According to APARENTINGBLOG, Kosovo is at the intersection of old trade routes from east to west and from south to north. Throughout history, the area has been influenced by everything from Greeks and Romans to Serbs, Turks and Habsburgs.
However, there is hardly a uniform Kosovo culture, but the different groups have adopted the different impressions from the outside in their own way. During the time that the area was part of Yugoslavia, it was influenced by Slavic, and not least Serbian, culture. Today, the influence, mainly in the cities, comes largely from the West, often the United States.
For the Serbs in both Kosovo and Serbia, cultural monuments in the form of monasteries and churches from the Serbian heyday in the 13th / 13th century play an important symbolic role. Several of the medieval monasteries, such as the one in Gračanica outside the capital Prishtina, are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Common Serbian cultural heritage also includes poems, songs and national romantic paintings depicting the Serbs’ valiant struggle against the Ottoman (Turkish) invasion of the 1300s / 1400s. A special place takes the battle at the Trast field (Kosovo polje) in Kosovo in 1389.
Remains from the Turkish era partly characterize the Albanian culture with old mosques and bath houses, the latter sometimes converted into galleries etc.
Several archaeological excavations have been resumed in Kosovo in recent years. One is found in Ulpiana, just outside Prishtina, which was one of the largest cities of the East Roman Empire. It is also considered to have been the capital of Dardania, the area inhabited by the Illyrians, which many consider to be the ancestors of the Albanians.
At the Prishtina Art Museum there are among other interesting young artists such as Agron Bytyqi and Valbona Gashi represented. In the capital there is also a concert / opera house, a national theater (founded in 1946 but then in the city of Prizren) and the national library with its very special architecture. Albanians in Kosovo count Albanian writers from neighboring countries, such as Ismail Kadarë, as “their” writers.
According to MATHGENERAL.COM, Kosovo is a country located in Europe. The Kosovo Albanian film Kukumi (2005), directed by Isa Qosja and about life in Kosovo after the 1999 war, won awards at the Venice and Sarajevo film festivals. Since 2009, an international cartoon festival, Anibar Animation Festival, has been held in August in the city of Peja / Peć.
New tear gas attack in parliament
Representatives of the opposition party Vetëvendosje again throw tear gas in parliament. In the cities of Peja / Peć, Mitrovica, Gjilan and Prizren, two days previously unknown persons have set fire to cars belonging to the government.
Cracks within the opposition
AAK leader Ramush Haradinaj explains (after a visit to Prishtina by US Secretary of State John Kerry) that his party will continue to conduct only peaceful demonstrations around Kosovo against the agreement with Serbia and he also seems to be backed by Fatmir Limaj and his party Nisma. Spokespeople for the third opposition party, Vetëvendosje, say that they too can think of participating in peaceful protests, but many of the party’s members and supporters want to continue by all means to try to stop the agreement with Serbia (as well as a contentious border agreement with Montenegro).
Protests against Serbia agreement
Despite increased police checks and warnings that large crowds may pose a danger due to a feared terrorist threat, opposition parties are conducting a comprehensive demonstration in Prishtina against Kosovo’s agreement with Serbia. Albanians from Albania are also invited to participate.
Unrest in the capital
Since another opposition MP has been arrested for contributing to the dissemination of tear gas in parliament in October, major protests erupt in Prishtina, with protesters throwing stones at government buildings and evading police.
Kosovo may not join UNESCO
The General Conference of the UN cultural body UNESCO votes down a proposal for membership for Kosovo. The country needed 95 yes votes but only got 92.
SAA agreement with the EU
In France, in Strasbourg, the EU and Kosovo sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), a step towards a future EU membership for Kosovo, which, among other things, gives better access to the European market. Parliament approves the agreement in early November.
Tear gas in Parliament against the Serbia Agreement
The political opposition is realizing its promise of new protests against the agreement with Serbia when, by blowing whistles, throwing water and finally tearing up the members of the government coalition, the President is forcing the President to suspend a session in Parliament. In October, MPs from Vetëvendosje carry out two tear gas attacks in and outside the parliament building, and manage to interrupt ongoing sessions. Members of the party also attack a police station.
Education results from Serbia are recognized
Kosovo and Serbia agree to recognize diplomas from each other’s high schools, universities and colleges.
