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—  Municipality and city  —
Prishtina / Prishtinë
Приштина / Priština

Pristina is located in Kosovo
Location in Kosovo
Coordinates: 42°40′N 21°10′E / 42.667°N 21.167°E / 42.667; 21.167
Country Kosovo[a]
District District of Pristina
 - Total 854 km2 (329.7 sq mi)
Elevation 652 m (2,139 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Total 550,000
 Density 661/km2 (1,712/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Area code(s) +381 38
Website Municipality of Pristina (Albanian)

Pristina, also spelled Prishtina or Priština About this sound listen (Albanian: Prishtinë or Prishtina, Serbian: Приштина, Priština) is the capital and largest city of Kosovo[a]. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous municipality and district.

It is estimated that the current population of the city stands between 500,000[1] and 600,000[2]. The city has a majority Albanian population, alongside other smaller communities including Turks, Bosniaks, Roma and others. The territory's interim government and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) have their headquarters in the city. It is the administrative, educational, and cultural centre of Kosovo. The city is home to the University of Pristina and is served by the Pristina International Airport.



The name of the city is derived from a Slavic form *Prišьčь, a possessive adjective from the personal name *Prišьkъ, (preserved in the Kajkavian surname Prišek, in the Old Polish personal name Przyszek, and in the Polish surname Przyszek) and the derivational suffix -ina 'belonging to X and his kin'. The name is most likely a patronymic of the personal name *Prišь, preserved as a surname in Polish Przysz and Sorbian Priš, a hypochoristic of the Slavic personal name Pribyslavъ[3]. A false etymology connects the name Priština with Serbo-Croatian prišt (пришт), meaning 'ulcer' or 'tumour', referring to its 'boiling'[4]. However, this explanation cannot be correct, as Slavic place names ending in -ina corresponding to an adjective and/or name of an inhabitant lacking this suffix are built from personal names or denote a person and never derive, under these conditions, from common nouns (SNOJ 2007: loc. cit.). The inhabitants of this city are called Prishtinali or Prishtinas in Albanian; in standard Serbian they are called Prištinci (Приштинци) or Prištevci (Приштевци) in the local dialect.


Pristina is located at the geographical coordinates 42° 40' 0" North and 21° 10' 0" East and covers 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi). It lies in the north-eastern part of Kosovo close to the Goljak mountains. From Pristina there is a good view of the Šar Mountains which lie several kilometres away in the south of Kosovo. Pristina is located beside two large towns, Obilić and Kosovo Polje. In fact Pristina has grown so much these past years that it has connected with Kosovo Polje. Lake Badovac is just a few kilometres to the south of the city.

There is no river passing through the city of Pristina now but there was one that passed through the centre. The river flows through underground tunnels and is let out into the surface when it passes the city. The reason for covering the river was because the river passed by the local market and everyone dumped their waste there. This caused an awful smell and the river had to be covered.

The river now only flows through Pristina's suburbs in the north and in the south.



Early history

In Roman times a large town called Ulpiana existed 15 kilometers (9 miles) to the south of modern-day Pristina. This city was destroyed but was restored by the Emperor Justinian I. Today the town of Lipljan stands on the site of the Roman city, and remains of the old city can still be seen.

After the fall of Rome, Pristina grew from the ruins of the former Roman city. The city was located at a junction of roads leading in all directions throughout the Balkans. For this reason Pristina rose to become an important trading centre on the main trade routes across south-eastern Europe.

Pristina came to be of great importance to the medieval Serbian state, and served as the capital of King Milutin (1282–1321) and other Serbian rulers from the Nemanjić and Branković dynasties until the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, when an invading Ottoman army decisively defeated the Balkans coalition army. In the following decades the area gradually came under Ottoman control, there was an Ottoman law-court in Pristina in 1423. The whole of Serbia was subsequently conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1459.

View of the city
The building of the former "Rilindja" newspaper, also the tallest in Pristina
UNMIK Head Quarters
Mother Teresa Boulevard
The Ministry of Culture
Osce Building
Grand Hotel
Palace of Youth
Kosovar Government Central Building (Formerly a bank, damaged in the 1999 war, now fully renovated)
National Public Library
RTK Building
Skanderbeg statue
The museum of Kosovo
City Stadium - City's Football Stadium

Pjeter Bogdani, who is the most original writer of early literature in Albanian, lived and worked in Kosovo. After his return to the Balkans in March 1686 and spent the next years promoting resistance to the armies of the Ottoman Empire, in particular in Kosovo. In 1686 Pristina was briefly liberated by Pjeter Bogdani with aid of Austrians. He published his book Cuneus Profetarum (Alb: Ceta e Profeteve roughly Vanguard of the Prophets) in 1685[5].

