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Notes on the Geography of Kosovo: Prishtina

How much of Prishtina/Pristina survived the NATO bombing of 1999?  See for yourself.

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Kosovo: Prishtina picture 1

The first of five pictures scanning the city from the hilly western district of Arberia ("Albania").

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 2

Turning to the right.  The 1991 census gives a figure of about 150,000 for the city, but surrounding villages may about double that.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 3

The sports stadium; behind it, the town center.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 4

To the right of the stadium, the not-so-grand Grand Hotel.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 5

All in all, much more survived than you're likely to imagine from the television images you saw of explosions and ruins.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 6

Typical house construction: concrete beams with hollow-brick infill.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 7

Pay as you go housing is inhabited long before it's finished.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 8

Ne plus ultra.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 9

More typical.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 10

Street vendor. 

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 11

Surgical strike: the former telecom building.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 12

Ground level.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 13

Monument to the Albanian fighter.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 14

The Albanian Ur-hero, Skenderbeg (1405-68).  His image is everywhere as an icon of Albanian independence.  Still, there are ironies here: his name is a corruption of Iskender Bey, or Lord Alexander, and was given to him by the Ottomans, among whom he lived as the hostage son of an Albanian leader.  He served as an Ottoman general before turning back to his homeland, turning against the Ottomans, and keeping them at bay for decades.  At the time, Albania was Christian, and Skenderbeg was helped by popes and others.  That changed after 1480, when the Ottomans conquered Albania and converted its people, who forget or overlook that their hero led a Christian nation.  The bottom line: ethnicity trumps religion.

Kosovo: Prishtina picture 15

A remaining bit of pre-Socialist Prishtina. Deep history lives in place names like Prishtina's Ulpiana and Dardania districts.  Ulpiana was a Roman town in the province of Dardania.

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