Medieval Tour Of Prizren, Unique Mixture of Slavic, Ottoman and Illyrian Heritage

Besides ethnic conflicts in Kosovo, there are some fun things to see…

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The town of Prizren is among the oldest rural settlements to ever exist on the territory of Kosovo. History remembers it since the distant 2nd century AD by its ancient Roman name Theranda. Nowadays most of Prizren is still stuck in medieval times – at least when it comes to its architecture. Abundant in historical buildings and mixed with Albanian, Serbian, Turkish and Bosnian heritage, Prizren is a nice destination for travelers looking to escape the more popular and often overcrowded touristy spots on the Balkans.

The Church of the Holy Savior

Overlooking Prizren’s panorama is the famous Church of the Holy Savior. Built at some point in the early 14th century this Serbian Orthodox church is one of the town’s most famous landmarks. Back in 1990 it was recognized as an official cultural monument of exceptional importance. Due to its cultural heritage the church is currently protected by the Republic of Serbia.

The old stone bridge

Another one of Prizren’s famous medieval landmarks is the old stone bridge built above the Prizren Bistrica river. Locals call it “Ura E Gurit” or “Stari Kameni Most”. There are quite a few stone bridges located throughout the town’s territory, which are similar to this one. One of them, dubbed as The Blue Bridge Of Love, is a popular go-to spot for local and foreign couples wanting to commemorate their relationship by clipping a padlock on the bridge’s railings.

The League of Prizren Museum

Without delving too much into grim details, let’s just say that the house of the League of Prizren has seen and heard a great deal of meetings, which have changed the course of history. The former League was established back in the late 1800s and due to the historical significance the headquarters bore, the local government decided to transform the house into a museum, which houses mainly photographs, clothing and paperwork.

The town square with the Shadervani fountain

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Taking a stroll through Prizren’s streets wouldn’t be complete without visiting the town square with its famous Shadervani fountain. The area is a blend of modern and medieval buildings. Nobody really knows the exact date of the fountain’s construction, but there are some local legends surrounding its waters’ allegedly mystical powers.

The Milling of Shotman

Among Prizren’s numerous tiny old houses is a one-story building, which doesn’t really differ from the rest at first glance. Locals call it “Mulliri I Shotmanit” – meaning the milling of Shotman. It dates back to 1641 and served as a hatter’s shop for many years to come. It was the oldest hatter’s shop in the municipality of Prizren. Nowadays the building serves only as a touristy restaurant.

The Hammam of Gazi Mehmet Pasha

During the rule of the Ottoman Empire countless hammams were built on Slavic territory – huge Turkish bathrooms, which were visited by the masses for public bathing and relaxation. The Hammam of Gazi Mehmet Pasha in Prizren is believed to be one of the largest hammans on the Balkans. Dating back to the 16th century, its exterior is still well-preserved and the building is currently being used for cultural purposes mainly by the town’s Islamic population.

The Orthodox church Our Lady of Ljeviš

There’s a plethora of mosques dating back to the days of Ottoman rule over the Prizren area, but the 14th century Orthodox church Our Lady of Ljeviš outdates them all. Apart from bearing historical significance for centuries, the building also displays a well-preserved example of the outdated ecclesiastical architecture. As of 2006 UNESCO has acknowledged the site as a medieval monument with a potential for becoming an official World Heritage Site.

Despite the present-day buildings popping up here and there, the pavestone lanes, mosques, churches and old houses make Prizren a suitable destination for a medieval getaway weekend. Its proximity to the Šar Mountains offers other touristy attractions, such as ski resorts, glacier lakes and alpine hiking trails.

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