The four edifices of the site reflect the high points of the Byzantine-Romanesque ecclesiastical culture, with its distinct style of wall painting, which developed in the Balkans between the 13th and 17th centuries. The Dečani Monastery was built in the mid-14th century for the Serbian king Stefan Dečanski and is also his mausoleum. The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery is a group of four domed churches featuring series of wall paintings. The 13th-century frescoes of the Church of Holy Apostles are painted in a unique, monumental style. Early 14th-century frescoes in the church of the Holy Virgin of Ljevisa represent the appearance of the new so-called Palaiologian Renaissance style, combining the influences of the eastern Orthodox Byzantine and the Western Romanesque traditions. The style played a decisive role in subsequent Balkan art.
Prishtina (Albanian: Prishtinë, Serbian: Priština), the capital city of Kosovo, is not conventionally beautiful on sight: It is messy, with centuries-old Ottoman heritage competing with communist designs and post-communist architectural monstrosities. However, there is a powerful draw to this city, offering much to passing visitors. As the youngest capital city in Europe, Pristina has the physical remnants of the periods of old and new. After a rapid modernization campaign in the mid-20th century, much of the historic centre was destroyed and, as a result, only a small portion remains. However amongst what’s left are many hidden gems to be found, and the areas that were lost have been replaced by modern structures and monuments that speak more to Kosovo’s fascinating recent history than to any other period of time. Whilst the concrete jungle of Pristina’s centre can be quite overwhelming, there are plenty of opportunities to get out into the nature of the city’s parks and its beautiful rolling outskirts, as well as an abundance of easy day trip possibilities all around the region [read more].
Niš (Serbian: Ниш, pronounced: ‘neesh’) is a city in Serbia. The administrative centre of the Nišava District, it’s a must-see historical city for any traveller passing through on their way to Greece or the Middle East. Niš is an important crossroads between Central Europe and the Middle East, and assumes the central position in the Balkan peninsula, surrounded by a number of mountains, two rivers, two beautiful gorges, and numerous sites of historical importance from various periods in Niš Valley. Some approximate distances: Niš – Belgrade 240 km, Niš – Sofia 150 km, Niš – Skopje 200 km, Niš – Thessaloniki – 400 km. The streets of this university city with 1/4 million residents are buzzing with life. As with most of Europe it is usually recommended to travel by train for cost and speed. The trains are old and there have been delays. However, trains will be more comfortable and almost always more scenic [read more].
Prizren, in Kosovo, is a charming city of mosques and monasteries dating back to the 14th century. Happily spared (mostly) from both the “destroy the old, build the new” drive of the communists during the early years of their rule in Yugoslavia, as well as the ethnic and religious atrocities that plagued the Western Balkans in the last decade of the 20th century, Prizren has the best-preserved old town in the country by far, and is often referred to as the cultural capital of Kosovo. Clinging to the slopes of the lush Sharr Mountains, and divided by the river Lumbardh, Prizren, including its modern suburbs, is home to about 180,000 people, making it the second largest city in the country, after Pristina, the capital. The majority of the population is ethnic Albanian. Kosovo’s Turkish, Bosniak annd Gorani community is focused in Prizren as well. As such, the standard bi-lingual street signs in Albanian and Serbian are complemented here by Turkish, which can be freely used particularly in the old town, and with other Albanians [read more].