Mitrovica, Kosovo

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Mitrovica
Albanian: Mitrovica or Mitrovicë
Serbian: Косовска Митровица or Kosovska Mitrovica
City and municipalities
Ibar Bridge, Sitnica river, Miners Monument, Ibar River, St. Dimitri Orthodox Church, Former Jadran Hotel, Sand's Mosque, Mitrovica at night panoramic view.
Ibar Bridge, Sitnica river, Miners Monument, Ibar River, St. Dimitri Orthodox Church, Former Jadran Hotel, Sand's Mosque, Mitrovica at night panoramic view.
Official seal of Mitrovica
Seal
Mitrovica is located in Kosovo
Mitrovica
Mitrovica
Location in Kosovo
Coordinates: 42°53′N 20°52′E / 42.883°N 20.867°E / 42.883; 20.867Coordinates: 42°53′N 20°52′E / 42.883°N 20.867°E / 42.883; 20.867
Country Kosovo[a]
District District of Mitrovica
Government
 • Mayor of Mitrovica Agim Bahtiri
 • Mayor of North Mitrovica Zoran Rakić
Area
 • Land 331 km2 (128 sq mi)
 • Urban 15.983 km2 (6.171 sq mi)
Elevation 500 m (1,600 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • City and municipalities 84,235
 • Urban
  • South: 46,132
  • North: 12,326
 • Metro
  • South: 71,909
  • North: 12,326
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 40000
Area code(s) +383 28
Car plates 02
Website

Mitrovica Municipality

North Mitrovica Municipality

Mitrovica or Kosovska Mitrovica (Albanian: Mitrovica, Mitrovicë; Serbian Cyrillic: Косовска Митровица) is a city in the northern part of Kosovo[a]. Settled on the banks of Ibar and Sitnica rivers, the city is the administrative center of the District of Mitrovica.

Following the North Kosovo crisis, in 2013, the Serb-majority municipality of North Mitrovica was created, dividing the city in two administrative units, both operating within the Kosovo legal framework.

According to the 2011 Census, in Mitrovica live 84,235 inhabitants, 71,909 of which in the southern municipality and 12,326 in North Mitrovica.[1] [2]

Name[edit]

In the middles ages the city was called "Demetrius" in honour of Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki. When the city came under Ottoman rule, it was renamed "Mitrovica", as happened to other locations in the Balkans named after Saint Demetrius.[3][4]

After President Tito's death, each of the constituent parts of Yugoslavia had to have one place named with the word 'Tito' (or 'Tito's') included, the city was then known as Titova Mitrovica (Титова Митровица) in Serbian or Mitrovica e Titos in Albanian, until 1991.

The city is now known as Mitrovica and Mitrovicë in the Albanian language and Kosovska Mitrovica (Косовска Митровица) in the Serbian language About this sound listen .

History[edit]

Middle Ages[edit]

Panoramic view of Mitrovica during World War I.

The city is one of the oldest known settlements in Kosovo, being first mentioned in written documents during the Middle Ages.[citation needed] The name Kosovska Mitrovica comes from the 14th century, from Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki,[citation needed] but there are some other legends on the origin of its name.[citation needed] Near Mitrovica is the medieval fortress of Zvečan, which played an important role during the Kingdom of Serbia under Nemanjić rule.

Under Ottoman rule Mitrovica was a typical small Oriental city. Rapid development came in the 19th century after lead ore was discovered and mined in the region, providing what has historically been one of Kosovo largest industries.

It became an industrial town, formerly the economic centre of Kosovo because of the nearby Trepča Mines. It grew in size as a centre of trade and industry with the completion of the railway line to Skopje in 1873–1878, which linked Mitrovica to the port of Thessalonika.[5] Another line later linked the town to Belgrade and Western Europe.[5] During World War II, the city was part of Axis-occupied Serbia. In 1948, Mitrovica had a population of 13,901 and in the early 1990s of about 75,000.[5]

Modern[edit]

Both the town and municipality were badly affected by the 1999 Kosovo War. According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the area had been the scene of guerrilla activity by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) prior to the war. It came under the command of NATO's French sector; 7,000 French troops were stationed in the western sector with their headquarters in Mitrovica. They were reinforced with a contingent of 1,200 troops from the United Arab Emirates, and a small number of Danish troops.

