Posted by: ExperienceKosovo | February 14, 2011

Transformation to KosovoGuide.com

The information of this blog has been transformed to the newest Kosovo Tourism Portal KosovoGuide.com. Therefore from now on we advice to check KosovoGuide.com for things you want to see and do in Kosovo.

www.kosovoguide.com


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Posted by: ExperienceKosovo | August 26, 2010

Anibar International Animation Festival, August 27-30, 2010

Anibar International Animation Festival is a film festival devoted to animated movies, its intent is to familiarize the people from Kosovo with the latest global trends of animation.

Anibar 2010 is the first edition of this festival and the first of its kind in Kosovo, it is organized by the Anibar group and will be held from the 27th to the 30st of August in Peja, Kosovo.

Our mission is to screen the international and regional film to the Kosovo Audience.

During the Anibar 2010 festival a series of workshops will be held, which will help youth and students of movie and multimedia to sharpen their skills in the field of animation, while creating space for young animators and different artists to express their talent and display their work.

The competing movies will be screened in Peja’s local cinema, Kino “Jusuf Gervalla”, and the workshops will be held in the youth center “ZOOM”.

The priority if the Anibar 2010 is the exchange of knowledge between local and foreign animators. We will achieve these results, with workshops and debates, which will be held by experts of the field of animation, and by this offering students and different people interested in animation the necessary knowledge of the basic concept of animation, the working process and the global animation network, with these workshops and debates we aim to reach the imagination and creativity of the participants

For more information please visit: www.anibar.com

Posted by: ExperienceKosovo | August 24, 2010

Kosovo on EasyJet Travel Magazine

Weekend in Pristina

Marie Cleland goes in search of Europe’s newest country and its youngest population, and finds the up-and-coming, cosmopolitan city of Pristina

PHOTOS © MARIE CLELAND

FRIDAY

I’d heard that in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, wealthy Westerners involved in the country’s development mixed with cool young locals to create a vibrant social scene. Being a fan of Eastern Europe, I jumped at the chance to visit. Though, knowing nothing about the place beyond the news headlines, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Driving along Bill Clinton Boulevard (America helped liberate Kosovo in 1999), my taxi got stuck in roadworks. There are building sites everywhere and many of the historic monuments are being restored. While some might view this as disruptive, I saw it as an exciting sign that Pristina was on the up.

Sitting in Central Room Café (Rr Garibaldi) at knock-off time, the atmosphere was buzzing. Stylish young things had left the office for coffee dates or a beer with friends to kick-start the weekend. Svelte girls tottering on high heels negotiated the obstacle course of tables and chairs that crowded this trendy corner of Pristina. This was my first stop, the neighbourhood of Peyton, which I found thronging with the It-crowd on a sunny summer evening.

“It’s very dynamic here,” Fisnik Dragusha told me as we sat soaking up the atmosphere. A native of Pristina, he works as a local tourism consultant for USAID project KPEP (Kosovo Private Enterprise Program; www.kosovoguide.com). “Two years ago, this café was a supermarket.” Then the lunch money started flowing in from local suits and “Internationals” (foreign NGO staff and consultants) and Peyton and its businesses transformed into a cultural hotspot. Before dinner, I checked into Hotel Pristina (from €70, book at www.hotels.easyJet.com) a comfy Peyton pad with a rooftop swimming pool.

I was in Kosovo to sample the best of its contemporary culture, so I headed to Puro Restaurant (Veternik) for its slick, international aesthetics and Italian/Balkan cuisine. Located away from the city-centre action, it still welcomes a host of European A-listers through its doors, from Premier League footballers to a spot of royalty.

Glancing through the menu I found a sophisticated, quirky selection. Macchiato soup? I had to try this. Having heard about Kosovans’ love of the double espresso, I was intrigued at the prospect of a soup version. It was deliciously warm, and cleverly matched the creamy consistency of its caffeinated cousin. Beautiful crisp salmon followed with a superb Kosovan riesling.