During the Ottoman Empire, Pristina became increasingly Ottoman in character following the conversion to Islam of many of its inhabitants, both Albanians and Slavs.

From the 1870s onwards Albanians in the region formed the League of Prizren to resist Ottoman rule, and a provisional government was formed in 1881. In 1912 Pristina along with the rest of Kosovo was briefly included in the newly independent state of Albania. But the following year the Great Powers forced Albania to cede the region to the Kingdom of Serbia. In 1918 Kosovo became a part of the newly formed Yugoslavia, though without any of the autonomy that the region later enjoyed.

Before World War II, Pristina was an ethnically mixed town with large communities of Albanians and Serbs. Many Albanians were deported to Turkey as a consequence of the ethnic cleaning program applied by the Serbs. Muslim Albanians were identified as Turks and thus forcibly evicted from their ancestors' homes. The Albanians were sent to Turkey, where the Turkish government enforced them to accept new Turkish names and settle the Turkish provinces formerly inhabited by Greeks and Armenians.

Balkan Wars

After the Serbian army took the city of Pristina in October 1912, the retaliation against the civilian population was fierce[6]. Reports say that immediately upon entering the city, the Serbian army began "hunting" the Albanians, making bloodshed and "literally decimated" Pristina population[7].

Number of Albanians of Pristina killed in the early days of the Serbian rule is estimated at 5,000[6][8].

World War II

The Second World War saw the decline of Pristina's Serbian community as well as a large-scale settling of Albanians in the town. Between 1941 and 1945 Pristina was incorporated into the Italian-occupied Greater Albania.

Pristina after World War II

In 1946, Pristina became the capital of the Socialist Autonomous Region of Kosovo. Between 1953 and 1999, the population increased from around 24,000 to over 300,000. All of the national communities of the city increased over this period, but the greatest increase was among the Albanian population, a large number of whom had moved from Mountains areas to settle in the city. The Albanian population increased from around 9,000 in 1953 to nearly 76,000 in 1981. The Serbian and Montenegrin population increased too but by a far more modest number, from just under 8,000 in 1953 to around 21,000 by 1981. By the start of the 1980s, Albanians constituted over 70% of the city's population.

Although Kosovo was under the rule of local Albanian members of the Communist Party, economic decline and political instability in the late 1960s and at the start of the 1980s led to outbreaks of nationalist unrest. In November 1968, student demonstrations and riots in Belgrade spread to Pristina, but were put down by the Yugoslav security forces. Some of the demands of the students were nonetheless met by the Tito government, including the establishment in 1970 of the University of Pristina as an independent institution. This ended a long period when the institution had been run as an outpost of Belgrade University and gave a major boost to Albanian-language education and culture in Kosovo. The Albanians were also allowed to use the Albanian flag.

In March 1981, students at Pristina University rioted over poor food in their university canteen. This seemingly trivial dispute rapidly spread throughout Kosovo and took on the character of a national revolt, with massive popular demonstrations in Pristina and other Kosovo towns. The Communist Yugoslav presidency quelled the disturbances by sending in riot police and the army and proclaiming a state of emergency, with several people being killed in clashes and thousands subsequently being imprisoned or disciplined.

Pristina in the Kosovo War and afterwards

Following the reduction of Kosovo's autonomy by Serbian President Slobodan Milošević in 1989, a harshly repressive regime was imposed throughout Kosovo by the Serbian government with Albanians largely being purged from state industries and institutions. University of Pristina was seen as a hotbed of Albanian nationalism and was duly purged: 800 lecturers were sacked and 22,500 of the 23,000 students expelled. In response, the Kosovo Albanians set up a "shadow government" under the authority of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), led by the writer Ibrahim Rugova. Although the city was formally controlled by Serbs appointed by the Milošević government, the LDK established parallel structures, funded by private contributions, to provide free services such as health care and education that were largely denied to the Albanian population.

The LDK's role meant, that when the Kosovo Liberation Army began to attack Serbian and Yugoslav forces from 1996 onwards, Pristina remained largely calm until the outbreak of the Kosovo War in March 1999. The city was placed under a state of emergency at the end of March and large areas were sealed off. After NATO began air strikes against Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999, widespread violence broke out in Pristina. Serbian and Yugoslav forces shelled several districts and, in conjunction with paramilitaries, conducted large-scale expulsions of ethnic Albanians accompanied by widespread looting and destruction of Albanian properties. Many of those expelled were directed onto trains apparently brought to Pristina's main station for the express purpose of deporting them to the border of the Republic of Macedonia, where they were forced into exile. The United States Department of State estimated in May 1999 that between 100,000-120,000 people had been driven out of Pristina by government forces and paramilitaries.[citation needed]

