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From K. Mitrovica it's possible to take a mini-bus just in front of Hotel Bisevac and to go to Gracanica, a serbian enclave near Pristina where live around 10 000 people. Gracanica is famous for its absolutely beautiful monastery. It's only one hour of bus from K.Mitrovica and departures seem to by very regular, something like every hour. So are the returns, with mini-buses leaving from the main place of Gracanica. The monastery is protected by swedish soldiers. The enclave of Gracanica is surrounded by albanians and very violent anti-serbs riots exploded in 2004, but when I went there (august 2008), it was all very quiet, so I could enjoy the monastery very peacefully.
Written Aug 28, 2008
Most people that have spent any time in Mitrovica will tell you that North Mitrovica has a far better nightlife than South Mitrovica. If you are able to visit North Mitrovica in the evenings, it can be a very fun place to spend some time. Always check the political/security situation in advance before crossing the bridge into the north though, as the situation can change very quickly.
DJ Funk is a great place to spend the evening hours. With a nice outdoor seating area, equipped with DJ and large flat-screen tvs, DJ Funk is a great place to spend a warm evening night. All the standard drinks are sold, along with chips and peanuts. The bar often has live bands, but also sports a talented local DJ on Friday and Saturday nights. The clientelle seems to be the hip mid-twenties crowd. Go and enjoy!
Dress Code: Smart casual
Written Jun 15, 2008
All over Mitrovica you will see many small shops and they sell all kind of things. Vegetables are sold in the street and you can go from seller to seler and see which one who have the best vegetables, and you know these are fresh.
What to buy: All kind of vegetables and fruit that they produce around Kosovo.
Updated May 19, 2011
It is well-known, drivers of foreign-registered cars (cars with other than Serbian, Macedonian, Montenegrin plates) are asked for "border-line insurance" because neither European/Middle Eastern "Green Card" nor American/Canadian liability insurance is valid in Kosovo - so they say. The reality according some border police is a bit chaotic - it's not a "liability insurance" as we know, it's basically according them a way to tax the visitors, giving back nothing.
The insurance agents screen for foreign cars as they enter area which is under Albanian control.
Unique Suggestions: Drive the road from the "border" in the direction of Pristina and if you want to take the scenic road to Pec / Decani, take it from the highway "behind" the Kosovska Mitrovica.
AVOID ENTERING KOSOVSKA MITROVICA itself: the insurance is said to be charged / enforced(?) as you drive from the sector controlled by Serbs into Albanian (southern) sector. There is nothing on the highway. Since not much is interesting to see in Kosovska Mitrovica (besides some buildings which became parts of newspaper headlines few month ago), skip the city and enjoy the extra 50 Euro.
Fun Alternatives: Skip that city. North of KM is Serbian-controlled area, no Albanian insurance agent will stop you. Only a single "customs" sign shows the virtual border between two communities on the highway - and as I experienced, tourists are routinely ignored. UNMIK police asks travelers going to Serbia Proper to provide feedback about what they did experience and the word of mouth keeps going :)
But be careful driving in Kosovo: children may play on the street, a lot of roadwork is under way. There are much worse places in the States than that, no need to panic. Just stay alert, keep enough water in the car to drink, be defensive driver and keep 100% alcohol abstinence. It is OK to slow down and ask the directions. Actually, it is OK to slow down anyway.
Updated Oct 20, 2008
Few miles before KM (Kosovska Mitrovica) there is a sign of Banjska monastery. While KM is better to be avoided - alone to save the 50 Euro "tourist entry tax", the Banjska monastery north of the KM, close to Zvečan is worth a short visit. There are several other monasteries in Kosovo north of K. Mitrovica, but I had time just for Banjska. It is ca. 3-4 miles off the main Belgrade - Pristina road and well after the UNMIK checkpoint.
The monastery, along with St. Stephen's Church was built between 1313 and 1317 and was founded by the Serb King Stefan Uroš II Milutin.
Written Oct 20, 2008