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
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.
Latest population statistics of Kosovo, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
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
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
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 Kadarė, as "their" writers.
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
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
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.