Day 9 – Prizren

28 Sep

Learning to have a light breakfast, we again assembled for a walking trip to the highest point of Prizren – the fortress / castle. With Fati in the lead, we climbed the steep track, avoiding the loose stones and rubble. We passed a Serbian church that was gutted in the recent troubles, as well as many houses that had also suffered the same fate. The Serbian occupants had been sent away. The houses are abandoned as it is not considered as acceptable for an Albanian Kosovan to then live in one.
From the castle we had a fantastic view over the second biggest city of Kosovo. Endrit gave us a bit more background info. Basically when the Ottoman Empire was defeated in 1912, the castle was pretty much flattened. Looking around the top there were piles of rubble and several builders trying to piece it all together. Some progress had already been made although it didn’t look very castle-like. More like four potential bedsits. The USA is sponsoring the restoration so there is bound to be a spa hotel by the time they finish.


Sheep causing a traffic jam

We had time to establish that there was no concept of health and safety at all. High walls with paths to steep drops. Heavy plant trundling around, gushing fumes VW would be proud of. Low “safety rails” to trip over.

Escaping without incident, we decended to visit the biggest mosque – specially opened for us.


Then it was off to the Albanian League of Prizren museum. This can be easily summed up as a group of men who in 1878 decided to try to separate Albania from the Ottoman Empire. They setup a government in waiting. The Scottish correlations end here. It lasted for 4 years and the president likely got murdered.
The house itself was destroyed in 1999 and has since been rebuilt. There was also an Ethnology museum beside it with examples of traditional clothing from all the areas of greater Albania. This stretches into current Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. Albania lost a lot of its land due to the UK redrawing the boundaries in the early 20th century.

After passing the Turkish influence, we stopped for a machiato coffee before continuing to a Hammam which was also being restored. You may be astute enough to detect a theme here. UNESCO has a lot to do with this.


Kiwi fruit

We walked through a Bektashi version of a mosque – called a tekije, pronounced like tetcha. It had kiwi fruits growing on the roof. And a cat. The dervish (priest) was hiding from us.

We then dodged some traffic to reach the Good Friday church. Outside was in good condition but the interior frescoes were all destroyed in the recent war. One of the oldest to still be standing. Under restoration.

Back at the Ottoman bridge, we discovered that it had also been destroyed with only the foundations being authentic.

Endrit introduced us to a 16 year old keen to practice his English. He wanted to visit the UK for a holiday and his English was excellent. As he was about to leave us his female friend arrived and introduced herself but then said that everyone calls her “Donkey”. At least I thought that’s what she said. Apparently not. When I “repeated” this, her friends burst into fits of laughter. I fear that she has a new nickname.

Left to our own devices we then stuffed our faces before going our separate ways. I managed time to find the post office and complete the second batch of postcards. There don’t appear to be any post boxes anywhere.

We met again for drinks in the evening and ended up eating with our driver and guide. The restaurant had tame mandarin ducks walking about inside. I successfully managed to feed one an orange slice. Just as well this isn’t China.

We retired by 10pm. The travel tummy beginning to affect some.


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