On or about 1 April 1999, Serbian police went to the homes of Kosovo Albanians in the city of Pristina/Prishtinë and forced the residents to leave in a matter of minutes. During the course of these forced expulsions, a number of people were killed. Many of those forced from their homes went directly to the train station, while others sought shelter in nearby neighbourhoods. Hundreds of ethnic Albanians, guided by Serb police at all the intersections, gathered at the train station and then were loaded onto overcrowded trains or buses after a long wait where no food or water was provided. Those on the trains went as far as General Jankovic, a village near the Macedonian border. During the train ride many people had their identification papers taken from them.[9]

War Crimes Indictment against Milosevic and others

Several strategic targets in Pristina were attacked by NATO during the war, but physical damage appears to have largely been restricted to a few specific neighbourhoods shelled by Yugoslav security forces. At the end of the war, most of the city's 40,000[10] Serbs fled. The few who remained were subjected to harassment and violence in revenge by Albanian gangs, which reduced Pristina's Serb population still further. Other national groups accused by Albanians of collaboration with the Serbian war effort; notably the Roma– were also driven out. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, by August 1999 fewer than 2,000 Serbs were left in the city. The number reportedly fell even further after the March 2004 unrest in Kosovo. In early 2008 only a few dozen Serbs remained in Pristina, most of whom were elderly people[10] As of 2009 there are no remaining Serbs in Pristina.[11].


The number of registered businesses in Pristina is currently at 8,725, with a total of 75,089 employees. The exact number of businesses is unknown due to the fact that not all are registered. Since independence the Mayor of Pristina, Isa Mustafa has built many new roads in Pristina. Also he has plans to construct a ring road around the city. The national government is taking part in modernising the roadways as well, building motorways to Uroševac and other cities. An Albanian millionaire in Croatia is building the largest building in the Balkans. Up to 262 metres (860 ft) high and with a capacity to hold 20,000 people it is indeed a jewel. The cost for this is 400 million Euro. On the 38th floor there will be a restaurant where you can see the whole city .[citation needed]


The Museum of Kosovo is located in an Austro-Hungarian inspired building originally built for the regional administration of the Ottoman Vilayet of Kosovo. From 1945 until 1975 it served as headquarters for the Yugoslav National Army. In 1963 it was sold to the Kosovo Museum. From 1999 until 2002, the European Agency for Reconstruction had its main office in the museum building.

The Kosovo Museum has an extensive collection of archaeological and ethnological artifacts, including the Neolithic Goddess on the Throne terracotta, unearthed near Pristina in 1960[12] and depicted in the city's emblem. Although a large number of artifacts from antiquity is still in Belgrade, even though the museum was looted in 1999.

The Clock Tower (Sahat Kulla) dates back to the 19th century. Following a fire, the tower has been reconstructed using bricks. The original bell was brought to Kosovo from Moldavia. It bore an inscription reading "this bell was made in 1764 for Jon Moldova Rumen." In 2001, the original bell was stolen. The same year, French KFOR troops replaced the old clock mechanism with an electric one. Given Kosovo's electricity problems the tower is struggling to keep time.


During the city's rule by Serbia, Pristina had very few green places. Parku i Qytetit (English: City Park), was a badly managed park and was the only real green place in Pristina. Three markets (one of them very large) used to be a hotspot for dumping waste and other materials on the roads. This made the city look unattractive and unfriendly.

After the war of 1999 Pristina has changed dramatically. City Park has been fully changed. It now has stone pathways, tall trees, flowers have been planted and a public area has been built for children. The much larger Gërmia Park, located to the east of the city is the best place for a family to go and relax. Restaurants, small paths for people to have a run and a large outdoor swimming pool, basketball and volleyball court have been built for the pleasure of the citizens. Lately a new green place called Tauk Bashqe has been made half way between Gërmia and City Park.

After the construction of the new Mother Teresa Square, many trees and flowers have been planted. This had a big impact to the city because of the trees excreting oxygen in the air. Many old buildings in front of the government building have been cleared to provide open space.


Basketball has been, since 2000, one of the most popular sports in Pristina. In this sport Pristina is represented by two teams. Football is also very popular. Pristina's representatives KF Prishtina play their home games in the city's stadium.

Handball is also very popular. Pristina's representatives are recognised internationally and play international matches.


Ottoman Empire

The Ottomans started conducting census surveys in Rumelia in 1486. Approximate populations reported were:

  • 1486: 392 families
  • 1487: 412 Christian households and 94 Muslim households
  • 1569: 692 families
  • 1669: 2,060 families
  • 1685: 3,000 families
  • 1689: 4,000 families

From 1850, surveys were conducted in the Viyalet of Kosovo. Populations reported were:

  • 1850: 12,000 citizens, in 3,000 families
  • 1902: 18,000 citizens, in 3,760 families

Serbia and Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Socialist Yugoslavia

The 1948 official population census of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija organised by the government of the People's Republic of Serbia under the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia government recorded 19,631 citizens in 4,667 families.

