Kosovo Polje Things to Do
The monastery isn't exactly undiscovered (it's a UNESCO World Heritage site), but not many people go there - or at least there weren't many visitors there at the time I was. Apart from the monks and myself, most people there were Italian soldiers with the UN (or possibly KFOR) coming in to pray.
I got there by taxi from Dakovica / Gjakove. (Not far, and it's easy enough to get a taxi who'll take you there and then wait outside for an hour or two until you've finished and are ready to go back to Gjakovė / Đakovica.) When you get near the monastery, there are zig-zag barriers on the road to stop a car crashing through, and a checkpoint where soldiers check who you are, all of which may sound a little disconcerting but it isn't really much of an issue, anyway for tourists. (I wasn't nervous, and my Albanian taxi driver didn't seem worried.)
Decani monastery itself is wonderful. Inside a ring of high walls, with the refectory, sleeping quarters, library, etc built into them, there's a stretch of green grass, and in the middle of that the ancient church, with the tomb of King Stefan (I think his name was), and staggeringly beautiful mediaeval frescoes. You come away with the feeling that you've been out of the world for a spell, in an oasis of calm and order and beauty.
There's a community there of Serbian orthodox monks, one of whom speaks English fluently and shows English speaking visitors around.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
The 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo Polje was the occasion for a speech by Slobodon Milosevic that some believe helped to precipitate many of the events and consequences in the region today.Related to:
- Historical Travel
The monastery is under 24 hour protection of KFOR soldiers.
Well, I can't give you an answer.
But, you can probably find it among these pages:
KLA web presentation
new ALBANIA map on KLA web presentationRelated to:
- Historical Travel
- Wine Tasting
- Arts and Culture
Kosovo Polje Transportation
Roads in Kosovo are quite ok.
When entering Kosovo by car, you have to pay 50 (!) Euros for a two-week compulsory car insurance, even if you are just in transit. Rather expensive for just a couple of days.
Kosovo Polje Warnings and Dangers
I was in Macedonia, planning to go to Belgrade, get the train to Zagreb, then on to Ljubljana. I had a day free, so I thought, I'll go by train to Pristina, Kosovo, spend the day, then go on to Belgrade by bus. I couldn't really find info about the train, so I went to the bus station and bought a ticket to Pristina without knowing much about Kosovo except that it is the newest countrie on Earth. So I was excited to go there. While I waited for the bus, i got solicited by a taxi driver of Albanian/Kosovo origin. Though I didnt want to hire his service, I invited him to have Turkish coffee with me at the little Turkish cafe outside the Skopje bus station. In hindsight, I wish I had hired him for 60 Euro to take a short tour of Skopje, go to see "some things" in Kosovo, and have dinner together "extra money of course" and come back for a late bus to Beograd from Skopje. Instead, I took my 6 euro bus ride to Pristina. Pristina is spead out, the bus station isnt really near anything that seems worth going to see. There's plenty of interesting cafes and little shops right there, but that's about it. The buses to Beograd weren't until 11pm and 11:30pm. So I basically hung out in a bus station. One by one everything closed, except one cafe and one little shop. All the lights basically went out, no one was around, except for an apparently homeless old man. I got him a hamburger, mineral water, coffee, which he scarfed down. He proceeded to tell me his life story ( which I didnt understand a word of). Then we slept on the benches. The station sort of came back to life around 10pm. I boarded my bus, which was crowded with people from who knows where. Everyone was super friendly, but I just kept to myself because I only speak english. After a while, some former soldier started talking to me in english, and chatted all the way to the border. We got through Cososo passport and customs just fine. Then the Serbien guard took all the passports. He singled me out, and told me I couldn't enter Serbia (fortunately, the soldier was able to explain this to me as no else spoke english). It seems, if you enter Sebia by air, or land from anywhere other than Kosovo, or if you enter Kosovo by air, then you can cross into Serbia with your passport which presumably has the Serbian stamp in it (the only exception is landing by air in Kosovo); otherwise, you can't enter. So, at 1am, on a freezing cold night, he threw me out of Serbia with my suitcase, and I walked back to Kosovo, where they were really nice, and invited me inside the building while they figured out what I should do, all the time referring to the Serbians as "***heads". I ended up taking a 60 euro taxi back to the macedonian border, again walking across, and searching for another taxi to skopje for 15 more euro. then waiting until the 4am bus, it was already nearly that time by the time I got there. All along the way, everyone found my situation, and the Serbian "***heads" amusing. Of course, I missed my 6am train, and plans had to be rearranged.....Related to:
- Road Trip