10. Kosovo – Pristina

Pristina.. Pristina… Pristina… is in Kosovo but my iphone says the pictures were taken in Serbia. Before I made my journey to Kosovo, many people had asked me either “What? Kosovo, that’s a country? where is that?” or “Hayoung, why are you going into a war zone.. is that a safe place..?” Clearly many people (including myself before I had seen the place with my own eyes) didn’t know anything about Kosovo. You could just tell by people’s reaction. One time, I told my guy friend living in Korea that I was going to Kosovo.. and his reaction was … “why do you always travel to weird unknown places..?” Well… Despite the fact that Kosovo is an “unpopular” or “still in conflict zone”, I had so much fun. I think if people have opportunity, they should go visit the place. You can see the livelihood of Kosovo, and you will feel energetic.

After spending couple of days in Gjilan, Kosovo., I had chance to visit Pristina (capital of Kosovo) and spent several days there as well. After visiting Pristina, I truly understood why people had been calling Kosovo a fast developing and energetic country. You could see the new buildings coming up everywhere, and could see foreigners traveling (majorly European) around the city and there were many exciting restaurants available besides just Balkan foods; What I am trying to say is that variety of food choices were lot better in Pristina than Gjilan. Although I did not see any Asian people at all, one of my friends informed me that he had seen four Japanese people touring around the city. I wish I was there to witness the ASIANS walking around the city, that would have been hilarious. We probably had exchanged strange looks thinking “what the hell are you doing here…?” haha

You could see many historical buildings around the city, and you could tell Kosovars were very proud of them. University of Pristina, the best one in Kosovo, was structured nicely. Also right next to the university, there is Pristina National Library, which was quite impressive and weirdly designed. My friend who currently works at University of Pristina had explained to me what the structure and the design was based on, but … of course this chicken head had forgotten about it. Maybe i will google and Wikipedia it later.

University of Pristina Library
National Library

Kosovars are known to be the most friendly people on the earth. They have great respect towards each other of different background. Whether you are coming from Middle East, Asia, North America, Europe… Whether you are Asian, African, European… Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist… whatever you are, they are willing to accept you as a unique individual.  Just walking around the city, my Kosovar friend was pointing out different places for worshipers of different religions. They were very proud of them.

Orthodox Church
Very old, historical Orthodox Church

It was during Ramadan that I visited Pristina … and considering the fact that the majority of people living in Kosovo are Muslim, the city was exceedingly quite during the day (until the sundown). The city came to alive after the sundown, and there were so many people on the street ! The restaurants suddenly became so busy and so many street venders unpacked their belongings for people to buy. It was just a very interesting experience for me as I never had been in a place where the majority of population are Muslim.

There were so many cars on the street as well. I did not recognize many nice cars but there were many decent cars. There were many taxis around the city, and you could easily negotiate the price if you want to… (actually I didn’t really understand how the taxi worked but… I made it !) The thing is in Kosovo, you do not have to worry about getting ripped off because you are a foreigner. Everywhere else I have been to, I had to worry about my belongings constantly and was tired of getting ripped of just because … I obviously look like a foreigner. What I am trying to say here is that, you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off by taxi drivers in Kosovo. People are generally honest about the price, and I always felt very safe. Also, when I was in Gjilan, and had gone to a fruit vender to buy some fruits… and they gave me some discount just because I was a foreigner visiting their wonderful country !! :)

Street View
Street View – Cars

One place you must visit if you are travelling in Pristina is a place called NewBorn Monument. It is colored with flags that have recognized Kosovo as a sovereign nation. It was great to see two of my flags that were painted on the NewBorn Monument: The United States of America and South Korea. Kosovo is still struggling to be recognized as a sovereign nation. There are still many countries that do not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign nation but there some, which do recognize Kosovo.  As a Korean American, and a person who has been to Kosovo and studied Kosovo’s struggle for independence.. I personally recognize Kosovo as a strong sovereign nation, but I would like to avoid any conflicts or any complicated debates over this issue as I believe the issue should be solved peacefully between Kosovo and Serbia… (which have been failing).

