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Kosovska Mitrovica
—  Municipality and city  —
Косовска Митровица (Kosovska Mitrovica)
Mitrovica (Mitrovicë)
Bridge over the Ibar, which divides the city in two.
Kosovska Mitrovica is located in Kosovo
Kosovska Mitrovica
Location in Kosovo
Coordinates: 42°53′N 20°52′E / 42.883°N 20.867°E / 42.883; 20.867
Country Kosovo[a]
District District of Kosovska Mitrovica
Area
 - Land 350 km2 (135.1 sq mi)
Population
 - Total 110.310 (municipality)
 Density 315/km2 (815.8/sq mi)
  As of 1998[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 40000
Area code(s) +381 28
Website Kosovska Mitrovica (Albanian)

Kosovska Mitrovica (Albanian; Mitrovica or Mitrovicë, Serbian: Косовска Митровица or Kosovska Mitrovica), is a city and municipality in northern Kosovo[a]. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous district.

Since the end of the Kosovo War of 1999 it has been divided between an ethnic-Albanian-majority south and an ethnic-Serb-majority north (the whole city, however, has an Albanian majority). Its northern part is the de facto capital of the Serb enclave of North Kosovo.

Contents

Name

The city was named "Civitas Sancti Demetrii" in the 14th century after Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki[2], a name that later became "Mitrovica", as happened to other locations in the Balkans named after Saint Demetrius[3][4].

After Tito's death, when each of the constituent parts of Yugoslavia had to have one place named with the word 'Tito' (or 'Tito's') included, the city was also known as Titova Mitrovica (Титова Митровица) in Serbian or Mitrovica e Titos in Albanian.

The city is known as Kosovska Mitrovica (Косовска Митровица) in Serbian About this sound listen and Mitrovica or Mitrovicë in Albanian.

History

Early history

The city is one of the oldest known settlements in Kosovo, being first mentioned in written documents during the Middle Ages. The name Mitrovica comes from the 14th century, from Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki,[citation needed] but there are some other legends on the origin of its name.[citation needed] Near Kosovska Mitrovica is the medieval fortress of Zvečan, which played an important role during the Kingdom of Serbia under Nemanjić rule.

Under Ottoman rule Kosovska Mitrovica was a typical small Oriental city. Rapid development came in the 19th century after lead ore was discovered and mined in the region, providing what has historically been one of Kosovo's largest industries.

Kosovska Mitrovica during and after the Kosovo War

Both the town and municipality were badly affected by the 1999 Kosovo War. According to the OSCE, the area had been the scene of guerrilla activity by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) prior to the war. It came under the command of NATO's French sector; 7,000 French troops are stationed in the western sector with their headquarters in Kosovska Mitrovica. They were reinforced with a contingent of 1,200 troops from the United Arab Emirates, and a small number of Danish troops.

In the aftermath of the war, the town became a symbol of Kosovo's ethnic divisions. The badly damaged southern half of the town was repopulated by an estimated 50,000 Albanians. Their numbers have since grown with the arrival of refugees from destroyed villages in the countryside.[citation needed] Most of the approximately 6,000 Roma fled to Serbia, or were relocated to one of two resettlement camps, Chesmin Lug, or Osterrode, in North Kosovska Mitrovica. In the north, some 8-10,000 Kosovo Serbs remained in their homes, with 2,000 Kosovo Albanians and 1,700 Muslim Slavs living in discrete enclaves on the north bank of the Ibar river. Almost all of the Serbs living on the south bank were displaced to the north. In 2003 the city had an estimated total population of 75,600 and the municipality's population is estimated to be some 105,000.

Kosovska Mitrovica became the focus for ethnic clashes between the two communities, exacerbated by the presence of nationalist extremists on both sides. The bridges linking the two sides of the town were guarded by armed groups determined to prevent incursions by the other side. Because of the tense situation in the town, KFOR troops and the UNMIK police were stationed there in large numbers to head off trouble. However, violence and harassment was often directed against members of the "wrong" ethnic community on both sides of the river, necessitating the presence of troops and police checkpoints around individual areas of the city and even in front of individual buildings.

