My final night in Pristina had arrived and following the long day of exploring the remnants and symbols to this nation’s recent history of war, it was time to find out what a weekday night-out in Kosovo was all about and how the youngest nation in Europe relaxed on an evening.
The first place I visited was the latin-themed cocktail bar called ‘Apartment 196’ which was just north of where I was staying at the ‘White Tree Hostel’. This place stood out to me with its music and its bright colours, in such stark contrast to the many grey concrete buildings around. I don’t know much about music from Kosovo but I do know that it is the birthplace of huge stars such as the beautiful artists Rita Ora and Dua Lipa.
Out for a late night wander
Here in ‘Apartment 196’ I decided upon having one of the many cocktails on offer and decided on a Long Island Ice Tea, normally the most alcoholic for your money. The place appeared to be very stylish and the prices reflected that, as well as I actually didn’t feel too overly welcome here as the staff seemed more interested in the clientele that all looked like they were from some kind of perfume advertisement….and sadly, I do not…..
Following what was a very good quality cocktail, a strong one too, I moved onto a bit of late night exploring in the centre of Pristina. I always enjoy doing this as there are often a lot less people, less crowds if any, and therefore creating a better opportunity to photograph and to appreciate the sights for what they are, instead of being stuck behind the umbrellas of walking-tour guides, britggggghtly coloured cagoules or prams, which just take away the magic of an image.
On this late night wander I came across the Cathedral of Saint Mother Teresa (see pic above) which is a modern looking construct positioned on the Rruga Justiniani. An interesting fact about this place of worship is that despite it being of Roman Catholic belonging, the foundation for the building was laid in a ceremony by Ibrahim Rugova, who in fact was a Muslim. This is a great example of how religions can co-operate and live alongside one another peacefully.
On the subject of differences existing in harmony, a building that was constructed with the combination of the architectural forms of the Byzantine era and Islam in mind, the ‘National Library of Kosovo’. This place is a must see if you visit the city of Pristina. It is though, a creation that architecturally will most definitely divide opinion. Is it an attractive building? No…. Does it leave a mark on you? Yes!
With its concrete lego look, to me it screams out ’70s multi-storey car park’ but then with its 99 different sized domes which do light up beautifully at night (see pic above) and on top of that, has zenith windows and some form of iron hairnet/fishnet which really gives it that brutalist-socialist feel.
Personally I really like the National Library and when you enter inside it is surprising striking with its mix of mosaic marble flooring and natural light from the main dome above.
Before heading back to the hostel (this being the evening I shared the room with the random cat) I headed to a row of bars that were actually hidden behind the well-lit road facing stores, at the bottom of some tall apartment blocks (see pic below) which was situated on the Bulevardi Bill Klinton.
Down this kind of back-alley were plenty of bars, including shisha bars. This time I definitely felt more suited to the clientele with a large array of ages and styles with some dressed smart-casual and others just in hoodies. I decided upon having a few beers in a bar named ‘Morena – Since 1996’ and was a good choice with its cheap prices, really friendly staff and had a much more social pub feel about it. I do highly recommend a visit to here if you end up on a night out in Pristina, and to try the locally brewed beer, ‘Birra Peja’.
So morning came after the night of drinking and wandering and it was time to check-out of the hostel and make the long walk out to the edge of the city centre of Pristina and board the bus I would be taking onwards to my next destination.
Next destination? Skopje in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A country that is now a growing nation in its own right away from the clutches of socialism.
The Kosovo/Macedonia Border Crossing
So it was out of Kosovo and over the border into Macedonia and onto the next part of my Balkan Adventure, bring it on Skopje!