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Pristina

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Pristina
Prishtina or Prishtinë  (Albanian)
Приштина or Priština  (Serbian)
City
Clockwise from the top: panoramic view, the clock tower, the skanderbeg square, the National Library, the Newborn monument, the Government Building, the Skanderbeg monument, the National Museum and a view of Prishtina at night.
Clockwise from the top: panoramic view, the clock tower, the skanderbeg square, the National Library, the Newborn monument, the Government Building, the Skanderbeg monument, the National Museum and a view of Prishtina at night.
Prishtina Municipality Seal.svg
Seal
Pristina is located in Kosovo
Pristina
Pristina
Location in Kosovo
Coordinates: 42°40′N 21°10′E / 42.667°N 21.167°E / 42.667; 21.167
Country Kosovo[a]
District District of Pristina
Government
 • Mayor Shpend Ahmeti (Vetëvendosje)
Area
 • City 572 km2 (221 sq mi)
Elevation 652 m (2,139 ft)
Population (12–2013)[1]
 • City 211,129
 • Density 370/km2 (960/sq mi)
 • Urban[2] 211,129
 • Metro 504,165
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Area code(s) +383 38
Website Municipality of Pristina (Albanian)

Pristina, also Prishtina[3][4](Albanian: Prishtinë, IPA: [pɾiʃtinə] or Priština Serbian Cyrillic: Приштина), is the capital and largest city of Kosovo.[a] It is the administrative center of the homonymous municipality and district.

Geographically, it is located in the north-eastern part of Kosovo close to the Goljak mountains. The city is situated some 250 kilometres north-east of Tirana, 90 kilometres north of Skopje, 520 kilometres south of Belgrade and 300 kilometres east of Podgorica. Being Kosovo's largest city, Pristina is a hometown of many of the major local universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies.

One of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča culture, evolved within the Pristina area in the 8th millennium BC. In ancient times, Illyrians and Romans inhabited the region. In the 4th century BC, the king of Dardanians, Bardyllis brought various tribes together in the area of Pristina, establishing the Dardanian Kingdom.[5][6][7] The ancient city of Ulpiana, near Pristina, was considered one of the most important Roman cities in the Balkans. In the middle ages, Pristina was an important town in Medieval Serbia. It was a royal estate of Stefan Milutin, Stefan Uroš III, Stefan Dušan, Stefan Uroš V and Vuk Branković.[8] During the ottoman period, Pristina was classified as an important mining and trading center on the Balkan market due to its position near the rich mining town of Novo Brdo. The city was known for its trade fairs and items, such as goatskin and goat hair, as well as gunpowder produced by artisans from Pristina in 1485.[9] The first mosque in Pristina was built in the late 14th century, while under the Serbian rule.[10] Pristina has always been considered as a city where tolerance and coexistence in terms of religion and culture has been part of the society in the last centuries.

The city has a majority Albanian population, alongside other smaller communities. In 2011, the population of Pristina was 198,000.[11]

Etymology

The name of the city is derived from a Slavic form *Prišьčь, a possessive adjective from the personal name *Prišьkъ, (preserved in the Kajkavian surname Prišek, in the Old Polish personal name Parzyszek, and in the Polish surname Pryszczyk) and the derivational suffix -ina 'belonging to X and his kin'.[citation needed] The name is most likely a patronymic of the personal name *Prišь, preserved as a surname in Sorbian Priš, and Polish Przybysz, a hypocoristic of the Slavic personal name Pribyslavъ.[12]

A false etymology[citation needed] connects the name Priština with the Serbian word prišt (пришт), meaning 'ulcer' or 'tumour', referring to its 'boiling'.[13] However, this explanation cannot be correct, as Slavic place names ending in -ina corresponding either or both to an adjective or the name of an inhabitant lacking this suffix are built from personal names or denote a person and never derive, in these conditions, from common nouns (SNOJ 2007: loc. cit.). The inhabitants of this city call themselves Prishtinali in local Gheg Albanian or Prištevci (Приштевци) in the local Serbian dialect.

History

Further information: History of Kosovo
Historical affiliations


Dardani Period 4th Century BC–2nd Century BC
Roman Empire c. 168 BC–c. 330 AD
Byzantine Empire c. 330–c. 850
First Bulgarian Empire c. 850–c. 1018
Byzantine Empire c. 1018–1040
Peter Delyan's Bulgaria 1040–1041
Byzantine Empire 1041–1072
Constantine Bodin's Bulgaria 1072
Byzantine Empire 1072–1180
Serbian Grand Principality 1180–1217
Second Bulgarian Empire 1218–c. 1241
Kingdom of Serbia c. 1241–1346
Serbian Empire c. 1346–1389
 Ottoman Empire 1389–1689
Holy Roman Empire 1689–1690
 Ottoman Empire 1690–1912
Kingdom of Serbia 1912–1915
Bulgaria Kingdom of Bulgaria 1915–1918
Kingdom of Serbia 1918
 Kingdom of Yugoslavia 1918–1941
Albanian Kingdom (Kingdom of Italy) 1941–43
Albanian Kingdom (Nazi Germany) 1943–44
NKOJ 1944–45
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia SFR Yugoslavia 1945–1992
Serbia and Montenegro FR Yugoslavia 1992–1999
United Nations UNMIK 1999–2008
Kosovo Republic of Kosovo 2008–present