Protests against Serbia agreement
When the agreement signed with Serbia in August is debated in parliament, Vetëvendosje members throw eggs at Prime Minister Isa Mustafa. The three opposition parties Vetëvendosje, AAK and Nisma have initiated a name gathering against the agreement and promise continued protests. They also oppose a new border agreement with Montenegro, which means that, according to the opposition, Kosovo is giving away 8,000 hectares of land.
Exchange of textbooks with Serbia
Serbia and Kosovo enter into an agreement for Serbia to provide Serbian students in Kosovo with Serbian textbooks, while Albanian-speaking pupils in southern Serbia should be able to receive textbooks in Albanian from Kosovo. However, the whole thing almost immediately comes on patrol since the Serbs, according to Kosovo’s Education Minister Arsim Bajrami, stopped a shipment of textbooks in Albanian at its border.
Important agreement Kosovo-Serbia
In the EU-led talks in Brussels between Kosovo and Serbia, agreements are concluded in four important areas: telecommunications, energy, the use of the bridge over the Ibar river in the shared city of Mitrovica and the establishment of a far-reaching autonomy for ten Serbian-dominated municipalities in the north. Both sides declare satisfied with the agreements; Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Hashim Thaçi sees them as a kind of recognition from the Serbian side of the country’s independence.
Yes to war criminal court
Calls for the establishment of a special war criminal court in Kosovo; The court shall be located in the Netherlands The Hague and all prosecutors and judges shall be non-Kosovans. The reason is a fear that the court, which is controversial in Kosovo, and its staff will be exposed to threats. The proposal is approved following strong pressure from mainly the US and the EU; an earlier proposal was voted down in June.
Terrorist accused in court
Seven Kosovan citizens accused of preparing for terrorism will be the first to stand trial under the law passed by Parliament in January. Five of them were on their way to Syria to fight with the Islamic State terrorist organization, IS, while the other two, including an imam, must have recruited jihadist fighters and “encouraged others to commit or participate in the commission of terrorist acts”. The imman, Zeqirja Qazimi, is also accused of abusing his position by publicly calling for national, racial, religious and ethnic hatred and intolerance. According to Interior Minister Skender Hyseni, about 300 Kosovans have so far left to fight in Syria and Iraq, and at least a tenth of them have been killed.
Tens of thousands leave the country
In the largest wave of emigration since the Kosovo war of 1998–1999, tens of thousands of Kosovans leave their country and entire towns are emptied of residents. They travel by passport issued in Kosovo via Serbia across the border to Hungary and the Schengen area within the EU, where they then continue to mainly Germany (some also travel to Sweden) where they seek asylum. However, most are denied asylum because they left for economic reasons – high unemployment and lack of faith in the future in Kosovo. They are thus sent back to Kosovo, where they have disposed of everything they own in order to leave the country and therefore often face a more difficult situation than before they left. Hungarian border police have stopped about 30,000 people since the fall of 2014, with a peak in March 2015, but as many others may have entered Hungary. That is compared to around 6,000 illegal emigrants in 2013,
Conversations with Serbia resume
After ten months, the EU-led talks in Brussels between Serbia and Kosovo will resume on the details of the agreement in principle made in 2014 between the countries. The delay is due to the fact that both countries have had parliamentary elections in the meantime and not least that the Kosovo government formation has since taken so long. The Serbian delegation is led by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, the Kosovan by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa. The EU is represented by the new foreign representative, Italian Federica Mogherini. At this first meeting on February 9, it is decided how the items should be distributed within the judiciary, especially in those parts of northern Kosovo where many Serbs reside.
Law against participation in foreign army or police
Adopts a law that makes it criminal to join or encourage participation in foreign armies or police forces; Those found guilty should be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. Judges and prosecutors from Kosovo and the EU legal mission Eulex will cooperate in any legal cases that may arise. Since 2014, Kosovo authorities have arrested 55 suspected jihadists but have yet to face anyone.
Left nationalists behind big protests
The biggest popular protests of many years, organized by the left-wing nationalist Vetëvendosje with the support of other opposition parties, take place for several days in the capital Prishtina. The protesters, who are being pushed back by riot police with the help of tear gas and water cannons, demand that the Minister of Communications Aleksandar Jablanović, one of three Serbian ministers in the coalition government, resign. Jablanović has called Kosovo Albanian protesters “barbarians”. He resigns later and Vetëvendosje sets new demonstrations scheduled for February 4.