Kosovo was declared independent in 2008 from Serbia. Its history starts since antiquity when the lands of modern day Kosovo were inhabited by the Illyrian tribes of Dardanai. They prospered and even created their own kingdom but after a strong defence, they were defeated and became part of the Roman Empire. The region was not noted for much during the Middle Ages but started flourishing again in the late Medieval and in the Ottoman Empire with cities as trade centres and on trade routes. The region was part of Ottoman Empire until 1912 when was invaded by Yugoslavia and spent the rest of the century in Yugoslavia. During the ’90 and until 2008 was part of the Republic of Serbia.
Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo and the largest city of the country, is located in the east of the country and stands where the ancient Roman city of Ulpiana once stood. After the fall of Rome, the city of Ulpiana was destroyed and began its downfall but Emperor Justinian I reconstructed the city and made it one of the most important strongholds of the north of Byzantine Empire. In the Middle Ages when the Serb kingdoms started to flourish, came the development of Prishtina as an important trading center because of its location almost in the heart of Balkans, in the important routes that went across the Balkans. The 19th and 20th centuries were times of great development for Prishtina but also difficult times because of the many wars.
Prizren is the second largest city in Kosovo and one of the oldest inhabitations of the country. It is believed that it has been an ancient settlement since 2nd century BC from Illyrian tribes and this is indicated by the fortress situated on the very top of the hill overlooking the whole city and a large area behind Prizren. During Middle Ages flourished as a city of trade and on the way of the trade routes and as well some benefits came from the well-positioned fortress. The Ottoman invasion has left its mark in Prizren in the typical Ottoman buildings where to be noted is the famous house of the League of Prizren.
The site called Justiniana Secunda was lcoated in the same place of the modern day Ulpiana, listing this small town of Kosovo in the Archaeological Sites of Exceptional Importance list. The ruins of the ancient roman town are located only 9 kilometers from Prishtina, layed in a fertile land and close to a mine used since the glorious times of Rome and still today. During the 3rd and 4th century AD, Ulpiana got the name that has today and was a major city continuing in the Byzantine Empire. After an earthquacke in 6th century, the emperor Justinian gave its name Justiniana Secunda. The first archaeological excavations started in the 1953 and since then have broght to light a long lost city of history, a whole site that was considered vanished. And to think that all started with the excavation of 4 graves and now is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, with numerous objects.
- Peja is internationally recognized as Pec. It is noted as an Illyrian settlement and was a known city in the Greek and Roman maps of Balkans under different names, but until Middle Ages remained as a small village in the mountains. Latter on was developed as a city in the major trade routes and grew large. The Serbian Orthodox Church build a few churches in the city and always gave special importance to Peje. In modern days, Peja is the largest city and the capital of the district. The old quarter of Peja is a mixture between Ottoman architecture buildings and a slight Slavic influence. As in any other city, the Ottomans build a mosque here to establish Islam and the mosque still stands strong here as one of the landmarks of the city.
Surface area: 10,908 km2
Time zone: GMT + 1
Population: Over 1.800.000
Coast line: It is a landlocked country
Climate: Mostly ocntinental climate with rough winters and hot summers.
Religions: Predominantly Islam
Official language and alphabet: Albanian language and Latin alphabet
Political system: Parliamentary Republic
Monetary unit: EURO
International telephone code: ++383
Pets: Allowed, is better to have a vaccination record and veterinary certificate.
Customs formalities: Expensive professional and technical equipment should be declared at the border crossing.
Traveling documents: To enter Kosovo you need a valid passport depending on international agreement between the countries.
Visa: If required, please check with the nearest Kosovo Consulate or Embassy
Currency: Foreign currency can be changed at Banks, Exchange Offices, Post Offices, Tourist agencies, hotels etc. All major cards (American Express, Visa, Euro/MasterCard, Diners) are accepted for a wide range of services.
Medical services: Medical care for foreigners can be provided at hospitals and clinics in all major cities in Kosovo.
Drivers: Valid documents for themselves and for the vehicle, as well as the green insurance card.
Rent-a-Car & Taxi: Cars and Taxi can be rented at the airport, in towns and in all major tourist centers.
Cellular phone range: Communication by cellular phone is possible throughout Kosovo
Postal services: Postage stamps are sold at post offices, hotel receptions and newspaper stands. FedEx, EMS and DHL air-express carrier services are also available. For international calls, besides using hotel and post office services, phone cards (for sale in all post offices) are used in all public phone booths.
Top Ten facts about Kosovo
Kosovo is one of the newest nations of the 21st century declaring independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008.
The capital is Prishtina. The Euro is the official currency of Kosovo.
Kosovo‘s terrain is mountainous with the highest peak, Gjeravica rising 8,714 feet above sea level. It has two main plains and several notable rivers and lakes.
The climate of Kosovo is continental with warm summers and cold and snowy winters because of its proximity to the Adriatic Sea and the west and mountain ranges to the east.
Kosovo is a member of the ‘International Monetary Fund,’ the ‘World Bank Group’, ‘International Development Association’ and the ‘International Finance Corporation’.
The most popular sports are basketball, canoeing, boxing, chess, soccer, gymnastics, swimming and table tennis.
The official language of the country is Albanian and Serbian. Bosnian, Turkish, Romani and Croatian are also spoken widely.
Kosovo has the highest morbidity rates in Europe in terms of diseases transmitted by water.
The natural resources include lead, zinc, copper, silver, gold, brown coal, bauxite, lignite and nickel. Agriculture, mining and micro-enterprises are the major industries prevailing in the country.
About 90% of the people are ethnic Albanians, most of whom are Muslim. The remaining 10% are mainly Orthodox Christian Serbs.
Top Ten famous Kosovo people