On March 17, 2004, the drowning of an Albanian child in the river prompted major ethnic violence in the town and a Serbian teenager was killed. Demonstrations by thousands of angry Albanians and Serbs mobilised to stop them crossing the river degenerated into rioting and gunfire, leaving at eight Albanians dead and at least 300 injured. The bloodshed sparked off the worst unrest in Kosovo seen since the end of the 1999 war.

A Bosniak resident of southern Mitrovica was murdered after being overheard speaking Serbian[5].

The local prison was the scene of an international incident on April 18, 2004 when Ahmad Mustafa Ibrahim, a Jordanian policeman working as a UN prison guard, opened fire on a group of UN police officers leaving a class, killing three.[6][7]

Kosovo independence

Tensions rose considerably in the city of Kosovska Mitrovica after the Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008. Some 150 Kosovo Serb police officers refused to take orders from the ethnic Albanian authorities and were suspended.

Serb protesters prevented ethnic Albanian court employees from crossing the bridge over the Ibar River. UN police raided and seized the courthouse on March 14 using tear gas against Serbs and leaving some of them wounded.

The explosion of a hand-grenade injured several UN and NATO staff on March 17; UN forces were later withdrawn from the northern part of Mitrovica.[8]

The Serbian minority has formed the Community Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija in the city, but it has no police force. Serbs refuse to accept the jurisdiction of Kosovo courts. Republic of Kosovo leaders have expressed concern over the future of the region, stating their commitment to keep Kosovska Mitrovica part of Kosovo and prevent crime or war there.[9]

Demographics

Before the 1999 Kosovo War, the municipality had a population estimated by the OSCE to comprise some 116,500 people, 81% of them Kosovo Albanian, 10% Serb and the remainder other nationalities (notably Roma). Most of the non-Albanians lived in the town of Kosovska Mitrovica, which had a population of 68,000 – 71% Kosovo Albanian, with approximately 9,000 Serbs and 10,141 other nationalities. Kosovo Albanians lived throughout the city, but most Serbs lived in the north side, divided from the predominantly Albanian south side by the Ibar River.

Ethnic Composition, Including IDPs
Year/Population Albanians  % Serbs  % Bosniaks  % Roma/Ashkali  % Turks  % Total
1961 34,481 57.55% 21,533 35.94 59,913
1991 82,837 78 10,698 10.2 5,205 4.96 4,851 4.63 431 0.41
1998 95,231 81.74 10,447 8.96
Current figure N/A N/A 2,000 1.76 545 0.48 600 0.53
Source: 1991 census: FRY Institute of Statistics and UNHCR statistics of 1998/OSCE estimates. It is noted that the 1991 census was highly politicised and is thus unreliable.
Ref: OSCE [2]

Economy

The Trepča Mines are located in Kosovska Mitrovica, though they are currently not operating. With the closure of the Trepča complex, the influx of refugees and IDPs and the lack of investment, unemployment (estimated at approximately 77%) has been prevalent among all communities in the Kosovska Mitrovica municipality.

Culture and education

Serbian faculties of the University of Pristina were relocated from Pristina to Kosovska Mitrovica after the Kosovo War.

Sports

Three football clubs are situated in Kosovska Mitrovica: FK Partizan , KF Trepça and KF Trepça'89.

See also

Notes and references

Notes:

a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The Assembly of Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence on 17 February 2008, a move that is recognised by 65 of the 192 UN member states and the Republic of China (Taiwan), but not by other UN member states. Serbia claims it as part of its own sovereign territory.

References:

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Mitrovice article)

From Wikitravel

Europe : Balkans : Serbia : Mitrovice

Mitrovicë is a city in the north of Republic of Kosovo

Understand

The city of Mitrovica is divided into a North and South by the Ibar river.

Although geographically located on the same flat plain you might as well be in two separate cities. The Northern section is entirely populated by Serbs. The southern section is entirely populated by Albanians, with the southern Serbian section having been entirely 'ethnically cleansed.'

