Photos of The People of Kosovo

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The People of Kosovo

Kosovo has a mixed population of about two million, the result of the turbulent history of the country. As a result of the many centuries as part of the Ottoman Empire the overwhelming majority of the population is ethnic Shqiptar or Albanian, speaking the northern Gheg dialect and are of the Muslim faith. Especially around Prizren are Turkish speaking people, left over from Ottoman days.

Women of Prizren
 
Shqiptar men
 
Two brothers
 
Shqiptar girl
 
Kosovar family
 
Sisters and brother
 
Pumping water
 
Albanian man
 
Family photo
 
Man of Prishtina
 
Walking home
 
Roma kids
 
Father and son
 
Family portrait
 
Roma women
 
After playing football
 
Children of Gjakova
 
Shqiptar women
 
Women of Tabakhane
 
Prizreni family
 
Men from Prizren
 
Drinking from fountain
 
Boy of Prizren
 
Turkish singer
 
Making cheese
 
Looking after sheep
 
Herd boys
 
Playing the flute
 
Young flute player
 
Boy on the bridge
 
Small boy of Prishtina
 
Father and son
 
At the bus station
 
Reading the paper
 
Children near school
 
Boys of Prizren
 
Happy boy
 
Lively Prizren boys
 
Friendly boy
 
Selling sheep cheese
 
Girl in museum
 
Young people, Reçani
 
Grandmother of Rečane
 
Women of Rečane
 
Children dancing
 
Roma mother
 
In a Gjakova café
 
Drinking wine
 

The Roma or Romani people are an ethnic group of Europe tracing their origins to medieval India. They have their own language, with different dialects in different regions. Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates the Roma originated from the Indian subcontinent, emigrating from India towards Europe from the 11th century. They are generally believed to have originated in central India, possibly in the modern Indian state of Rajasthan, migrating to northwest India (the Punjab region) around 250 BCE. Traditionally nomadic but now mainly settled, they have endured discrimination and prejudice over the centuries. Yet they have contributed immensely to the culture of the Balkans; without them Balkan music would never have been the same. They are often referred to as "Gypsies", a term originating from the Greek word Αιγύπτοι (Aigyptoi), in the erroneous belief that they originated in Egypt, and were exiled as punishment for allegedly harbouring the infant Jesus.

The Ashkali are an Albanian speaking ethnic minority of Kosovo and Albania, usually considered Albanized Roma, but some people call themselves "Egyptians" (Albanian: Egjiptian) claiming they came from Egypt, supposedly via immigration through Palestine. This seems unlikely and may derive from the same mistaken belief that "Gypsies" came from Egypt. In Kosovo, the Ashkali appeared to be aligned with Albanians before the Kosovo War. However, there are reports of mass expulsion of Ashkali along with Roma from Kosovo after the war. Many Ashkali refugees have now settled in Central Serbia and Vojvodina. In Serbia and Montenegro, they are known by other names like Black Montenegrins and Romano-Palestinians.

There are also villages with Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims, speaking Serbo-Croat) and Goran (Macedonian). The remaining Serbs are, since the war of 1999, concentrated in enclaves across Kosovo, North Kosovo being the largest one; Gračanica, only 5 kilometres south of Prishtina, has become the national and political centre of the remaining Kosovo Serbs who live south of Mitrovica. There are still some 120,000 ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, with 40,000 in the north on the border with Serbia and the remainder in enclaves around the country.