Priština, or Prishtinë as it is called in Albanian, is the capital of Kosovo. In Pristina there are officially around 500,000 people, although some claim that the population is much higher. The vast majority are Albanians.
The city has undergone major cosmetic changes since the NATO bombing of 1999. More than 120,000 people were driven from their homes. After the end of the war, virtually all Serbian residents fled Pristina.
Pristina is a different city that has a fascinating history, although in modern times the city has mostly experienced tragedies.
This is not a charming city gem, but no one should deny that Pristina is a capital full of vivacity and that is constantly evolving. Give Pristina a chance. Pristina needs you and you should see that Pristina gives you a lot back too!
- Abbreviation: PR
- Country: Kosovo
Pristina has belonged to several different states. Dating back to the 13th century, Pristina was under the Serbian Kingdom. The old name of the town was Ulpiana (Улпиана). In modern times too, Kosovo and Pristina have had a turbulent history. In 1912, all of Kosovo was taken by Albanian rebels. The following year, England, France, Italy, Russia, Germany and Austria – Hungary shared Kosovo between Serbia and Montenegro. Pristina became part of the Serbian part. In 1918, the country was included in the new Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
In the 1990s, under Slobodan Milošević, Albanians became the major enemy, while the Serbs gained several advantages. This culminated with Kosovo’s liberation army starting to attack Yugoslav interests. Full war broke out in Kosovo in 1999. That was when NATO began its bombing raids, and also Pristina buildings were hit. After the war, virtually all remaining Serbs escaped from Pristina.
Eat in Pristina
Talk to the taxi drivers for insider tips on the best restaurants. They know what tourists want and what restaurants are recommended. Local favorites are kebabs (qebabtore) and Turkish donor shoppers. Both of these restaurant types can be found everywhere. We have been told that the best of the latter is on the fence of Payton Place, near the UN headquarters.
A selection of popular and good restaurants are located just around OSCE and the UN headquarters. Pjata in the street Rruga Dubrovniku No. 1 is a safe choice. Here the service speaks English and you will certainly meet an international clientele. Typical Mediterranean food on the menu.
One lunch tip is the restaurant Te Komiteti located on the street Qamil Hoxha. Alternatively, try the Swiss- inspired Chalet Denis located on the Dragodan hill. You will not get better views.
Near the ABC movie theater on the other side of the Grand Hotel you will find the Aroma restaurant. Aroma goes for having Pristina’s best sandwich. If you are a fishing fan, however, you should visit the Rio restaurant located at Gërmia Park.
Cafes and bars are packed on Fridays and Saturdays, while many of the clubs are generally only open and / or well-populated during high season in the summer. If you like live music, Ahër is recommended at the university, next to the library. If you like jazz then try 212 in Peyton. Around the ABC movie theater and the Grand Hotel you will also find several bars and cafes, not least the Phoenix Bar which is a full hit on Saturday night.
Shopping in Pristina
To say it right away. You don’t travel to Pristina for shopping! There are some shopping centers on the outskirts of the city, but otherwise there is little to find of good shops seen with western eyes. Of course, it is worth going to the bazaar area of the city, but mostly because of the people’s life and possible discussion with the sales people. In the bazaar you will also find a so-called pirate department if you want to buy with you a guaranteed genuine Prada t-shirt or similar. You’ll also find pirated CDs without daring to say anything about the quality. The main boss, however, is cigarettes, fruits and vegetables.
If the shop still exists then we suggest you go to Women for Women on the street Rr. UÇK 42. This international organization fights for women’s rights and helps women to support themselves. Here in Pristina you can buy local handicraft products and clothing, knowing that you are getting real products and that the money will go to a good cause. Opening hours are from 0800 to 1600 every weekday. Closed this weekend.
Tourist in Pristina
Much is different in Kosovo and Pristina than you are probably used to. Remember that people shake their heads when they say yes, and nod when no! Just like in Bulgaria. When it comes to street names, Pristina is naturally equipped with this. If you look at signs or street addresses you will notice the word ‘rruga’ which means street, and the word ‘sheshi’which means square or square. But remember that not all stores, hotels, or people you meet on the street know what street address something else is located on, or maybe not even their own street address. It is common to refer to nearby landmarks when referring to one’s own location. And if you don’t speak Albanian then don’t expect most people to answer you in English or German. We recommend that you use a good map and that you pay attention to where you are moving in the city.
Pristina should be experienced on foot and we recommend that you start at the Dardania area, eg. in front of the huge portrait of Bill Clinton. From here you can walk past the University all the way to the Grand Hotel and the UN headquarters. From here you can walk the street Nena Tereze (Mother Theresa) to the Skenderbeg monument and the new government building. From here you go to the old neighborhoods of Pristina where you will see old mosques, street markets and simply feel the city on the pulse.
Do you have time to visit the Italian park or city park as it is also called, which is dedicated to the late President Ibrahim Rugova.
If you want to experience the public life, visit the Bazaar area east of Rruga Ilir Konusheci. The area was probably almost completely destroyed in the 1950s, but today it appears as a real Balkan market where you get to buy everything from cigarettes to flashlights to your (old) Mercedes.
Attractions in Pristina
Mother Theresa statue
In the street Mother Tereza Street you will find a number of attractions. Not least you will find in this street the Mother Theresa statue. Not the biggest statue, but Mother Theresa wasn’t particularly tall either. But an incredibly great person!
University Library of Pristina
A few minutes walk from the Grand Hotel in Pristina you will find the University Library which is definitely worth a look. The building itself is not unlike a huge massive Lego block.
The Kosovo Museum
The museum lures with free entrance, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad museum. On the contrary. The beautiful building in the street Sheshi Adam Jashari has its history from 1898, and was built by Austrians for the Turkish army. The exhibition today houses a number of objects from early historical times, not least a number of archaeological finds. The objects are well described in English, and parts of the exhibitions are shown together with music by famous Philip Glass. The main attraction is probably the 6,000 year old statue “Hynesha në Fron” which means something like divinity on the throne. Open from 0930 to 1730 every weekday and from 1100 to 1500 on public holidays.
In the Old Town you will find the Ethnographic Museum, not many minutes walk from the main museum. The address is Rr. Iliaz Agushi, and the opening hours are from 1000 to 1700. In this very beautiful building, and the only remaining original building in the old bazaar area, you will find old costumes, craft tools and other objects of use. Many objects that have been used for rituals and other similar items are also exhibited here. An excellent choice for people interested in history.
Çarshia Mosque (Xhamia and Çarshisë)
The Carshia Mosque, or market mosque as it is called, is the oldest building still in Pristina. It dates from the 15th century and is from the Turkish sultan Bajazit. The address is Rr. Meto Bajraktari.
List of Pristina Acronyms
The most commonly used abbreviations about Pristina is PR which stands for Pristina. In the following table, you can see all acronyms related to Pristina, including abbreviations for airport, city, school, port, government, and etc.
|USOP||United States Office in Pristina|