official website.
Pristina International Film Festival: The Pristina International Film Festival, which has been taking place every year since 2009, adds vitality and movement to the city. Thanks to this festival, which lasts for 1 week, experienced or inexperienced, professional or amateur film artists come together and have the opportunity to show their films. New doors can also be opened for the actors of the films screened at the festival. The festival took place in the week of July 13-20 in 2017.
Pristina Public Holidays
- January 7: Orthodox Christmas Day
- February 17: Independence day
- April 9: Constitution day
- April 16: Easter
- May 1: Labor day
- 9 May: European Union Day
- 25 June: Candy Feast
- September 1: Eid-al-Adha
- December 25: Catholic Christmas Day
Useful Information For Pristina
- Police: 911
- Ambulance: 112