Cultural and religious heritage


Kosovo is a country where the abundant heritage, cultural diversity and religious tolerance, with historical traces of over eight-thousand years, are intertwined. All ethnic groups that have lived in Kosovo for centuries have contributed to having such a legacy. Numerous monuments of cultural and religious heritage date back to prehistoric times, ancient times, Illyrian, Roman Empire, medieval times, Byzantine, and the period of the Ottoman Empire and Serbian occupation. This heritage is considered as the greatest treasure of all citizens living in Kosovo with significant potentials for the country’s economic development through tourism. 


Upon declaring its independence in 2008, the Republic of Kosovo made sure to stipulate the preservation, protection and promotion of cultural and religious heritage in its highest act - the Constitution, whereby this is specified under Article 9 of the Constitution of Kosovo as well as Article 58 that defines the promotion and preservation of religious and cultural heritage of all communities as an integral part of Kosovo's heritage. In its legal framework, the Republic of Kosovo has also granted rights, privileges and immunities to the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo.


Kosovo has some cultural and religious heritage sites under UNESCO's protection, but cultural heritage, diversity and religious tolerance in Kosovo can only be proven if you visit it.  On the main street of the Capital City of Kosovo, you can see the Cathedral, named after the Albanian Saint "Mother Teresa", and continue to the courtyard of the Kosovo Government, where you can visit the Memorial Plate for the Jewish Holocaust Victims, or the “Stone Mosque” of 1393, the Great Hamam of the IV century or the ancient Roman city – Ulpiana of the early II century.


There are 1534 cultural assets in Kosovo, which are on the list of cultural heritage protection proposed by the Kosovo Heritage Council.


The Monastery of Deçan in Peja, the Old Stone Bridge in Prizren, the Graçanica Monastery, the Church of the Holy Saviour in Prizren, the Radac Cave, the Ruins of the Church of St. Nicholas in Peja, the Medieval Fortress of Zvecan, the Stone Bridge in Zallc, the Banjska Monastery, the Old Stone Bridge in Vrri, the Castle in Gotovusha, the Cathedral of St. George, the Castle in Hisar of Brrut, all are part of the archaeological heritage.


“Konaku” of Tahir Begut, “House of the National Hero” Milladin Popovic, Grave of Haxhi Zeka, Tower of Goskaj, the House of Enver Hadri, the Bridge in the Rugova Canyon, Cine-Theatre Jusuf Gërvalla, Peja Spa, Tower of Jusuf and Bardhosh Gervalla, and the Great Teke of Tarikatit Alije – Halvetije in Junik are included in the architectural heritage.


The list of cultural heritage under protection also includes movable objects such as twin cups, spherical vessels, drainers, stone axe, bronze bracelet, arc-shaped fibula, stone mill - Mokër, conic bowl, belt clasp, amber necklace, and medallion of Probis, glass bottles, balsamarium and nomina mulierum.


The mill facilities and the river bifurcation, the Llapushnica Gorge, the Bresalc Cave, the Gjeravica Lakes, “Kroni i Priftit”, the Mirusha Canyon, the birches of Artana, the Moronica (pine park) are considered as cultural landscapes, while the Albanian Epos of Heroes, Ocarina, filigree, Surla and “Plisi” (Albanian white felt hats) are considered to be part of the spiritual inheritance.

Prizren Castle

The ancient city of Ulpiana


Religious Tolerance

Albanian girls with national dress




Kosovo is the birthplace of contemporary music stars that are loved and adored worldwide for their unique performance and genre such as Rita Ora, Dua Lipa and the other rising star Era Istrefi. The same path seems to be followed by the well-known guitarist, Petrit Çeku, winner of several international awards, and by many of his colleagues such as composers, soprano and solo singers from Kosovo.


Other artists from Kosovo, who have won international awards and have received various prizes at international festivals, are Sanije Matoshi, Elbenita Kajtazi, Besa Llugiqi, Marigona Qerkezi, Riad Ymeri, Shkëlzen Doli, Ramë Lahaj, Memli Kelmendi, Desar Sylejmani, Ron Atiqi and Ereza Muqolli.


Music in Kosovo has been cultivated and preserved for many generations, and has played a very important role in the overall development of culture and national awareness, but also in the integration and advancement of society in general. 


After the end of World War II, the art and music appassionato amplified their efforts to maintain the traditional music, folk music and light urban songs at a high level.


At a later stage, through radio and television, entertaining music, along with some hard rock, started to break through. Otherwise, music development and the creation of new genres throughout the world are regularly followed and most are cultivated as part of entertaining music.


The committed professionals of respective fields ensure that music in Kosovo develops alongside world trends, although Kosovo’s political and social circumstances were not favourable to proper music development. Initially, the renowned composer, Rexho Mulliqi, was the one who was engaged for many years in musical composition.


One of his popular creations is the song "Baresha", which was sung by the famous singer, Nexhmije Pagarusha, also known as “Nightingale of Kosovo (Bilbili i Kosovës)”, who at that time performed at concerts in different cities in the country and abroad, also performing in Israel. But at the same time, classical music was also played in Kosovo. That is why in 1948 the first musical school was opened in Prizren, and after that a second one was opened in Pristina.





