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Short description: Second largest city of Kosovo
City and municipality
View of Prizren
View of Prizren
Flag of Prizren.png
Stema e Komunës Prizren.svg
Prizren is located in Kosovo
Prizren is located in Europe
Coordinates: [ ⚑ ] : 42°12′46″N 20°44′21″E / 42.21278°N 20.73917°E / 42.21278; 20.73917
 • TypeMayor–council
 • MayorShaqir Totaj (PDK)
 • CouncilPrizren Municipal Council
 • Municipality626.86 km2 (242.03 sq mi)
Area rank2nd in Kosovo
 • Municipality220,128
 • Rank2nd in Kosovo
 • Density350/km2 (910/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Rural
Demonym(s)Prizrenas (Albanian)
Prizrenci (Serbian)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code+383 (0) 29
Vehicle registration04

Prizren (Template:Lang-sq-definite Template:IPA-sq; Serbian Cyrillic: Призрен) is the second most populous city and municipality of Kosovo and seat of the eponymous municipality and district. It is located on the banks of the Prizren River between the foothills of the Sharr Mountains in southern Kosovo. Prizren experiences an oceanic climate under the influence of the surrounding mountains.

Prizren is constitutionally designated as the historical capital of the country.[2] Archaeological excavations in Prizren Fortress indicate that its fortress area has seen habitation and use since the Bronze Age. Prizren has been traditionally identified with the settlement of Theranda in Roman Dardania, although other locations have been suggested in recent research. In late antiquity it was part of the defensive fortification system in western Dardania and the fort was reconstructed in the era of eastern Roman Emperor Justinian. Byzantine rule in the region ended definitively in 1219-20 as the Serbian Nemanjić dynasty took control of the fort and the town. Prizren served as the capital of the Serbian Empire under the reign of Stefan Dušan, as it bloomed to become an important center of trade and commerce during Dušan's reign. From 1371, a series of regional feudal rulers came to control Prizren, that includes Mrnjavčević, Balšić and the Branković dynasty. Ottomans captured Prizren from Serbian Despotate in 1455 and would almost immediately serve as the capital of Sanjak of Prizren in the Ottoman Empire. While standing as an important administrative city for the Ottomans, Prizren would also become an important political center for the Albanians during late 19th century.

Prizren is often recognized for its predominantly Islamic influence with approximately 96% of the population identifying as Muslim (2011 census). Mosques, such as Sinan Pasha Mosque, are a dominant feature in the town.


The name of the city has been linked with that of Petrizen, a fort in Dardania mentioned by Procopius in the 6th century.[3][4][5]

Hamp has suggested that the name of the city roughly meant "ford-horned animal" with the IE root ḱrn "horn, horned-thing" (cf. Oxford). According to Curtis, Prizren follows Albanian phonetic sound rules.[6][7][verification needed]


Early period

Forts and settlements in late antiquity and medieval Kosovo.

The earliest archaeological find is the so-called Runner of Prizren which is a bronze figure of a running girl. A dealer sold it to the British Museum in 1876.[8] According to the museum, the object was possibly made in Sparta between 520BC and 500BC. It may have arrived in Prizren as a gift or loot and used as a grave-god.

Prizren has been traditionally identified with Theranda, a town of the Roman era.[9] However, recent research suggests that Therand may have been located at present-day Suva Reka. Archaeological research has shown that the site of the Prizren Fortress has had several eras of habitation since prehistoric times. In its lower part, material from the upper part of the fort has been deposited over the centuries. It dates from the Middle Bronze Age (c. 2000 BCE) to the late Iron Age (c. 1st century CE) and is comparable to the material found in the nearby prehistoric site in the village of Vlashnjë (~10 km west of Prizren).[10] In 2005, prehistoric rock paintings in a ritual site related to the cycle of life were found near Vlashnjë. They represent the first find of prehistoric rock art in the region.[11]

In late antiquity, the fortification saw a phase of reconstruction. It is part of a series of forts that were built or reconstructed in the same period by Justinian along the White Drin in northern Albania and western Kosovo in the routes that linked the coastal areas with the Kosovo valley.[12] At this time, the Prizren fortress likely appears in historical record as Petrizen in the 6th century CE in the work of Procopius as one of the fortifications which Justinian commissioned to be reconstructed in Dardania.[10]

Middle Ages

In 1330, Serbian king Stefan Dečanski explicitly mentioned the presence of Albanians and the Albanian names of villages in Kosovo, in particular in the districts of Prizren and that of Skopje. A chrisobull of the Serbian Tsar Stefan Dušan that was given to the Monastery of Saint Mihail and Gavril in Prizren between the years of 1348-1353 states the presence of Albanians in the vicinity of Prizren, the Plains of Metohija and in the villages of Drenica. Within this chrisobull, nine Albanian stock-breeding villages within the vicinity of Prizren are mentioned explicitly - these villages are known with the names Gjinovci (Gjinajt), Magjerci, Bjellogllavci (Kryebardhët), Flokovci (Flokajt), Crnça, Caparci (Çaparajt), Gjonovci (Gjonajt), Shpinadinci (Shpinajt) and Novaci. Entire Albanian villages were gifted by Serbian kings, particularly Stefan Dušan, as presents to Serb monasteries within Prizren, Deçan and Tetova.[13] Additionally, people with Albanian anthroponomy are repeatedly mentioned in a 1348 chrysobull of Stefan Dušan that lists those who pray at the monastery of St. Michael and Gabriel in Prizren as well as some of the inhabitants of the city itself and the surrounding villages. In one of Stefan Dušan's documents in 1355, a soldier with Albanian anthroponomy is exclusively mentioned as one of the people who must continuously pay the Monastery of St. Nicholas in the village of Billushë near Prizren.[14]

