Of all of the locations in Kosovo to spend your time, it may appear unusual that the place we spent probably the most time in was the area round Peja. This metropolis in Kosovo’s west will not be precisely a well known vacation spot, even in comparison with Pristina and Prizren. However you see, Peja is a gateway to among the most fascinating sights and sights Kosovo has to supply. To see the sights round Peja are purpose sufficient to go to, not to mention the town itself.
Throughout our time there, we actually solely spent evenings within the metropolis as a result of throughout the day we have been busy seeing one shocking sight after one other. What follows is a rundown of the unimaginable sights round Peja that you simply’ll wish to go to. In case you didn’t already plan to go to, hopefully this may present you why you must.
The Metropolis of Peja
Peja, or Peje because it’s generally written, isn’t a metropolis with out its charms. Mountains loom over the town creating fairly a moody backdrop and there’s a relaxed really feel that’s good right here. The reality is although that there simply isn’t all that a lot to see across the metropolis. Vacationers will little doubt take pleasure in a stroll by the town’s renovated bazaar and there’s the odd museum right here and there. Past that, there’s not a lot, at the very least from what we may discover.
The place Peja did shock us was with its meals scene. Meals in Kosovo was normally fairly good, however Peja is correct up there with Pristina by way of high quality. Two eating places we tried that left a distinctly good impression have been Artwork Design and Kulla e Zenel Beut.
Apart from the superb service and meals, what was fascinating about Kulla e Zenel Beut was studying about kulla on the whole. Discovered throughout the previous Ottoman Empire, kulla have been principally fortified household houses and there are a number of in Peja you may see.
Located simply outdoors the centre of the town, lies the traditional and vital non secular landmark of the Patriarchate of Peć Monastery. This medieval Serbian Orthodox Monastery dates from the 13th century and is a part of the “Medieval Monuments in Kosovo” UNESCO World Heritage web site. Though it meant strolling on the market throughout an oppressive rain bathe, this was a location attraction we knew we couldn’t miss.
Earlier than we go any additional, it’s vital to establish that this is without doubt one of the most contentious landmarks in Kosovo. If it’s not clear why, it’s a revered and historic Serbian Orthodox web site in Kosovo. Along with the opposite Medieval Monuments in Kosovo, every of that are vital holy landmarks, this monastery is an inciting issue within the present territorial disagreement.
All of which is why you if you go to the Patriarchate of Peć Monastery, it’s essential to first cross by a UN Peacekeeping checkpoint. There, they examine your passport which it is advisable to deliver, and then you definitely’re allowed to go to. That unfamiliar expertise coupled with the endless rain, overshadowed a lot of the go to.
Throughout the monastery grounds there have been some ruins and gardens, however the primary draw is the the three-combined church buildings which can be coated inside with frescoes. Seeing these unimaginable and complete frescoes is certain to be the spotlight of a go to right here. I solely want guests have been allowed to take pictures inside to indicate you ways vibrant they’re.
The principle purpose for spending as lengthy in Peja as we did was Kosovo’s Rugova Valley. Operating from simply close to Peja as much as the borders of Montenegro and Albania, the Rugova Valley is the premium mountaineering vacation spot in Kosovo. You’ll have to attend for me to lastly write up my expertise there, however the brief model is that the area is magical.
Mountaineering trails within the space cowl a number of legs of the favored Peaks of the Balkans mountaineering route. These trails run a loop by Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro and cross mountains, forests, alpine fields and rural areas. Not having two weeks to hike, we selected an abridged model of the Kosovo route. Even with three days we noticed some unimaginable surroundings, together with the views from Mount Hajla.
However even when you solely had a day to discover a tiny little bit of the Rugova Valley, it could be price it. Mountaineering within the space round Drelaj or Kuqishtë would at the very least provide you with a glimpse of this space’s magnificence.
In case you’re someplace that’s not closely written about, it usually pays to only take a look at a map. That was how we realized in regards to the White Drin Waterfall in any case. Discovered simply outdoors the village of Radac to the north of Peja, the waterfall appeared too near ignore.
Beginning on the Resort Ujevara e Drinit there’s a little path alongside a stream main as much as the waterfall. Alongside the best way, you’re handled to light forest surroundings and the occasional fairly cascade. It doesn’t take too lengthy to achieve the White Drin Waterfall, with the path taking you as much as the highest.
What was actually shocking was how there actually wasn’t one other soul in sight your entire time we visited. Maybe that was as a result of it was early on every week day, as a result of even the native stall distributors have been closed, with only one man organising. Contemplating how peaceable and scenic the waterfall is, I can solely think about it should get busier sooner or later.
In case you do go to the White Drin Waterfall, don’t flip round when you’ve seen it. That’s as a result of additional up the hill the Radaci Cave awaits. We didn’t even know in regards to the cave earlier than coming to the waterfall, however the signposts there to the cave certain caught out eye. Since we have been already there, we figured, why not go to there too?
On strategy the Radaci Cave jogged my memory of the Bacho Kiro collapse Bulgaria, with only a easy kiosk at its entrance. Inside have been two college students seemingly ready for somebody, anybody to indicate up. Upon paying 2€ every, one pupil gave us a non-public tour of the caves, revealing the cave’s historical past and mentioning its fascinating formations.
Whereas the sunshine inside wasn’t nice for pictures, there are some limestone terrace formations there fairly price seeing. The tour in all probability solely lasted 20 minutes or so, which was completely high-quality for me and my claustrophobia. Even nonetheless, the Radaci Cave was one other sudden pure attraction round Peja that was price visiting.
Significantly farther from Peja than others right here, the Decani Monastery is however a serious attraction on this a part of Kosovo. Very like the Patriarchate of Peja, Decani Monastery is one other a part of the UNESCO-protected Medieval Monuments in Kosovo. Through the 14th century, the King of Serbia based the Visoki Dečani monastery and it has since been thought-about a serious non secular and historic landmark.
That mentioned, the expertise of visiting the Decani Monastery was fairly totally different than at Peja Monastery. Safety right here was far better as a result of critical incidents up to now that risked the preservation of the monastery. Once we arrived, we have been made to attend in a bunch outdoors with the UN peacekeepers. Oddly although, the Serbian guests have been first let in and guided about. Then a bit of later, the remainder of have been permitted to enter and not using a information.
After a bit of wandering across the grounds, we made our manner inside the primary church there. There we had the possibility to fulfill one of many monks who informed us a bit of in regards to the monastery. Whereas the outside of the church appears to be like clearly renovated, inside you get a greater sense of the church’s authentic look. Afterwards, we went over to the shop and met what have to be the merriest monk round, who was eager for us to pattern the wine the monks produce to assist the monastery.
Journey Ideas for Visiting Peja
At this level, you must higher perceive what your choices are for sightseeing round Peja. That simply leaves the logistics of the place to remain and easy methods to attain the locations talked about. We stayed on the Guesthouse Stone Bridge and it was precisely what we want, with fashionable rooms and useful employees.
Attending to Peja when in Kosovo isn’t onerous both. There are common buses from each Pristina and Prizren, plus a lot from Gjakova as nicely. It’s price noting that the Peja Bus Station is a couple of kilometre from the town centre, so count on a stroll. You’ll additionally discover buses to every of those locations round Peja there, even the particular Rugova Valley shuttle. Most, just like the Decani Monastery and White Drin Waterfall, would require a little bit of a stroll from the bus cease.
Have you ever heard of Peja or any of those sights that encompass it? Which Peja attraction most pursuits you? Please share your ideas within the feedback under.
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