Prehistory

Further information: Archaeology of Kosovo

In prehistory, the succeeding Starčevo culture, Vinča culture, Bubanj-Hum culture, Baden culture were active in the region.[14] The area in and around Kosovo has been inhabited for nearly 10,000 years. During the Neolithic age, Kosovo lay within the areal of the Vinča-Turdaş culture which is characterised by West Balkan black and grey pottery. Bronze and Iron Age tombs have been found in Rrafshi i Dukagjinit.[15]

Antiquity

Further information: Illyrians, Dardanian Kingdom, and Ulpiana
Ruins of Ancient Ulpiana situated south-east of Pristina. The city played an important role in the development of one of the most important cities in the Roman province of Dardania.

The area in and around Pristina has been inhabited for nearly 10,000 years.[16] Early Neolithic findings were discovered dating as far back as the 8th century BC, in the areas surrounding Pristina, i.e.: Matiçan, Gračanica and Ulpiana.[16][17] In the 4th century BC, Bardyllis brought various tribes together in the region, establishing the Dardanian Kingdom.[5][6][7] After the Roman conquest of Illyria in 168 BC, Romans colonized and founded several cities in the region, which they named Dardania.[18]

During the Roman period, Pristina was part of the province of Dardania and Ulpiana was considered one of the most important Roman cities in the Balkans. In the 2nd century AD, Ulpiana became a Roman municipium. The city suffered tremendous damage from an earthquake in AD 518.[19] The Byzantine Emperor Justinian I decided to rebuild the city in great splendor and renamed it Justiniana Secunda but with the arrival of Slav tribes in the 6th century the city again fell into disrepair.[19]

Middle Ages

See also: Ottoman Kosovo
The inscription above the entrance of Imperial Mosque built during the Ottoman rule

In Serbian Archbishop Sava's Life of Saint Simeon, written between 1201 and 1208, the župe (counties) of Sitnica and Lipljan are mentioned, which had territory around present-day Pristina. Pristina was 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.[8][20] The medieval fort of Višegrad, whose ruins lie three kilometres east of the city centre, was mentioned in Milutin's time,[21] and served as his capital,[22] and the nearby Gračanica monastery was founded by him in ca. 1315.

Pjetër Bogdani contributed a force of 6,000 Albanian soldiers to the Austrian army which had arrived in Pristina and accompanied it to capture Prizren.

The first historical record mentioning Pristina by its name dates back to 1342 when the Byzantine Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos described Pristina as a 'village'.[16][better source needed] In the course of the 14th and 15th centuries, Pristina developed as an important mining and trading center thanks to its proximity to the rich mining town of Novo Brdo, and due to its position of the Balkan trade routes. The old town stretching out between the Vellusha and Prishtevka rivers which are both covered over today, became an important crafts and trade center. Pristina was famous for its annual trade fairs (Panair)[16] and its goat hide and goat hair articles. Around 50 different crafts were practiced from tanning to leather dying, belt making and silk weaving, as well as crafts related to the military – armorers, smiths, and saddle makers. As early as 1485, Pristina artisans also started producing gunpowder. Trade was thriving and there was a growing colony of Ragusan traders (from modern day Dubrovnik) providing the link between Pristina's craftsmen and the outside world.[16] The first mosque was constructed in the late 14th century while still under Serbian rule.[16] The 1487 defter recorded 412 Christian and 94 Muslim households in Pristina, which at the time was administratively part of the Sanjak of Vučitrn.

In the early Ottoman era, Islam was an urban phenomenon and only spread slowly with increasing urbanization. The travel writer Evliya Celebi, visiting Pristina in the 1660s was impressed with its fine gardens and vineyards.[16] In those years, Pristina was part of the Vıçıtırın Sanjak and its 2,000 families enjoyed the peace and stability of the Ottoman era. Economic life was controlled by the guild system (esnafs) with the tanners' and bakers' guild controlling prices, limiting unfair competition and acting as banks for their members. Religious life was dominated by religious charitable organizations often building mosques or fountains and providing charity to the poor. During the Austrian-Turkish War in the late 17th century, Pristina citizens under the leadership of the Catholic Albanian priest Pjetër Bogdani pledged loyalty to the Austrian army and supplied troops. He contributed a force of 6,000 Albanian soldiers to the Austrian army which had arrived in Pristina. Under Austrian occupation, the Fatih Mosque (Mbretit Mosque) was briefly converted to a Jesuit church.[16] Following the Austrian defeat in January 1690, Pristina's inhabitants were left at the mercy of Ottoman and Tatar troops who took revenge against the local population as punishment for their co-operation with the Austrians. A French officer traveling to Pristina noted soon afterwards that "Pristina looked impressive from a distance but close up it is a mass of muddy streets and houses made of earth".[16]

Modern

Plaque on a war memorial in Pristina. The text reads At this location on October 23, 1944, German Nazis executed 104 Albanian patriots who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of their country - Society of anti-Nazi and national liberation veterans of Kosovo.
The Monument of Brotherhood and Unity in the centre. Brotherhood and unity was a popular slogan of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.