Present-day Prizren is first mentioned in 1019 at the time of Basil II (r. 976–1025) in the form of Prisdriana. In 1072, the leaders of the Bulgarian Uprising of Georgi Voiteh traveled from their center in Skopje to the area of Prizren and held a meeting in which they invited Mihailo Vojislavljević of Duklja to send them assistance. Mihailo sent his son, Constantine Bodin, and 300 of his soldiers. Dalassenos Doukas, dux of Bulgaria was sent against the combined forces, but was defeated near Prizren, which was then extensively plundered by the Serbian army.[15] The Bulgarian magnates proclaimed Bodin "Emperor of the Bulgarians" after this initial victory.[16] They were defeated by Nikephoros Bryennios in the area of northern Macedonia by the end of 1072. The area was raided by Serbian ruler Vukan in the 1090s.[17] Demetrios Chomatenos is the last Byzantine archbishop of Ohrid to include Prizren in his jurisdiction until 1219.[18] Stefan Nemanja had seized the surrounding area along the White Drin between the 1180s and 1190s, but this may refer to the areas Prizren diocese rather than the fort and the settlement itself and he may have lost control of them later.[19][20] The ecclesiastical split of Prizren from the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1219 was the final act of establishing Serbian Nemanjić rule in the town. Prizren and its fort were the administrative and economic center of the župa of Podrimlje (in Albanian, Podrima or Anadrini).[21] The old town of Prizren developed below the fortress along the left bank of the Bistrica/Lumbardhi. Ragusan traders were stationed in the old town. Prizren over time became a trading hub and gateway for Ragusan trade towards eastern Kosovo and beyond.[22] In this period, Stefan Dušan founded and was buried in the Monastery of the Holy Archangels in Prizren.[23] Prizen briefly served as the capital of the Serbian Empire and was a crossroad of important trade goods between Dubrovnik and Constantinople.[24][25][26] Under Dušan's reign, a 25km long wine pipe was built between his vineyard and Prizren to transport wine to the capital.[27]

Konstantin Jireček concluded, from the correspondence of archbishop Demetrios of Ohrid (1216–36), that Prizren was the northeasternmost area of Albanian settlement prior to the Slavic expansion that began in the 6th century.[28] Other historians and linguists have concluded that the northernmost and easternmost expansion of the predecessors of the Albanians prior to Slavic expansion was rather Lipjan, Vushtrri, Shkup, Nish, Shtip in Dardania and Macedonia and included the area of Montenegro and the town of Ulqin.[29][30][31][32][33][34][35]

With the death of Stefan Uroš V in 1371, a series of competing regional nobles sieged, counter-sieged and held control of Prizren – increasingly with Ottoman support and intervention. The first who tried to gain control of Prizren and the trade that passed through the town was Prince Marko, but after his defeat in the Battle of Maritsa, the Balšići of Zeta quickly moved to take Prizren soon after the battle in the fall and winter of 1371.[36] In the spring of 1372, Nikola Altomanović besieged Prizren and tried to expand his rule, but was defeated. The death of George Balšić in 1377 created another power vacuum – Đurađ Branković took over Prizren for the first time at that time.[37]

The Catholic church retained some influence in the area; 14th-century documents refer to a catholic church in Prizren, which was the seat of a bishopric between the 1330s and 1380s. Catholic parishes served Ragusan merchants and Saxon miners.[38]

Ottoman Period

The Fortress of Prizren.

After several years of attack and counterattack, the Ottomans made a major invasion of Kosovo in 1454; Attempts of liberating the Prizren area earlier by Skanderbeg and thereafter by John Hunyadi failed, as Đurađ Branković was an Ottoman vassal at this time and did not grant passage into Kosovo for the Crusaders to fight the Ottomans. On 21 June 1455, Prizren surrendered to the Ottoman army.[39] Prizren was the capital of the Sanjak of Prizren, and under new administrative organization of Ottoman Empire it became capital of the Vilayet.[citation needed] This included the city of Tetovo.[40] Later it became part of the larger Rumelia Eyalet. It was a prosperous trade city, benefiting from its position on the north-south and east-west trade routes across the Empire. Prizren became one of the larger cities of the Ottomans' Kosovo Province (vilayet).