The 1953 official population census of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija organised by the government of Serbia under the Yugoslav government recorded 24,229 citizens:

The 1961 official population census of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija organised by the government of the Socialist Republic of Serbia under the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia government recorded 38,593 citizens in 9,095 families:

The 1971 official population census of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo organised by the government of the Socialist Republic of Serbia under the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia government 69,514 citizens in 14,813 families:

The 1981 official population census of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo organised by the government of the Socialist Republic of Serbia under the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia government 108,083 citizens in 21,017 families:

According to the last census in 1991 (boycotted by the Albanian majority), the population of the Pristina municipality was 199,654, including 77.63% Albanians, 15.43% Serbs and Montenegrins, 1.72% Muslims by nationality, and others[13]. This census cannot be considered accurate as it is based on previous records and estimates.

In 2004 it was estimated that the population exceeded half a million, and that Albanians form around 98% of it. The Serbian population in the city has fallen significantly since 1999, many of the city's Serbs having fled or been expelled following the end of the war. In early 1999 Pristina had about 230,000 inhabitants. There were more than 40,000 Serbs and about 6,500 Romas with the remainder being Albanians.

Ethnic Composition, Including IDPs1
Year Albanians  % Serbs  % Roma  % Others2  % Total
1991 census3 161,314 78.7 27,293 13.3 6,625 3.2 9,861 4.8 205,093
19984 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 225,388
February 2000 estimate5 550,000 97.4 12,000 2.2 1,000 0.1 1,800 0.3 564,800
Source: OSCE Priština municipal profilePDF (511 KB), June 2006, page 2 (Table 1.1).

1. IDP: Internally displaced person.
2. Others include Montenegrins, Muslim Slavs, Turks, etc.
3. 1991 figures from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) Institute for Statistics. It is noted that the 1991 census was highly politicised and is thus unreliable.
4. 1999 figures from UNHCR, "Kosovo Village List", 9 March 1999 (1998 population estimate excluding forced displacement).
5. 2001 figures from KFOR – MNB (c) and for minority figures OSCE/UNHCR ‘Situation of Ethic Minorities in Kosovo’, February 2001.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Pristina is twinned with:

See also


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.


  1. ^ OSCE municipal profile of PristinaPDF, April 2008. Retrieved on 20 June 2008.
  2. ^ UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Country Profiles: Kosovo. Retrieved on 21 February 2008.
  3. ^ SNOJ, Marko. 2007. Origjina e emrit të vendit Prishtinë. In: BOKSHI, Besim (ed.). Studime filologjike shqiptare: konferencë shkencore, 21-22 nëntor 2007. Prishtinë: Akademia e Shkencave dhe e Arteve e Kosovës, 2008, pp. 277-281.
  4. ^ This etymology is mentioned in ROOM, Adrian: Placenames of the World, Second Edition, McFarland, 2006, page 304. ISBN 0-7864-2248-3
  5. ^ "Pjetër Bogdani - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  6. ^ a b Archbishop Lazër Mjeda: Report on the Serb Invasion of Kosova and Macedonia
  7. ^ Leo Freundlich: Albania's Golgotha
  8. ^ The New York Times, 31. december 1912.
  9. ^ Indictment against Milosevic and others
  10. ^ a b EuroNews Serbs in Kosovo vote in Gracanica and Mitrovica published February 3, 2008 accessed February 3, 2008
  11. ^ Priština bez Srba
  12. ^ Kosovo contest for state symbols, by Nick Thorpe, BBC, Priština, 4 June 2007. Retrieved on 21 February 2008.
  13. ^ Statistic data for the municipality of Priština - grad
  14. ^ "Twinning Cities: International Relations" (PDF). Municipality of Tirana. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  15. ^ Twinning Cities: International Relations. Municipality of Tirana. Retrieved on 2008-01-25.

External links

Coordinates: 42°40′N 21°10′E / 42.667°N 21.167°E / 42.667; 21.167.

Travel guide

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

From Wikitravel

Europe : Balkans : Kosovo : Pristina

Pristina (Albanian: Prishtina; Serbo-Croatian: Приштина Priština) is the capital city of Kosovo.

War Monument in Pristina
War Monument in Pristina

Get in

The easiest way to get to Pristina is by plane. There are direct flights to Pristina International Airport [1] from London, Zurich, Geneva, Gothenburg, Copenhagen [2], Vienna, Hamburg, Hannover, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Rome, Verona, Ljubljana, Budapest, Tirana, Istanbul and Oslo. The only low-budget flights to Pristina you can find are from Liege, Belgium. There are cheap connecting flights via Tirana and Ljubljana, but also from most of German airports.