Monument to Serbian victims of Kosovo War

In the aftermath of the war, the town became a symbol of Kosovo's ethnic divisions. The badly damaged southern half of the town was repopulated by an estimated 50,000 Albanians. Their numbers have since grown with the arrival of refugees from destroyed villages in the countryside.[citation needed] Most of the approximately 6,000 Roma fled to Serbia, or were relocated to one of two resettlement camps, Cesmin Lug, or Osterode, in North Kosovska Mitrovica. In the north, live some 17,000 Kosovo Serbs, with 2,000 Kosovo Albanians and 1,700 Bosniaks inhabiting discrete enclaves on the north bank of the Ibar River. Almost all of the Serbs living on the south bank were displaced to North Mitrovica after the Kosovo War. In 2011, the city had an estimated total population of 71,601.

Bridge over the Ibar, which divides the city in two.

Mitrovica became the focus for ethnic clashes between the two communities, exacerbated by the presence of nationalist extremists on both sides. The bridges linking the two sides of the town were guarded by armed groups determined to prevent incursions by the other side. Because of the tense situation in the town, KFOR troops and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) police were stationed there in large numbers to head off trouble. However, violence and harassment was often directed against members of the "wrong" ethnic community on both sides of the river, necessitating the presence of troops and police checkpoints around individual areas of the city and even in front of individual buildings.

On March 17, 2004, the drowning of an Albanian child in the river prompted major ethnic violence in the town and a Serbian teenager was killed. Demonstrations by thousands of angry Albanians and Serbs mobilised to stop them crossing the river degenerated into rioting and gunfire, leaving at least eight Albanians dead and at least 300 injured. The bloodshed sparked off the worst unrest in Kosovo seen since the end of the 1999 war (in which 11 Serbs were killed). The local prison was the scene of an international incident on 18 April 2004 when Ahmed Mustafa Ibrahim, a Jordanian policeman working as a UN prison guard, opened fire on a group of UN police officers leaving a class, killing three.[6][7]

Kosovo Independence[edit]

Tensions rose considerably in the city of Mitrovica after Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008. Some 150 Kosovo Serb police officers refused to take orders from the ethnic Albanian authorities and were suspended.

Serb protesters prevented ethnic Albanian court employees from crossing the bridge over the Ibar River. UN police raided and seized the courthouse on March 14 using tear gas against Serbs and leaving some of them wounded.

The explosion of a hand-grenade injured several UN and NATO staff on March 17; UN forces were later withdrawn from the northern part of Mitrovica.[8]

The city of Mitrovica

The Serbian minority initially formed the Community Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija in the city, but it has no police force. Serbs refused to accept the jurisdiction of Kosovo courts,[9] Republic of Kosovo leaders have expressed concern over the future of the region, stating their commitment to keep Mitrovica part of Kosovo and prevent crime or war there.[10] with the 2013 Brussels Agreement Kosovo Serbs accepted the Pristina run police force and courts and vote on ballots with republic of Kosovo logos. Elected Serbs swear oaths to Republic of Kosovo.

"To build trust and confidence, Kosovo authorities need to be attentive to culture and religious symbols, such as the Serb Orthodox cemetery in Mitrovica, on the Albanian, south, bank of the Ibar. The main Albanian cemetery is in the North and intact. The Serb cemetery is devastated, hundreds of headstones in shards and the chapel at its centre desecrated and burned. Most of the damage dates to 1999 and March 2004, but also to 2007 and 2008. The site is unguarded and open to sporadic vandalism, some allegedly perpetrated by residents of a neighbouring Ashkali settlement apparently seeking to ingratiate themselves with Albanians by lashing out at Serbs. Northern Serbs often cite the two cemeteries as signs of their tolerance and Albanian hostility. The Kosovo authorities’ failure to repair and secure the graveyard sends a terrible message to Northern Serbs: this is what your future will look like, once you have integrated."[11]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1948 32,800 —    
1953 38,716 +3.37%
1961 50,747 +3.44%
1971 71,357 +3.47%
1981 87,531 +2.06%
1991 104,885 +1.83%
2011 84,235 −1.09%
Source: [1][12]