The Ottoman registers from the 15th-16th century indicate that the villages in the Prizren-Has region in Kosovo had a significant Albanian population.[41][full citation needed][42] In addition, Ottoman records indicate that during the 16th century, the Has region, which was part of the Nahiya of Hasi, was inhabited almost entirely by Albanians.[43]

In the Ottoman Defter of 1591, the city of Prizren itself was recorded within the Sanjak of Prizren - this includes the household heads of the city. By this time, Prizren had been significantly Islamised, as reflected by the anthroponomy of the inhabitants; several cases of Muslim inhabitants with mixtures of Muslim and Albanian anthroponomy exist (i.e. Ali Gjoci, Hasan Gjinaj, Ferhad Reçi, Hasan Bardi...). The Muslim neighbourhoods (Mahalla/Mëhalla) consisted of Xhamia e Vjetër (Old Mosque, 53 homes), Levisha (50 homes), Ajas beu (15 homes), Haxhi Kasem (48 homes), Jazixhi Sinani (71 homes), Çarshia (also called Jakub beu, 18 homes), Kurila (31 homes) and Mëhalla e lëkurëpunuesve (neighbourhood of the leatherworkers, 34 homes). The Christian neighbourhoods (Mahalla/Mëhalla) consisted of Pazari i Vjetër (Old Market, 8 homes), Madhiq (37 homes), Vasil (27 homes), Kodha (13 homes), Çarshia/Pjetri Nikolla (14 homes), Bogoi Riber (11 homes), Radmir (51 homes), Jazixhi Sinani (mentioned beforehand, 24 homes), Pandelja (29 homes), Prend Vriça (9 homes) and Ajas (13 homes). The neighbourhoods of Pandelja, Jazixhi Sinani and Kodha were dominated by inhabitants with characteristically Albanian anthroponomy; the other neighbourhoods saw a blend between predominantly Slavic/Slavic-Albanian (or rather, Orthodox) anthroponomy.[42]

Lazaro Soranzo, writing in the 16th century, noted the town was inhabited "more by Albanians then by Serbs".[44] In 1624 Pjeter Mazrreku reported the town was inhabited by a majority Muslims, almost all of them Albanians.[45]

During the Austrian-Ottoman wars, the local Albanian population in the Prizren region, under the leadership of Pjeter Bogdani, rallied to support the Austrians against the Ottomans.[46][45] Documents and dispatches refer to the Austrians marching to "Prizren, the capital of Albania" where they were welcomed by Bogdani and 5,000-6,000 Albanian soldiers.[45][47] The Albanian Catholic priest Toma Raspasani wrote: "I escaped from the Turks by the skin of my teeth, they made a special attempt to capture me" and that "Nobody was able to get out of Prizren or Peja, they all remained there as prey to the barbarian".[48] In 1693 he wrote that many of the Catholics in Kosovo had gone to Hungary where most of them died of hunger or disease.[49]

Albanian Renaissance

The League of Prizren was founded on 5 January 1877 in the old town of Prizren.

Prizren was the cultural and intellectual centre of Ottoman Kosovo. It was dominated by its Muslim population, who composed over 70% of its population in 1857. The city became a major Albanian cultural centre and the coordination political and cultural capital of the Kosovar Albanians. In 1871, a long Serbian seminary was opened in Prizren, discussing the possible joining of the old Serbia's territories with the Principality of Serbia. It was an important part of Kosovo Vilayet between 1877 and 1912.

During the late 19th century, the city became a focal point for Albanian nationalism and saw the creation in 1878 of the League of Prizren, a movement formed to seek the national unification and autonomy of Albanians within the Ottoman Empire. The Young Turk Revolution was a step in the dissolving of the Ottoman empire that led to the Balkan Wars. The Third Army (Ottoman Empire) had a division in Prizren, the 30th Reserve Infantry Division (Otuzuncu Pirzerin Redif Fırkası).


Serb women in festive dress near Prizren.

The Prizren attachment was part of the İpek Detachment in the First Balkan War. During the First Balkan War the city was invaded by the Serbian army and incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbia[citation needed]. Although the troops met little resistance, the takeover was bloody, with 400 people dead in the first few days; the local population would call the city "The Kingdom of Death."[50] The Daily Chronicle reported on 12 November 1912 that 5,000 Albanians had been slaughtered in Prizren.[50] General Božidar Janković forced the local Albanian leaders to sign a declaration of gratitude to King Peter of Serbia for their 'liberation by the Serbian army.'[50][51] Following the capture of Prizren, most foreigners were barred from entering the city, for the Montenegrin forces temporarily closed the city before full control was restored. A few visitors did make it through, including Leon Trotsky, then working as a journalist for a Ukrainian newspaper, and reports eventually emerged of widespread killings of Albanians.[52] In a 1912 news report on the Serbian Army and the Paramilitary Chetniks in Prizren, Trotsky stated "Among them were intellectuals, men of ideas, nationalist zealots, but these were isolated individuals. The rest were just thugs, robbers who had joined the army for the sake of loot... The Serbs in Old Serbia, in their national endeavour to correct data in the ethnographical statistics that are not quite favourable to them, are engaged quite simply in systematic extermination of the Muslim population".[53] United Kingdom traveller Edith Durham and a British military attaché were supposed to visit Prizren in October 1912, however the trip was prevented by the authorities. Durham stated: "I asked wounded Montengrins [Soldiers] why I was not allowed to go and they laughed and said 'We have not left a nose on an Albanian up there!' Not a pretty sight for a British officer." Eventually Durham visited a northern Albanian outpost in Kosovo where she met captured Ottoman soldiers whose upper lips and noses had been cut off.[53]

After the First Balkan War of 1912, the Conference of Ambassadors in London allowed the creation of the state of Albania and handed Kosovo to the Kingdom of Serbia, even though the population of Kosovo remained mostly Albanian.[54]

