This weekend, I took an overnight trip to Prizren, one of the most historic and beautiful cities in Kosova and the home of my translator Fjolla. Unlike many other cities in the country, Prizren suffered little physical destruction during the recent war; however, much of the Serbian hillside neighborhood was destroyed during the 2004 “unrest.”
I left Saturday at noon and was back by noon the next day. The bus trip took 2 hours and cost 4€ each way. I stayed at the Hotel Centrum (40€ for a single) located in heart of the old city: modern, comfortable, and wonderful for accessing the tourist sites (all free!) but a bit loud. I had a great supper at Ambient Restaurant for 8€, and breakfast came with the room. So, a great 24-hour outing totaling less than $75! (I hope to do the same later this month with Peja.)
Note: If you take the bus, you can walk from the station to the center in less than 15 minutes. Just look for the signs to the “Qendra.”
The visual highlight of the city is the medieval fortress (Kalaja) that can be reached only by foot and then only by passing through the destroyed Serbian neighborhood. The views from the citadel are breathtaking and well worth the 15 minutes of huffing and puffing it takes to get there. (Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and take a bottle of water. Also note that it can be very windy and terribly dusty.)
I tried to visit the Serbian church, which stands walled and guarded, but, despite the kind efforts of a monk and his cellphone, couldn’t gain access. I did visit, however, the main mosque (Sinan Pasha) a couple of blocks away. Non-Muslim visitors are welcome during non-prayer times; everyone must remove their shoes (and women don headscarves); never use a flash if you photograph.