Also, Skopje International Airport is 110 km away (two hours). The bus to Pristina from Skopje takes about two hours and costs €5 (€5.50 with the bus station's fee). The last bus from Skopje to Pristina leaves at 18:10; from Pristina to Skopje at 17:00.

From Albania, there are several daily direct bus connections to Pristina, from Tirana and Durres. From Tirana is a direct flight to Pristina every day.

There are also direct bus links from most cities in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Turkey, Macedonia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. From Podgorica in Montenegro there are at least two night buses (9pm and 10pm, approx 5 1/2 hrs) that run via Peja €16. The Prishtina bus station is quite a safe place to await sunrise (I was there on a Sunday morning). From Serbia there are several direct buses from Belgrade (6 hours, 1 day bus & 2 night busses, run by Kosovo Albanian companies, cost less than €10, stops depending on the route in Niš or Kruševac. There are twice daily mini-buses from Niš, they cost 600 dinars (about $10) and the guys at Niš Hostel ( will help you get in contact with organizers, even if you aren't sleeping there, as it is necessary to book in advance (information dates from October 2009).

There is also a bus service from Sarajevo (via Novi Pazar; Buy ticket to Novi Pazar on 10pm bus, the bus continues to Prishtina, tickets available onboard); the trip lasts around 12 hours and costs around €20.

There are Trains which travel from Central Europe to Prishtina. These may take several hours to get there but it is a very good ride. There are no trains from Belgrade to Pristina and buses often do not connect.

If you arrive at Pristina airport - small, haphazard but recently modernized and efficient in a Balkan kind of way - you should get from the plane to the outside world within 15 minutes. The city itself is about 25 minutes away by car along the closest thing to a good road in Kosova. The many taxi drivers outside the airport will quote you €25-30 for the trip but will happily be haggled down to €20. If you pretend to be waiting for a lift from someone else they'll compete with each other down as far as 5 Euros, but it hardly seems fair.


The main language you will hear in the street is Albanian. English is widely spoken in the 3 square kilometre space in the centre of town where internationals and those working for international organizations predominate; the further you go from the centre, the less likely you will be to find English widely spoken. Having said that, navigating around the city is easy and people are generally receptive to efforts to communicate in broken Albanian and English. Serbian is Kosovo's other official language, but it is seldom heard on the streets in the capital. You should be able to speak Serbian in some government offices, but should be cautious about how you speak it in public, except in Serbian areas, where you should be careful of speaking in Albanian. Failing that, it's worth having a stab at Spanish, German or Italian which are spoken by people who pick them up via satellite TV broadcasts, international travellers or both.

  • Minibus is the preferred method of local travel. They run on set routes and cost next to nothing. It is usual to pay when you get in, try and have some change. - Update: Minibuses are replaced by city bus since Oct. 1st 2006.
  • Taxis are readily available, but more expensive. Make sure your driver has a meter in his vehicle. No trip around the centre or from the centre to Dragodan / Arberia, Valenia, Sunny Hill, etc. should cost more than 2-3 euros.

The roads in Pristina (and in general throughout Kosovo) are pretty bad (but the government is doing a lot in improving that. A lot of times you will be stuck in traffic due to road repairs.). This is a result of a number of factors, such as: they were never especially good, Yugoslav tank treads and UCK mortars fired at those tanks did nothing to help the situation, and NATO sealed the deal in '99 with its stealth bombings and armoured convoys. Since then, UNMIK and the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG, Kosovo's nascent government) have simply not had the money to invest in infrastructure. Two or three of the main roads that make up the major road network have been repaved. Some roads have have disintegrated to the point that they are pretty much just dirt and gravel.

UNMIK Headquarters
UNMIK Headquarters
  • No visit to Pristina is complete without a walking tour. To see the city from street-level is best: start off in the Dardania neighborhood, in front of the three-storey portrait of Bill Clinton, and stroll past the university to the Grand Hotel and UNMIK. Follow Nena Tereze street towards the Skenderbeg monument and the new Government Building, then point yourself toward the historic mosques and meander through the tight lanes of the old quarter. You will see street market stalls, kids hawking cigarettes and phone cards, qebabtores and cafes, and the vibrant community life of Kosovo's biggest city. If you have more time, it's also worthwhile wandering up into Dragodan / Arberia or Velania (especially City Park, also referred to as "the Italian park," and the park dedicated to now-deceased President Ibrahim Rugova).
  • Pristina is a brown and sprawling city, with none of the historic charm of Prizren or the imposing mountain backdrop of Pejë. But there are outposts of green, the biggest and best of which is Gërmia Park. During the summer, the lake-sized swimming pool here is a hot spot for families and young people, but year-round the park itself offers grassy spaces to relax or kick the ball around, and a network of mine-cleared trails through the dense woods perfect for dog-walking or drunken hide-and-seek tournaments. A couple of restaurants at the top of the park have good food and nice views. Also interesting to check out the cluster-bombed police bunker, just up the road from the best restaurant.
  • It may be "interesting" for some visitors to see the offices of the major international organizations in Kosovo. UNMIK's compound in the centre of town is tough to penetrate without an UNMIK card, but you spending a half-hour in Phoenix bar just outside the fence will provide you with a basic idea of what's going on in there. A more worthwhile destination is the OSCE headquarters on Luan Haradinaj; if you can get yourself inside, the view from the restaurant on the ninth floor is excellent.
  • Library of the University of Pristina
    Library of the University of Pristina