In 1913, an official Austro-Hungarian report recorded that 30,000 people had fled to Prizren from Bosnia.[55] In January 1914 the Austro-Hungarian consul based in Prizren conducted a detailed report on living conditions in the city. The report stated that Kingdom of Serbia didn't keep its promise for equal treatment of Albanians and Muslims. Thirty of the thirty-two mosques in Prizren had been turned into hay barns, ammunition stores and military barracks. The people of the city were heavily taxed, with Muslims and Catholic Christians having to pay more tax than Orthodox Christians. The local government was predominately made up of former Serb Chetniks. The report also noted that the Serbs were also dissatisfied with the living conditions in Prizren.[55]

World War I and World War II

Ballist forces in Prizren, 1944

With the outbreak of the First World War, the Kingdom of Serbia was invaded by Austro-Hungarian forces and later by Bulgarian forces. By 29 November 1915, Prizren fell to Bulgarian and Austro-Hungarian forces.[56] In April 1916, Austria-Hungary allowed the Kingdom of Bulgaria to occupy the city with the understanding that a significant amount of the city's population were ethnic Bulgarians.[57] During this period, there was a process of forced Bulgarisation with many Serbs being interned; Serbs suffered worse in Bulgarian occupied regions of Kosovo compared to Austrian occupied regions due to the Bulgarian defeat in the Second Balkan War and due to the long-standing rivalry between the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church.[58] According to Catholic Archbishop of Skopje, Lazër Mjeda who was taking refuge in Prizren at the time, roughly 1,000 people had died of hunger in 1917. In October 1918 following the fall of Macedonia to Allied Forces, the Serbian Army along with the French 11th colonial division and the Italian 35th Division pushed the Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian forces out of the city.[58] By the end of 1918, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed. The Kingdom was renamed in 1929 to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Prizren became a part of its Vardar Banovina.

In World War II Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy invaded the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941 and by 9 April the Germans who had invaded Yugoslavia from the East with neighbouring Bulgaria as base were on the outskirts of Prizren and by 14 April Prizren had fallen to the Italians who had invaded Yugoslavia from the West in neighbouring Albania; there was however notable resistance in Prizren before Yugoslavia unconditionally surrendered on 19 April 1941.[59] Prizren along with most of Kosovo was annexed to the Italian puppet state of Albania. Soon after the Italian occupation, the Albanian Fascist Party established a blackshirt battalion in Prizren, but plans to establish two more battalions were dropped due to the lack of public support.[60]

In 1943 Bedri Pejani of the German Wehrmacht helped create the Second League of Prizren.[61]

Federal Yugoslavia

View of the city September 1863 taken by Viennese photographer Josef Székely[62]

In 1944, German forces were driven out of Kosovo by a combined Russian-Bulgarian force, and then the Communist government of Yugoslavia took control.[63] In 1946, the town was formulated as a part of Kosovo and Metohija which the Constitution defined the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija within the People's Republic of Serbia, a constituent state of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Province was renamed to Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo in 1974, remaining part of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, but having attributions similar to a Socialist Republic within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The former status was restored in 1989, and officially in 1990.

For many years after the restoration of Serbian rule, Prizren and the region of Dečani to the west remained centres of Albanian nationalism.[citation needed] In 1956 the Yugoslav secret police put on trial in Prizren nine Kosovo Albanians accused of having been infiltrated into the country by the (hostile) Communist Albanian regime of Enver Hoxha. The "Prizren trial" became something of a cause célèbre after it emerged that a number of leading Yugoslav Communists had allegedly had contacts with the accused. The nine accused were all convicted and sentenced to long prison sentences, but were released and declared innocent in 1968 with Kosovo's assembly declaring that the trial had been "staged and mendacious."[citation needed]

Kosovo War

Destroyed quarter of Prizren

The town of Prizren did not suffer much during the Kosovo War but its surrounding municipality was badly affected during 1998–1999. Before the war, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe estimated that the municipality's population was about 78% Kosovo Albanian, 5% Serb and 17% from other national communities. During the war most of the Albanian population were either forced or intimidated into leaving the town. Tusus Neighborhood suffered the most. Some twenty-seven to thirty-four people were killed and over one hundred houses were burned.[64]

At the end of the war in June 1999, most of the Albanian population returned to Prizren. Serbian and Roma minorities fled, with the OSCE estimating that 97% of Serbs and 60% of Romani had left Prizren by October. The community is now predominantly ethnically Albanian, but other minorities such as Turkish, Ashkali (a minority declaring itself as Albanian Roma) and Bosniak (including Torbesh community) live there as well, be that in the city itself, or in villages around. Such locations include Sredska, Mamushë, the region of Gora, etc. [1]

Much of Potkaljaja, the old Serb neighbourhood along the hillside in the centre of town, was looted and burned to the ground following the Yugoslav Army withdrawal. Since 2010 most of the neighbourhood has been rebuilt. [65]

The war and its aftermath caused only a moderate amount of damage to the city compared to other cities in Kosovo.[66] Serbian forces destroyed an important Albanian cultural monument in Prizren, the League of Prizren building,[67][68] but the complex was rebuilt later on and now constitutes the Albanian League of Prizren Museum.