NewBorn Monument

Thank you for your time and I will continue writing stories about Kosovo.
To be continued: Kosovo – Mirusha Fall

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34 thoughts on “10. Kosovo – Pristina”

    1. Kosovo is Independent and it welcomes all people to visit! Sorry, Gogi, no matter how big letters you write -Kosovo is Kosovo, free and proud!

  1. Just couple of facts. Kosovo is Serbian Land. Orthodox churches and monasteries that you could see around Kosovo are not Albanian and they cannot be proud on something that doesn’t belong to them. Just couple of years ago they were burning and demolishing same churches. Albanians came to Kosovo during Turkish occupation after domestic Serbian population has been pushed away. Kosovo is named by Serbs and it means in (of course) Serbian language “place of Black Bird”. You cannot come to somebodies home and pronounce that home as yours because your family is bigger in number then owners family.

    1. Sure, I appreciate your comment. This is lot more diplomatic then people who’s just commenting “Kosovo is Serbia Forever <3" You are actually trying to state the facts instead of disrespecting someone else opinion. I am Korean American, and I only visited Kosovo for 10 days, so how can I say I know everything about what is going on between Kosovo and Serbia. I was merely writing down on my blog of what I saw in Kosovo and what my experience was. I did not intend on attacking anybody. Also you mentioned in your comment, "just couple of years ago they were burning and demolishing same churches" Can you please show me some evidence ? like internet articles? or any journal blogs that are talking about this? I would love to read about this, so please.

      In my opinion history is always complicated.. full of "he said she said" That is what many of Asian countries are dealing with as well… for example Japan/China Senkaku/Diaoyu Island issue, South Korea/Japan Dokdo/Takeshima Island dispute,,,, they always refer back to the period of history that will benefit their opinion… and they always fail to look at the situation through each others' eyes. Like I said, i am neither Kosovar nor Serbian, so I wish to stay out of the situation… but I just stated the fact that the U.S and South Korea recognized the sovereignty of Kosovo, therefore I do.

      Think about the Korean peninsula… The entire country was divided during Cold War without any official Korean government representing their position… and the country is still divided. It will never be able to reunite because of other forces that are determining the future of Korea. This makes me really upset. Korean peninsula problem should be resolved between the two Koreas (yes others can help/comment w/e but it should mainly be between North and South Korea). What I am trying to say is that the problem should be resolved between Kosovo and Serbia instead of others trying to "help" .. please notice that I quoted help…

      1. I do respect your opinion about Kosovo and I am not trying to start another discussion about Serbian/Albanian relations but I had to react on you statement that Kosovars are very proud of different places for worshipers of different religions. That’s just not true (not to use stronger word). I can post couple of links for you but I am sure that you can find it on Google as well if you want to.

        I didn’t post anything about Korea problem, and specially, I was not trying to be “smart” after two days that I have spent in Seoul couple of years ago.
        You have been to Kosovo for 10 days and you know already everything about and you recognize Kosovo as a strong sovereign nation?
        What to say?

      2. Thank you for posting the articles. Yes, you certainly did not post anything about Korea but that was an analogy i was drawing so that it helps you to understand the point i was trying to make. I brought up the korean problem so that you understand the Kosovo problem should be dealt between Serbia and Kosovo and don’t let others interfere. It seems like either your English is not good enough to analyze a passage or you simply dont try to understand others. I said i only visited Kosovo for ten days so that you understand that i do not fully understand everything that is going on… But it seems like you failed to understand that sentence as well.
        I said i recognize the sovereignty of Kosovo because the US and South Korea recognizes Kosovo… So i was not being “smart” but stating the facts.. I am sorry that 101 UN countries recognize the sovereignty of Kosovo..,, and according to you they are just trying to be “smart” …

        Also, do i live under a dictatorship government or under a communist government ? I have no problem seeing me stating, “Kosovars are very proud of different places for worshipers of different religions” i said that because that is what i felt and saw. It does not matter whom you think they are because this is my own personal blog and my job is to post what i felt and describe the accuracy of the situation that i experienced.

        I am sorry that’s what i saw and felt when i was in Kosovo, and certainly feel free to create your own blog to post your own experience.