The year 1874 marked a turning point. That year the railway between Salonika and Mitrovica started operations and the seat of the vilayet of Prizren was relocated to Pristina. This privileged position as capital of the Ottoman vilayet lasted only for a short while. from January until August 1912, Pristina was liberated from Ottoman rule by Albanian rebel forces led by Hasan Prishtina.[23] However, The Kingdom of Serbia opposed the plan for a Greater Albania, preferring a partition of the European territory of the Ottoman Empire among the four Balkan allies.[24] On October 22, 1912, Serb forces took Pristina. However, Bulgaria, dissatisfied with its share of the first Balkan War, occupied Kosovo in 1915 and took Pristina under Bulgarian occupation.[25] In late October 1918, the 11th French colonial division took over Pristina and returned Pristina back to what then became the 'First Yugoslavia' on the 1st of December 1918.[25] In September 1920, the decree of the colonization of the new southern lands' facilitated the takeover by Serb colonists of large Ottoman estates in Pristina and land seized from Albanians.[25] The interwar period saw the first exodus of Albanian and Turkish speaking population.[16][25] From 1929 to 1941, Priština was part of the Vardar Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

On 17 April 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered unconditionally to axis forces. On 29 June, Benito Mussolini proclaimed a greater Albania, with most of Kosovo under Italian occupation united with Albania. There ensued mass killings of Serbs, in particular colonists, and an exodus of tens of thousands of Serbs.[26][27] After the capitulation of Italy, Nazi Germany took control of the city. In May 1944, 281 local Jews were arrested by units of the 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian), which was made up mostly of Muslim Albanians. The Jews were later deported to Germany, where many were killed.[28][29] The few surviving Jewish families in Pristina eventually left for Israel in 1949.[16] As a result of World War II and forced migration, Pristina's population dropped to 9,631 inhabitants.[16]

The communist decision to make Pristina the capital of Kosovo in 1947 ushered a period of rapid development and outright destruction. The Yugoslav communist slogan at the time was uništi stari graditi novi (destroy the old, build the new). In a misguided effort to modernize the town, communists set out to destroy the Ottoman bazaar and large parts of the historic center, including mosques, catholic churches and Ottoman houses.[16] A second agreement signed between Yugoslavia and Turkey in 1953 led to the exodus of several hundreds more Albanian families from Pristina. They left behind their homes, properties and businesses.[16] However, this policy changed under the new constitution ratified in 1974. Few of the Ottoman town houses survived the communists' modernization drive, with the exception of those that were nationalized like today's Emin Gjiku Museum or the building of the Institute for the Protection of Monuments.[citation needed]

As capital city and seat of the government, Pristina creamed off a large share of Yugoslav development funds channeled into Kosovo. As a result, the city's population and its economy changed rapidly. In 1966, Pristina had few paved roads, the old town houses had running water and Cholera was still a problem. Prizren continued to be the largest town in Kosovo. Massive investments in state institutions like the newly founded University of Pristina, the construction of new high-rise socialist apartment blocks and a new industrial zone on the outskirts of Pristina attracted large number of internal migrants. This ended a long period when the institution had been run as an outpost of Belgrade University and gave a major boost to Albanian-language education and culture in Kosovo. The Albanians were also allowed to use the Albanian flag.[citation needed]

Within a decade, Pristina nearly doubled its population from about 69,514 in 1971 to 109,208 in 1981.[16] This golden age of externally financed rapid growth was cut short by Yugoslavia's economic collapse and the 1981 student revolts. Pristina, like the rest of Kosovo slid into a deepening economic and social crisis. The year 1989 saw the revocation of Kosovo's autonomy under Milošević, the rise of Serb nationalism and mass dismissal of ethnic Albanians.[16]

Kosovo War

Main article: Kosovo War
Graves of those who died in the Kosovo War in Pristina.
War-torn Pristina.

