Prizren fortress: a view from the top
Located on the south-east side of the city, it is considered to be the citys symbol and an important element in Kosovos cultural identity. Built on a high hill, in a picturesque environment and an extraordinary strategic location, the Fortress dominates the town as well as the impressive, deep Lumbardhi valley and the big Dukagjini area. The Fortress has its beginnings in the first period of civilization in this region, in prehistory, with a continuing development through the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. It was used exclusively as a fortress until 1912. The Fortress is now significantly damaged and is on the list of sites of World Heritage in Danger. A path from city center leads you to the fortress, its about 15 minutes walk, where you may enjoy the full view of the city, take photos or just watch the sun goes down.
Sinan Pasha Mosque
Sinan Pasha's mosque, according to inscriptions, was built in 1615. Its architecture demonstrates strength, compactness, gracefulness, and elegance. In regards to the type of architecture, it represents a rarity in Islamic art. Thanks to its position, elegance, massive properties and the graceful minaret, it dominates over the surrounding part of the town. The enormous dome is fitted harmoniously into the square mass of the building. The mosque stands on a high level overlooking the main street in the historic city. It became with its huge dome and elegant minaret one of the dominant architectural features of Prizren. The interior of the mosque is decorated with geometrical designs, still life, and draperies, while the other parts of the walls are painted in strong light colors. The mosque is being restored from year 2008 by a Turkish organization. The porch which was ruined last century is reconstructed. Step by step the mosque gets its monumentality and gracefulness in the city. One of the most attractive monuments in Prizren.
Gazi Mehemt Pasha`s Mosque
photo by: Elena Kasimova
Gazi Mehmet Pasha's Mosque is one of the oldest monuments of Islamic art in Prizren. The inscription above the entrance states it was built in 1561. This mosque has a square base and numerous windows, while the main veneration niche (mihrab) and the pulpit (mimber) are made of marble. A hexagonal mausoleum (madrasa) has been built in the courtyard of the mosque which Mehmet Pasha earmarked as his grave. Building complex that mosque settles in, includes a high school (madrasa), a primary school (maktab), a library and a mausoleum for the founder, a bath of Gazi Mehmet Pasha, which is about 150m away from the mosque. This Mosque, nowadays known as Bajrakli Mosque is behind Albanian League Museum. Together with Albanian League Complex, Bath of Gazi Mehmet Pasha, and old urban houses, Mehmet Pasha Mosque gives you the sense of ottoman architecture.
Gazi Mehemt Pasha`s Bath
photo by: Elena Kasimova
The Hamam of Prizren is an early Ottoman-era monument in which oriental and local traditions combine. The bath was founded by Gazi Mehmet Pasha, the Sanjak Bey of Iskenderiye /Shkodėr probably in 1573-4 A.D. together with the distinguished architectural ensemble. The building is a double bath, one half for men and the other one for women, separated with a special entrance for each. It has the same internal different spaces: area for taking off clothes, warm area, and heated area with different small washing rooms. The heated area has vaults and small domes covered by lead sheets while the undressing area has domes covered by tiles. The building is constructed from rubble stones and hydraulic lime. The internal wall surfaces are plastered.
Nowadays the building is used as a museum. Presently, galleries of Turkish Bath of Gazi Mehmet Pasha are mainly used for figurative and photo exhibitions, literary promotion meetings, chamber music concerts, etc.
Tekke of Saraçhane
photo by: Elena Kasimova
Halveti Tekke in Prizren was built on 1600, by Sheh Osman. It is in the centre of the city, next to Saraēhane mosque. The compound of tekke consist of Semahane room where the main ceremonies are organized, mausoleum of Halveti prior Shehs, a living room for dervishes, and an open beautiful courtyard with fountain and flowers. The local leader is Sheh Abidin Sheu. You are free to visit tekke during afternoon after 16 clocks; a dervish responsible for welcoming visitors is available for all visitors of tekke. Every Thursday a ritual called ziker, is open for public.
Church of The Holy Virgin of Ljeviska 14th century
The Bogorodica (Mother of God) Ljeviska Cathedral is one of the most important churches to have survived in the entire region and one of the finest examples of Late Byzantine architecture anywhere. It is located in the old part of Prizren. The history of the Bogorodica Ljeviska church reaches back to the 9th-11th century. The first known church on this location was a Byzantine cathedral which served as a centre of the Diocese mentioned in a charter by Byzantine emperor Basil II in 1018. Commissioned by King Milutin of Serbia, the church was remodelled in 1306-07. The church has a unique architectural design. The church was built from alternate layers of brick and limestone. The Churchs most famous feature is its decorative wall painting, which is of the very highest quality. It includes scenes such as the Wedding at Canaa, the Healing of the Blind, and the Most Holy Mother of God with Christ the Guardian. In Ottoman times the church was transformed into a mosque, but was reconstructed in 1920s.
Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour 14th century
photo by: Elena Kasimova
The church is situated in the northern part of Prizren, below the fortress. It was built around 1330 in the time of Duans rule. The complex of Christ the Saviours Church consists of two major architectural parts, the older and smaller 14th century church building at the south-eastern corner, and the more recent and expansive annex with a belfry, which were attached in 1836 and have remained unfinished. The local Vlach community in Prizren was granted the right to use this little church from the second half of the 18th century.
The church stands as an important testimony to late Byzantine architecture and medieval Serbian wall painting.
Episcopal Church of St George 19th century
The Episcopal church of Prizren is located in the very centre of the town. It was built in 1887 on the site of an older church foundation. The interior of the church was richly decorated and designed with ashlars in different colours, polished onyx, marble panes, fresco paintings, icons etc. In the church, apart from the wooden iconostasis and the old books, there were a great number of very important icons, gathered from other churches.
Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor
Was built in XIX century (1870) by Archbishopric Dario Bucciarelli, later Toma Gllasnoviē built the clock tower. In plan view this church has three naves; they are covered with arches and separated with columns covered with marble. According to its plan, roof, faēade and openings this is a Romanic style church. The faēade of the building is from various types of stone, it has five entrances. This church is famous for its beautiful frescoes and the fresco of Skėnderbeu in the north side of the church.
This church is in the west side of the city center, five minutes walk from Shadėrvan.
Prizren Albanian League Museum
The complex of Monuments of the Albanian League of Prizren is a whole set of architectural objects with Albanian national folk architectural features of the past centuries. The complex is consisted of four premises connected organically between them and placed in the center of ancient Prizren. It is a heritage of cultural, historical and natural value, because it symbolizes the completely Albanian resistance against the almost five centuries long Ottoman Empire rule.
Held on the 10th of June 1878 and organized by the patriots and intellectuals of that time from all over Albanian lands, who established a political, military and cultural program to protect Albanian territories and formation of an Albanian autonomous state.
Nowadays the complex performs as a museum, consisted by: museum of ethnology, art gallery, history and library. Main topic for this complex is Albanian League on 1878, the history of its development. Art gallery consists of beautiful paintings of Albanian and other painters, who treat Albanian league in their paintings. Ethnology museum represents traditional clothing of Albanian territories in 19th century.
Working hours: 12:00-19:00. Closed on Monday. Admission 1/0.20.
Marash compound is situated in the east side of Prizren; it represents a grateful symbiosis of architectural and natural heritage. Marash compound creates continuity between Albanian League Museum and Fortress of Prizren, and goes on with natural beauty of Lumėbardhi Gap.
Four hundred years old plane tree (platanus orientalis), two meters wide, is the only exemplar of its kind in Ballkans. In this compound are represented monumental values of traditional and oriental architecture of Prizren, where you still can see the Mosque of Maksut Pasha, dating from 1833, Mausoleum of Saadi order, the restored Pintoll Mill , which nowadays is used as milk restaurant and some old traditional urban houses.
From Marash it is possible to continue upstream on foot, while the pathway has now been built, which continues for several miles for a pleasant riverside walk or a biking tour. The pathways lead to the Dokufest Camp place and if you follow the white stone passage you will find a perfect jogging ground along the astonishing nature and will be enchanted with where it takes you at the end of it, you finish in Fortress of Prizren.
Marashi Park has a very good position within the city. It is situated in the east side of the city, near to Albanian League Museum and night pubs. Located next to city center, but at the same time hidden from the crowd, this place offers you a warm ambience, with jogging paths which lead you up to the Castle, sitting benches, playgrounds and small café-restaurants. Four hundred years old plane tree (platanus orientalis), two meters wide, is the only exemplar of its kind in Ballkans.
Turkish bath with Clock tower
photo by: Elena Kasimova
It is placed in the Clock Tower and galleries of Turkish Bath built by Ahmet Shemsedin Bey on 1498. Although there are some traces indicating to a more distant past, the hitherto studies lead us to infer that it was transformed into a Turkish bath in the mid 18th century, the tower itself was made of boards, and then, in the late 19th century, Eshref Pasha built the present tower with baroque elements, on which he had a babafinga (observation post) constructed and a clock built in. In 1912 the clock with a bell were taken down, and nowadays the clock tower is still without clock.
Archeological Museum was opened on 17th November 1975; there are displayed 790 archeological units, discovered in the Prizren region that is the territory of the communities of Prizren, Dragash, Rahovec and Suhareka. They date since the prehistory, antique times and medievalism, until 19th century .
Nowadays the museum is not functioning while is in renovating phase, the works have not been finished yet.
Bridges in Prizren
Lumbardhi River is the horizontal axe of the city of Prizren, dividing it in two sites, which offers a pleasant visual enjoyment for its habitants and visitors. Many bridges built, connect the river banks in a very natural way. There have been many wooden bridges built on River Lumbardhi, during prior times, which have been replaced with new ones built from stone, concrete and steel.
One of the most representative bridges in Prizren is the Stone Bridge.
Situated in the center, Stone Bridge merges Shadėrvan square with craftsmen Road, which leads you to Hamam. It was built during 16th century, from carved local stones, with three arches. The original bridge was destroyed from river floods on 1979.
The Stone Bridge that you see nowadays is a reconstruction of the original bridge. The Stone Bridge attract with its elegance, allowing you to experience the beauties that surround the city center, Kalaja, Sinan Pasha Mosque, Shadėrvan Square with cable stones.
Gani Dukagjinis House
photo by: Elena Kasimova
Is located within the Compound of Albanian League of Prizren, which together with Museum and Bajrakli Mosque creates a composition of high cultural values. Half open porch in entrance of house, wide roof shed, decorative elements from wood, rich interior, courtyard paved with causey and old decorated wooden door, are some of elements that you may see during your visit in this house.
Sheh Hasans House
Sheh Hasans House is placed in the urban site of the city, behind hotel Theranda. It was built in 19th century and represents a typical citizen house type with rich folkloric architecture elements.
Wooden garret in the middle of front faēade, wide roof shed, and the fountain-head are some of these characteristic elements.
Together with Tekke of Halveti order, Saraēhane Mosque and Blacksmiths street, this house creates a compound of citizen architecture in the center of the city, which gives you a view how Prizren used to look like in 19th century.
House of Family Mustafa
House of family Pomaku is a unique example of citizen folkloric architecture, with closed balcony so called doksat, where you can notice original elements prepared by local workmen. Like in other houses, also this house is specified with its decorative elements, ceiling decorated with wood, decorated doors, courtyard paved with causey, garner and source that dates from 19th century.
By: Nora Arapi