TRAVEL
Travel To Prizren, Kosovo

Travel To Prizren, Kosovo

Travel to Prizren, Kosovo from my location is an adventure in itself.  Prizren is located near the Šar (pronounced as Shar) Mountains and there’s a scenic way to get to Prizren from Ferizaj / Uroševac that takes you through this beautiful mountain range.

The two lane road twists and turns through the mountains much like Lombard Street in San Francisco, California does only on a grander scale.  During the winter months, snow chains are required for travel through this mountainous area because of the high elevation and heavy snowfall.  Spring, summer and fall in my opinion are the best times to make the trip because of the beautiful scenery you will encounter along the way.  There is another less treacherous route you can take during the winter.

Photograph of a section of the Šar Mountains in Kosovo

A section of the Šar Mountain range in Kosovo

There is a large hotel / restaurant along the way that has a balcony outside where you can enjoy your meal while looking at the surrounding mountains and valley below which is dotted with small villages and homes that are typical to Kosovo.

A section of the Šar Mountains and a valley below

One scenic point you can stop at to take photographs has a rushing mountain stream that passes under the roadway and beyond.

Photograph of a mountain stream flowing down from the Šar Mountains

Mountain stream in the Šar Mountains

Unfortunately, people who come to visit this area like to leave their trash behind and throw it anywhere they want to; which includes into the stream.  The Kosovaars in some places of Kosovo have a bad habit of doing this and hopefully once this country gets its act together, they will realize how unsightly and damaging this is to their country’s image and the environment.

As you continue to make your way to Prizren, you pass through two tunnels that were ‘punched’ through the mountains.  There’s nothing fancy about these tunnels and the rough rock face is visible as you pass through.

Along the way and just before you get into the city of Prizren, there is a section of a very old stone citadel that is visible high upon a hill.

Photograph of ancient ruins near Prizren Kosovo

Ruins of a citadel high upon a hill just outside of the city of Prizren Kosovo

Just below this old stone structure and just off of the side road you will also see a section of the remains of the Serbian Orthodox “Monastery of the Holy Archangels“.

Photograph of a section of the Serbian Monastery of the Holy Archangels in Prizren Kosovo

A section of the Monastery of the Holy Archangels ruins in Prizren Kosovo

Prizren itself is a very old city and has a very historic background that goes back to Roman times and the Ottoman Empire. It’s located in the southern region of Kosovo and the municipality of Prizren shares borders with Albania and the Republic of Macedonia.

Photograph of a view overlooking the city of Prizren Kosovo

The city of Prizren Kosovo

The citizens of Prizren are predominantly Albanian Muslims with the rest of the population made up of a mix of Bosnians, Serbs, Turks and Romas who are also known as “Gypsies”.  Although Islam is the dominant religion in Prizren, western fashion has made its appearance with the younger generation.

Photograph of three females dressed in western style clothing in Prizren Kosovo which is mostly Muslim

Western fashion favored and worn by Prizren and Kosovo’s younger generation

Old Mosques and Churches are scattered around the city. Unfortunately there were riots in 2004 and a lot of the churches were damaged, desecrated or destroyed.  Some the churches were either rebuilt or have been rehabilitated and look newer than the older religious sites in the area.  As of the date of this blog essay, you will still find the Kosovo Police maintain a physical presence on the church grounds in Prizren and they are there to protect the churches from being damaged again.   So don’t be surprised if you visit any of the churches in Prizren and a police officer suddenly appears.  They are just doing their job and you’re not in trouble.  :-)

Prizren and its surrounding areas is protected by German Kosovo Forces (KFOR) soldiers who can be seen strolling the streets or enjoying a coffee or Coke among the locals at one of the outside Cafés during the warmer months.  Other foreign KFOR soldiers from other countries who are also providing security in other parts of Kosovo are a familiar sight as well.