Following the reduction of Kosovo's autonomy by Serbian President Slobodan Milošević in 1989, a harshly repressive regime was imposed throughout Kosovo by the Yugoslav government with Albanians largely being purged from state industries and institutions.[16] The LDK's role meant, that when the Kosovo Liberation Army began to attack Serbian and Yugoslav forces from 1996 onwards, Pristina remained largely calm until the outbreak of the Kosovo War in March 1999. Pristina was spared large scale destruction compared to towns like Gjakova or Peć that suffered heavily at the hands of Serbian forces. For their strategic importance, however, a number of military targets were hit in Pristina during NATO's aerial campaign, including the post office, police headquarters and army barracks (today's Adem Jashari garrison on the road to Kosovo Polje).[citation needed]

Widespread violence broke out in Pristina. Serbian and Yugoslav forces shelled several districts and, in conjunction with paramilitaries, conducted large-scale expulsions of ethnic Albanians accompanied by widespread looting and destruction of Albanian properties. Many of those expelled were directed onto trains apparently brought to Pristina's main station for the express purpose of deporting them to the border of the Republic of Macedonia, where they were forced into exile.[30]

On, or about, 1 April 1999, Serbian police went to the homes of Kosovo Albanians in the city of Pristina/Prishtinë and forced the residents to leave in a matter of minutes. During the course of Operation Horseshoe, a number of people were killed. Many of those forced from their homes went directly to the train station, while others sought shelter in nearby neighbourhoods. Hundreds of ethnic Albanians, guided by Serb police at all the intersections, gathered at the train station and then were loaded onto overcrowded trains or buses after a long wait where no food or water was provided. Those on the trains went as far as Đeneral Janković, a village near the Macedonian border. During the train ride many people had their identification papers taken from them.[31]

— War Crimes Indictment against Milošević and others
Modern Pristina

The majority Albanian population fled the town in large numbers to escape Serb policy and paramilitary units. The first NATO troops to enter Pristina in early June 1999 were Norwegian special forces from FSK Forsvarets Spesialkommando and soldiers from the British Special Air Service 22 S.A.S,[32][33] although to NATO's diplomatic embarrassment Russian troops arrived first at the airport. Apartments were occupied illegally and the Roma quarters behind the city park was torched. Several strategic targets in Pristina were attacked by NATO during the war, but serious physical damage appears to have largely been restricted to a few specific neighbourhoods shelled by Yugoslav security forces. 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.[34]

As a capital city and seat of the UN administration (UNMIK), Pristina has benefited greatly from a high concentration of international staff with disposable income and international organizations with sizable budgets. The injection of reconstruction funds from donors, international organizations and the Albanian diaspora has fueled an unrivaled, yet short-lived, economic boom. A plethora of new cafes, restaurants and private businesses opened to cater for new (and international) demand with the beginning of a new era for Pristina.[citation needed]

Geography

Geology

The artificial Lake of Batllava was created during the communist era as a water supply source for the Pristina and Podujeva region.

Pristina is located at the geographical coordinates 42° 40' 0" North and 21° 10' 0" East and covers 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi). It lies in the north-eastern part of Kosovo close to the Goljak mountains. There is a good view of the Sharr Mountains which lie several kilometres away in the south of Kosovo. In fact Pristina has grown so much these past years that it has connected with Fushë Kosovë.

There is no river passing through the city now, but there was one that passed through the center. The river flows through underground tunnels and is let out into the surface when it passes the city. The reason for covering the river was because the river passed by the local market and everyone dumped their waste there. This caused an awful smell and the river had to be covered.[citation needed] The river now only flows through Pristina's suburbs in the north and in the south.

Hydrography

Main article: Water in Pristina

Pristina is one of the municipalities with the most severe water shortages in the country.[35] Citizens of Pristina have to cope with daily water curbs due to the lack of rainfall and snowfall which has left the city's water supplies in a dreadful condition.[35] The current water resources do not fulfil the needs of the overgrowing population of Pristina. The water supply comes from the two main reservoirs of Batllava and Badovc.[35] However, there are many problems with the water supply that comes from these two reservoirs which supply 92% of the population in Pristina.[36] As such, the authorities have increased their efforts to remedy the situation and to make sure that such crises do not hit the city again.[37]

Environment

After the war of 1999, the city has changed dramatically.[citation needed] The City Park of Pristina has been fully changed with new stone pathways, tall trees, flowers have been planted and a public area has been built for children.[citation needed] Lately a new green place called Tauk Bashqe has been built a halfway between the Gërmia and the City Park.[citation needed] After the reconstruction of the Mother Teresa Square, many trees and flowers have been planted. Many old buildings in front of the government building have been cleared to provide open space.[citation needed]

Climate

Pristina has a humid continental climate (Dfb in the Köppen climate classification), with maritime influences. The city features warm summers and relatively cold, often snowy winters.

