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Somewhere Back In Time
February 2009

Flag Serbia Serbia (Kosovo Enclave): Gračanica Flag Serbia

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The town of Gračanica lies just 10 kilometers away from Prishtina.

Gračanica is a Serbian enclave in Kosovo.
I mean, according to Serbia, Russia and most countries in world, Kosovo is part of Serbia. But Gračanica's population is composed by Serbians, while Kosovo's population is mostly composed by Albanians.

Hotel Madrid in Gračanica

Actually I didn't know that when I took the bus from Prishtina. I wanted to visit the Monastery, but I thought Gračanica was the name of the monastery, not a town.

I was surprised when I noticed that there was a place called "Hotel Madrid" in Gračanica.
Spain is one of the few European countries that hasn't recognized Kosovo's independence, so I wondered why a hotel was named after the Spanish capital...


Then, as I got down from the bus, I was surprised to see this Orthodox Shrine and a Serbian flag.

That's when I understood that Gračanica was not only a monastery, but a Serbian town.

Then I saw that prices at every shop weren't displayed in Euros, but in Serbian dinars.

Some people warned me about not going to Mitrovica, a town with one the biggest Serbian communites in Kosovo. In Mitrovica the river actually divides the Serbian and the Albanian parts of the town.

In Gračanica Swedish KFOR soldiers patrol the area and ensure the protection of the inhabitants. They also protect Gračanica's outstanding cultural monument: Gračanica Monastery.

Fuel station in Gračanica, by the monastery walls

Gračanica used to be a small village. But since 1999 it became an important administrative center and housed up to 120 000 people, many of them are refugees from Priština, only 10 kilometers away...
Gračanica today is home to 10 000, but other suggest up to 30 000 inhabitants.
Altough the Police station employs Albanian Kosovar people, Gračanica is governed by Belgrade and also receives financial aid from Russia.

Tower at the Gračanica, by the monastery walls

Gračanica's land is fertile and the town is located on the Priština-Skopje road.
Albanian extremists regard it as a threat to the unity of their country.
On the other hand, Serbia doesn't recognize Kosovo's independence. So it maintains its presence in Kosovo with Gračanica and a dozen of other enclaves.

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Western Balkans Travel Guide


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