Goraždevac (in Serbian; Гораждевац) or Gorazhdevc (in Albanian) is a village near the city of Peć in Kosovo. It has been inhabited since at least the thirteenth century, when it was mentioned in the chrysobull of Stefan Nemanja (or his son, Stefan the First-Crowned).
The village possesses the oldest log-cabin church in Serbia, constructed at the end of the sixteenth century and dedicated to Saint Jeremiah. Although very small, it has a complete nave and narthex. The old icons and church vessels are now kept in a new church nearby. In the late 1970s the church underwent extensive conservation and restoration works.
1990s and 2000s conflicts
As a Serb-inhabited enclave in a heavily Albanian-inhabited region of western Kosovo, Goraždevac has for several years[when?] been the scene of ethnic tensions between the two communities. It was the scene of attacks by the guerilla group, the Kosovo Liberation Army, in the late 1990s as they fought the occupying Serb paramilitary forces, accused of committing atrocities against the local Albanian population. After the end of the Kosovo War in June 1999, many of its population of around 2,000 Serbs fled attacks by Albanian militants, though some later returned. The population today is said to be around 850 people.
In June 2003, Veselin Besović from Goraždevac was sentenced by an international court in Peć to serve seven years in prison for crimes allegedly committed in the villages of Čuska and Zahać. He has appealed.
According to the 2011 census in Kosovo, the village had 570 people, of whom 255 were Serbs (44.7%), 148 were Albanians (25.9%), 139 Roma and Egyptians (24.4%), 26 Bosniaks (4.6%) and 2 others. It should be noted that the Serbs of southern Kosovo partially boycotted the census.
2003 Goraždevac murders
The village has come under repeated attack by Albanian extremists since the end of the Kosovo War and is one of a number of Kosovo Serb enclaves under 24-hour guard by troops from KFOR. In August 2003, a 19-year old Serbian teenager and a 12-year old boy were killed, with four more children wounded, with fire from automatic rifles, while swimming in the Bistrica river near Goraždevac. The attack occured just before 200 Kosovo Serb refugees were to return to their homes, and the return was quickly aborted following the incident. It was widely blamed on Albanian extremists but the culprits have not yet been found.
- Concerns in Europe and Central Asia: January to June 2003 (Amnesty International)
- "Two Serbs die in Kosovo attack". BBC. 13 August 2003. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "New Violence Feared in Kosovo After Death of 2 Serbian Youths". The New York Times. 15 August 2003. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Unsolved Crimes Add to Plight of Serbs in Kosovo". The New York Times. 15 August 2003. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "UN acts over Kosovo killings". BBC. 14 August 2003. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
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