Trip to Kosovo, a geopolitical journey
Why not going?A country with so much history, a country with so much tourist potential, with so nice and warm people. Today, tourism in all the Balkans area is growing. There are many student hostels, hotels, tours and backpackers around all the region. For sure, before there were wars and conflicts; today it is very calm.
I took a flight from Paris to Kosovo, a direct flight and it arrived in less than 3 hours. Pristina, its capital, was waiting for me, to win my heart in the end. Many bars, restaurants, groups of foreigners, mainly European, in study trips. And me, a backpacker, willing to discover those distant places of the country that I only had found over the Internet. I did not know much about the country. What I knew was that Pristina was a really pleasant capital, that there was a “split” city with some geopolitical issues that would capture my attention and another city that I knew I would like. So, there was Pristina, on the one hand, Mitrovica, on the other, and Prizren. Each one, different; each one with a lot of history.
In Pristina, I visited the Statue of Bill Clinton, since relations between the United States and Kosovo were and are very good. And there is even a store called Hillary (in honor of Bill Clinton’s wife). I visited monuments and I appreciated the architecture. If we go with EUR or USD, it is a cheap country.
Mitrovica, a split city that was in conflict between Serbs and Albanians from Tito’s era. There is a bridge that divided the city. Serbs in the North, Albanians in the South. In the North, the Serb dinar, in the South, the euro. The currency in Kosovo is the euro (such as in Montenegro, in which the official currency is also euro, even though it does not belong to the European Union). It turns out that a group of workers of Albanian origin protested so that Kosovo had more autonomy, and the conflict that split this city began. In the North, Serb flags, in the South, Kosovo flags. It is as if each territory proclaimed it. So, it’s very curious. Kosovo is a country, it is the “Republic of Kosovo” although Serbia does not recognize it. I went to Mitrovica with a guide because I wanted to get to know more of its history, and because, at the same time, I did not know how it was.
In Prizren, the thing is totally different, with other architecture, with mosques and a river that goes through it. I arrived by bus from the capital and I returned the same day.
I know that many avoid going to Kosovo and they go to other countries of the region. I believe it is a great country, that surprised me. Its tourism is growing, and I recommend that you should go, to include it in your journey around the Balkans, or you can do as I did: directly to Kosovo. You won’t regret it.
My original plan was just to visit Kosovo, but there they suggested that I should go to Skopje, Macedonia’s capital. I took a bus for EUR 5 and I arrived at the capital of the country where Mother Teresa was born. And I returned in the afternoon for other EUR 5. I can basically say that I got to know a new country for only EUR 10
New Bridge in Mitrovica
Bill Clinton in Pristina
“New Born” meaning “new birth”, because it is a new country, after the war