I couldn’t resist going back to Peyton to soak up some of the nightlife, heading for sporty Bamboo Bar (17 Rr Garibaldi). Its futsall team – who play the five-a-side, indoor football game – are the Kosovan champions. With its party atmosphere, Bamboo was perfect for a taster of Kosovan hospitality. I was already feeling welcome, looked after, and most importantly as a girl travelling on my own – safe. And the weekend had only just got started!

SATURDAY

Being a Saturday morning, I had been looking forward to brunch and some sightseeing. But as local guide Naile Cekaj later remarked: “This is Kosovo – nothing goes to plan.” Which worked out well, because I ended up exploring a bit before sitting down to refuel.

I walked around the compact city, ticking off the landmarks of the new Pristina. At the university, I circled the weirdly cool-looking library – bold move that, wrapping the exterior in a chain-like mesh. I found Bill Clinton waving to passers-by – well, his statue anyway. It stands under a massive poster of him on, you guessed it, Bill Clinton Boulevard. And I wandered through the bustling bazaar, picking up on the city’s optimistic vibe, and a souvenir or two.

Pedestrianised Mother Theresa Boulevard (who knew she was Albanian?) is the place to promenade, and so, a perfect spot for people watching. I ordered a crêpe at Rings as the lunch crowd gathered and felt tatty in my travelling clothes while all around me walked smartly dressed young men and women.

I’d earmarked Dit e Nat café (Rr Fazli Grajqevci) for brunch, but I made it my afternoon pit stop instead, since the only food they served was cake. Relaxing among media types and macchiato mavens making use of the Wi-Fi, I browsed the books for sale, spying a title many had recommended: Kosovo: A Short History, by Noel Malcolm.

After dinner at Pishat (11 Qamil Hoxha), in which I tried local “delicacy” fli, a heavy dish of pastry and butter, I made a beeline for über-quirky Strip Depot (6 Rr Rexhep Luci). Buying drinks that amounted to a tip in the West, I relaxed alongside stylish Pristinians and the odd soldier. With a backdrop of comic strip-themed décor, it was just another characterful vignette of Pristina.

“Friday nights are when students go out, and Saturdays are for the 30-somethings,” Fisnik had told me. Not wanting to miss out on the after-dark action, I passed the Palace of Youth and Sports and found the beautiful people tearing up the dancefloor at Duplex. A few cocktails and thumping dance tracks later, I stumbled back to my hotel for some sleep.

SUNDAY

In the summer months, hip young things and families head for Germia Park and its lake-sized swimming pool to cool off. The national park is a short ride on the No. 4 bus from central Pristina and for nature lovers, it offers up an array of walking trails through the forested hills. While scaremongers like to talk about the landmines that used to pepper the area, it’s still best to play it safe and stick to the trails, even though most of Kosovo has been clear of mines for years.

On my last afternoon, I headed 20 minutes out of town to The Ranch (Gazimestan, tel: +377 44 555 003), where I got to exercise my love of horse-riding. An hour’s ride in the countryside was just €10. Catching panoramic views of the outskirts of Pristina and glimpsing the blooming city just over the hills, I said goodbye and wished it well in its rise to the top.

Posted by: ExperienceKosovo | August 17, 2010

Wine Tourism Kosovo – Aug 17, 2010

A vision for 2012:

Wine Tourism Destination Rahovec Region

The Rahovec Region just started its mission to become Kosovo’s Wine Tourism Destination.  Kosovo has a long tradition in viticulture. With its special scenic features and the variety of wineries – ranging from small family wineries to large enterprises like Stone Castle – the region of Rahovec has the potential to become a   wine tourism destination.

Even the longest journey starts with the first step. This first step was taken by a kick-off-workshop in Rahovec organized by the USAID Kosovo Private Enterprise Program and moderated by international wine tourism expert Elmar Kunz from Germany who has been consultant in Kosovo’s tourism sector for 6 years. More than 20 participants – including Rahovec Municipality, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Department of Tourism), wineries – expressed not only the significance of this project but also their commitment.

The potential for related products is huge, as Elmar Kunz pointed out in his “Vision for Rahovec Region 2012: wine festivals and wine events, programs like wine & dine, wine & hike, wine & bike, guided tours to wineries, vineyards and wine cellars, theme hotels based on the topic wine. The list could be continued…there is no lack of ideas, but rather the question on who is to take the initiative. This is why a “task force wine tourism” has been established to follow-up on concrete actions and measures to implement the strategy for wine tourism.

