#37: Today in Kosovo
12 July 2002
I had another adventure today. After Prizren (in the German/Austrian/Swiss KFOR Zone – so they have signboards in ALB, English and German!), I returned to Pristina and then decided to hop by the village of Grancanica, just outside the city. This is a Serbian enclave, i.e., where the local Serbs have not fled Kosovo. They have been living there for centuries guarding the famous monastery of Grancanica which was built by a famous Serbian king. This, together with the two I visited yesterday, Pec Patriarchate and Decani Monastery, have been submitted to UNESCO as World Heritage in case they are destroyed by the ALB people.
The place is guarded by the Swedes and is on the main road between Pristina and Glilan, an important city. Only ALB buses pass through there. The Serbs are besieged in the village and still fly the Yugoslav flag, pretending that they are still in Serbia. I had to ask the ALB bus to drop me there specially. I visited the monastery church but can’t get into the inner part because I forgot to wear long pants and the nuns didn’t allow me in. That’s fine; I am tired of frescoes anyway.
The problem is getting back. The ALB buses that pass through the village mostly didn’t bother to stop because they can’t stand the Serbs, and they don’t bother to see who’s waiting at the bus stop. Eventually, I had to really wave and jump up and down for a mini-bus to see me. It stopped and the passengers were surprised to see a non-Serb. Everyone stared at me, and someone said, “Not Srpski?” I said, “NO!” and everyone laughed.
At the restaurant of Hotel Grand, the best in town, the menu had the famous Serbian dishes, Serbian Salad and Fish Belgrade-style – amended by hand to Albanian Salad and Fish Pristina-style. This damn place is so racially divided. I have been corrected a few times by locals when I used Serbian place names. I had to remind myself not to speak Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian/Macedonian (all similar or same), which I got so used to the past few weeks, like da, ne, etc.
OK, maybe more fun tomorrow before I go to Albania.