Today, my Fulbright colleague Rich Raymond and I took a trip to the city of Peja, the home of many of my actors, and the nearby Rugova Canyon, arguably the most beautiful location in Kosova (and the source of the water used to brew Peja beer).
Buses leave to and from Peja leave every 20 minutes and cost 5€ each way. The trip takes less than 90 minutes. From the station in Peja, you can take a taxi into the canyon, but you should determine in advance how far you’d like to go. After an initial miscommunication and a 30-minute drive that took us close to Montenegro, we backtracked and finally were dropped off appr. 4 kilometers from town at the tunnel and refreshment stands, and then we walked all the way back…a rather long walk but so worth it given the spectacular scenery.
Note: Be sure to wear good walking shoes and have water and sun protection; it was quite hot, and we got sunburned.
For the Serbs, the city (Peć) has great historical and religious value: at the edge of the city and the entrance to the canyon stands the Patriarchate, at one time the “Vatican” of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Also, the canyon is pocked with caves that once housed Orthodox hermits. (You can see several of these caves in the photos below.) The Patriarchate survived the war but today is walled and guarded by KFOR. Visitors are permitted after registering at the entrance gate. No photos are allowed near or in the compound. (The picture here comes from Wikipedia.) The church was closed when we visited, but the grounds were beautiful and serene.
Unfortunately, the city itself was devastated during the war: 80% of all residences were damaged or destroyed.** What remains or has been rebuilt is of limited tourist interest; you go to Peja to visit Rugova, which is plenty and well worth the trip.
I have not captioned the photos is the gallery below: no words can improve the images. You should know, however, that the yellow church in the middle of town is St. Catherine’s Roman Catholic Church. (Catholics seem to co-exist in Kosova with relative ease, tolerance, and peace.)
Note: If you double-click any image, you will go into slideshow mode.