Kosovo might not (yet) compete with excellent quality of Californian, Italian, French or German wines, but it certainly has the means and assets to create a wine tourism product which is different, offering a unique experience and excellent value-for-money.

The first step has been done, and the “Vision for Rahovec Region 2012” is more and more likely to take shape. Watch out for Kosovo’s latest…. wine tourism in Rahovec Region!

Experience Kosovo Blog

Posted by: ExperienceKosovo | August 14, 2010

Peja Traditional Games- August 15

Posted by: ExperienceKosovo | July 26, 2010

Prishtina GOLF now open…

Please click the picture for more information

Posted by: ExperienceKosovo | July 26, 2010

Kosovo Tourism on Turkish Magazines

Please click here to get a complete article Kosova’nin turizmi-1

Kosova’nin turizmi-2

Posted by: ExperienceKosovo | July 14, 2010

Anibar Animation International Festival – August 2010

About the festival

2010 is the birth of Anibar Animation International Festival, but also the birth of the first animation festival in Kosovo. The festival program contains animated films,workshops,Q&A.But also Anibar additional mini events are Anibar Green, Night concerts.
The festival will take place in beautiful Peja, a city in the western mountainous region of the newest country in the world, Kosovo.

This first edition will begin 27 August 2010 and will be held for 4 days ending on 30 August 2010.

For more information please contact:

Rron Bajri
+386 (0)49 661 973
Kosovo, Peja 30010, Emrush Myftari 117
info@anibar.com
www.anibar.com

Posted by: ExperienceKosovo | July 13, 2010

Chicago Covers Kosovo Tourism?!

Kosovo on the rise

They embrace their newfound peace, and they embrace Americans too

By Karen Torme Olson, Special to Tribune Newspapers

July 11, 2010

PRISTINA, Kosovo — The moment I deplaned at Pristina International Airport, I felt the new vitality that had emerged in the eight years since my last visit here.

The crush of people waiting to retrieve luggage was just as frenetic, but instead of mostly solemn-faced men in black leather jackets shoving their way to the baggage carousel, this crowd was composed of young families with small children, 20-somethings in designer duds, a swarm of U.S. teens on a community-service trip, and men and women in business attire. Instead of armed Russian KFOR troops ( NATO-led Kosovo Force) barking orders at the crowd, smiling young men and women in uniforms circulated among the new arrivals, asking if they could help with accommodations or transport.

Kosovo has been independent from Serbia since February 2008. It has a long and colorful history and considerable natural beauty, but many still associate the nation about the size of Iowa with war, and few travelers consider it a vacation destination.

My daughter-in-law Sanja met me at the airport, and as we covered the 10 miles to the city, I slipped into a then-and-now comparison. In 2002 the airport road was an obstacle course on a dirt-and-gravel strip that wound between weed-covered lots dotted with “beware of land mine” signs. It was us against crater-size potholes, slow-moving military vehicles and wrong-way drivers in smoke-belching Yugos.

This time our ride on smooth, new pavement was crowded with Audis, BMWs and environmentally friendly compacts. Glass and steel buildings housing luxury auto showrooms, gas stations, home-supply megastores and even a few water parks occupied the lots.

As we approached Pristina, a Paul Bunyan-size image of a smiling Bill Clinton painted on a high-rise greeted traffic. The words beneath former President Clinton’s likeness read: “Welcome to Bill Clinton Boulevard,” a clear message he remains a hero of epic proportion in Kosovo. There’s even talk of building a park named for Clinton to enshrine an 11-foot-tall gilded statue of him unveiled in November 2009.

In 2002 most Pristina dwellings were run-down socialist towers covered with laundry lines and satellite dishes; streets and restaurants were often empty. Now the satellite dishes are gone, new construction is everywhere, and restaurant business has picked up because “Kosovo has cable now, and people have a little more money to go out for dinner,” Sanja told me.