On 17 March 2004, during the Unrest in Kosovo some Serb cultural monuments in Prizren were damaged, burned or destroyed, including Orthodox Serb churches, such as Our Lady of Ljeviš from 1307 (UNESCO World Heritage Site),[69] the Church of Holy Salvation,[69] Church of St. George[69] (the city's largest church), Church of St. George[69] (Runjevac), Church of St. Kyriaki, Church of St. Nicolas (Tutić Church),[69] the Monastery of The Holy Archangels,[69] as well as Prizren's Orthodox seminary of Saint Cyrillus and Methodius.[69]

Also, during that riot, the entire Serb quarter of Prizren, near the Prizren Fortress, was completely destroyed, as a revenge for the crimes committed during the war from the serbian army and all remaining Serb population was evicted from Prizren.[70][71] Simultaneously Islamic cultural heritage and mosques were destroyed and damaged.

21st century

The municipality of Prizren is still the most culturally and ethnically heterogeneous city of Kosovo, retaining communities of Bosniaks, Turks, and Romani in addition to the majority Kosovo Albanian population. Only a small number of Kosovo Serbs remain in Prizren and its surrounds; residing mainly in small villages. Prizren's Turkish community is socially prominent and influential, and the Turkish language is widely spoken even by non-ethnic Turks.[citation needed]

Panorama of centre.
Panorama from below the castle.


Prizren is located on the foothills of the Šar Mountains (Albanian: Malet e Sharrit) in southern Kosovo on the banks of Prizren River. Prizren Municipality borders Albania to the southwest and North Macedonia to the southeast.[72]


Prizren has a subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) bordering a continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) in the 0°c isotherm and an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) in the -3°c isotherm. with an average annual temperature of 11.8 °C (53.2 °F).[73] The warmest month in Prizren is August with an average temperature of 22.2 °C (72.0 °F), while the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 0.0 °C (32.0 °F).[73]

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Prizren is a municipality governed by a mayor–council system. The mayor of Prizren with the members of the Prizren Municipal Council are responsible for the administration of Prizren Municipality. The municipality is encompassed in Prizren District and consists of 76 adjacent settlements with Prizren as its seat.[75][76][77]

International relations

Prizren is twinned with:[lower-alpha 1]

  • Amasya, Turkey
  • Balıkesir, Turkey
  • Berat, Albania
  • Beykoz, Turkey
  • Bingen am Rhein, Germany
  • Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
  • Herceg Novi, Montenegro
  • Karşıyaka, Turkey
  • Kavarna, Bulgaria
  • Kyjov, Czech Republic
  • Osijek, Croatia

Turkey and Hungary have also a general consulate in Prizren.[88]


For a long time the economy of Kosovo was based on the retail industry fueled by remittance income coming from a large number of immigrant communities in Western Europe. Private enterprise, mostly small business, is slowly emerging. Private businesses, like elsewhere in Kosovo, predominantly face difficulties because of a lack of structural capacity to grow. Education is poor, financial institutions basic, and regulatory institutions lack experience.[citation needed] Securing capital investment from foreign entities cannot emerge in such an environment. Due to financial hardships, several companies and factories have closed and others are reducing personnel. This general economic downturn contributes directly to the growing rate of unemployment and poverty, making the economic viability in the region more tenuous.[89]

Many restaurants, private retail stores, and service-related businesses operate out of small shops. Larger grocery and department stores have recently[when?] opened. In town, there are eight sizeable markets, including three produce markets, one car market, one cattle market, and three personal hygiene and houseware markets. There is an abundance of kiosks selling small goods. However, reducing international presence and repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons is expected to further strain the local economy. Market saturation, high unemployment, and a reduction of financial remittances from abroad are negative economic indicators.[89]

There are three agricultural co-operatives in three villages. Most livestock breeding and agricultural production are private, informal, and small-scale. There are nine operational banks with branches in Prizren, ProCredit Bank, the Raiffeisen Bank, the NLB Bank, TEB Bank, Banka për Biznes (Bank for Business), İşbank, Banka Kombëtare Tregtare (National Trade Bank), Iutecredit, and the Payment and Banking Authority of Kosovo (BPK).[89]


All the main roads connecting the major villages with the urban centre are asphalted. The water supply is functional in Prizren town and in approximately 30 villages.[citation needed]


There are 48 primary schools with 28,205 pupils and 1,599 teachers; 6 secondary schools with 9,608 students and 503 teachers; kindergartens are privately run. There is also a public university in Prizren, offering lectures in Albanian, Bosnian, and Turkish.[citation needed]


The primary health care system includes 14 municipal family health centres and 26 health houses. The primary health sector has 475 employees, including doctors, nurses and support staff, 264 female and 211 male. Regional hospital in Prizren offers services to approximately 250,000 residents. The hospital employs 778 workers, including 155 doctors, and is equipped with emergency and intensive care units.[citation needed]


Population growth of Prizren Municipality
Year 1948 1953 1961 1971 1981 1991 2011 2016 2021
±% p.a.—    +1.52%+1.88%+3.39%+3.23%+2.77%−0.60%+1.01%+0.80%
Source: [90]

As of the Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS) estimate from the 2011 census, there were 177,781 people residing in Prizren Municipality, representing the second most populous city and municipality of Kosovo.[91] Its urban population was approximately 94,500, while the rural population was around 83,000.[91] With a population density of 283,5 people per square kilometre, Prizren is among the most densely populated municipalities of Kosovo.[92]

