Prizren , in Kosovo, is a pretty city of mosques and monasteries dating to the 14th century. Happily spared (mostly) from both the "destroy the old, build the new" drive of the communists during the early years of their rule in Yugoslavia, as well as the ethnic and religious atrocities that plagued the Western Balkans in the last decade of the 20th century, Prizren has the best-preserved old town in the country by far, and is often referred to as the cultural capital of Kosovo.
It is a distinctive complex of low brick domes. No longer used as public baths, the building is occasionally used for art exhibits. - The Hammam of Prizren is an early Ottoman-era monument in which oriental and local traditions combine. It was built in the heart of the city in 1563/4 by Gazi Mehmet Pasha, at the time when he was also building the nearby mosque. The hammam has two large and nine small domes and is separated into men’s and women’s sections. As one of the most precious hammams in South-East Europe, it embodies special architectural, historical, cultural and social values. Integrated for centuries in the lives of the citizens, it has become a symbol for the spiritual and cultural heritage of Prizren and its region. - The building functioned as a hammam until 1944. It then served for cheese production, as a warehouse, and later the entrance area was used for cultural events. In state protection since 1954, the hammam was repaired and maintained until 1981 when it was left at the mercy of time. After the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999, some limited measures were undertaken for the monument’s protection.
The largest mosque in the city, dominating the town center is the Mosque of Sinan Pasha. This is one of the most important monuments from the occupation of Ottoman Empire in this territory. According to the inscription inside the mosque Sofi Sinan Pasha, built it for his co-citizens, on hijrij year 1024 (1615). The mosque was built with walls over 2 m thick, it contains more than 50 windows, and the minaret is one of the highest in the city. - Its the airy inside of which is adorned by floral paintings, slightly reminiscent of (but much plainer than) the Painted Mosque of Tetovo, on the Macedonian side of the Sharr Mountains. The mosque is very rich in ornaments of many colors and shapes. The interior of the mosque is decorated by arabesques and other decorations of flora and fauna in the baroque style. There are two layers of paintings in it, the paintings of the time when the mosque was built (17th century) and a second layer of paintings (19th century). In the entrance the mosque has a fountain, built by the founder. The mosque also used to have a madras and a library with numerous books of different contents.
There is much more going on in Prizren during the Summer than any other time of the year. The main square in town, a stone piazza known as Shadervan, is the gathering point on most evenings. The piazza is surrounded by cafes, bars, restaurants and ice cream parlors. During the day this is an excellent place to sit and have a coffee, or have lunch and watch the town go about its business. The fountain in the center of the piazza is safe to drink from and is a central gathering point during hot summer afternoons. From about 9:30pm to midnight on almost every night in the summer the streets around Shadervan are crowded with locals walking the corso, meeting, chatting and drinking.
that is being guarded by armed KFOR soldiers. The Cathedral was badly damaged during the ethnic riots of March 2004, but has largely been repaired. As of April 2010 however it was still not open to the public (there's a sign on the gate to contact the Prizren Police office for entry). There is usually a police officer guarding the Cathedral. If you show him your passport and reassure him that you intend no harm, you will get access. Occasionally an Orthodox monk is present who will happily tell you the history of the Church. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site
An old complex where Albanian political organization founded on June 10, 1878 in Prizren. Albanian Prizren League officially started with gathering of 300 representatives of all Albanian regions. In the meeting there were also Bosnians from Bosnia and Sanxhak. The aim of the meeting was to form an autonomous Albanian state that would cover the otoman regions (vilajets) of Prizren, Shkodra, Manastir and Janina. The league was the first serious effort to create united Albanian region since the failure of Skenderbeg forces in medieval.
through the attractive river valley, past the site of the Dokufest camp. At one point the path seems to come to a dead-end, retrace your steps and cross the bridge. Eventually the path leaves the river and turns right, uphill through woods where there is abundant wildlife - we saw buttlerflies, woodpeckers, lizards, a salamander and a tortoise! The path eventually leads to the castle, from where you can make your way back down past the Orthodox Cathedral.
The area around Prizren, particularlyto the east and southwest is also scenic. Heading east from town toward the old Yugoslav ski resort of Brezovica takes you through the Zupa valley. There are numerous restaurants following the river along this route. The ski slopes at Brezovica are open and for skiing during the winter. The runs were once considered some of the best in Yugoslavia, and the site was a back-up for the Sarajevo Winter Olympics in 1984.
