Why You Should Visit Prizren, the Cultural Capital of Kosovo

The old Turkish baths of Prizren
The old Turkish baths of Prizren | © a.dombrowski / Flickr
Photo of Francesca Masotti
27 June 2018

Have you ever heard of Prizren? Considered by locals to be the cultural capital of Kosovo, this charming town is a real treasure hidden in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula and one of the best places to visit along the Balkan trail. Read our list of reasons why everyone should visit it.

For the fortress

The old fortress is the most famous landmark in Prizren and a must-see attraction when in town. To reach it requires a climb of about ten minutes, but the views from the top are terrific. Prizren is located in a scenic and wonderful spot surrounded by the Sharr Mountains and divided by the Bistrica River. From the fortress it is possible to admire wonderful panoramas over the red rooftops of the historical town.

The view of Prizren from the fortress Kalaja | © Hector Montero / Flickr

For the multiculturalism

Prizren is a multicultural town where Albanians, who are the majority of the population, Serbs and Turks all live together. The town boasts a number of gorgeous religious buildings, enchanting mosques and lovely Orthodox and Catholic churches. All of them can be admired from the top of the fortress, but a trip to Prizren is not complete without a visit to the Sinan Pasha Mosque, the largest and oldest mosque in town.

The beautiful interiors of the Sinan Pasha Mosque of Prizren | © Franco Pecchio / Flickr

For the Ottoman-era architecture

Prizren has some of the best Ottoman architecture in Europe. This enchanting Kosovar town is filled with some of the most gorgeously colored Ottoman-era houses of the Balkans. The best thing to do to admire these stunning and traditional buildings is to walk along the banks of the Bistrica River. A not-to-miss place is the Hammam, an old traditional Turkish bath that today is under reconstruction.

The old Turkish baths of Prizren | © a.dombrowski / Flickr

For Shadervan

Shadervan is the central district of Prizren and the prettiest, too. It is the area of the town with the most tourists thanks to the many stores where you can buy souvenirs, cafés where you can drink excellent Turkish coffee, and restaurants that serve traditional Albanian dishes. The best thing to do is to stroll through its cobblestoned streets and admire every single detail.

Shadervan is the most famous neighborhood of Prizren, pleny of traditional buildings, included the beautiful Sinan PAsha Mosque | © Fif' / Flickr

For the Old Stone Bridge

The Bistrica River divides Prizren in two parts. Several bridges cross the river, but the most beautiful and famous one is Ura e Gurit, also known as the “Old Stone Bridge.” This bridge dates back to the sixteenth century; however, it was destroyed during a flood before being perfectly rebuilt in 1980.

Ura e Gurit is the main Ottoman-era bridge in Prizren, destryed during a flood and rebuilt in the 80s. | © Franco Pecchio / Flickr

For DokuFest

Prizren is home to one of the most important film festivals of the Balkan Peninsula: DokuFest. It takes place every August in several areas of the town, such as the fortress and river banks, and shows some of the most interesting documentaries realized by directors from Kosovo and other Balkan countries.

The cinematographic event DokuFest in Prizren | © Samir Karahoda / WikiCommons

For the Prizren League

The League of Prizren was an Albanian organization founded on June 10, 1878 in Prizren that formed the basis for the construction of the future Albanian state. Today, inside the building that once hosted the League, there is a beautiful museum where the traditional customs and clothing of the Albanian people are explained, and paintings representing the Albanian men who founded the League are exhibited.

For the shopping

Finally, Prizren is a not-to-miss place for shopping lovers. The town has plenty of beautiful shops where you can find traditional rugs, carpets, bags, scarfs, jewelry, and more. The best place to shop is Shadervan, with its narrow streets crowded with stores in which to buy lovely gifts for your family and friends.

Handmade carpets and rugs are one of the best things to buy in Albania | © La Camila / Pixabay

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