Modern malls and promenades have replaced rubble in the 15 years since war ended in Kosovo, and gateway capital city Pristina is a center of recovery projects and reconstruction. Grateful for United States support during the war, Kosovites welcome American visitors to their many cafes, boutiques, and monuments.
Since it's been a focus of NGO efforts, almost everyone speaks at least some English along with local Albanian and Serb. The euro goes a long way -- just one buys a fresh brewed macchiato coffee, a taxi ride across town costs two and a half euro ($3), and rooms at the five star Swiss Diamond Hotel right in the center of town are priced around a hundred and fifty euro ($180) per single.
Visiting the traditional green market, the Kosovo and Ethnographic museums, the clock tower, the Faith Mosque are mandatory tourist stops, but besides the sites outlined in the Kosovo Bradt Guide and elsewhere, here are some out-of-the- way stops and resources that can boost the visitor experience.
The Pool and Spa at the Swiss Diamond Hotel
You don't have to be a guest to partake of the spa at the Hotel Swiss Diamond right on Mother Theresa Square. Local visitors are welcome to visit the infinity pool, massage rooms, beauty salon. Swiss Diamond Hotel. 381 (0) 38 220 000. Sheshi Nena Tereze p.n. www.sdhprishtina.com.
Statue of President Clinton
On the way into town, wave back to Bill Clinton, whose statue crowns Bil Klinton Boulevard. Bulevardi Bil Klinton
Buzuku Librari Bookshop
Step downstairs from the booths selling mulled wine at the center of Mother Theresa Square to find novels, local histories, and background material in English and other languages at the cozy Buzuku Librari Bookshop. Buzuku. Qendra 16/3. 381 38 516 231, 377 44 248 034. www.buzuku.eu
Pishat Restaurant just off Mother Theresa Square is popular with local politicians, and the three-euro "vegetables and cheese in hot pot" is uniquely delicious. Pishat. Rr. Qimal Hoxha 11, 381 382 45333.
Albanian Double Eagle Work-of-Art
Visit the world's largest "mosaic" mural composed entirely of beans (!). Albania's symbolic double eagle symbol spreads across one entire wall of the Hotel Pristina and a certificate on display authenticates it is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Subtler in tone than the flag's blood red, its rusty background is the closest shade found in natural, unpainted beans. Hotel Prishtina. str. Pashko Vasa 20. 381 38 223 284. www.hotelprishtina.com
Pay Respects To Tricky Dick's Pub
While near the Hotel Pristina, stop a few doors away to acknowledge America's peacekeeping role by pausing outside Kujtesa, an internet firm located on what was once the site of Tricky Dick's Pub, a bar organized by journalists covering the war and named for popular accomplished American negotiator Richard Holbrooke. The Grand Hotel on the pedestrian promenade that is Mother Theresa Square was another media hangout. Kujtesa. str. Pashko Vasa 18
Bazaar area snack stop and proprietor, Sefa Jaha
After wandering through the city's outdoor market, duck around the corner to the Hostel Istanbul where proprietor Sefa Jaha provides fresh brewed coffee, snacks, and speedy wi-fi. Immaculate upstairs rooms rent out for as little as 12 euro ($15) per night. Hostel Istanbul. Rr.Ilaz Agushi 66. 045 651 746. firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Guide Daut Misiri
Cover more ground by touring with knowledgeable translator and guide Daut Misiri who can help arrange logistics, point out sights, and instantly translate street signs, menus, and museum captions from Albanian to English. Daut Misiri, Architectural Discoveries, email@example.com. Phone 377 44 599 493.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the Kosovo war as the Bosnian war .