Flowers and flags were the biggest tipoff that Kosovo had changed. Eight years ago Kosovars’ most urgent priorities were food, jobs and healing after war. There was no room for floral frivolities. Flying an Albanian flag near a Serb neighborhood had the power to set off a fight and vice versa. This time botanical color was visible on tables, in window boxes, on fences and along sidewalks, and Kosovo’s new flag was flying but seldom alone. Usually it was flanked by the Stars and Stripes, the European Union banner and others.

The next morning in the apartment that Sanja and my son Greg share, I opened my eyes to the first of the day’s five Muslim calls to prayer, which simultaneously emanate from loud speakers mounted on Pristina’s 200 minarets. In 2002 I awoke to the cries of feral dogs that roamed Pristina’s streets, and the prayer calls were silent, as many of the city’s Albanian Muslim majority were keeping a low profile after the war.

We had a packed itinerary and left early for the museum city of Prizren 50 miles southwest of Pristina. Prizren is Kosovo’s historical and cultural center, the site of many seminal events since its founding in Byzantine times. It also is the country’s most ethnically diverse region, home to Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Bosnians and others.

A 16th century stone bridge that spans the Lumbardh River in Prizren’s center is the city’s most recognizable landmark. Others include the Sinan Pasha Mosque in the city center, elaborate Orthodox churches and the rebuilt League of Prizren building with its ethnographic museum. We also stopped at the 15th century Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hamam (an Ottoman bathhouse), but we got only a peek at its intricate woodwork and blue-and-white paintings because it is under renovation.

Prizren’s cache of Ottoman buildings was virtually untouched during the 1998-99 war, but postwar ethnic violence and Albanian retaliation for destruction of the original League of Prizren building caused extensive damage to many Serbian churches. A guard on the grounds of the19th century Serbian Orthodox Church of St. George told us the building was closed for repair after being burned by rioting Albanians in March 2004. As a result, St. George’s and other Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo still are ringed with barbed wire and guarded by KFOR troops.

We decided to have breakfast and found a bakery where Sanja purchased cheese-filled burek while we ordered espresso at a coffee bar on Sadervan Square. Our table in front of a public fountain in the square turned out to be a great spot for people watching. We were treated to a parade of children, city workers, women in traditional Muslim dress and shoppers stopping to fill pails, take a drink, wash their hands or just splash around.

When we went to get our car to head for Gjakova, the parking attendant approached us with a dour look that immediately changed to a smile and handshakes all around when he realized we were Americans. This is not unusual in Kosovo, which in my experience is the only mostly Muslim nation that openly loves the U.S. and its people.

Gjakova is 25 miles north of Prizren and should have been a 40-minute ride, but it took us almost two hours because it was wedding season in Kosovo. We encountered no fewer than two dozen wedding caravans clogging the roads with cars carrying people waving white cloths out windows while horns honked and music blasted from car radios. I saw similar processions eight years ago, but mostly they celebrated the release of Albanian prisoners of war.

When we finally reached Gjakova, we headed for the Carshia, a bazaar set in wooden stalls with carved shutters. The market is from the 16th century, but the original buildings burned to the ground in 1999. They have been rebuilt, and Carshia is unique in Gjakova, though the town also has its share of museums, mosques and historic sites.

Our next stop would have been Peja and its 13th century monastery, but we instead detoured to Rahoveci to taste the new vintage at the Stone Castle winery, one of Kosovo’s largest. We noticed a framed photograph of Clinton hanging on the wall along with the winery’s awards and licenses.

Because we were determined to see a monastery that day, we chose Decani, an hour northwest of the winery. Italian KFOR troops outside the monastery gates examined our papers and held our passports while we went in, a procedure unchanged from 2002.

While in the monastery, we were approached by a young monk named Peter, who spoke excellent English. He asked if we wanted to see more than the church and invited us for tea and sesame honey cookies. When we finished, he showed us the monks’ living quarters and the art studio where they create icons for Orthodox churches all over the world, and explained the monks’ concept of community. He showed us Decani’s state-of-the-art woodshop, then took us to the wine cellar. Our impromptu visit lasted more than two hours.