A couple minute's walk from the Grand Hotel Pristina is the library of the University of Pristina. It looks like it is constructed of massive concrete Lego bricks and then covered with chain mail. It is certainly worth a look.

  • Lately Pristina is rebuilding, and some of the city roads now are new! But you still must be on the look out for large potholes!
  • The museum is free, and even better than its collection is the building itself.
  • Don't miss the Pristina Ethnografic museum tucked back in the old town streets about 5 minutes walk from the main museum. Beautiful house, costumes and traditional tools.
  • Check out the mosques on Nazim Gafurri Street.
  • If you like coffee, and have a massive amount of time on your hands, Pristina is the city for you. There are cafes absolutely everywhere, and most of them are packed through the warm season with fashionably-dressed young people, dropping a euro a day to keep themselves amused. Unemployment / underemployment is pervasive throughout Kosovo, and tends to affect people from all walks of life and different levels of education. Which means that dude in the sleeveless tshirt with streaked-blond hair at the table beside you could just as easily be an economist as a farm kid from Kamenicë, so learn to say "Mirëdita" with a passable accent and feel free to start a conversation. What to order? "Macchiato" (espresso with hot milk, similar to the American latte) is the catch-all term for "coffee" throughout Kosovo. Lately, some top-end coffee bars have installed WIFI zones and access to Internet.
  • Privately-owned outdoor swimming pools are springing up around Kosovo, some just outside the city and worth the euro to cool off in the summer.
  • Shopping-wise, Pristina is full of good bargains but low on selection (and if you happen to be a man who wears M shirts or pants, forget about it). Silver is sold in the old quarter and is a pretty good value; Albanians are known throughout the former Yugoslavia as silversmiths.
  • Do as the locals do: In Pristina, this means korza. In the evenings, when it's warm, a large proportion of the population heads out into the streets and promenades, between cafes or in with no particular desintation. The objective is to see and be seen, chat with friends, and take in as much fresh air as possible before the horrific winter descends. Note that 53% of Kosovo's population is under the age of 25, so most of the people on the street around dusk are teenagers and people in their early twenties. Lots of kosovar youngsters, sleeveless tshirts, short haircuts, all sorts of girls, and cigarette smoke.
  • Alternately, you can sit at a table in an outdoor cafe and watch the white UN vehicles enter and exit the UNMIK headquarters building. For some reason, it is strangely hypnotic.
  • Stay out late because the streets are safe and Albanians love Foreigners. Also go out to bars and such, as they are usually filled but make sure you drink some "Peja" beer (Key word PEJA)
  • Spray Club, [3]. Not the first but definitely the best night club in Prishtina. Spray has established itself as an international brand in the music’s cultural horizons, in the past 5 years some of the industries leading producers and dj’s have had the chance to perform at Spray club. The venue has a capacity of approximately 1,500 pp or 1,000 square meters. The building has a unique architectural shape. Indoor, with minimalistic exterior design, and a modern entertaining look, and outdoor with the shape that reminds you of a castle. A must when in Prishtina!  edit
  • The outdoor bookstalls adjacent to the Grand Hotel are a good place to pick up your copy of the Code of Lekë Dukagjini. Or a map of Pristina that most likely has names for all the streets no one has ever heard of.
  • Also on the streets: CDs and DVDs that are cheap, and more likely than not, illegal. The In Your Pocket guide recommends a few places to buy these.


There are a variety of restaurants with something for everyone's taste.

