September 26, 2013
Islamic Heritage Sites in Kosovo
Kosovo’s Islamic heritage stretches back to the 14th century, when the Ottoman Empire conquered Kosovo in 1455. During this time, many citizens of Kosovo—in particular, those of Albanian heritage—converted to Islam. The 14th and 15th centuries saw the emergence of Ottoman-style architecture in Kosovo—particularly, the building of key Islamic heritage sites. Some of the sites remain standing today.
1. The Sinan Pasha Mosque, Prizren
The Sinan Pasha Mosque in Prizren was founded by the Albanian Vizier, Sinan Pasha, at the beginning of the 16th century A.D. The mosque is one of the most impressive and well preserved structures in Prizren, and overlooks the main street and the Bistrica River. The mosque once was home to a madrassa (or Islamic school), and remains a fully functional prayer space today. The inside of the building is painted with floral patterns, landscape motifs, and Qu’ran verses that were added to the structure during the 19th century.
In 1990, the mosque was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance by the Republic of Serbia.
View of the mosque from the riverbed:
The beautifully painted interior of the mosque:
2. The Mbretit Mosque, or Fatih Mosque, Prishtina:
The Mbretit (Fatih) Mosque was built in 1460-1461, only eight years after the fall of Constantinople, by Sultan Mehmet II al-Fatih (the conequerer). The Mbretit Mosque is the last remaining mosque in the Balkan region that was built by Sultan Mehmet II. The mosque is located in the center of Prishtina’s old town, by the city’s bazaar area, and is Prishtina’s largest and most prominent. The inside of the mosque is characterized by detailed floral declarations painted on the walls and on its spectacular 15-meter high dome. The minaret was repaired after an earthquake struck Prishtina in 1955, and is again under reconstruction today, in 2013.
The Mbretit Mosque from the outside:
The interior of the Mbretit Mosque:
3. The Carshia Mosque (or the “Stone” Mosque):
The Carshia Mosque stands at the beginning of Prishtina’s old town center. It was built during the early 15th century by the Sultan Bayazid to commemorate the victory of the Ottoman forces in 1389. Today, it is the oldest building still standing in Prishtina. When it was first built, it stood overlooking the Ottoman covered bazaar, which was later destroyed. The mosque has undergone many changes and renovations since it was built, but the unusual stone-topped minaret has remained in place since it was first built over 600 years ago.
The Carshia Mosque:
4. The Bajrakli Mosque, Peja:
The Bakrakli Mosque in Peja stands in the middle of the city's Carshia, or Bazaar area. The mosque was built by the Ottomans in the 15th century, and serves as a stunning example of Ottoma-style architecture.
View of the Bajrakli Mosque from the middle of the bazaar:
The interior of the mosque: