Prizren; a sleeping beauty

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Hello Pals,
Prizren is the second largest city within Kosovo and has the reputation of being the most beautiful. With a fortress overlooking terracotta roofed houses and a large river flowing between, it can be easy to understand why.
Mostly, a lot of things remain closed in Prizren – but it’s a lovely town to walk around in, it also may have just been the day I visited.

If you would like to know “How to spend a day in Prizren” click ‘read more’

In this article, you’ll find: (click to be taken there)
The Basics: How to get there.
Getting Around: Transport Options
My Top Choices: What you should see.
My Recommendations: Where to eat & drink, What to listen to & read.
What I did: My diary entry.
Other Recommendations: Things we missed.

All my posts have a key:
⏰ Opening Hours. 📍Location 🕒Distance
💰Cost 🎫Ticket 📝 To note. 🎒What to bring.
♿ Accessibility 🌱Vegan / Veg Options.

  TO NOTE:

  • NO ATM COST: BKT; Banka Kombetare Tregtare offers no cash withdrawal fee.
  • History: The history of the Kosovo War (1998 – 1999) is still very raw, real and unless locals are happy to discuss with you, should be avoided.
  • Recognisation: 105 countries have given Kosovo diplomatic regonisation. Read the wikipedia page here.
  • You cannot travel from Kosovo into Serbia.

THE BASICS

🚌 Bus from Prishtina.

💰€4 EURO| $ 6.50 AUD| $4.54 USD | ‎£3.58 GBP
🕒2 hours
– You can take a bus from Skopje, however they go via Prishtina and I personally would recommend going to Prishtina.


TOP CHOICES!

Prizren Fortress

⏰ 24/7
📍Prizren
💰Free
📝 doesn’t have much lighting at night.
♿It’s a steep climb
———-
Archaeologists show that people were living here back around 1100 BC, but it started to develop into the Fortress around 4th-6th century AD.
With a few signs in english, the main reason people decide to climb up is the views overlooking the city. The orange terracotta tops of houses amongst mosques and the river, really is a great view (you’ll see loads of selfies being taken here.)
If you have the time, there is a 1.5 hour walk along the river (shown on google maps) that’ll take you to the fortress as well.

Albanian League of Prizren

📍Rr. Sharri, Prizren
💰€ 1.00
♿first floor, yes.
———-
Destroyed in 1999, the Albanian League was designed to push for greater rights for the community. It has since been restored, and now holds a small museum.
There are no signs, it’s hard to know where to buy tickets (it’s the single building in the image below) and depending on the day it seems you might get lucky with a tour, or not. Sometimes, nobody will be around to allow you to enter.

Sinan Pasha Mosque & Stone Bridge.

⏰ Closed.
📍Medina, Prizren
♿Yes
———-
The Stone Bridge itself overlooks the Sinan Pasha Mosque, which is located Shatervvan Square (although it’s technically a circle.) Inside, you will see painted landscapes, floral pattern and different verses of the Qur’an.
You can see a blog post of photos documenting the inside here.
The Stone Bridge, reconstructed in 1982 is placed across the Lumbardh River, almost dividing the city in two identical parts.

Our Lady of Ljevis

⏰ Closed.
📍Medina, Prizren
♿Yes
———-
Since 2006, the Church has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, but has been under reconstruction for a few years. Built somewhere back in 1306-7, the five domed church is one of the most important examples of late Byzantine architecture. You technically can visit the Monastry – but you’d need to have a military escort from the KFOR troops, which I do not have contact details for.

Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

📍Papa Gjon Pali II, Prizren
———-
Built-in 1870 during the Ottoman period, it’s one of the oldest forms of a Catholic Cathedral in Kosovo.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

🥘 Gatsby Food & Drink.

📍 on the corner of Shatërvan Square.
A fresh, modern cafe with nice views of the river, a killer selfie room in the bathroom and staff that are happy to help you out.

Kino Lumbardhi

⏰ Tuesday – Sunday 09:00 – 23:00
📍Medina, Prizren
♿Yes
———-
Opened in 1952, it is one of three cinemas to both have indoor and outdoor screens. After a decade of tension, it’s doors closed in 1999 and in 2007 the community came together with 8000 signatures to ensure it didn’t become a parking lot.
These days it holds over 300 activities by more than 70 different organisations and businesses.

WHAT I DID

Instead of taking the bus right to the terminal, I got off near Nato Denkmal which is a monument to honour Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and walked past the municipal building of Prizren which is called ‘The White House’ most likely an ode, once again – to The United States of America.

Continuing down the main street, I came across the Turkish Baths. The Hamam Baths is a top recommended thing to do within Prizren, but they’re closed. If I’m honest with you, majority of the attractions in Prizren seemed unavailable for entry, and you could only view from the outside, which is still cool to see but I felt a bit disconnected to what I was viewing because you can’t take in everything you would like. You can read an interesting story on the history of the Hamam here.

On the way to the Fortress, depending on if you do the river walk or the shortest climb (I was only there for a day so did the quick option and, maybe, also because I was feeling particularly lazy that day,) you will find yourself passing the Church of the Holy Saviour. This church dates back to around 1330. At the time I went, it was, as this post is themed – also closed.

The walk itself to the Prizren Fortress is a little steep but if you just go steady, take photos along the way you’ll be able to do it. I mean, if I can do it you can probably do it too. The walk back, I decided to head to the river because I believed that is where I was going to find food (it is) and coffee (it was.) The Gasby looked welcoming, had wifi and I could journal. I spent the next hour or so walking around town and discovering new things, such as Kino Lumbardhi .

On the way back to the Main Bus Station, there is Namazgah, an outdoor mosque built back in 1455.

I enjoyed my time in Prizren, although everyone kept telling me I was pronouncing it wrong (think; Prison) and if I was to do it again, I would have spent a few nights here because I believe that I would have been able to learn about some more local hangouts, bars, places to go and spend time with locals as I did in Prishtina.
I mean, that’s the point of travelling, and I would like to go when the International Film Festival is on so hopefully I’ll return one day.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

  • ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM : To be honest, I thought that’s what the Albanian Museum was and so when I arrived and it was closed – I was a little bummed out. Anyways, it’s not on google maps and I didn’t screenshot where I was located. Good luck finding it (in the nicest way). Perhaps if you stay at a hostel here, they can let you know~!
  • Serbian Medieval Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Archangels
  • DokuFest: an International Documentary and Short Film festival held in August.
  • A 1972 documentry on Prizren with English subtitles here.

Have you been?
What did you see / eat / do?
Let me know below.
As always, stay cool.
– Sarah.

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