Climate data for Pristina (1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.8
(60.4)
20.2
(68.4)
26.0
(78.8)
29.0
(84.2)
32.3
(90.1)
36.3
(97.3)
39.2
(102.6)
36.8
(98.2)
34.4
(93.9)
29.3
(84.7)
22.0
(71.6)
15.6
(60.1)
39.2
(102.6)
Average high °C (°F) 2.4
(36.3)
5.5
(41.9)
10.5
(50.9)
15.7
(60.3)
20.7
(69.3)
23.9
(75)
26.4
(79.5)
26.7
(80.1)
23.1
(73.6)
17.1
(62.8)
10.1
(50.2)
4.1
(39.4)
15.5
(59.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) −1.3
(29.7)
1.1
(34)
5.0
(41)
9.9
(49.8)
14.7
(58.5)
17.8
(64)
19.7
(67.5)
19.5
(67.1)
15.9
(60.6)
10.6
(51.1)
5.1
(41.2)
0.4
(32.7)
9.8
(49.6)
Average low °C (°F) −4.9
(23.2)
−2.8
(27)
0.2
(32.4)
4.2
(39.6)
8.5
(47.3)
11.4
(52.5)
12.5
(54.5)
12.3
(54.1)
9.4
(48.9)
5.0
(41)
0.9
(33.6)
−3.1
(26.4)
4.4
(39.9)
Record low °C (°F) −27.2
(−17)
−24.5
(−12.1)
−14.2
(6.4)
−5.3
(22.5)
−1.8
(28.8)
0.5
(32.9)
3.9
(39)
4.4
(39.9)
−4.0
(24.8)
−8.0
(17.6)
−17.6
(0.3)
−20.6
(−5.1)
−27.2
(−17)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 38.9
(1.531)
36.1
(1.421)
38.8
(1.528)
48.8
(1.921)
68.2
(2.685)
60.3
(2.374)
51.6
(2.031)
44.0
(1.732)
42.1
(1.657)
45.4
(1.787)
68.2
(2.685)
55.5
(2.185)
597.9
(23.539)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 13.6 12.3 11.4 12.1 12.8 11.9 8.3 7.9 7.5 8.6 12.3 14.5 133.2
Average snowy days 10.2 8.3 6.2 1.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 3.4 8.1 38.2
Average relative humidity (%) 83 77 70 65 67 67 63 62 68 74 80 83 71
Mean monthly sunshine hours 70.8 96.0 143.0 184.0 227.9 246.3 299.3 289.6 225.8 173.5 96.9 70.2 2,123.3
Source: Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia[38]

Politics

Main article: Politics in Pristina
Kosovo's Government building is a 16 story high-rise located in the Skanderbeg Square.

Being the capital city influences the politics, culture and economic aspects of the whole country. Pristina is the seat of the country's national government. The Mayor of Pristina is one of the most influential political figures in Kosovo as well as serving as an urban figure through the youth of the city. Kosovo is known for having the youngest population in Europe with an average of 25 years old.[39] In the last elections in 2013, Shpend Ahmeti, a professor of economics, gathered most of the youth of Pristina around his campaign also due to the fact that he was nearly 30 years younger than Isa Mustafa. His team and staff consisted of young people, and Ahmeti delivered a more modern public image, presenting himself closer to the voters. A lot of young people chose to volunteer in his meetings, therefore his campaign in general represented a novelty in Kosovan politics.[40] Ahmeti promised to go to work by public transport in order to save money from the use of expensive official cars and has been doing so until now.[41]

City Council

The City Council of Pristina consists of 51 members. One out of three of the members have to be women according to the Statute of the Municipality approved in 2010. The City Council has seen the LDK having the most members in all elections held until now. In the 2013 elections, although LDK candidate Isa Mustafa lost to Shpend Ahmeti, the LDK won 18 seats in Assembly with Vetëvendosje with 10. The PDK followed with 8 seats and the AKR with 4.[42] The current head of the City Council is Halim Halimi from the LDK.[43] In February 2014 a majority of the City Council after a heated debate, voted to sell the official car of the municipality in order to decrease the distance between the politicians and the population.[44]

Demographics

Map showing the population density by enumeration Area.
Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1991 161,314 —    
1998 225,388 +4.89%
2000 564,800 +58.30%
2013 504,165 −0.87%
Source: "OSCE Priština municipal profile" (PDF). . [a]

In 2012, Pristina had a population of 205.133 inhabitants[45] The rural part of the municipality as well as the area near the center of Pristina, in terms of socio-economic processes is under the influence of population dynamics, both in terms of demographic regime, which is more expansive, and in addition mechanical population. This part of the municipality has a high density of population. The density of population in the municipality of Pristina is 247 inhabitants per square kilometres.[46] While the population density of suburban area of the municipality without Pristina, as an urban center, is 123 inhabitants per km²[47]

As an urban center with representative functions and its economic strength, has changed the population structure. With the surrounding space has become increasingly a concentration to a large population. While the mountain area, especially more distant areas have a displacement due to depopulation, especially after the Kosovo War. The network of settlements in the territory of the Municipality of Pristina has some specifics. Such as distribution of settlements depends on the degree of economic development, natural conditions, socio-political circumstances, position. One of the features is also uneven distribution of the settlements. According to the last census in 1991 (boycotted by the Albanian majority), the population of the Pristina municipality was 199,654, including 77.63% Albanians, 15.43% Serbs and Montenegrins, 1.72% Muslims by nationality, and others.[48] This census cannot be considered accurate as it is based on previous records and estimates.

