To meet Prishtina was loads of mixed feelings … my first thought was just like Bangkok, which I hate and during my last lunch I thought – this is just like in Athens, that I love. It’s far from a flashy city.
There isn’t much that I would call really beautiful in Prishtina, except the people …. but still, the city amazed me and embraced me. There wasn’t much to see or do neither … because all it’s history was destroyed during the Civil war. Pristine is a city that is trying very hard to change.
It lives about 172.000 people in Prishtina, so it’s not only a young capital it’s also a very small. It became capital in 2008 when Kosovo brook away from Serbia.
It’s a city that wants so much but doesn’t have the strength to go all the way. Like the pavements … at daytime is parking lots for cars on most streets and you have to walk on the street. Pavements are not for anyone with walking difficulties, one minute excellent … next none … next server damaged … next half fixed, that is under 10 min walk. I dare to say that the only comfortable walking I had was along Mother Teresa Boulevard, which is very wide, even and no traffic.
Traffic is mad!!!!!
It’s a city that is very short of neon lights, they have a server problem with electricity. It happened twice during my days that all electricity went down, first time for about 45 min in the afternoon and last time for about 15 min in the evening.
Pristine has all new government buildings, but they are not especially flashy or extremely high. There is a couple in modern glass design, but still not over the top. Like the OSCE building (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) that stood ready in 2010.
With all the foreign help and support that are present in the city is there a lot of official buildings right in the city center. There quite a few embassies in Pristine and just now the US are building a new … big as a football stadium.
But there are some old buildings that have survived like … Jashar Pasha Mosque (1834), National Museum of Kosovo (1945), Clock Tower-Sahat Kulla (1900), Former Hotel Union building (1927) and Great Hammam (15th).
Then we have one of the ugliest buildings in the world (#19) – The National Library designed by Croatian architect Andrija Mutnjakovic and opened in 1982. I found it so beautiful inside with the mixture of different stones and wood, but outside with all metal frames, it felt like a prison. But sometimes the ugliest building can become beautiful all depends on how you look at it and what mood you’re in.
Next to the library I found the abandoned Christ the Saviour Cathedral, the building that caught my heart and soul. Even more after one of the hotel staff told me that it’s still standing because there is suppose to be a mass grave under it. When I looked into the total empty church I thought it was strange that it had a concrete flooring. Is an unfinished Serbian Orthodox Christian church whose construction began in 1995. Standing very lonely on the campus of the pre-war University of Prishtina.
There is quite a few war monument in Pristine, but I only visit the Newborn monument. It is located in front of the Palace of Youth and Sports and was unveiled on 17 February 2008, the day that Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, created by Fisnik Ismaili and creative agency Ogilvy Kosova.
Prishtina doesn’t have many international brands … all I saw was Tommy Hilfiger, Pandora, and Swarovski – there is a massive modern shopping mall outside the city, but it was too far away for me being interested and maybe there was more of them. There were small private shops that were carrying fashion from Zara, H&M, and C&A.
What stood out was that everyone was so well dressed and modern, consider an average salary is around 200€. They have beautiful leather shoes (not in my size) and handbags. Not all was with 6″ heels. At daytime, the ladies are very comfortable dressed … evening the heels are on.
Bridal and evening gowns is a massive business in Kosovo. The most amazing dresses, but not everything is beautiful. A bit over the top at times.
What Pristine have is loads of excellent cafes, taverns, and restaurants and I visit quite of few of them. Pristine also have a 5* hotel, Swizz Diamond Hotel on Mother Teresa Boulevard. I stayed on a fantastic 3* within 5 min walk to all the “action”, Hotel Prima (no website – link to Tripadvisor). I paid 144€ for a big comfortable room with big bathroom and breakfast for 4 nights, that is less what one night cost at the Swizz Diamond Hotel.
At Swizz Diamond Hotel I treated myself to a nice Cappuccino and massive tropical ice cream at their cafe terrace.
Prishtina International Airport “Adem Jashari” is a little gem. Far better than many massive airports when it comes to service and offers, plus it’s so helpful. It was awarded the Best Airport 2006 Award by Airports Council International (ACI). Winning airports were selected for excellence and achievement across a range of disciplines including airport development, operations, facilities, security and safety, and customer service.
In November 2008, it received for the first time in its history the annual one-millionth passenger (excluding military).
Would I return to Pristine???? YES!!!! For a few days to see what has happened to the city .. I would stay at Hotel Prima and I would get a hair cut Linda Salloni. The best haircut I ever had … even better than Warsaw ones and it only cost me 5€.
“Imagine having a city full of things
that no other city had.”