With a reputation as one of the most welcoming places in Europe, Pristina is becoming a trendy weekend break destination. Kosovo is a young country with a young demographic makeup: 70% of its population are under 35. This along with its reemergence from the upheavals of the 20th-century gives its cities, including Pristina, a forward-looking vibe. This area of Eastern Europe has been settled since Palaeolithic times with the city eventually becoming a trading centre for the expansive Ottoman Empire. During the Second World War, Kosovo became part of Albania and only regained its independence in 2008.
Things to Do
As you stroll around the streets of Pristina, you'll see evidence of its varied past everywhere, such as the Soviet-style Youth and Sports Palace that's now revitalised as a shopping centre. The country's new blue and yellow flag flies proudly, while the Albanian Eagle and yellow "Newborn" signs are frequent reminders of recent change and regeneration.
A Turkish delight
Emin Gjiku is an ethnological museum delivering a fascinating insight into life under the Ottoman Empire. Housed in a beautiful old estate, its gracious rooms are full of hand-woven carpets, richly decorated furniture, lavish ornaments and traditional costumes.
An architectural talking point
The National Library gets everybody talking. You either love or hate it! Opened in 1982, it's composed of concrete cubes topped with 73 small white domes. The architect used cubes and domes as a way of bringing together features of both Ottoman and Byzantine influences.
Make like a local
Make like a local in the evening from Spring through to Autumn and take a Korza. The population heads out into the streets to see and be seen, chat over coffee or beer and generally wander with no fixed destination. It's also seen as a great way of taking in fresh air before the harsh Winter descends.
Calendar of Events
Annual festivals and events in Pristina are seen as a way of bringing the population together, and despite being quite a small city, it hosts several throughout the year. With the variety on offer from jazz and classical music to river-rafting on tyres, you're going to find something that suits your tastes.
40 Bunar Fest. This is definitely not a traditional festival but held solely for fun. Dare-devils throw themselves into the cold River Bistrica in December for a competitive race on tractor tyres. Fun to watch, but entering is not for the faint-hearted!
Freedom Festival. Taking place in June, this event is the only large music festival held in Kosovo and was started to celebrate the country's liberation by NATO troops in 1999. It grows in stature each year, with performances by both national and international music stars.
The Pristina International Film Festival. Held annually in July since 2008, it was seen as a way of promoting the country's new cultural and artistic image to the world. New releases from the Kosovan film industry are screened alongside international movies.