There are some must see landmarks in Prizren that offer great photographic opportunities.  Here are just a few:

The Church of Saint Nicholas is actually a very small Orthodox Christian church and is across the street from the Seminary of SS Cyril and Methodius.  There are still remnants of religious paintings found on the walls which are quite fascinating.  The Kosovo Police officer that guards the seminary also protects this site as well and paid us a visit when we disappeared through the gate.  She just stood there and watched us; no problem.Photograph of the exterior of Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Prizren Kosovo

Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas

Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hamam – Old Turkish Bath

The Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hamam is located in the center of Prizren and not far from the south end of the city.  The exterior of the Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hamam is in a lot better condition than its interior which needs an extensive restoration.  The small ‘polka dots’ on the domed roofs are actually small openings to let natural light in.

Photograph of the Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hamam Turkish Bath In Prizren Kosovo

Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hamam – Historic Turkish Bath

Old Stone Bridge

Photograph of the Old Stone Bridge in Prizren Kosovo

The Old Stone Bridge

Sinan Pasha Mosque

The Sinan Pasha Mosque is a dominant sight in the south end of the city of Prizren.  There’s a lot of history behind this mosque which involves its construction.  Depending on who seems to write about it the stone used for the Sinan Pasha Mosque is reported to have come from the Holy Archangels’ Monastery which had been abandoned during the Ottoman Empire.  Historically there has been tension between the majority Muslim Albanians and the minority Serbian Orthodox Christians.  This has been part of Kosovo’s turbulent past and why NATO and KFOR forces are still in Kosovo since the war ended in 1999.  So, depending on who writes what, you get different versions.  That’s why I have included two different links for you to look at if you wish to do so.  Unfortunately because of my job I am prohibited from entering mosques here in Kosovo so I did not have a chance to look inside.

Photograph of the Sinan Pasha Mosque in Prizren Kosovo

Sinan Pasha Mosque

Sadervan Square

Sadervan Square is a great place to have something to eat or drink and people watch at the same time.  In the photograph below, my travel partners and I had a mochiatto, a popular Kosovo coffee kind of like a cappuccino, while sitting under the faded red awning.  This was a great vantage point to just watch Prizren life walk by.  A sadervan is a fountain and  in this square you will find a public drinking fountain that is continuously flowing.  Unfortunately I don’t know the source of the water and it’s not like the water dribbles out.  When having a machiatto in Kosovo you are also given a glass of water with it.  So, our waiter came to our table with glasses filled from this fountain.  Saves on their water bill for sure.  There is supposedly a myth that if you drink from this fountain you will return to Prizren again. I have had water from it and have been to Prizren twice, but that’s because I like the atmosphere here. Or was it the water…  :-)  There’s also another drinking fountain at the base of the Sinan Pasha Mosque as well.

Photograph of Shadervan Square in the south end of the City of Prizren Kosovo

Sadirvan Square

Photograph of two men drinking from the Sardirvan fountain in Prizren Kosovo

The Sardirvan In Sardirvan Square, Prizren Kosovo

Prizren is one of my favorite destinations for a day trip here in Kosovo. It’s clean and has maintained an old world feel to it.  There are other sites to see  in Prizren as well to include the “Kaljaja” (Prizren Fortress) perched high up on a hill overlooking the city. I tried  to drive up to this site with my very helpful travel buddy’s and it was a huge pain in the butt.  The streets kept getting get narrower and narrower; twisted and turned much like the road through the mountains  and there was barely enough room for one vehicle to pass through.  The upward incline of the road was insane!  I was driving a standard transmission vehicle and when we got back down in the city my clutch leg was shaking, heart was thumping, and adrenaline free-flowing; all to the amusement of yet again, my travel buddy’s.  I hear there is a video of this excursion that exists, but it would have to be rated “R” because of strong language.  Maybe someday when we return to Prizren we will finally make it up there.

I hope you enjoyed this photo essay of Prizren and maybe someday you will have the chance to visit as well.  It is definitely a fascinating place to see.

Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think or if you have any questions. I would be love to hear from you.

Happy and safe ‘wanderings’ to you!

About VacationWanderer

I have 'wandered' pretty much around the world but still have a lot to see and experience. My favorite things to do in life are travel, photography, and learning new languages or foreign language phrases to use along the way. "Hello", "Thank You", and "Please" in any language will open many doors for you. :-) I love to share my travel experiences with people and hope to inspire those who are still just thinking about it.

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