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 project 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.

 

Avni Emincik

Dental technician

When we were here, we left in ‘59, but in ‘58 we gave the house to the Municipality, we didn’t give it to anyone else, and the house became a museum. When it became a museum, in one year, most of the workers were Serbian, and I started to talk to them in Serbian. They used to take me with them, I was seven years old, six-seven years old, they took me with them. They took me to do rounds with their car. They were calling me, I was in a carriage going to throw the trash away with them, ‘Come on Avni, come on Avni!’ So they were kind to me. They were loving, even though they were Serbian. After that, we moved as a family to Turkey. We immigrated. 

It was like that when they first came, the Serbs brought animals, like dogs, bears. After that, I remembered something, I told you that before that I entered inside the house for five minutes and a wolf escaped from the den, and it started attacking around. Fortunately, our house had a garden and its doors were locked. This was sometime between ‘58 and ‘59. 

You had a wolf in your garden?

Yes, a wolf in the garden had attacked everyone. We gave them blankets, and the caretaker saved them, and himself as well. Because the wolf was violent, was not a tamed animal. They had taken it from the mountains, brought it here. Later, they turned the rooms of the house to a forest. It was turned into a forest. There were stuffed bears, snakes, etc. There were six rooms, three on the upper floor and three downstairs, had opened it up for the tourists.  One always feels a chip on the shoulder about it, you feel sad, inevitably.

Sazan Shita

Housewife

At the time Ernest Koliqi had sent three-hundred teachers to Kosovo. Everywhere, in the villages and everywhere schools in the Albanian language started. In Mitrovica, Bedri Gjinaj, he was born and raised in Mitrovica, but educated in Albania. You know, how they used to go secretly… but very capable, he was a very capable man. When I enrolled, not only I, but the entire class, the first thing we learned was the flag. I was familiar with it, but his teachings were effective, whatever he would say stuck with you. When we began the class, he said to us, ‘Let’s learn the flag song.”’ {She recites} 

Oh red and black flag, 

all the joy and love that you wave, 

makes my heart spring with you, 

in the fields and meadows, 

mountains and brooks forward with you, 

I will fight fearlessly,

though I am young

I am your soldier and I’ll say,

Today that freedom has come,

May the  Albanian flag live long.’

When I went home, I recited it to my father, what a hug he gave to me, his tears poured out of joy. Of course… that school year, it was like ten years in one. Everything that they taught us, the lectures were such that you understood and internalized them immediately.

Shefqet Mullafazliu

Architect

At the intersection, you know, from Zahir Pajaziti Square and from this side of the Garibaldi Street… because in architecture, at the intersection, the corners always get blocked. The reason was not to block the view, and I came up with the idea to propose that solution, and he [lead architect] accepted it. Opposite of blocking the view, it attracted a lot of attention. I proposed a triangle, it does not have any function, but it’s like the make-up on a woman’s face. He accepted it, and this is how the idea was born. The bank being a bank has its standards and one cannot step out of those standards: the counters, the administrative section, the treasury on the first and second [floor], and so on. […] the bank has an advisor in the bank. We have submitted our proposal, the record exists, we have explained how the banks are being designed in the world. Though they were bankers, they have traveled, but to design did not know how and they could not.

Adnan Merovci

University lecturer

Rugova stayed, but people, that… the fact itself that everyone knew we were held hostage was discouraging for the people in Kosovo. Even those that had some courage to stay, to hide, it affected them negatively. The interview that I mentioned, it restored hope in people, because they realized we were alive, I’m saying it had this element of encouragement. But with time they started improvising, founding governing bodies, inviting people to come back, this kind of stuff was done under the the threat of bombing. Rugova never in his life tried to stop the bombings, it is a misunderstanding and misinterpretation and what not… when it is a misunderstanding, you say it, it was said, but it was misunderstood. 

No, no, not even for a second did Ibrahim Rugova say that the bombings should stop. If you take a press statement and there it says, let’s say, even if you signed under pressure by removing the term ‘Metohi’, and you say, ‘We are in favor of a peaceful solution and the bombs were dropped to achieve peace’. So what do you make of it? But, ‘I ask for the bombing to stop and to start a peace process’ or similar stuff like this, while Ibrahim Rugova was alive he never said that.

Pranvera Badivuku

Composer

You know, very, I don’t know what did they do, the things were all over the place. The machine, for example, was ruined, an old stove was taken upstairs, you know, I don’t know how did they carried them, those things. There was a lot of disorder in the building, empty apartments, without anything inside them. They didn’t touch the pictures and some documents because, after all, it was a building. 

And one, one resident there, she was Dalmatian, older, she didn’t have anywhere to go, so she stayed there. She told us that they brought the truck at the entry, so we couldn’t see what they took, what are they loading. Cassettes, we had a lot of video cassettes, all with serious music, recorded, different kinds. My husband was fond of classical music, he used to record instrumentals, orchestras, of different kind. We found those in another building. So, unexplained things happened, I don’t know, I don’t know.

