September 4, 2016

1142, 2734 KOSOVO - Kosovar Albanians

1142 A woman in traditional clothes and images of Prizren

Posted on 13.07.2014, 04.09.2016
Kosovo is a state located in the central Balkan Peninsula, which declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, recognised by 107 UN members (from 193) and Taiwan. Serbia recognises the Republic's governance of the territory, but continues to claim it as its own Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. The largest ethnic group in Kosovo is Albanians (majority Muslims), but in region live also Serbs, Bosniaks and Gorans, Turks and Roma.

2734 Men in traditional clothes and images of Pristina

The capital and largest city of Kosovo is Pristina, located close to the Goljak mountains, and founded by romans. First attested by Byzantines by its name in 1342, it was an important town in Medieval Serbia, having been a royal estate of Stefan Milutin, Stefan Uroš III, Stefan Dušan, Stefan Uroš V and Vuk Branković. With a population of around 178,000, Prizren is the second largest city in Kosovo. It is located on the slopes of the Šar Mountains in the southern part of the Republic of Kosovo.

Culturally, Albanians in Kosovo are very closely related to Albanians in Albania, but traditions and customs differ even from town to town. Among 140 types of traditional Albanian costumes, the Podgur's attire Veshja e Podgurit is Kosovar. It seems to be very old, but in the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century, women's clothing went through morphological changes. The semi-spherical shaped hats with gold coin embroidery were replaced with laces (lidhëse), named  hotoz in the region of Istok.

The embroidered tail of marhama (a type of material worn along the neck and chin) was laid down along the right shoulder, and was called masdorja. The sleeves of the shirt, previous long and wide, were shortened to the elbows and were tightened. A different type of material was used to cover the part of the palm and up to the elbow (mëngët). Mitani (a type of blazer) also went through changes; it had long sleeves and a tight collar. It was waist-length and it was deep purple.

The vest, which is new in the clothing of women, was sleeveless, didn't have a collar, and its motifs were solar and lunar. Shtjellakët (pështjellakët, mbështjellakët) which were pieces of material that resemble an apron, were big in size and tight in width, and it had geometrical motives. Other components of this clothing were tëlina't (traditional underwear), jeleku (a short, embroidered vest), shokë (a large woolen material circling the waist), black socks, opinga (moccasins made of different animals' skin), and different color head scarves. Accessories were very popular among women - golden and silver necklaces, bracelets and rings.

Another equivalently apparel for women is xhubleta, a bell wavy skirt which is held by two straps on the shoulders, worn on top of a long sleeved white linen shirt. The most beautiful of Kosovar clothing is considered Veshja e Dukagjinit. This look consisted of a long sleeved, full length white shirt. The tëlina are also of cotton, but their edges are colorfully embroidered. From the waist up, women wore a sleeveless vest decorated by golden threads, which was open to the front. The decorative motifs of this region’s clothing are zoological, botanical and geometrical.

Men's clothing was the symbol of beauty at the time. This attire includes a shirt, tëlinat which were long briefs, a scarf and tirqe. There were differences among the clothing of adults, based on their economical standing. Men of Podgur used to wear white semi-spherical plis. Along with it there was also a scarf made of white fabric which consisted of a few horizontal shokë of different colors. This scarf was circled around plis and covered a part of their head and ears.

Men's shirts were called "chestnut shirts" because they were made of horizontal shokë of chestnut color. Blazers were the items worn over shirts. The part among the sleeves, the collar and arms contained of a black stripe. The vest or xhamadani made of soutane was wide sleeved and reached the waist in length and had no collar. The vest was double-breasted, and it was of black color. In cold weather, they used to wear a type of blazer called mitani and was made of soutane material.

Among the traditional clothing of Podgur's men, xhurdia which is a type of clothing worn by young boys is mostly known and symbolizes pride. Besides xhurdia there is also japanxhija which was a clothing of shepherds. Along the belt the red shokë was worn which was older than the colorful shokë. Its length had to be long enough to be wrapped around the waist 5 times. Tëlinat or the long briefs were made of linen, from which their name originates. Albanian music is characterised by the use of the çiftelia (an authentic Albanian instrument), mandolin, mandola and percussion.

About the stamps
On the postcard 1142 
The stamp is part of the series Kosovar Costumes, issued on July 7, 2007:
• a Serbian ladies’ solemn dress (0.20 EUR)
• a characteristic costumes of Prizren region (0.30 EUR)
• a part of the "swords dancing" (0.50 EUR) - it's on the postcard
• a ladies’ costume in Drenica region (0.70 EUR)
• a dress of a shepherd in Rugova (1 EUR)

On the postcard 2734

The first stamp was issued on November 2015 to honor Qamili i Vogel (1923-1991), a famous Kosovo Albanian singer, composer, and the founder of the cultural-artistic society Ymer Riza.

The second stamp, issued also in 2015, was dedicated to Archeology.

The last stamp is one of the four which form the series Paintings, issued on January 13, 2014.

Albanians in Kosovo - Wikipedia
Traditional clothing of Kosovo - Wikipedia

Sender 1142: Zuedi
Sent from Prizren (Kosovo), on 25.06.2014
Photo: Denis Mani
Sender 2734: Ruedi Angehrn
Sent from Pristina (Kosovo), on 18.03.2015
Photo: Denis Mani 

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