Prizren, a fusion of different cultures
Prizren (Prizreni in Albanian, Призрен in Cyrillic Serbian) is the most culturally and ethnically diverse city in Kosovo. Albanian, Serbian, Bosnian, Romani and Turkish voices can be heard in its streets. Seated at the foot of the Shar mountains and close to the Rahovec (Orahovac) wine region, the city is beautifully situated on the banks of the Bistrica River. Follow the cobbled paths uphill and you will arrive at the Prizren Fortress. From here you can see the whole city, with its hundred minarets and church towers, the river, and of course the mountains. An idyllic scene.
In a nutshell
- Prizren has about 100,000 inhabitants.
- span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The municipality which is also called Prizren has almost double the population, about 200,000 inhabitants.
- The municipality borders Albania and Northern Macedonia.
- In Prizren, the Dokufest film festival takes place every summer.
The beauty of Kosovo (among many other things) is that you have such a variety of cities and places less than a stone’s throw away. Especially since borders have become easier to cross in the last couple of years. Prizren is located about 99 km north-west of Skopje, 85 km south of Pristina and 175 km north-east of Tirana.
Most of the inhabitants of Prizren speak Albanian. There is also a prominent Turkish community. They speak an ancient Turkish (dating back to Ottoman domination) that is linguistically far removed from the Turkish that is nowadays spoken in Turkey.
The most popular (and most touristic) neighborhood is Schadervan. Here you will find a colourful collection of Ottoman and Byzantine architecture, the famous old stone bridge and numerous terraces, squares and restaurants. In the middle of Schadervan you will find a fountain. Legend has it that anyone who drinks from this fountain will keep coming back to Prizren. So, be aware :-).
The medieval fortress on top of the hills bears many names: the Kaljaja Fortress, the Dušan Fortress or simply the Prizren Fortress. The first stones were laid at the time of the Byzantine Empire. Stefan Dušan, the mighty czar of the Serbian Empire (14th century) expanded the fortress. After his death and the consequent fall of his empire, the Ottomans also played their part. Today, the ruins are used as a unique location for various events. You can also just visit the fortress and enjoy a wide view over the city.