The next few days Sanja and I explored Pristina while Greg went to his job with the U.S. Agency for International Development. We joined crowds strolling along the wide pedestrian expanse that is Mother Teresa Boulevard, stopped at a French-style cafe for cafe au lait, visited the new Kosovo National Library building and the University of Kosovo campus, and toured the city’s colorful farmers market/bazaar, where produce, cheese, pots and pans, eggs and meat, and mountains of cigarette cartons are for sale. We also went to Film City, a multistory mall in the hills above town where designer knockoffs rule.

Kosovo’s once limited restaurant scene is now vibrant, thanks to the demands of a large international population. There is everything from Albanian fare such as beef pie with yogurt (mantija) at Tiffany or sushi with a side of karaoke at Tokyo.

Most people walk rather than ride in Pristina, and so did we. Sanja and I walked a route that took us to the Mother Teresa statue on the boulevard named for her, and to Kosovo’s version of the Vietnam Wall. The memorial is an iron fence covered with photos of young men and women killed or missing during the war. We also passed Pristina’s huge dormant Palace of Youth and Sports, which is one of the most recognizable landmarks but has been empty since a 1999 fire. Only its exterior has been repaired. A visit to the bright yellow Newborn sculpture in front of the sports palace summed up Kosovo’s new spirit. It’s not a great work of art, but it is symbolic: It was erected to mark Kosovo’s independence as a nation.

Over dinner on my last evening in Kosovo, Greg asked what changes I had noticed since my previous visit. I mentioned the new buildings, the restaurants, the roads, the absence of land mine warnings and the air of optimism that seemed to be everywhere. But I also told him that the one thing that had touched me the most eight years ago hadn’t changed at all: Kosovo’s affection for America and its people. Nothing makes a traveler feel more at home.

If you go

Getting around

Taxis from the airport to Pristina cost about $35 one way for the 10-mile trip if you hail a cab waiting outside but just $21 if you order a taxi by phone. Buses run every two hours between the airport and the Grand Hotel in the center of Pristina for $4.25 one way. Be forewarned that the trip between town and the airport can take from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on traffic and road construction. If you want to see anything besides Pristina, rent a car. Hertz and Europcar have offices at Pristina airport, and Europcar also has an office at the Grand Hotel. There is bus service between towns, but on-time arrivals and departures will be at the mercy of road conditions and traffic.

Lodging

When I visited Kosovo in 2002, the Grand Hotel (grandhotel-pr.com) was 25 years old and showing its age. Back then it was considered the best lodging in Pristina. The Grand still is drab, dour and overpriced ($145 for a double), but it is undergoing renovation. It has been overshadowed by newcomers such as the Royal (royalhotel-pr.com), a modern hotel in the same price range. The Royal ($131/double) sits in the midst of a neighborhood that is home to several bars and restaurants, which makes for a lively street scene. It offers amenities such as a pool, Wi-Fi and airport shuttle, but room decor is inexplicably Old World kitsch. The Ambassador (www.hotel-ambassador.com — Web site down at press time) is another good choice. It is pricier at $155/double, but it is also classier. The Victory (hotel-victory.com) attracts lots of international guests, though it is a comparatively expensive choice at $200/double. Maybe that’s because of the big green faux Statue of Liberty on the roof.

Eating

You will eat well and inexpensively wherever you go in Kosovo. Pristina is loaded with excellent restaurants. We even found wine bars and respectable sushi. Food in the rest of Kosovo is plentiful and delicious but tends to cater to local tastes.

Entertainment

Jazz clubs are full well into the wee hours. Pubs, discos and al fresco restaurants are packed, even on Sunday nights. Go to jazzprishtina.com for more information.

Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune

For more information please click here

Posted by: ExperienceKosovoBlog | June 28, 2010

World Cup 2010 – first knockout games @ Paddys!

World Cup 2010 – first knockout games @ Paddys!

Now the excitement begins – first Round of 16 games this weekend!

ROUND OF 16

Saturday
Uruguay v South Korea, 16:00
USA v Ghana, 20:30

Sunday
Germany v England, 16:00
Argentina v Mexico, 20:30

Monday
Netherlands v Slovakia, 16:00
Winner Gp G v Runner-up Gp H, 20:30

Tuesday
Paraguay v Japan, 16:00
Winner Gp H v Runner-up Gp G, 20:30

http://www.PaddyOBriens.com

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