In 2004 it was estimated that the population exceeded half a million, and that Kosovar Albanians form around 98% of it. The Serbian population in the city has fallen significantly since 1999, many of the city's Serbs having fled or been expelled following the end of the war. In early 1999 Pristina had about 230,000 inhabitants. There were more than 40,000 Serbs and about 6,500 Romas with the remainder being Albanians.

Religion

Main article: Religion in Pristina

As the rest of the country, the majority of its population consider themselves Muslim. The small minority of Pristina’s religious population, practices Christianity in the form of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. It has always been considered as a city where tolerance and coexistence in terms of religion and culture has been part of the society in the last centuries. When the city became under the rule of the Serbian Empire during the Middle Ages, Eastern Orthodoxy was a predominant faith other than Roman Catholicism.[49]

All inhabitants of Pristina have the right to freedom of belief, conscience and religion, which are guaranteed to all persons in Pristina and Kosovo. Christianity has been around in Pristina for a long time, going back all the way to the time of the Dardanian Kingdom and Roman Empire. Islam in Pristina began to be spread very early, during the Ottoman Rule. Before the Battle of Kosovo in 1369 the whole Balkan was Christianized by the Western and Eastern Roman Empire. From that time until 1912 Kosovo was governed by the Ottoman Empire resulting in high level of Islamization.

Economy

Further information: Economy of Kosovo

Pristina is the economic heart of Kosovo and home to many domestic and international companies operating in the country. Major roads and railways pass through Pristina and connect the northern part of the country to the south and the west with the east. Since the Independence of Kosovo, the city has undergone significant changes in the past 9 years, vastly modernizing and expanding the road infrastructure, urban transport and air transport.[50] Years before its declaration of independence in 2008, Kosovo and in particular its capital Pristina have been a large financial and business center in the Balkans with a GDP of 4.0% in 2009.[51]

The Lakrishte area, a former industrial zone in the center of Pristina, was designated by the government as high-rise area with many complex buildings. The regulation of this plan started in 2008. Some of the buildings include the ENK Tower (among the largest in the Balkans), the World Trade Center, the AXIS towers and the Arting Highrise.[52]

Infrastructure

Main article: Transport in Pristina
The International Airport of Pristina is one of the largest in the Balkans.
Pristina traffic in the evening.

Pristina is the transport hub of road, rail and air in Kosovo. The city's buses, trains and planes together all serve to maintain a high level of connectivity between Pristina many different districts and beyond. Analysis of Traffic Police have shown that from 240.000 cars registered in Kosovo, around 100.000 cars or 41% of them are from the region of Pristina. Pristina railway station is located near the city centre.

R7 Motorway is the first motorway constructed in the region and linking the Albanian border at the village of Vërmicë with Pristina. The construction of the motorway started in April 2010 and finished in 2013. The R7, along the A1 Motorway in Albania, have set the travel time from Pristina to Tirana to 3 hours.[53] Once the remaining E80 Pristina-Merdare section project will be finalized and completed. The project will link the Adriatic Sea with the Pan-European corridor X at the European route E80 near the town of Merdare between the disputed Kosovo-Serbia border.

The R6 Motorway is a currently under construction. Forming part of the European route E65, it is the second motorway constructed in the region and will link the capital with the Macedonian border at Hani i Elezit, which is about 20 kilometres from Skopje.

The Pristina International Airport is located some 15 kilometres southwest[54] of Pristina.[55] It is Kosovo's only international airport that handles over 1.7 million passengers per year and the only port of entry for air travelers to Kosovo.[56] In year 2006 PIA was awarded the best Airport 2006 award. It is under the authority of the Republic of Kosovo. The Airport is a secondary hub for Adria Airways of Slovenia.

Pristina effectively has two train stations. Pristina railway station lies west of the center, while Fushë Kosovë railway station is Kosovo's railway hub.[57] Pristina is serviced by a train that travels through Pristina to Skopje daily. The station is located in the industrial section of Pristina.

Tourism

Main article: Tourism in Pristina

Pristina is the primary tourist destination in Kosovo as well as the main air gateway to the country.[58] It is known as a university center of students from neighbouring countries as Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. In 2012, Tourism in Pristina attracted 36,186 foreign visitors.[59] which represents 74.2%[60] Most foreign tourists come from Albania, Turkey, Germany, United States, Slovenia, Montenegro, Macedonia, with the number of visitors from elsewhere growing every year.[61]

The city has a majority of luxury hotels, modern restaurants, bars, pubs and very larg nightclubs. Coffee bars are a representative icon of Pristina and they can be found almost everywhere. The largest hotels of the city are the Swiss Diamond and the Grand Hotel Prishtina situated in the heart of the city. Other major hotels present in Pristina include the Emerald Hotel, Sirius Hotel and Hotel Garden.

