The old and new of Pristina
I spent the day exploring Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. I arrived here last night after deciding to leave Prizren but too late to head much further than the capital. Unlike Prizren this is definitely a city, not a town. It is characteristically cosmopolitan in a surprising sense. However underneath it is clear old traditions, views and divisions still reside however for just one day I’ll enjoy the sights.Staying on the main pedestrian plaza has it advantages. Restaurants and cafes yet again well out number the commercial shopping outlets. This is a place for people to meet and congregate and less about shopping. Similar to Prizren the centre of town appears mostly very young and predominantly female.
The area has many statues and monuments about their struggles for independence. Things remain quite raw here, the EU is ever present and you won’t find many government buildings where the Kosovoan flag isn’t accompanied by the flags of Albania, the E.U. and the United States.
Although most of the city’s heritage was lost during during the communist era, there remains a handful of older buildings, mostly religious.
There is also the new. The cathedral is still being finished.
Of course some of the communist-era construction remains, although mostly falling apart. The Palace of Youth and Sport epitomises the qualities of these times and affects on society. The scale and majesty is only defeated by the passage of time and detachment.
However just out the front is the well known newborn installation.
I looked a bit beyond the glossy cosmopolitan core of the city and found very quickly life returns to more normality. Close communities, rundown apartment buildings and local markets dominate outside the centre of power and finance.
Food is easy to come by, with and endless number of stores of all types wherever you walk. Last night I opted for an upmarket option, which still totalled well under €10.