The history of Janjevë/o locality is connected to the mining tradition of Novo Brdo and Kopaonik which had deposits of lead and silver that fostered economic development and growth. The history of Croat community in Kosovo dates back to the 14th century. Though the mines have been closed since the 16th century, the community continued to find meaning in Janjevë/o and reasonable cause to remain. By recording oral history interviews with the members of different communities, we seek to increase understanding of the cultural and economic identity of the locality of Janjevë/o. 

The research on Janjevë/o is part of the “Inter-community Dialogue through Inclusive Cultural Heritage Preservation” project funded by the European Union’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) and implemented by United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) in Kosovo.

 

Emin Bikliqi

Sociologist

Everything was in order, to be fair, the Croats, they had it as an obligation on Friday evenings, everyone cleaned up the cobblestone in front of their doors, and left no bits of it dirty… as for the dirt, God forbid, but there was no dust even. They cleaned it up with water and on Saturdays the streets were… those narrow streets of Janjevo were clean. This is what I remember, in other words, that is of material value, it is culture, right?

Why exactly on Fridays?

On Friday so it is ready for Saturday and Sunday… on Saturday they worked, but on Sunday the Croats, Catholics don’t work. And they, if you ever went to do business with them, they said, 'I am sorry, but this is my day off, it is a holiday for me.' They considered it a holiday. And I asked them, as you are asking me now, 'Why on Friday?' Because the priest goes for a walk in the streets of Janjevo on Saturday at a certain time. When the priest passes by… now I don’t know. But when the priest passed by, everyone went out in front of their doors to salute him.

Dragutin Ivanović

Sales Manager

I remember the end of the ‘60s when the Cultural Center was built. We got a screening room and then that was, the idea was that now we can go and watch Dean Martin and some cowboy movies and the like. Then it got easier and it was sweeter. Every Sunday, we would gather at the Center. There was folk dance, dance, live music. Of course, we created and financed that music, and so on.

I remember the time when we did not have enough money to buy more guitars, drums, more instruments that would help and improve the quality of those dances. Then, so to say, we nagged these people in the neighborhood, demanding them to invest a bit in the youth. ‘Invest, we need more money for this and that.’ So whenever there were those moments, we would collect the money and I recall that is how we founded the brass orchestra.”

We played local slow romance songs, beautiful city songs. But also, Tom Jones’s music was present, also the Beatles. So, we played both. Unfortunately, very little… we didn’t know, or I don’t know why, but folk music was played less, we were more interested in the music that was modern at the time. Songs of, for example, Miša Kovač, Jevremović, also our old Prizren songs, and so on.

Olga Gucić

Educator

We socialized quite a lot, it was really, we had weddings and baptisms and all that brought a special joy. You prepare yourself for one celebration to another. The streets were always clean, each and everyone cleaned it in front of their house every Saturday. We sang, I don’t know. Every Sunday, we had korzo, which was a hill above Janjevo - Glama. In the afternoon, only youth hung out there. We also had St. Georges, for that, we had some very special celebratory preparations. On the night of St. Georges, rifana, usually the girl who got engaged invited all her friends and family.

Omer Škrijelj

Doctor

I’ll tell you this story from that time. Truck after truck went by, there, somewhere there near a strong community of Croatians who decided to stay. About two hundred meters from here all the way to the post office, they had been lined up and loaded into those trucks. It was a mass migration, it’s hard to forget for those from Janjevo. So now, an old lady comes for a check-up but has no real problems.

And I say to her, ‘Grandma, what are you complaining about, what hurts?’ She says, ‘The trucks hurt.’ I say, ‘They hurt all of us.’ So there was this diagnosis also, ‘The trucks hurt.’ What really hurt was that you’d be just sitting with them in the evening, having a drink and hanging out, and the next day they’d be gone because decisions were almost made overnight. First, they’d say, ‘We’re not going, we don’t need to.’ And then something happens overnight, probably a neighbor goes, then another. Then they say, ‘Why would I stay, I’ll go too.’ And so…