Some of the most visited sights near the city include the Batlava Lake and Marble Cave, which are also among the most visited places in country.[62] Pristina has played a very important role during the World War II, being a shelter for Jews, whose cemeteries now can be visited.[63][64][65]

Culture

Main article: Culture in Pristina
The Kosovo Museum is the earliest institution of cultural heritage in Kosovo, established with the goal of preserving, restoration-conservation and presentation of movable heritage on the territory.
The National Library of Kosovo is known for its unique history, and the style of the building designed by Croatian architect, Andrija Mutnjaković followed by controversies about the outside appearance of it.

As the capital city of the Republic of Kosovo, it is the center of cultural and artistic development of all Albanians that lives in Kosovo. The Department of cultural affairs is just one of the segments that arranges the cultural events, which make Pristina one of the cities with the most emphasized cultural and artistic traditions. Pristina is home to the largest cultural institutions of the country, such as the National Theatre of Kosovo, National Archaeology, Ethnography and Natural science Museum, National Art Gallery and the Ethnological Museum. Among the local institutions are the National Library of Kosovo which has more than 1.8 million books, periodicals, maps, atlases, microfilms and other library materials.

There are many foreign cultural institutions in Pristina, including the Albanian Albanological Institute, the German Goethe-Institut[66] and Friedrich Ebert Foundation.[67] Other cultural centers in Pristina are, the French Alliance Française[68] and the British Council.[69] The Information Office of the Council of Europe was also established in Pristina.[70]

Sights

The Goddess on the Throne is one of the most precious archaeological artifacts of the country and has been adopted as the symbol of Pristina.
left: The Clock Tower served as a means of informing the town in order to let people know when to pray as well as the traders closing their shops. right: Catholic Cathedral of Blessed Mother Teresa.

Historical monuments in Pristina are made up of 21 monuments out of a total of 426 protected monuments all over Kosovo.[71] A large number of these monuments date back to the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.[72]

Since 1945, the Yugoslav authorities followed the idea of constructing a modern Pristina by relying in the urban development motto “destroy the old, build the new”[73] and this resulted with major changes in the structure of the buildings, their function and their surrounding environment.[74]

However, numerous types of monuments have been preserved, including four mosques, a restored orthodox church, an Ottoman bath, a public fountain, a clock tower, several traditional houses as well as European-influenced architecture buildings such as Kosovo Museum.[75] These symbolize the historical and cultural character of Pristina as it was developed throughout centuries in the spirit of conquering empires (Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian).[72]

The Hivzi Sylejmani library was founded 70 years ago and it is one of the largest libraries regarding the number of books in its inventory which is nearly 100.000. All of those books are in service for the library's registered readers.[76]

The Mbretëresha e Dardanisë (Queen of Dardania) or Hyjnesha ne Fron (The Goddess on the Throne) is an artifact that was found during some excavations in 1955[77] in the area of Ulpiana,[78] a suburb of Pristina. It dates back to 3500 BC in the Neolithic Era and it is made of clay.[79] In Pristina there is also "Hamami i Qytetit"(The City Bath) and the house of Emin Gjika which has been transformed to the Ethnographic Museum. Pristina also has its municipal archive which was established in the 1950s and holds all the records of the city, municipality and the region.[76]

Music

Well-known singer Rita Ora was born in Pristina to Albanian parents.

Albanian music is considered to be very rich in genres and their development. But before talking about genre development, a key point that has to be mentioned is without doubt the rich folklore of Kosovo most of which unfortunately has not been digitalized and saved in archives. The importance of folklore is reflected in two main keys, it is considered a treasure” of cultural heritage of our country and it helps to enlighten the Albanian history of that time, and the importance of that is of a high level especially when mentioning the circumstances of our territory in that time.[80][81] Folklore has also served as inspiration and influence in many fields including music composition in the next generations[82] One of the most notable and very first composers, Rexho Mulliqi in whose work, folklore inspiration and influence is very present.[83]

When highlighting the music creativity and its starts in Kosovo and the relation between it and the music creativity in Albania even though they have had their development in different circumstances, it is proved that they share some characteristics in a very natural way. This fact shows that they belong to one "Cultural Tree".

Some of few international music artists of Albanian heritage are born and raised in the city including Rita Ora, Dua Lipa and Era Istrefi.

Theater

Main article: Theatres in Pristina

The city of Pristina hosts only three active theatres such as the National Theater of Kosova, Oda and Dodona Theatre placed in center of Pristina. They offers live performances every week. The National Theatre is placed in the middle downtown of the city, near the main government building and was founded in 1946.[84] ODA Theatre is situated in the Youth Centre Building and Dodona Theatre is placed in Vellusha district, which is near Ibrahim Rugova Square.

The National Theater of Kosovo is the highest ranked theater institution in the country which has the largest number of productions. The theater is the only public theater in Kosovo and therefore it is financed by Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. This theater has produced more than 400 premieres which have been watched by more than 3 million spectators.[85]

Festivals and Fairs

Peter Donohoe playing piano in Pristina in 2013.

Festivals and events are one of some things that people in Pristina enjoy properly, without rushing to get it over with. Despite having quite a small territorial space, Pristina has a pleasant number of festivals and events. The diversity of festivals makes it possible for people of different tastes to find themselves in a city this small.

