Last glimpses of Kosovo
These really will be the last glimpses, before I return to things Scottish. But Kosovo is not yet widely visited, and having experienced it I wanted to show something of its current-day reality.
Above, and the two pictures below, the Sinan Pasha mosque in the town centre. Built in 1615, it is in active use for worship today. My two female companions and I were welcomed inside, without the need to cover our heads. I thought the juxtaposition of the advertising sign and the mosque in the shot above was also notable in this respect. Prizren mingles mosques and churches, crammed in beside each other. We visited a cathedral under restoration (I am ashamed to say I can't remember its name), where we stood in the candle-lit interior listing to a nun having a singing lesson.
Below, the Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hamam, a turkish bath dating form 1575. It's in need of restoration - one call on funding among very many in this new nation.
A view down the Lumbardhi river, spanned by the 'stone bridge' dating from the 16th century. The bridge was washed away in 1979 - the river is tremendously fast-flowing even during the dry period we were there - and rebuilt in its current form.
The Turkish influence is evident in tea, nargile pipes, and many bakeries selling baklava.
The pesky hobbits turn up everywhere. As long as I don't have to sit through that film again...
The street on which our hotel was located, just out of sight at the bottom of the road.
A typical snack food - seeds and nuts in various coatings. Very tasty, and much healthier than Scottish snacks.
A small town we passed on the way south to Prizren. Note the futuristic mosque minaret.
And finally, leaving Prizren, with its backdrop of stunning mountains.
Kosovo is far too complex a country for me to try to sum it up on the basis of a week's stay. My overwhelming impression was of the people - welcoming, open, friendly, hopeful, striving for the future. It is a young nation in terms of age of population - there are various estimates, but around 46% are aged under 25. I'm involved in only a very tiny part of their building for the future, but I feel privileged to be contributing.