April 9, 2016

2445 KOSOVO - Images of Pristina

2445 Pristina: 1. The tower clock; 2. Skanderbeg Square;
3. National Library of Kosovo; 4. Rugova Square.

Located close to the Goljak mountains, Pristina is the capital and largest city of Kosovo, a state located in the central Balkan Peninsula, which declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, recognised by 108 UN members (from 193). Southeast of the city, the remains of Ulpiana were discovered, the center of the Illyrian province of Dardania. Ulpiana was founded in the 2nd century during the rule of Roman Emperor Trajan, and renewed in the 6th century during the rule of  Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, after whom it was called Justiniana Secunda.

After the incursions of Slavs and barbarians during the early Middle Ages, the destroyed town of Ulpiana was abandoned, creating the locality for the new town of Prishtina, which became 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. It developed in the 14th and 15th century as a mining and trading center, and during the Ottoman rule was an important administrative center. During the Austrian-Turkish War of the 17th century, the Albanian population of Prishtina fought aside the Austrian army against the Ottomans.

In the middle of the 19th century, Prishtina was famous for its fairs (panair) of various crafts and trade articles, especially goat hide and hair articles, coppersmiths, pottery, embroidery, etc. The town was occupied by Serbs in 1912, then by Bulgarians in 1915, and finally by French, who returned it to what then became the First Yugoslavia on the 1st of December 1918. In 1941, after that Yugoslavia surrendered to axis forces, Benito Mussolini proclaimed a greater Albania, with most of Kosovo under Italian occupation united with Albania.

There ensued mass killings of Serbs, and the exodus of tens of thousands of them. Prishtina (with around 16,000 inhabitants), was the center of the prefecture with the same name. After the war, its population dropped to 9,631 inhabitants, but the communist decision to make it the capital of Kosovo in 1947 ushered a period of rapid development but also of outright destruction, and of an exodus of Albanians. The year 1989 saw the revocation of Kosovo's autonomy, the rise of Serb nationalism and mass dismissal of ethnic Albanians.

After enduring years of a bloody ethnic war in the 1990s followed by nearly a decade of United Nations occupation, Kosovo elatedly declared independence from Serbia in 2008. At the end of the war, almost all of the city's 45,000 Serb inhabitants fled from Kosovo and today only several dozen remain within the city. Now, Pristina is a place that is known as a university center of students from regional countries and it represents a plateau of the combination of native, Ottoman and Yugoslav culture. It is also the first touristic destination in Kosovo and its main air gateway.

The Clock Tower (Sahat Kulla) dates back to the 19th century and is one of the main sights in city. Following a fire, the tower has been reconstructed using bricks. The original bell was brought from Moldavia in 1764, but in 2001 it was stolen. On the center of the city is the Skanderbeg Square, with the statue of the hero of Albanians, George Castriot, known as Skanderbeg, and saw as a symbol of the struggle of Christendom against the Ottoman Empire.

 The National Library of Kosovo is known for its unique history, but also for the style of the building designed by Croatian architect Andrija Mutnjaković and inaugurated in 1982.  It is made with zenith windows, with a total 99 domes of different sizes and is entirely covered in a metal fishing net, which have their own particular architectural symbolism. In Rugova Square is the statue of Ibrahim Rugova, the first president of Kosovo, serving from 1992 to 2000 and again from 2002 to 2006.

Pristina - Wikipedia

Sender: Tobias Stritzke
Sent from Pristina (Kosovo), on 31.03.2016  

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