The Prishtina International Film Festival screens prominent international cinema productions in the Balkan region and beyond, and draws attention to the Kosovar film industry. It was created after the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence. After its Independence in 2008, Kosovo looked for ways to promote its cultural and artistic image.

One of major festivals include the Chopin Piano Fest Pristina that was established for the first time on the occasion of the 200th birth anniversary of Frédéric Chopin in 2010 by the Kosovo Chopin Association.[86] The festival is becoming a traditional piano festival held in spring every year. It is considered to be a national treasure.[87] In its 5 years of formation it has offered interpretations by both world-famous pianists such as Peter Donohoe, Janina Fialkowska, Kosovo-Albanian musicians of international renown like Ardita Statovci, Alberta Troni and local talents.[88][87] The Festival strives to promote the art of interpretation, the proper value of music and the technicalities that accompany it.[87] The Festival has served as inspiration for the formation of other music festivals like Remusica and Kamerfest.[88]

The DAM Festival Pristina is one of the most prominent cultural events taking place in the capital. It is an annual music festival which gathers young and talented national and international musicians from all over the world. This festival works on enriching the Kosovar cultural scene with the collision of the traditional and the contemporary. The festival was founded by back then art student, now well known TV producer, musician, journalist and manager of the Kosovo's Philharmonic Orchestra, Dardan Selimaj.[89]

Pristina had always a development in trading due to its position of the Balkan trade routes. Fairs started since the medieval period, at the time when it was famous for its annual trade fairs and its goat hide and goat hair articles. Despite that fact Pristina, or Kosovo in general is not known for occurrence of fairs. With the development of culture and especially after the last war in 1999, Pristina had a progress on holding these kinds of events. Every year various types of trade fairs take place in the capital city. The essence of these fairs is usually temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may last around 3 days, a week or even longer. They have grown in size and importance over the years. These fairs are organized annually and are open to trade visitors and public. The number of exhibitors and visitors is usually very high.

Academy of Sciences and Arts, honorary members include Albanian-American Nobel Prize winner, Ferid Murad and Mother Teresa.

Education

Main article: Education in Pristina

The city of Pristina is host to many higher education institutions. Finance, arts, journalism, medicine, dentistry, pharmaceuticals, veterinary programs, and engineering are among the most popular fields for foreigners to undertake in Pristina. This brings a many of young students from other cities and countries to Pristina. It is known for its many educational institutions such as the University of Prishtina, University of Arts and the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo. Today, the city hosts a considerable number of intellectuals, professors, academics, students and professionals in various spheres.

Among the first schools known in the city were those opened during the Ottoman period.[90] Albanians were allowed to attend these schools, most of which were religious, with only few of them being secular.[90]

Media

Main article: Media in Pristina

Media in Pristina include some of the most important newspapers, largest publishing houses and most prolific television studios of Kosovo. Pristina is the largest communications center of media in Kosovo. Almost all of the major media organizations in Kosovo are based in Pristina.[91] The television industry developed in Pristina and is a significant employer in the city's economy. The four major broadcast networks, RTK, RTV21, KTV and KLAN KOSOVA are all headquartered in Pristina. Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) is the only public broadcaster both in Pristina and in all of Kosovo as well, who continues to be financed directly by the state. All of the daily newspapers in Pristina have a readership throughout Kosovo. [92] An important event which affected the development of the media, is that in University of Pristina since 2005 is established the Journalism Faculty within the Faculty of Philology in which are registered a large number of youth people.[93]

Sports

Main article: Sport in Pristina

Pristina is the center of sport in Kosovo, where activity is organized across amateur and professional levels, sport organizations and clubs, regulated by the Kosovo Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.[94] Sport is organized in units called Municipal Leagues. There are seven Municipal Leagues in Pristina. The Football Municipal consists of 18 clubs, the Basketball Municipal 5 clubs, the Handball Municipal 2 clubs, Table Tennis and Chess 6 clubs each, the Karate Municipal 15 and the Tennis Municipal 2 clubs.[95]

Football is the most popular sport in the city. It is represented by KF Prishtina, which plays their home games in the City Stadium. Basketball has been also one of the most popular sports in Pristina and is represented by Sigal Prishtina. It is the most successful basketball club in Kosovo and is part of the Balkan League.[96] Joining it in the Superleague is another team from Pristina, RTV 21.[97]

Streetball is a traditionally organised sport and cultural event at the Germia Park since 2000. Apart from indoor basketball success, Che Bar team has been crowned the champion of the national championship in 2013. This victory coincided with Streetball Kosovo's acceptance in the FIBA.[98] Handball is also very popular. Pristina's representatives are recognised internationally and play international matches.[citation needed]

Notable people

Further information: Category:People from Pristina

International relations

Pristina is twinned with:

See also

Notes

  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 111 out of 193 United Nations member states.

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External links