3 minutes walking distance from the city centre. - Hostel can accommodate a total of 33 guests and has 4 floors. It offers rooms for 1,2,3 or 4 people, private and mix dorms. Showers and toilets on each floor, 4 of the rooms have private bathroom. Central heating, a multi-purpose room with a WiFi internet access, laptop and a fully fitted guest kitchen. All rooms have WiFi access, TV and air conditioning.
200 year old family house, renovated in typical oriental Prizren style, opened as a hostel in the summer of 2015, 100 m from the main city square. Take the main one way street in the city center and go left at the parking lot sign between the Blue Bridge of Love (known as Ura e Kalter) and Stone Bridge (Ura e Gurit). That's the alley between Vector Tours agency and a small Library (DITURIA).
This is also a small hotel / pensione. All rooms have their private bath. The price includes breakfast and laundry. The rooms are very clean and quite nice. They all have cable television, air condition, refrigerator and wireless. Also,computers with internet access are available in rooms and reception. Keep in mind that check-in is closed between midnight and 8am.
Well, that's possible, but not so easily due to the almost impenetrable ridges of the Sharr Mountains in between. There's a remote road crawling through the mountains into Macedonia, but that's not much of a shortcut, really, and those that want to take a bus are better off detouring through Skopje, anyway.
offers you a really delicious food, starting from traditional food, wine, raki, picas like you never ate somewhere else, spaghetti, salads, soups and really nice tasting cafe with new interior design. In Edit Durham, contact nr.044/49 243415 or 044/49 218188, the opposite way of Kep Institution.
This is very reasonable, and the owners and staff are more than willing to cater to your every whim. Hotel Pik-Nik also has a beautiful restaurant and upstairs rotunda and seating for privacy. The restaurant menu is filled with traditional Balkan cuisine, and serves the best calzone in Prizren.
- the 14th century Mosque of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, can be reached on the first left street infront of The Hamam.. Bajrakli mosque dates from 1566 and is possibly the most beautiful mosque in Prizren with ornate wood work and detailed blue-and-white paintings.
To the southwest, toward the Albanian border the landscape is also dramatic. About an hour's drive from Prizren is the mountain town of Dragash. Although there is no skiing in the mountains surrounding Dragash, the area is beautiful. Friday is market day in Dragash.
The mostly destroyed Serbian Quarter above the city - from the center of the city, start heading up hill. You will see the remains of the walls on the crest of the hill - head up paths in that direction. There are no signs along the way.
you can get sweets such as baklava, tullumba which are traditionally made in Prizren. One of the best places for traditional sweets is Shendeti (near Shadervan), which also sells Boza (fermented cornflour drink)
The town fills up with merchants from all of the surrounding villages. In addition to crafts such as wordworks, there are also cheap mass produced tchotckas and knick-knacks.
Albania is generally considered safer than it once was, although it is not recommended to take a Taxi to Albania unless you are traveling with a known and trusted local.
offers a nice view to the town. Walk east from Shadervan, and the restaurant is up a slope overlooking the river. International fare at modest prices.
Buses are available to almost anywhere in Kosovo, usually via Pristina or Gjakova, Macedonia and Albania.
Breakfast costs 2 euro extra. The staff is very hospitable and the hotel is very clean.
Clinging to the slopes of the lush Sharr Mountains, and divided by the river Bistrica (Serbian for "clear waters", which is more of a wishful thinking than a precise description nowadays), Prizren, including its modern suburbs, is home to about 180,000 people, making it the second largest city in the country, after Pristina, the capital. The majority of the population is, as with most of the rest of Kosovo, the ethnic Albanians, but there is a Turkish community as well (most of the Turks of Kosovo live in and around Prizren). As such, the usual duo of Albanian and Serbian you'll see on the street and road signs in the country are complemented here by Turkish, which can be freely used particularly in the old town, even on the conversations with the Albanians. The local Serbs have left the city in the aftermath of the Kosovo War of 1998–99, when Kosovo was de facto detached from Serbia, with their charred houses standing vacant on the upper streets leading to the fortress.
Prizren is also where the Albanian national awakening began, as the League of Prizren, a political organization for defending the rights of the Albanians, was founded here in 1878.