4-6 July, 2011
American Independence Day is an appropriate date to be visiting Kosovos capital city. They have a love affair with America, Bill Clinton in particular, for saving them from the fighting in 1999 (see pics of statue and billboard on Blvd. Bill Clinton). There were a few shindigs yesterday, one in the evening at the National Museum, in honour of the USA. I visited the museum in daylight hours and saw their prize archaeological exhibit, the sassy “Goddess on the Throne”. I have have seen a claim it dates from 6000BC, but the museum only says 4000BC. Still, impressive antiquity. Apparently a large contingent of Kosovan treasures were sent on loan to be exhibited in Serbia just prior to the outbreak of hostilities in 1999 and have yet to be returned, except for the Goddess and that only due to pressure from a UN representative. The dispute about whether Kosovo is part of Serbia or not seems to degenerate, as often is the case in these situations, into an historical debate about who got there first, the Slavs or the Albanians. Funny, that argument never got the Australian aborigines anywhere. The sounds of Prishtina can be summed up – jackhammers and generators. Lots of roadworks and building construction, and regular power outages, like last night at my guesthouse. All the lights went out, then a few seconds later the hum of the generator kicking in. Here are some pics, starting with the “NEWBORN” monument which mysteriously appeared just after the Kosovo declaration of independence in 2008. The statue of the guy on horseback is Gjergj Kastrioti Akenderbeu 1405-1468, scourge of the Ottomans who knew him as Skanderbeg. His record in battles against the Ottomans was something like 15-0. They only completely conquered Albania after he died. The last pic is of the traditional Albanian hat (qeleshe or plis) shaped like an eggshell that you can see worn here by men of a certain age.
Postscript: What do you think of the building in the park that someone said looks like “gelatinous eggs in armour”? Do you think it works? It is the National Library.