  • [[Home]]restaurant and bar, right beside OSCE, for a lively atmosphere and variety of delicious food.One of the best restaurants in Kosova.Serves Medterranian,Italian and Kosovar food. Visitors come from many international staff of the surrounding offices, embassys and national ministries. Local actors and well known singers. Very good selected music, English speaking staff and very good wines. Contact; 044 336 336, 038 22 40 41
  • Pjata, Rruga Dubrovniku nr.1, ++381 38 220 739 (), [4]. , a block away from the UNICEF office, for style and quality  edit
  • Pinocchio, in the Dragodan / Arberia neighbourhood, which has excellent food and a warm atmosphere, as well as a panoramic view of Pristina below. For lunch, hit Te Komiteti on Qamil Hoxha street and have the gazpacho and chicken sandwich.
  • As far as views go, however, you cannot beat Chalet Denis (up Dragodan hill from the bridge, toward Film City / KFOR). Friendly service and the best banana splits in Pristina, presented in a Swiss chalet-style atmosphere.
  • For quick snacks, Aroma near Strip Depo and the ABC Kino and Metro across from the Grand Hotel have terrific sandwiches; the highly over-rated and over-priced Thai restaurant near UNMIK is nevertheless conveniently located; Restaurant Rio near Gërmia Park is the best bet for fish-fanciers; and the duelling South Asian restaurants located in the mall on UCK St. (one Indian, one Nepali) are both great for a long, quiet dinner.
  • Il Passatore is an authentic Italian restaurant, run by a real mama and her family. Go there in a taxi as it's a bit hard to find, but all the cabbies know it.
  • Tiffany Pizza, directly behind Home, with an eerily simliar layout, features perhaps the best pizza in Pristina. The spinach pizza is highly recommended, as is the special Raki, all the way from Mitrovica. Another good pizza place is Margarita, opposite of main Police building, wide menu including fresh summer salads and tasty pastas are at your disposal. Home pizza "Margarita" is highly recommended.
  • XIX Restaurant, Luan Haradinaj 2 (Center, Police Avenue), 038 248 002, [5]. 07:00 to 24:00. Located in the center of Prishtina between EULEX (ex-Unmik) and OSCE. Menu is composed from Italian and National (Kosovar) specialites. Restaurant Xix also offer delivery sevices. Free wireless internet available. (; o38 248 002 ; 044 300 002 ; 049 300 002)  edit
  • Not to be missed: Panevino, Pellumbi, Pishat.
  • If you are interested in trying some Albanian food (with possibly the best bread in the world), then head to Pilat restaurant, not difficult to find, but it's probably best to ask someone to point you in the right direction. Seriously delicious local food. Gets very busy at lunchtimes with Kosovan politicians.
  • Fast Food Places and great food: Sarajeva sells Burek (5 locations), Aurora (across RTK tower), Sarajevo (banjallucki qebab) also close to RTK and one behind the old Post Office.
  • Lai Thai, Film City NATO base. If you have access to the base, find the Lai Thai restaurant. It is owned by the lady that has a restaurant with the same name in Kabul. The Thai food is excellent.

Every taxi driver knows the location of most major restaurants frequented by internationals. Try a traditional qebabtore (you can find one anywhere), or a Turkish doner shop (best ones around the corner from Payton Place, near UNDP) for a real taste of the local food and great value. If you are a foreigner you may have to do a fair bit of pointing to order, but it should be worth it.


Cafes and bars are especially crowded on Friday and Saturday nights. Clubs open up and close down on an almost seasonal basis, but there are some reliable standouts, and neighbourhoods where something good is bound to present itself.

  • For live music and atmosphere, Ahër (Barn) on the university campus just beind the library is unputdownable.The building was recently refurbished in a post-and-beam all-wood style, which creates the impression that you are partying inside a longhouse. The crowd is mostly Kosovar,and on the prowl, also Hard Rock Bar on the so-called township "Pejton" or at 3 Sheshirat, plays the best rock & hard music in town, with a good prices and an atmosphere is on the house. Not to be missed.Try also Kontra, Zebra and for Jazz 212 in Peyton.
  • Internationals gravitate to Zanzibar, near the ABC Kino cinema, and Strip Depo down the street from there. Places around the OSCE, like the Little Cafe and Outback, are also popular. For the ultimate foreigner experience, down a pint at Phoenix Bar on a Saturday night with the folks from UNMIK, but be warned: if the idea of drinking and dancing with fourtysomething long-term single expats in a downscale Yorkshire pub doesn't appeal, this is not the place for you.
  • Toto & Morena are favoured by young kosovars, nice decor. Also near the ABC cinema.
  • Hot cafe districts include the strip down from OSCE near Tiffany's (especially Kaqa), the area at the beginning of Luan Haradinaj street across from KTA, and the student hangouts on Bill Clinton in Dardania.


Accommodation can be very expensive in Pristina, as everything is tailored for internationals on expense accounts and hefty per diems. If you look around you should be able to find fliers offering accommodation. If you can find these place(s), go there as the cost is usually 10-15 EUR per night.

