Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, with 117 countries officially recognizing it so far. Pristina is the capital and largest city of this partially recognized Balkan state. Let’s take a virtual tour and discover what life is like in Pristina, Kosovo.
Kosovo’s Independence and Relations with Serbia
Kosovo has a complicated history with Serbia. Before independence in 2008, Kosovars engaged in great struggles against Serb control. Today, the two countries still have endless political tensions, with Serbia refusing to recognize Kosovo’s statehood.
The first countries to recognize independent Kosovo were the United States, Albania, and Costa Rica in 2008. Kosovo was last recognized by Israel in September 2020. Countries like Spain, Moldova, Greece, and China don’t recognize Kosovo due to their own territorial disputes.
The Culture and Religion of Pristina
With 95% of Kosovo’s population speaking Albanian, Pristina reflects Albanian culture. Islam is the dominant religion, with over 88% of the population identifying as Muslim. There are mosques everywhere in Pristina, around every 150-200 meters.
You can also find Orthodox Christian churches built by Serbs, especially in northern parts near the Serbian border. Despite this religious diversity, there is no imposition of Islam on people in Pristina. You can hear both the Islamic call to prayer and church bells ringing in the city.
Pristina’s Economy and Infrastructure
The economy in Pristina is fairly poor, with most people earning between 500-800 euros per month. Luxury cars and gadgets are cheap due to low taxes. However, infrastructure is quite lacking, with outdated public transport and tangled overhead cables marring the cityscape.
While Pristina is very safe, with polite drivers and no earthquakes, the city lacks basic amenities like a metro system or electronic public transport cards. Garbage collection is inefficient in many areas. The appearance of cables and trash hurts Pristina’s capital city image.
Top Tourist Attractions in Pristina
For tourists, Pristina offers tasty and cheap food like grilled meats and spinach pies. Accommodation is also very affordable. Top attractions include the central pedestrian street, the National Library, and the unfinished Orthodox cathedral.
You can view the city from the Sister Terasa Cathedral or see the iconic Statue of Liberty replica on a hotel rooftop. While tourism potential exists, persistent begging in public areas currently mars the visitor experience.
In summary, Pristina provides an intriguing look into life in the partially recognized state of Kosovo. While tensions with Serbia continue, the city offers cultural sights, religious diversity, and cheap prices for tourists. However, poverty and infrastructure deficits reveal Kosovo’s challenges as a new country.