But it’s interesting how one remembers everything he had, it happened a few times, people don’t remember everything they have, but if the things are missing… It was a bit funny. I made the list of everything that was missing because I knew what I had in my cabinet. Only notes, notes, my songs and so, I, I threw them behind the cabinet, there was free space but couldn’t go down further, I found them there.

Sevim Baki

Artist/Singer

When I was very young, there was a song by Emel Sayın, Sevda sevmessen [When you don’t love, love]… It was called Rüzgar [Wind], I was very young and I used to imitate her very often. When my cousins would come to stay over, I would say, ‘Do you want me to imitate Emel Sayın?’ I would sit down, put the pillows on the floor, my hair on one side {shows with her hands}, I would say, ‘Go get the hairdryer so my hair would look like it’s blown by wind just like hers in the music video.’ They applauded me. When a guest would come to visit us, my father always used to say, ‘Come on, sing some songs.’ Now, when I think about it, I can say that these were the hints that I was going to be connected to music.

Lidia Mirdita Tupeci

Accountant

Then the street lights were turned on, and we were like, like, for three months when you are like… When I saw the lights on, I said to my neighbor, ‘Kuku, something bad will happen.’ You know, I said, ‘They turned the lights on…’ I look at korzo and we are talking to one another, ‘Should we go out… let’s meet close to Grand.’ God knows what’s happening. Tomorrow morning, when KFOR troops came from Macedonia, I was looking out from the balcony. Now KFOR came from this side, the road from the hospital, perhaps they did not know the way or they were just too many of them, you know.

It was raining, I remember this. They were swearing, ‘Who invited you here?’ And I heard a Serb saying this, ‘Why are you swearing at them? Do you know who invited them here? Milošević did.’ I witnessed this. Afterwards, it was different. They started running away, you noticed it when your neighbors were not around anymore. They left at night or I don’t know, but they disappeared.

Sonja Artinović

Economist

We were together, yes, we were spending time together with, with the Turks, that, those who lived there in those houses, who wore special nanule, which I adored, wooden. (laughs) And with their nanule, they entered their hamam, those are gone now. I think they are gone. Well, for example, they did not have parquet, for example, but they had wooden flooring {explains with hand}, the long deck, that they had to brush. It was yellow, like a gold yellow. Very clean people and this Mazlum of mine, who is still here today, you know. […] After so many years of knowing one another, and so much love and evocation of childhood memories, because she knew me as a baby, what kind of people we are, how we were, all that we did. I mean, all our adventures and such, she taught me how to bake lokum, and even katmer pie and a kol pie, she taught me everything. My mom taught them other things, so we exchanged. I say, like a family.”

Skender Boshnjaku

Neuropsychiatrist

Oh, that was a great moment, even from, from… it was a Saturday when NATO came, so it was June 12, Saturday… June 11 was Friday, no… Yes, exactly on June 11, Friday, June 11, Saturday. Usually, I didn’t sleep, but from the window of where I lived, you could clearly see the house, and when I saw the tank, it was early. Oh, until this day… now at this moment I have… I felt a lot of happiness, I said, ‘Oh, wife, NATO came. Let’s salute them!’ And I was trying to run until I saw the tank, but when the tank turned, I saw the tank and I put my hands up, and it was miraculous. Something incredible. Yes, even for me, it was incredible that such a crazy atmosphere was created that people forget. For me, that was something unbelievable and…

Momčilo Trajković

Political activist

The new building was inhabited by the old Serbs, old Serbs of Pristina, old Turks and old Albanians. They had houses where the cinema is now, previously Omladina Cinema, do you know that settlement now? And, when those buildings were built, they were, since they were old houses, they gave apartments to host the owners of houses and they all lived in that building. Everyone was settled in that building. I was the only one and another journalist, we were, like this, to say from aside. All the others were… they simply transferred all of their settlement to this building: the old Albanians, the old Serbs, the old Turks. And that was very interesting. When I arrived there, as they got used to sitting in front of the gates, in front of the house there to talk… that mentality and this custom was transferred to the building. They also put benches there, there was coffee, everything… this building was different from all. And so people were close.

Since I was in a position, I and some Stihović, I say… someone from Novobrdo, one Albanian was the director of this nursery garden, Vitia, yes. I remember, Vitia. I was a functionary at that time, I was engaged in politics, I do not know how much you know… I was the Executive Secretary of the Committee […] And he comes to me, ‘What can I do for you, for you, comrade Trajković?’ That’s it. I say, ‘Listen, come on, look, take a look in front of my building where I live, people are so, you know so good. Go on and do it, plant some trees.’ And the trees now, I do not know if you know when you go before that tunnel down there are those buildings. All of these trees are… yes, that was my plan, I asked for that, and it was planted for me. No one knows that, people who lived there know. Otherwise, others do not know. That’s how it happened, that… the forest just ahead of this building.