      3. Orthodox church in the village Samodreža in Vushtrria dedicated to the Beheading of St John the Baptist , known for being in it , according to tradition , communion army Prince Lazar before the Battle of Kosovo , remains desecrated and destroyed , and the Albanians for years used as a garbage dump reveals .
        This church was desecrated , broken metal door on it , and the altar was turned into a landfill and a public toilet .
        Demolition of the church in Samodreža goes on from the arrival of international forces in Kosovo in 1999. year. Since then, the church was repeatedly vandalized and in very poor condition. On this address you can see pictures, and if you wish you can translate text with Google translate from Serbian . You sure can post what ever you feel is true, but so can we that disagree with you. The problem is when someone close eyes on facts.

  2. Hi Kim. Amazing to stumble upon your blog! I’m preparing for a 1-month research fieldwork in Kosovo next year and I’m searching the net for some helpful travel tips. I find your posts about Kosovo interesting and informative. Please write more information about it (perhaps, include hotel and restaurant reviews and transportation options,). Or maybe you already did but I haven’t found them yet. Anyway, just want to say hi, keep blogging and safe travels.

    1. Hello, Thank you for visiting my blog. Sorry for the super late reply, but Happy New Year ! :) if you have any questions about Kosovo, besides what i have wrriten in my blog, please feel free to ask me any questions. I have lots of Kosovar friends as well. I visited Balkan region quite a few times as well. I wish you the safe travel as well, and hope you continue to visit my blog. :)

  3. Wow. A Korean in Kosovo! Greetings from a Kosovar who has studied Korean in Seoul!! Nice to hear u liked Kosovo and the people. I had a blast in Korea and met some wonderful people there as well. Somehow the livelihood of Seoul reminded me of Kosovo and I felt at home.

  4. Wow. A Korean in Kosovo!! Greetings from a Kosovar who has studied Korean in Seoul :) Glad to hear u liked it and had nice experiences with the people. Somehow the livelihood of Seoul reminded me of Kosovo and I actually felt at home even though I’d be in the middle of Gangnam (quite different from any place in Kosovo.) Keep up the good work!!

    1. Correction: American – Korean in Kosovo :) Still equally awesome!! I visit Kosovo once every year since I live in Sweden and I’ve not seen my tourists there. It’s nice to see that some people are taking interest in the country!

      1. Hello, eminemiftari, I am glad you visited my website. Thank you for reading my blog posts, and I really enjoyed my time in Kosovo. :) It’s really cool that you visited Korea.. and it is cool that I visited your homeland. Would you mind sending me a quick email ? I would love to send you personal greeting :)

  5. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly helpful & it
    helped me out a lot. I’m hoping to give something back and aid others like
    you helped me.

  6. Annyeonghaseyo!!
    I am an albanian who was born in Norway. I’m 18 years old and I’m thinking about moving to South korea because its a beautiful place. I am so glad that you enjoyed your stay in Kosovo! Have a good day :) I really loved your post, and it makes me happy knowing that there are people who wants to visit Kosovo. thank you so much!

    1. Hello ! I have lots of Albanian friends ! and I loved Kosovo ! If you ever visit Korea, i hope you enjoy the place. I’v been to Kosovo and Macedonia.. what a shame I could not visit Albania ! I would love to go back to Balkan one day to visit Albania, I heard the beaches in Albania are beautiful ! Thanks for visiting my blog ! :)

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  9. O my God it’s so nice to read good things about your country from a stranger. And i’m glad that you like it. I didn’t know anything about South Korea when randomly one day I heard a song by kpop , and from that day I was more interested although with a great desire to come there I don’t think that is possible. And about Asian people in Kosovo they are in Prizren because they have their shops here ( I’m from Prizren). Thank you for these words and come back again you’re welcome.

  10. Annyeonghaseyo!
    nice blog kim :) i am Chinese from MAlaysia but living in Prishtine, Kosovo. If you come again next time lets meet :) i love to have korean friends.i watch korea drama and running man everyday :P

    1. plus most chinese ppl stay in the shops in fushe kosovo, or in asian restaurant or another city, not many left, it was about 300 ppl and now only 30+ left :( ive friend from japan that work here

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