Photo credits: Dini Begolli
A day trip to Peja is a must for anyone visiting Kosovo. The location of Peja is perhaps its real asset. The mountains rise up behind and spread below it is the fertile plain of Dukagjini. Cutting into scenic mountains the Rugova Gorge offers great opportunities for hikers, skiers and cave explorers. There are numerous one day and half day trips you can do around the city. Starting from climbing, hiking and even, Via Ferrata. The town is most famous for being the seat of the Serb Orthodox Patriarchate. Albanians on the other hand cherish Peja as an important Ottoman trading town and home to Haxhi Zeka. Zeka was a charismatic leader of the Albanian national movement in the late 19th century. By size of population Peja is also Kosovo’s second-largest city. Despite its near total destruction in 1999, you can still get a flavour of the Ottoman market town and discover beautiful kullas.
What to visit
SEE VIA FERRATA, HIKING IN RUGOVA, ZIP LINE FOR A UNIQUE NATURAL ADVENTURE
Regional Ethnological Museum of Peja
Housed in a beautiful example of a typical Ottomak konak (town house). The permanent collection presented in three rooms includes traditional costumes, cloth, musical instruments and Illyrian handicrafts. Allow about half an hour to visit the museum.
Haxhi Zeka’s kulla
The original building was set on fire in 1999 and only parts of the outer walls have survived. The kulla is still owned (and inhabited) by the Zeka family. After its destruction, the family set out to restore it carefully. Unfortunately, it is not open to visitors. A real jewel of an 18th-century Ottoman konak, Haxhi Zeka’s konak.
Also known as the Çarshia or Market Mosque. The precise date of its construction is not known. It is believed to have been built in the second half of the 15th century. At the time when Peja was the centre of the Peja sançak (an Ottoman military district). That was also the time when Peja enjoyed its unrivalled role as an important regional trading outpost for Dubrovnik.
Çarshia e Gjatë
What used to be the main street of the old bazaar. In the past, both sides of the street were lined with traditional houses, small jewellery ateliers and little shops. Much of the hard cash earned abroad by Albanians working in Switzerland or Germany found its way here to pay for expensive gold jewellery for prospective brides.
The Patriarchate of Peja
The Patriarchate is located in an impressive natural habitat, where the Lumbardhi River comes out of the Rugova Gorge into the fertile plain of Dukagjini. There are six churches under one roof of this monastery. The first church dedicated to the Apostles was built at the beginning of the 13th century by Archbishop Arsenije and was intended as burial place for the Serbian archbishop.