There are several bridges that connect the two sections. Much has been made of the main bridge running from the Albanian side to the Serbian side. It has been the scene of violence in the past and may very well be so again the future, but for the most part, if the French troops stationed on it have it open then it is safe to cross.

There is a second bridge to the east of town that has not been the scene of so much conflict and in many cases is the better to use (although a bit more difficult to find).

Get in

Taking a bus from Belgrade (or Southern Serbia you will arrive at the North Mitrovica improvised bus station.

Coming from Priština you will arrive at the actual bus station in the south.

A taxi from Pristina should not cost more than around 35 euros, or there is a bus for much cheaper.

Get around

The usual combi system applies in the south, in the North you can walk anywhere you need to get to.

If you are coming from Belgrade to North Mitrovica and planning on going on to Priština you have two options.

  1. You can walk across the main bridge (about 400 meters to the south of where the bus dropped you off) and then find a combi to Priština for 1.50 EUR
  2. Get off the bus in Zvecan (before arriving in Mitrovica) where you can transfer onto UNMIK Railways. The trains run about every three hours. The train will take you to Kosovo Polje where you can then take a combi to Priština

See

Mitrovica is an old industrial mining town (some creative theorists say NATO bombed Kosovo to capture the 'rich' mines of Mitrovice).

For those with an interest in ruined communist industrial architecture, there is a wealth of it on display in and around Mitrovica.

At the center of the south (Albanian) side, there are a number of cafes, pizzerias, restuarnts, and shops, as well as a mall. There is also outdoor, public market just south of the mall. Internet cafe's abound in Mitrovica. If you take a walk around various parts of town, you can still see a part of town marked by destruction (toward the west on the Albanian side - the gypsy quarter), craftsmen and artists, rolling hills, etc. Bread, pizza, and doners are available all over town for a good, inexpensive meal.

Taxis are as cheap as they are anywhere in Kosovo, but once again don't count on taking a taxi across the bridge.

The train form Zvecan to KosovoPolje has now stopped running.

See

Unfortunately the best sights are located on the Serbian side of the river. So currently (March 2008) the UN troops stationed on the bridge will not let you cross. A visit in November 2009 found the bridge to be open to pedestrians and guarded by Kosovo police.

Do

Walking around the town on foot is the best way to explore it. Evenings are full of young people going up and down the main thoroughfares. So expect to meet the same faces many times around.

Buy

In North Mitrovica near the main bridge you can purchase post cards with a picture of an F-117 Stealth fighter with a target on it and the text 'Sorry, we didn't know it was invisible.' A wealth of such such memorabilia is available for purchase.

In South Mitrovica you will primarily only find American and Albanian flags for sale.

Eat

Ibri: This outdoor (and indoor) restaurant is located in South Mitrovica on the road to Zubin Potok. It serves fresh fish from a fish pond located in the restaurant complex itself and their speciality is open grilled or fried trout fish. Very pleasant in summer evenings. If you are with your family, it has lot of open space for kids to play around. Ample parking space as long as there are not too many cars!

Drink

Dolce Vita: It is a smoke filled cafetaria right at the North end of the Blue Bridge over river Ibar. Good for different types of coffee and loud music sometimes of Serbian nationalist variety. A favourite haunt of the famous bridgewatchers.

Sleep

It will be extremely difficult to find accommodation in Mitrovica you have a huge number of motels and hotels in and around Mitrovica where to have accommodation where you can rest and sleep.

  • Hotel Palace: Popular with international organizations for holding their conferences.
  • Hotel Mitrovica
  • Hotel Adriatik
  • Motel Seadi-Petrol
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Simple English

Mitrovica can also refer to Sremska Mitrovica a city in the north of Serbia
File:Mitrovica
This is the bridge over the river that divides the city between Albanians and Serbians. The Serbian area of Mitrovica is much smaller. with an area of 5 square kilometres (1.9 sq mi). This image was taken looking to the north.
Kosovska Mitrovica is a town in North Kosovo, Serbia. Over 111,000 people live in Kosovska Mitrovica, mostly in the south. The town used to be called Titova Mitrovica. Originally it was named after Saint Dimitrije.

There is the University of Pristina in Kosovska Mitrovica.

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