In terms of ethnicity, Prizren Municipality was 81.96% Albanian, 9.50% Bosniak, 5.11% Turkish, 1.63% Romani, 0.76% Ashkali, 0.37% Gorani, 0.13% Serbian, 0.09% Egyptian and 0.45% of other ethnicities or refugees (such as Afghans, Syrians, Ukrainians and others).[93]

By religion, there were 170,640 (95.98%) Muslims, 5,999 (3.37%) Roman Catholics, 250 (0.14%) Orthodox, 807 (0.45%) of other religions and 85 (0.05%) irreligious.[93]

By language, 91.83% of the population spoke Albanian as their first language, 5.11% spoke Turkish, 10% Bosnian, 0.55% Romani, 0.09% Serbian, and 0.62% other languages.[93] Besides the two official languages of Kosovo, Albanian and Serbian, Turkish and Bosnian are also the official languages of the Municipality of Prizren.[94][95]

From top to bottom, left to right: The Sinan Pasha Mosque, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Gazi Mehmet Pasha Mosque, and the Serbian Orthodox Our Lady of Ljeviš church.

The presence of Vlach villages in the vicinity of Prizren is attested in 1198-1199 by a charter of Stephan Nemanja.[96] Madgearu argues that the series of Ottoman defters from 1455 onward showing the "ethnic mosaic" of Serb and Albanian villages in Kosovo shows that Prizren already had significant Albanian Muslim populations.[97] Since an early period in its rapid development as an Ottoman city, Prizren had much more Muslims than Catholic or Orthodox inhabitants as in the pre-Ottoman period.[45]

Due to urban development in the Ottoman period, with the building of mosques and other Islamic buildings, Prizren received an Islamic urban character in the 16th century. 227 of 246 workshops of Prizren were run by Muslims in 1571.[98] Catholic archbishop Marino Bizzi reported in 1610 that Prizren had 8,600 houses, out of which many were Orthodox (who had two churches), and only 30 were Catholic (who had one church).[99] The Orthodox far outnumbered the Catholics.[100] Catholic archbishop Pjetër Mazreku reported in 1624 that the town was inhabited by 12,000 "Turks" (Muslims, i.e. mainly Albanians) of which most spoke Albanian, and that there were 600 Serbs (Orthodox Christians) and maybe 200 Catholic Albanians.[101][45] In 1857, Russian Slavist Alexander Hilferding's publications place the Muslim families at 3,000, the Orthodox ones at 900 and the Catholics at around 100 families.[102] In the Ottoman census of 1876, it had 43,922 inhabitants.[102]


The Dokufest International Film Festival is held annually since 2002.

Regarded as the historical capital of Kosovo, Prizren has been home to many different religions and cultures for centuries, shaping the cultural heritage of the city.[2] Prizren is also considered as a museum city with many mosques, churches and old buildings of national importance.[103][104] The Fortress of Prizren located above the Prizren River has seen habitation and use throughout different periods since the Bronze Age. Among the artifacts of the Middle Ages are the Sinan Pasha Mosque, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Cathedral, Holy Saviour Church, Katip Sinan Qelebi Mosque, Holy Archangels Monastery, St. Nicholas Church, Muderiz Ali Effendi Mosque and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Our Lady of Ljeviš.[105]

The annual Dokufest International Film Festival held in Prizren is considered among the largest publicly attended film festival in the Balkans. Several art and music festivals and conferences are held in the city, including the 40BunarFest and NGOM Fest, with the main objectives to promote artists and to connect the different ethnic groups in the surrounding region.[106][107]


The city has one sports club known as KF Liria. They currently play in the Football Superleague of Kosovo. The city is also home to one of the basketball teams in Kosovo, K.B Bashkimi.