The city of Mitrovica in 2011 had 84,235 inhabitants, 71,909 of which were living in the southern municipality, while 12,326 in North Mitrovica municipality.[1] Since the 2011 census was not applied in the now four Serb-majority municipalities in North Kosovo, the data from an Update in 2008-2009 conducted by Kosovo Agency of Statistics(KAS) has been taken as official data for North Mitrovica municipality, as well as for the towns of Zvečan, Leposavić and Zubin Potok.[13] According KAS, 58,458 inhabitants were living in the urban area of the city: 46,132 of them in southern municipality, 12,326 in the north.[1]

The Kosovo war and post-war conflicts, the destruction of economy, especially the operating stoppage of industrial sector, as well as other socio-economic factors, have influenced in the high (whether internal, or external) emigration. While from 1948 (32,800 inhabitants) the city had a continual high growth of population, by tripling it in 1991 (104,885 inhabitants), in 2011 in Mitrovica were living only 84,235 inhabitants, a decrease from 19,29% from 1991.

In 2015, a wave of mass migration of about 100,000 Kosovo people towards Western Europe declined the total population of Kosovo for almost 5%. [14] During this period, 4,889 people fled south Mitrovica, which resulted in a population drop to 68,400 inhabitants. In 2015 the population of North Mitrovica municipality was slightly increased to 12,223 inhabitants. In total, according to Kosovo Agency of Statistics estimation, at the end of 2015, 80,623 people were living in the city of Mitrovica. [15]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Young people on the banks of Ibar river in Mitrovica

Mitrovica is characterized with a large ethnic diversity, dominated by Albanians and followed by Serbs, Bosniaks, Turks, Roma and other ethnic groups. In south municipality of Mitrovica, Albanians make 96.65% of the total population, while other ethnic groups are Roma, Turks, Bosniaks and others. According to 2011 census, only 14 Serbs live in south Mitrovica municipality.

Ethnic composition in south Mitrovica
according to 2011 census [16]
Group Population Percentage
Albanian 69,497 96.65%
Serb 14 0.02%
Turk 518 0.72%
Bosniak 416 0.58%
Roma 528 0.73%
Ashkali 647 0.9%
Egyptian 6 0.01%
Goran 23 0.03%
Other (specify) 47 0.07%
Prefer not to answer 61 0.08%
Not available 152 0.21%
Total 71,909 100%

Since North Mitrovica did not participate in population census conducted in April, 2011, the data is taken from the update 2008-2009 by Kosovo Agency of Statistics which is considered as official by Kosovo government. However, other different institutions have done other estimates that came up with different data.

In North Mitrovica, according to the Update 2009, conducted by Kosovo Agency of Statistics, Serbs and other ethnic groups make up 92.97% or 11,459 inhabitants, while 7.03% or 867 were Albanians.

Ethnic composition in North Mitrovica
according to 2009 Update [13]
Group Population Percentage
Albanian 867 7.03%
Serbs and others 11,459 92.97%
Total 12,326 100%

Religion[edit]

Mitrovica is diverse also regarding religion. Two main religious groups are Muslims and Orthodox Christians, while there exists also a small community of Catholic Christians. Albanians, Bosniaks, Turks, Roma and other smaller ethnic groups are mainly Muslim, while Serbs are Orthodox Christians. A small Albanian Catholic community also live in the city.

In the results of 2011 census, 71,422 people or 99.32% of total population of southern municipality of Mitrovica, were Muslims. Orthodox Christians were 11 or 0.02% of total population of municipality, while Catholic Christians were 42 or 0.06%.[17]

Since the area of North Mitrovica municipality was not covered by population estimation in 2011 by Kosovo Agency of Statistics, there are no official data on religion.

Isa Beg's Mosque (locally known as Sand's Mosque) in South Mitrovica
St. Demetrius Serbian Orthodox Church in North Mitrovica
Ruins of St. Peter's Basilica Church near Mitrovica
Albanian Catholic Church in southern part of Mitrovica

Education[edit]

In the southern municipality of Mitrovica there are 31 primary and lower secondary schools, which, since some of the schools function in separate parallels in different areas, operate in 42 educational facilities. In the southern municipality exists also 5 upper secondary schools. Although there is only one kindergarten, it has a large capacity, available for 300 kids. [18] The higher education is also provided through the Public University of Mitrovica "Isa Boletini" and University of Applied Sciences.[19]

