Photos of Kosovo, returning after half a century

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Returning after half a century

In 1967 and 1969, when the black-and-white photos were taken, Kosovo was an autonomous region within the Yugoslav Republic of Serbia. There were few cars, but many donkeys and horses and many people wore traditional dress. Half a century later, in 2018, Kosovo was independent, and I went back to look for the same places I had photographed before. These photos show, side-by-side, what it looked like half a century ago and today. These are all taken from the same angle, as far as possible. In some cases, it was difficult, with new buildings blocking the old view or significant changes in the appearance. However, in all cases, the locals agreed that these photos were taken from the same point. Each photo shows the date it was made.

Bajrakli mosque
Bajrakli mosque
Flooded street
Street to Bajrakli mosque
Rruga Fatmir Ukaj
Fatmir Ukaj street
Woman splitting firewood
Konak Beg House
Ethnographic museum
Krena bridge
Krena river bridge
Bazaar, Hadum Mosque
In Hadum mosque
Inside Hadum Mosque
Main street, bazaar
Sylejman Hadum Aga street
Mulla Yusuf mosque
Mulla Yusuf mosque
Prizren market
Parking place
Street, Maksut Pasha mosque
Marash neighbourhood
Lumbardhi (Bistrica) river
Foot bridge
Ottoman bridge
Stone Bridge
Turkish bridge
Stone bridge, mosque
Sinan Pasha mosque
Sinan Pasha Mosque
Along Halveti Tekke
Rruga Farkëtarët
Halveti Tekke, mosques
Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hamam
Hamam Gazi Mehmet Pasha
Emin Pasha mosque
Emin Pasha mosque
Side street
View into side street
Ilijaz Kuka mosque
To Iljaz Kuka Mosque
Lumbardhi river
Bridge of Beledies
Washing carpets
Bridge, Tabakhane
Tabakhane street
Street with old mill
Suzi �elebi Mosque
Suzi Mosque
Ottoman house
Renovated neighbourhood
Panorama from Kalaja
View from Kalaja
Mosque and clock tower
Mosque, clock tower
Cathedral and mosque
Cathedral with mosque

Peja (Peć) is the second largest city in Kosovo, and it was striking to see the once muddy streets neatly paved. Water that used to run on the roads now flowed in underground ducts. The main mosque, badly damaged during the 1999 Kosovo war, is being refurbished by a Turkish company.

Gjakova (Ðakovica), in western Kosovo between Peja and Prizren, suffered great physical destruction and human rights abuses by Serbian forces against the local Albanian population. The Çarshia e Madhe, Gjakova's old bazaar was destroyed by fire during 1999. The Serbs burnt down the library and the religious school of the Hadum mosque. Its minaret was shot off by Serb soldiers using a shoulder-launched missile. Now, it is rebuilt, and the shops in the bazaar are restored.

Prizren, called Kosovo's most Oriental City, escaped most of the damage in the 1999 war. Serbian forces destroyed the most significant Albanian cultural monument in Prizren, the League of Prizren building. During the unrest in 2004 Serb cultural monuments such as old Orthodox Serb churches like Our Lady of Ljeviš from 1307, the Church of the Holy Salvation and the Church of St. George (the city's largest church) were targeted by Albanians and most Serbs were expelled.

Prishtina (Priština), Kosovo's capital, in 1999 suffered from large scale expulsions of ethnic Albanians, but after the war, the tables had turned, and most Serbs had fled. The 15th Century Xhamia e Mbretit (Imperial mosque) was recently refurbished by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA).

Ferizaj (Uroševac) in southern Kosovo was unique because of a mosque and Serbian Orthodox church side-by-side. However, the St. Uroš Orthodox Cathedral, had been built from 1929 and 1933 on land that belonged to the Big Mosque of Mulla Veseli (built in 1891). After the war and inter-communal unrest, almost all Serbs have left. But the church, looted and set on fire, has now been repaired.