  • Apartment, Luan Haradinaj 12 (Police avenue, center of city), +377 44 11 11 70, [6]. Apartment is located in the center of Prishtina.Apartment consists of living room, bed room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, small storage and two terraces with view. It has air-conditioning, 24 hours water and electricity supply, fully equipped kitchen, free wireless internet. Reservations:  edit
  • Hotel Begolli, (off Mother Thereza Street), (), [7]. Family-owned boutique hotel with five fully furnished self contained apartments and eleven rooms. Apartments have kitchens and well appointed amenities and one suite has a full sized jacuzzi spa. Some other rooms have private jacuzzis or three beds for families. 30-80€.  edit
  • Hotel Sara. 30-80 Euros.  edit
  • Velania Guesthouse. Also known as "the Professor's Guesthouse," Velania Guesthouse offers accommodation starting at 10 Euros for dormitory, as well as free laundry service, free cable TV in every room and 24-hour free internet access (no wireless and only if it works). It is about a twenty minute steep downhill walk to the city center . Simply state "Profesor Guesthouse" to any taxi driver, and he will know what you are referring to. Single Rooms are 15 Euros, double rooms are 18 Euros (Dec 2007 paid 20Euros, off season no private bathroom), triple rooms are 25 Euros, and apartments (up to three people) are 30 Euros. All accommodations other than single rooms have private bathrooms. A very select area of town, Rugova's house is just behind. Guesthouse excellent value for money. 13-30 Euros.  edit
  • Hotel Afa, Ali Kelmendi Nr. 15, +381 38/225 226 (+381 38/225 226, ), [8]. checkout: 12:00. €45 to €92 singles, €75 to €112 doubles.  edit
  • Hotel Ora
  • Hotel Princi i Arberit, +381-38-244244, [9]. Modern hotel some 4km from the city centre. Its distance from the city centre means it is often empty, with a risk that the restaurant may be closed and the heating switched off. Internet is available. €40.  edit
  • Hotel Victory, Mother Teresa, p.n., +381 (0/38) 543 277 (+381 (0/38) 543 267, fax: +381 (0/38) 543 286), [10]. €100+ pro Nacht.  edit
  • Grand Hotel Pristina Unio Commerce, [11]]. Grand Hotel was a state company during the Communist era and it is in the proccess of privatization as a new company named Unio Commerce Grand Hotel Prishtina. The Grand Hotel has not been substantially renovated though doubtless that is in its future. The Grand Hotel is a leader of the hotels in Kosova in terms of number of rooms and space for events. All the UNMIK and International staff are the visitors and clients. It is close to important institutions and is situated in the heart of Prishtina. The capacity of Grand Hotel has 370 rooms, 7 halls for every kind of activation, Wireless and Cable internet, Business Center, Cable TV etc.
  • Hotel Prishtina [12]. Staying here is an option. Just two or three blocks from the UNMIK headquarters, it is very close to most places of interest in Pristina. The Hotel Pristina is used by many international workers, including UN workers and members of the international police. It is very clean, has comfortable rooms, offers free internet access (including wifi), and the price of the room includes breakfast.
  • Hotel Ora[13]. Staying here is also an option. Hotel ORA is one of most frequented and renowned hotels in Kosovo. With the long tradition which is a combination of Kosovo tradition, modern service and maximum care for the guests, Hotel Ora is most preferred address of international guests but for locals as well. Beginning in 90-es as restaurant Ora and since after the war as a Hotel, Ora has welcomed many guests, beginning from the deceased President of Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova, statesmen from all the world, beginning from Bill Clinton to continue with current vice president Joseph Biden, former EU representative for foreign policy, Javier Solana, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, his Russian colleague Sergej Lavrov and well known European and American politicians. Laying in the city center, near central local and international institutions of Kosovo, with its calm, discretion and adaption for the guests, with a professional staff.
  • Hotel Baci is comparable to Hotel Pristina and is close to a couple of the more important transportation hubs (i.e. bus station, taxi roundabout, intersection to other towns in Kosova etc.). There's also a decent restaurant downstairs and free Internet in the lobby. Besides this, Hotel baci offers to it's clients free laundry, free fitness and sauna. It is the best hotel so far in prishtina with the best and quietest environment as well as location. Breakfast is included in the price, there is 24/7 electricity and water.
  • Hotel Ambassador [14]near the Swiss Liaison Office in the Velania neighbourhood is also up to the standards of a discerning visitor.
  • Hotel Dion, [15]. In center of Pristina close to UNMIK headquarters.

Get out

A day trip to Prizren can be interesting. Buses depart from the bus terminal or you could hire a taxi for the day.

The are direct flights from Prishtina International Airport to London, Zurich, Geneva, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Vienna, Hamburg, Hannover, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Rome, Verona, Ljubljana, Budapest, Tirana, Istanbul and Antalya. Soon, there will be direct flights to Sarajevo, Oslo and other destinations.

There are direct bus links to most cities in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia and Montengro.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun




  1. Alternative spelling of Priština.


Proper noun


  1. Priština


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