See also

  • List of people from Prizren
  • List of monuments in Prizren


  1. Citations regarding the twin or sister cities of Prizren:[78][79][80][81][82][83][84][85][86][87]


  1. "Regjistrimi i Popullsisë, Ekonomive Familjare dhe Banesave në Kosovë 2023 – Rezultatet Përfundimtare: Të Dhënat Demografike sipas Komunave" (in sq). Kosovo Agency of Statistics. p. 14. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Ligji Nr. 06/L-012 për Kryeqytetin e Republikës së Kosovës, Prishtinën" (in sq). Gazeta Zyrtare e Republikës së Kosovës. 6 June 2018. 
  3. Gold, J. (2019). Multiethnizität in Alltag und Konflikt: Schein und Realität von Identitätskonstruktionen in der Balkanstadt Prizren. Springer. p. 85. 
  4. Recepoğlu, A.S. (2001). Kosova'da Türk kültürü veya Türkçe düşünmek. T.C. Kültür Bakanlığı. p. 405. 
  5. Gjurmime albanologjike: Seria e shkencave filologjike. Albanian Institute of Pristina. 1988. p. 254. 
  6. Mehmeti, Col. "This Time In Linguistics History: Eric Hamp and Albanian Linguistics". Linguistic Society of America.
  7. Slavic-Albanian Language Contact, Curtis (2012)
  8. "British Museum" (in en). The British Museum. 23 December 2021. 
  9. Galaty 2013, p. 68.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Hoxha 2007, p. 270
  11. Shukriu 2006, p. 59
  12. Hoxha 2007, p. 271.
  13. Iseni, Bashkim (25 January 2008). La question nationale en Europe du Sud-Est : genèse, émergence et développement de l'indentité nationale albanaise au Kosovo et en Macédoine. Bern: P. Lang. p. 77. ISBN 978-3039113200. 
  14. Gashi, Skënder (2014). Emrat e shqiptarëve në shek. XIII-XV në dritën e burimeve kishtare serbe. Prishtinë: TENDA. p. 66. 
  15. Stojkovski 2020, p. 147.
  16. McGeer 2019, p. 149.
  17. Fine 1994, p. 226.
  18. Prinzing 2008, p. 30.
  19. Novaković 1966, pp. 191-215.
  20. Fine 1994, p. 7.
  21. Rrezja 2011, p. 254.
  22. Rrezja 2011, p. 267.
  23. Bury, John Bagnell (1911). "Roman Empire, Later". in Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 517. 
  24. Guzijan, Jasna; Cvijić, Siniša (2022). "Culture of memory and heritage as a strong connection – A case of Monastery of the Holy Archangels in Prizren". Stepgrad 1 (15): 466–475. Retrieved 22 July 2023. 
  25. Perica, Vjekoslav (2017). "Serbian Jerusalem: Religious Nationalism, Globalization and the Invention of a Holy Land in Europe's Periphery, 1985-2017". Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe 37 (6): 57. Retrieved 22 July 2023. 
  26. Đokić, Dejan (2023). A concise history of Serbia. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-107-02838-8. 
  27. Sekulić, Dejan; Mandarić, Marija; Milovanović, Vesna (2016). "Motivation of travelers for participation in wine tourism in Serbia". Economics of Agriculture 63 (4). Retrieved 22 July 2023. 
  28. Ducellier, Alain (1999-10-21). The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 5, c.1198-c.1300. Cambridge University Press. p. 780. ISBN 978-0-521-36289-4. Retrieved 21 November 2012. "The question of Illyrian continuity was already addressed by Jireček, 1916 p 69–70, and in the same collection, p 127–8, admitting that the territory occupied by the Albanians extended, prior to Slav expansion, from Scutari to Valona and from Prizren to Ohrid, utilizing in particular the correspondence of Demetrios Chomatenos; Circovic (1988) p347; cf Mirdita (1981)" 
  29. Geniş & Maynard 2009, p. 557
  30. Rusakov, Alexander (2017). "Albanian". In Kapović, Mate; Giacalone Ramat, Anna; Ramat, Paolo (eds.). The Indo-European Languages. Routledge. p. 556.
  31. Vermeer, Williem (1992). The Disintegration of Yugoslavia. European Studies. Rodopi. p. 107.
  32. Katičić, Radoslav (1976). Ancient Languages of the Balkans. Mouton. p. 186
  33. Curtis, Matthew Cowan (2012). Slavic-Albanian Language Contact, Convergence, and Coexistence (Thesis). The Ohio State University. p. 42.
  34. Prendergast, Eric (2017). The Origin and Spread of Locative Determiner Omission in the Balkan Linguistic Area (Thesis). UC Berkeley. p. 80.
  35. The contemporary form of the name of ancient Naissos, an important place in Dardania which is now called Niš, is best explained with the help of the historical phonetics of the Albanian language. For more see: Vladimir I. Georgiev (1981) Introduction to the History of the Indo-European Languages. Publishing House of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, p. 142,
  36. Fine 1994, p. 383.
  37. Fine 1994, p. 389.
  38. Malcolm, Noel (1996). Bosnia: A Short History. NYU Press. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-0-8147-5561-7. 
  39. Malcolm 1998, p. 91.
  40. "muja-live". 
  41. Vilajet of Pashtrik 1452 - Ottoman register
  42. 42.0 42.1 Pulaha, Selami (1984). Popullsia Shqiptare e Kosoves Gjate Shekujve XV XVI. Tirana: 8 Nëntori. pp. 510–520, 71. 
  43. Pulaha, Selami (1984). Popullsia Shqiptare e Kosoves Gjate Shekujve XV XVI. Tirana: 8 Nëntori. pp. 109. 
  44. Malcolm 2020, p. 134.
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 Malcolm 2020, p. 136.
  46. Malcolm 2020, p. 34.
  47. Elsie, Robert. "1689: Kosovo in the Great Turkish War of 1683-1699". 
  48. Malcolm 1998, p. 157.
  49. Malcolm 1998, p. 162.
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Freundlich, Leo (1913). "Albania's Golgotha". 
