Kosovo. An armed force called the Kosovo Security Force took over responsibility in January for the security of the civilian security force that had been responsible to date. According to countryaah, the protection force consisted mainly of former members of the disbanded Kosovo Albanian UCK guerrilla, which fought against Serbian supremacy in the late 1990s. The new security force included about 2,500 soldiers who were still under the supervision of the NATO-led peacekeeping force KFOR. Serbian residents of Kosovo protested against the new force. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for abbreviation KS which stands for the nation of Kosovo.
On the one-year anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, February 17, the celebration was somewhat muted. Still, just over 50 of the world’s nations had recognized the new state and foreign investors were hardly in line to invest in Kosovo. At the same time, the situation was relatively calm; even the celebration ended without incidents. The one-year anniversary also did not cause any loud protests from Kosovo Serbs, despite opposing their independence.
The country’s former prime minister Agim Ceku was arrested in Colombia in May and in Bulgaria in June. In both cases he was soon set free again. Ceku was internationally wanted by Serbia, who accused him of war crimes in connection with the war in then-Serbian Kosovo. Ceku was a commander in the UCK guerrilla during the 1998-99 war.
In June, NATO announced plans to lose KFOR from 14,000 to 10,000 soldiers. In August, unrest broke out when nationalist Kosovo Albanians demonstrated against the foreign presence in the country. The protesters took to cars belonging to the EU civilian EULEX. About 20 people were arrested. On the same day, several people were injured in a clash between Albanians and Serbs in the divided town of Mitrovica in the north.
When the first election since the Declaration of Independence was held on November 15, Prime Minister Hashim Thaçis won the Kosovo Democratic Party (PDK) in 20 of the 36 municipalities that were at stake. The election was conducted under peaceful conditions and with a turnout of around 45 percent.
In December, the International Court of Justice in The Hague considered whether Kosovo had the right to unilaterally proclaim its independence, at the request of Serbia. A non-binding statement was expected in 2010. At year-end, 64 states had recognized Kosovo.
Prizren, Peja and Gjakova are known for their handicrafts. As for metalwork, there is wire, silver, copper and sheet metal art. Wood carvings and musical instruments are also popular souvenirs from Kosovo. Embroidery, lace, leatherwork, knitwear and Turkish tea sets are also recommended. Shop opening hours: Mon-Fri 08.00-12.00 and 15.00-20.00, Sat 08.00-15.00. Department stores and supermarkets in larger cities and tourist centers are usually open all day (Mon-Sat 08.00-20.00).
Pristina has the most to offer for night owls. In the city center around Rruga Fehmi Agani and Rruga Garibaldi and in the Santea area there are a number of lively bars, nightclubs and cafes that stay open until late.
National dishes include qebapa (char-grilled minced meat), pasul or pasul ne tav (kidney bean stew or baked kidney bean), suxhuk (garlic sausage), speca t’musht (stuffed peppers with meat and rice), pleskavica (meat patties). beef and lamb) and Leskovačka mućkalica (pork with tomato and onion sauce). Drinks Good wines come from Kosovo, the Velika Hocha is well-known. In Kosovo, people like to drink Turkish coffee (Kafe turki), grape brandy (Rakija) and strong plum brandy (Slivovica).
Kosovo does not have any hotels that meet the international standard of 4 or 5 star hotels. There is a good choice of hotels in Pristina. It is difficult to find high-priced hotels in smaller towns. Categories: 1 to 5 stars.
Other accommodation options
InnsMotels are located on most major roads, often near the outskirts of town. The prices vary depending on the region, season and quality. Bed and BreakfastSome private individuals offer accommodation and lodging to visitors in villages where there are no hotels. Discounts are possible outside of the main season. Tourist offices and travel agencies provide further information.
Muslim majority, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholic Christians are in the minority.
Social Rules of Conduct
Photographing: No photographs should be taken of military installations and of obvious bomb damage, out of concern for the public’s feelings. Tipping: 10 percent is expected.
Best travel time
Kosovo has a mild, continental climate with cold, snowy winters and warm summers.
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