Sidetrip to Gjakova
From Prizren we took a half-day trip to Gjakova by bus. The route is served almost half hourly and a bus ticket costs only 2,50 Euro. Unfortunately we missed the last bus back to Prizren and therefore had to take a taxi for 15 Euro, which was still a reasonable price. The bus trip took about 1 hour.
Gjakova has one of the largest Catholic communities in Kosovo and the city centre is home to two Catholic Churches with the Saint Paul's and Peter's church dominating the skyline.
The history of Gjakova's bazaar style historic old town dates back to the 15th century and is nowadays even listed as UNESCO world heritage. It is situated around the Hadum Mosque (Xhamia e Hadumit), which was completed in the late 16th century.
Other worth-seeing sights include a clock tower from 1597, a Memorial Charnel House and several tekkes and churches.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
If you've got time at your disposal, and fancy escaping the city for a while, make your way past the Maskut Pasha Mosque and head towards the big blue and white striped sports tent. Behind this, a path follows the river for some kilometres upstream through the Zhupa Valley, taking you to a monastery (ruined) and a castle (also ruined). On weekends, the path is busy, but in the week, it'll probably be just you and a few barking dogs. I didn't get very far...I crossed a bridge to be greeted by a pack of barking dogs and some threatening black clouds. Not wishing to be eaten or soaked, I turned back...but armed with a stick (or a gun of some sorts...woof woof bang, bang... woof, bang!) and some waterproof clothing, I might have been able to report back about the monastery and castle. Next time maybe....
A good view of the Zhupa Valley can be had from the back of the castle.
Opposite the bus station, a fair distance from all the other sights, is a curious "mini-mosque", the Namazgah. A namazgah is an outdoor mosque, basically an area for prayer out in the open, according to a notice in Turkish and Albanian. I'm not sure if it serves its original purpose nowadays (doubtful), but it is a park, and makes a pleasant alternative to waiting in the bus station for the nightbus to Albania.
Suzi Celebi Mosque and Bridge
This small and attractive mosque sits next to an equally attractive stone bridge slightly out of town (if you've arrived by bus, this will be the first historical buildings you'll come across). I don't know much about the mosque or Suzi Celebi, but as the sun sets, you can get some great shots of the snow-capped mountain in the background from here....
A juxtoposition ...
You see this poster all over Kosovo -- saying "I am Kosovo" in Albanian and Serbian, with pictures of those two plus the Rom. This poster is unique as it is next to an unfinished Serbian church. My husband heard many stories about why it's not finished -- and, like many things in this part of the world, figuring out which story is THE story is impossible given the multiple perspectives.
Landmine warnings ...
The sign in this picture is a warning that there are landmines beyond it. Fortunately for my husband, the young Kosovars he was with kept him from blithely wandering up the trail .