The research on Pristina focuses on culture, history and architecture. These dimensions are explored through personal accounts and tend to offer a pool of multiperspectival narratives, democratizing public discourse and the way local histories are told. By means of digital storytelling we want to bring out the many facets of the city and contribute towards a multilayered understanding of urban and socio-economic developments, starting from the interwar period until today.

Pristina Walks project is part of the Inter-community Dialogue through Inclusive Cultural Heritage Preservation, implemented by UNDP Kosovo and funded by the European Union’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP).

Gazmen Salijević

Human rights activist

I was part of the drama section, I played for the amateur theatre Roma in Pristina, we traveled in the then-Yugoslav country, went to festivals, and I tried to give my contribution and to find refuge from that reality in the world of theatre, acting, so that we can transform {moves his hands} and become other characters. What I appreciated back then was the effort invested in putting a smile by means of comedy on people’s faces who come to the theatre, because, and I return to that, at that time life was hard, especially here, we had constant migrations, we had people who lived in difficult economic conditions, we had conflicts […]

At the time, we did the play in Romani language. We had two families {gathers his hands}, you know we took the entire concept of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, their conflict, but all of this we did through the lens of Roma life. Through Roma lens, through that, if I may say class struggle, economic class struggle inside, inside, inside Roma society. In the end, even Shakespeare in his oeuvre has depicted class struggles, conflict regarding wealth, power, love.

Xhemajl Petrovci

Electrician

‘I am that Xhema from Prishtina.’ He said, ‘Are you a shehirli [townsman] or an Albanian?’ An Albanian shehirli, imagine? I understood what he was getting at, his question was, ‘Are you a Turk or an Albanian? I said, ‘I am an Albanian from the shehir [town].’ ‘Hey, I am asking you straight in Albanian!’

Minir Dushi

Mining engineer

…I witnessed when the Jews were being taken that night, when they gathered them, because I was at home. A paternal uncle of mine came every Monday for Tuesday’s market day, on Wednesday morning he would leave for Gjakova. Also, the paternal uncle was there that night when suddenly the door, we had a door with a hammer knocker, they came and knocked hard, dd, dd, dd {onomatopoetic} to this day I can’t forget it. Then, yes, bim… bom, bom bom {onomatopoetic} they knocked the door down and they entered.

When they entered the corridor, my paternal uncle went outside, they told him, “Go inside!” In fact, they were Albanian SS, the [Skanderbeg] regiment… They took all the Jews, the house was left empty, they were in their pajamas and this is how they took them. We were speechless, it was horrifying.

Fisnik Ismaili

Member of the Kosovo Parliament

…the statue of Vuk [Karadžić] that portrayed him sitting in front of the Philological [Faculty], they had tied it behind a tractor and were dragging it through the pedestrian street on the direction of the otpad, to the landfill. And they were dragging it gzhhhh {onomatopoeic}, it scratched the asphalt. The statue had become all white because of the spit and sputum because everyone had spit on it, and the spit had dried (laughs). And there was one person running after it, he had taken one of his slippers off and was hitting the bronze sculpture dang, dang, dang, dang {onomatopoeic} [illustrates with hands the man hitting the sculpture], he wouldn’t stop, dang, dang, dang, dang. The other man, ‘Give me the other slipper.’ He forced him to take off the other slipper as well and he did so. They kept beating the sculpture with slippers, dang, dang, dang, dang.

Ilir Gjinolli

Architect

When we look at the transformations, of course we notice a historical development of the city and society. The changes that took place, in terms of economic, cultural and social, the changes inside of the society, you know, the transition from Ottoman period to premodern period is amazing in societal terms. […] [The Society] It was of a different kind, based on the concept of a muslim society, while the other with its European modernization tendencies in Kosovo were expressed, mainly through destruction. The destruction of a cell, of a societal and urban cell.

Ajten Pllana

Educator

Do you know what bothered me the most [in Pristina]? At the time, women here wore dimija or kule [balloon pants], they called them kule. They were like dimija, but not that loose. In Skopje at ours, nobody wore dimija. City people didn’t wear them, even those that came from the village did not wear them. That bothered me. And the girls, the girls did not wear pantaloons in that time, but also did not go out much, but they did in the neighborhood, they stayed home and always wore those kule. They really annoyed me, they bothered me very much. They would say, ‘Ama it’s warm, with these it feels nice.’

Şükrü Zeynullah

Educator

Many things happened back then. We had famous people, there was Doctor Tefik Raşit. He was a doctor. There was a Cabir before him, Cabir the Robber, Burglar we used to call him. However, he was an honest man, and he was misunderstood. He just masterfully robbed the rich, he had an old two-wheeler, he would steal and give those things to the poor. He would take it home and give it away. He was a robber, a burglar but a good man. When he would enter a shop or a café, everyone would stand up. He was very honest. […]

[He lived during] First World War, in that period. Then. Also, they still talk about him as an honest robber from Pristina to this day. Honest, no lies, he was very humane, he used to help. He would starve in order to give food to the poor.”

Shkëlzen Maliqi

Philosopher

I told him, ‘I have come to submit a topic that does not exist: Byzantine Aesthetics.’ He jumped off his chair and said, ‘Who has misinformed you? How come it doesn’t exist? (laughs) ‘Alright’ I said. He said, ‘Write me an outline.’ I had already started reading some stuff. When I submitted my draft, it had two-three topics that I wanted to work on. And he looked at it and said, ‘You will end up writing a book’ (laughs). I said, ‘No, no, just like that…’ He said, ‘Ok, go ahead!’

[…] Somehow I wanted to become a Byzantine scholar, learn ancient greek. I started taking some courses there, but we got into the ‘80s, the political circumstances changed in Yugoslavia and my status as a…. In ‘78, I was employed at the Philology Faculty in Belgrade, in the Albanian Language Department. Now, you know, we were all caught up by the politics and these things, and to me no longer seemed interesting to study that, you know. Although I always had the ambition to finish it, to publish my work, to work more on it. Only after 20 years, you know after 1999 I published the first volume of ‘Byzantine Aesthetics’ in Albanian.

Salih Spahiu

Architect

For me the building of Kosovafilm was a, a great motivation and a challenge how to conceptualize the building, because it has some very specific functions. Such as, the sound room which is part of the building, because of the acoustics it is there where the dubbing of the movies takes place, then the cinemas, the warehouses for film preservation, then the administration and the area for socializing. These functions I have accommodated in such a way, so that each has its integrity in regards to… but, again they connect to one another in an organic way.

From Kosovafilm you can see the city of Pristina quite well, and I went with the colors of the facade which are ochre, if you recall Kodak that used to produce films, the colors of their packaging were like that… and I made that connection, you know, how I designed the facade I connected it with the purpose of the building.

Kamile Türbedar

Hairdresser

Martifal. Someone used to sing a māni [folk poems], we used to cover her face with a red scarf. She used to put her hand in the pot. They used to leave the pot under the roses the whole night. Everyone used to put something in it, whatever they wished. Then, that girl, we used to put a red scarf on her, used to take [the items] out of the pot and hold them. Someone would sing a māni. Then she asked, ‘Whose was it?’  One would say, ‘It is mine.’ So that, they would sing māni. […] For Hederlez, we used to put the earthenware pot all night under roses. Everyone from the neighborhood used to put some stuff, next day, martifal. We used to cook lokum, for them to eat. Those large gardens… it was a different atmosphere… neighbors… every neighborhood did martifal.