Despite its relatively small population, Kosovo has produced world-famous artists. It has won around 200 awards from international festivals, reaching a peak of success in 2015 when the short film "Shok" was short-listed for Oscar nomination in the category “Best Live Action Short Film”.


Cinematography in Kosovo has a several-decades long historical tradition. In the years 1935-37, the first seven cinemas were opened in the cities of Mitrovica, Prishtina, Gjilan, Ferizaj, Prizren, Gjakova and Peja. Later on, many young people from Kosovo attended studies as camera operator in former Yugoslavia, other Eastern European centres and the former USSR. But it was the actor Bekim Fehmiu who, despite having built his career abroad, always represented Kosovo everywhere  he went.


The actor Bekim Fehmiu appeared in many film houses around the world. He was the first Albanian film and theatre actor who successfully played in movies and theatres throughout the entire territory of former Yugoslavia. He was one of the personalities that made his mark in Balkan cinematography, but above all, he remains a renowned figure for his artistic contribution to world cinematography.


Meanwhile, following the establishment of Kosovo film, the genuine Kosovo cinematography marks its first steps. Young people from Kosovo, who had already completed their studies in the field of film, returned to the country and contributed to the development of cinematography. In collaboration with the Television of Prishtina, the film "Era e lisi" was the first to be made, followed by "Dashuria e parë" 1970, "Rekuiem për të nesërmen" 1970, "Koka ime e krisur" and other films that were produced.


After the end of the war in 1999, the Kosovo Cinema Centre made efforts to support and produce the best quality films which brought Kosovo around 200 awards from international festivals.


The films that have won most awards are: “Agnus Dei” of Agim Sopi, “Ballkoni”, “Burrnesha”, “Kolona”, “Tri Dritare dhe një Varje”, “Heroi”, “Babai” and “Bota”. Moreover, the short film “Shok” was extraordinarily successful, premiering in March 2015 in Aspen Shortsfest, where it was part of the competition and obtained 3 awards. It continued to feature in many other festivals, and finally was short-listed for an Oscar under the category “Best Live Action Short Film”.    


Important sports events:





Although a relatively young country, Kosovo has given a significant contribution to international sports as well. About two years after its membership as an equal member with full participatory rights in the International Olympic Committee, Kosovo, the small country which for the first time managed to take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, obtained its first gold medal that was won by Majlinda Kelmendi, a judoist with international credentials.


The internationalization of Kosovo's sports, and in particular the country's membership in FIBA, FIFA and UEFA opened a new window of perspective for athletes, and for the state of Kosovo as well, because in the past many well-known international football players from Kosovo did not have the opportunity to represent their country. Football stars from Kosovo today play for elite teams in European Leagues, while the best testimony to their success is the fact that half of Switzerland's national team consisted of players originating from Kosovo. 


The successes of athletes from Kosovo have been present even in the earlier times. Footballers from Kosovo have been part of big European clubs, such as Fadil Vokrri, Lorik Cana, Ardian Kozniku and others. Even in other sports, Kosovars have managed to obtain medals, particularly in fighting sports, such as boxing, wrestling and karate.


The development of sport has been done hand-in-hand with the society’s efforts for ensuring political, cultural and educational survival. Despite the isolation, Kosovar athletes never gave up on nurturing their talent and desire. The most popular sports in the Republic of Kosovo are: football, basketball, volleyball, handball and wrestling. Individual sports have been the source of pride and success for the country, bringing even a gold world medal.



International literature on Kosovo


Despite the importance that Kosovo has had in the developments and the history of the Balkans, as most prominent international researchers prove, Kosovo had, for political reasons, remained almost “mysterious and little-known to foreigners”.


The same researchers have argued that this happened because “the European maps for this area contained great inaccuracies and interpretations of facts based on interests and narratives of those who had invaded this part, and such a situation continued unchanged almost until the end of the nineteenth century”.  


This was best demonstrated by a Bulgarian geographer who, in his visit to Kosovo during World War I, wrote that “parts of the region of Kosovo, until just a few years ago, were almost as unknown and inaccessible as some distant parts of land in Central Africa”.


Kosovo caught the eye of the international community because of the systematic violence, ethnic cleansing and genocide exercised against the civilian population in the last war of 1999. In the meantime literature, and the amount of credible and impartial international reporting increased, which sparked interest and engaged the attention of internationally renowned researchers of history, international relations, international law and other related issues. Below, you may find some authors with international credentials and book titles on Kosovo.




Traditional cuisine


The long, rich and tasteful tradition makes Kosovo's traditional cuisine truly unique.


In this selection, the traditional food “flia” certainly occupies the first place, and not far behind is the “byrek” (pie). Being part of the Balkan cuisine, food in Kosovo is characterized by different products containing meats and fresh vegetables, and canned vegetables during the winter season.


Another element that makes Kosovo famous is the excellent tradition of wine production. The southern part of the country is known for its traditional cultivation, where thousands of hectares of vineyards provide high quality wine. Kosovo's wine today has reached all international markets. 


In addition, the cultivation and preparation of trout fish is another tradition in Kosovo. Despite the rich traditional cuisine, numerous restaurants, cafeterias, bistros and modern hotels offer a variety of food and drink menus from different countries and cultures of the world.


“Who has the best macchiato in the world? (It's not in Italy)” It's in Kosovo! This was the appraisal of the technology giant, Yahoo, in an article that was dedicated to Kosovo.


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