In North Mitrovica there are 11 primary schools, four secondary schools and one kindergarten.[19] Regarding the higher education institutions, the public University of Pristina is functional. It hold the name University of Pristina after the Serbian faculties of the University of Pristina were relocated from Pristina to North Mitrovica after the Kosovo War. However, many institutions refer to it as University of Mitrovica, including UNMIK and EUA.[20][21]

There are two private universities that operate in the south Mitrovica, College "Fama" and International Business College Mitrovica (IBCM). IBCM has campuses in both municipalites of Mitrovica. [19]

Economy[edit]

The Trepča Mines are located in Mitrovica, though they are not operating. With the closure of the Trepča complex, the influx of refugees and IDPs and the lack of investment, unemployment (estimated at approximately 77%) has been prevalent among all communities in the Mitrovica municipality.

Culture[edit]

The City Museum of Mitrovica is located there.

Archaeological sites[edit]

The strategic position of the region of Mitrovica in the middle of two great rivers Ibar and Sitnica and its mineral wealth in Albanik (Monte Argentarum), made this location populated since prehistoric period. This region was populated by Illyrians, respectively Dardan tribe. The first data for the archaeological sites in the region of Mitrovica, begin with the researches of Sir Arthur John Evans, who was the first to pinpoint the Roman town of the Municipium Dardanourm. In the archaeological sites of the region of Mitrovica were found traces and objects from different periods such as; neolithic, Roman, late antiquity and medieval period. Objects and figurines include: fortress vestiges, necropolis, Terpsichore figure, statues, sarcophagus, altar, jewellery, etc.

Sports[edit]

Three football clubs are situated on the territory of Mitrovica: FK Partizan (in North Kosovska Mitrovica), and KF Trepça and KF Trepça'89 in south of the city. The two southern teams play in the Football Superleague of Kosovo. KF Trepça play at the Olympic Stadium Adem Jashari, which hosted Kosovo's first FIFA-recognised friendly international football match on 5 March 2014.[22]

Notable people[edit]

Nevena Božović, who represented Serbia in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2007 and with band Moje 3 in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013, was born in Kosovska Mitrovica in 1994

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Mitrovica is twinned with:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received recognition as an independent state from 110 out of 193 United Nations member states.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Kosovo Population Census 2011
  2. ^ "2011 Census: Mitrovica (demographics)". Kosovo Agency of Statistics/OSCE. 
  3. ^ Civitas Sancti Demetrii
  4. ^ "Kosovo's largest mosque in Mitrovica". World Bulletin. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Elsie, Robert. Historical dictionary of Kosovo. 
  6. ^ Wood, Nicholas (2004-04-18). "3 U.N. Police Die in Shootout At Kosovo Jail". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  7. ^ "International press on the UN police shooting incident in Kosovska Mitrovica". ERP KIM Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  8. ^ BBC, Peacekeepers hurt in Kosovo blast, 17.03.08
  9. ^ TransConflict, Kosovo – what to do with the north, ad interim, April 2010
  10. ^ UNMIK Headlines, March 2, 2009
  11. ^ North Kosovo: Dual Sovereignty in Practice. N°21. Crisis Group Europe Report. 14 March 2011. p. 11. 
  12. ^ 1961–2010 Natural changes of population in the Republic of Serbia by municipalities STATISTICAL OFFICE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
  13. ^ a b Kosovo Agency of Statistics - Census 2011
  14. ^ Al Jazeera 2015 Baffling Kosovo mass exodus exposes domestic hardships
  15. ^ Kosovo Population 2015 estimate in Albanian
  16. ^ Population by ethnic /cultural background sex and municipality 2011 Data for South Mitrovica
  17. ^ Population by religion,sex and municipality 2011 Data for South Mitrovica
  18. ^ GAP Insititute Municipal profile of Mitrovica -in Albanian
  19. ^ a b c Municipal Profiles of Republic of Kosovo Ministry of Local Governance Administration of Kosovo
  20. ^ "European University Association: University of Mitrovica". Eua.be. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  21. ^ Schusch, Klaus (2008). "Science and Technology in Kosovo/UNMIK" (PDF). INFORMATION OFFICE OF THE STEERING PLATFORM ON RESEARCH FOR THE WESTERN BALKAN COUNTRIES. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  22. ^ "Kosovo draw with Haiti on international bow". 

External links[edit]