  51. Lazër Mjeda (24 January 1913). "Report on the Serb Invasion of Kosova and Macedonia". 
  52. "Prizren history". 
  53. 53.0 53.1 Malcolm 1998, p. 253.
  54. "Prizren history". 
  55. 55.0 55.1 Malcolm 1998, p. 258.
  56. Malcolm 1998, p. 260.
  57. Malcolm 1998, p. 261.
  58. 58.0 58.1 Malcolm 1998, p. 262.
  59. Malcolm 1998, p. 290.
  60. Malcolm 1998, p. 295.
  61. "Die aktuelle deutsche Unterstützung für die UCK". 
  62. Elsie, Robert. "The Photo Collection of Josef Székely". 
  63. Malcolm, Noel (2002). Kosovo: A short history. p. 311. ISBN 0-330-41224-8. 
  64. Human Rights Watch, 2001 Under orders: war crimes in Kosovo, page 339. ISBN:1-56432-264-5
  65. "Return to Kosovo: The Serbs Who Re-Embraced Their Hometown" (in en-US). 2020-01-14. 
  66. Human Rights Watch, 2001 Under orders: war crimes in Kosovo, page 338. ISBN:1-56432-264-5
  67. Andras Riedlmayer, Harvard University Kosovo Cultural Heritage Survey
  68. The Human Rights Centre, Law Faculty, University of Pristina, 2009 Ending Mass Atrocities: Echoes in Southern Cultures , page 3
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 69.3 69.4 69.5 69.6 "Reconstruction Implementation Commission". Site on protection list. 
  70. Failure to Protect: Anti-Monority Violence in Kosovo, March 2004. Wuman Right Watch. 2004. p. 9. 
  71. Warrander, Gail (2008). Kosovo. Bradt. p. 191. ISBN 9781841621999. 
  72. Vickers, Miranda (1999). The Albanians: A Modern History. I.B.Tauris. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-86064-541-9. 
  73. 73.0 73.1 "Climate: Prizren". Climate-Data. 
  74. "Prizren: Monthly and annual means, maximum and minimum values of meteorological elements for the period 1961 - 1990". Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia. 
  75. "Ligji Nr. 03/L-041 për kufijtë Administrativ të Komunave" (in sq). Gazeta Zyrtare e Republikës së Kosovës. pp. 3–21. 
  76. "Rregullore Nr. 2000/43 Mbi Numrin, Emrat dhe Kufinjtë e Komunave". United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). 22 July 2000. 
  77. "Statistikat e Përgjithshme: Kosova në Shifra 2020" (in sq). Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS). p. 12. 
  78. "Amasya Belediyesi Resmi" (in tr). Amasya. 
  79. "Kardeş Şehirler" (in tr). Balıkesir. 
  80. "Prizreni binjakëzohet me Beratin" (in sq) (live). Prizren Press. 31 May 2018. 
  81. "10jähriges Städtepartnerschaftsjubiläum zwischen Mülheim an der Ruhr und Beykoz/Istanbul Die Städtepartnersch" (in de). Mülheim an der Ruhr. 4 May 2018. 
  82. "Partnerstädte: Bingen am Rhein" (in de). Bingen am Rhein. 
  83. "Градови побратими: ГРАДОВИ ПOБРATИMИ ХЕРЦЕГ-НОВОГ" (in cnr). 
  84. "Kardeş Şehirler" (in tr). Karşıyaka. 
  85. "Международно сътрудничество" (in bg). Kavarna. 
  86. "Partnerská města Kyjova" (in cs). Kyjov. 
  87. "Gradovi prijatelji" (in hr). Osijek. 
  88. "Turkish Representations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. 
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 "Bosnia and Herzegovina Republika Srpska National Assembly Elections". Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 22–23 November 1997. p. 32. 
  90. "Division of Kosovo". Population statistics of Eastern Europe and former USSR. 
  91. 91.0 91.1 "Regjistrimi i Popullsisë, Ekonomive Familjare dhe Banesave në Kosovë 2011 – Rezultatet Përfundimtare: Të Dhënat Demografike sipas Komunave" (in sq). Kosovo Agency of Statistics. p. 14. 
  92. "Kosovo Census Atlas". Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS). p. 10. 
  93. 93.0 93.1 93.2 "Regjistrimi i Popullsisë, Ekonomive Familjare dhe Banesave në Kosovë 2011–Rezultatet përfundimtare" (in sq). Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS). pp. 143–149. Archived from the original. Error: If you specify |archiveurl=, you must also specify |archivedate=. 
  94. Diplomatic Observer Official Language
  95. OSCE Implementation of the Law on the Use of Languages by Kosovo Municipalities
  96. Madgearu. The Wars of the Balkan Peninsula. Page 33.
  97. Madgearu, Alexander and Gordon, Martin. The Wars of the Balkan Peninsula: Their Medieval Origins. Page 27
  98. Egro, Dritan (2010). Oliver Jens Schmitt. ed. Islam in the Albanian lands (XVth-XVIIth century). Religion und Kultur Im Albanischsprachigen Südosteuropa. Peter Lang. pp. 34, 36, 39–40, 48. ISBN 978-3-631-60295-9. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  99. Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb (1995). "Prizren". The Encyclopaedia of Islam: NED-SAM. Brill. p. 339. ISBN 9789004098343. 
  100. Arshi Pipa; Sami Repishti (1984). Studies on Kosova. East European Monographs. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-88033-047-3. 
  101. Kristaq Prifti (1993). The Truth on Kosova. Encyclopaedia Publishing House. p. 39. 
  102. 102.0 102.1 Elsie 2004, p. 144.
  103. Bacas, Jutta Lauth; Roth, Klaus (2012). Southeast European (post)modernities. LIT Verlag. p. 149. ISBN 9783643903006. Retrieved 5 October 2021. 
  104. Warrander, Gail; Knaus, Verena (2007). Kosovo. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 191. ISBN 9781841621999. Retrieved 5 October 2021. 
  105. "Medieval Monuments in Kosovo". United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). 
  106. "Southeast Europe: People and Culture: NGOM Festival". 
  107. "Festivali I Muzikes N'prizren". 


External links