Kosovo and the crisis of ignoring international law and global opinions


Kosovo obtained part independence when America and many European nations gave the go ahead for the creation of this new nation. However, it is clear that things are not plain sailing because many other nations did not support this elitist adventure, therefore, the wider international community was ignored. Therefore, today we have a situation where some nations support this new state, however, the majority of nations in Africa, Asia, and South America, have not given their consent.

Also, the Russian Federation, Spain, and some other European nations, refuse to accept this American led adventure. Therefore, what does the future hold for Kosovo and international law?

Firstly, the current status of limbo is a shock to America and many European nations because they believed that the majority of other nations would follow suit, however, at the moment this isn`t happening. Therefore, the influence of the Russian Federation, China, India, and other nations who are against the independence of Kosovo, is much deeper than America imagined. Also, many nations are aghast by the elitism of this new venture and of course many nations worry that the same may happen to them.

Another negative side effect is the fact that Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia have clear justifications to claim the same rights, with regards to the American model of bypassing international law and the United Nations. So if America can violate international law so easily, then America should expect other nations to follow suit. Therefore, many other would be nations in other parts of the world also claim to have the same natural rights. Of course the United States, the United Kingdom, and others, are claiming that Kosovo is unique, but this is not based on reality because you have too many conflicts all over the world. So a “can of worms” is the real cause and effect of this naive policy.

Nations which are against this American led venture have stated clearly that they are very unhappy with the blatant attitude of elitist Western nations. The Foreign Minister of Argentina, Jorge Taiana, stated “if we were to recognise Kosovo, which has declared its independence unilaterally, without an agreement with Serbia, we would set a dangerous precedent that would seriously threaten our chances of a political settlement in the case of the Falkland Islands.”

The newly elected President of Cyprus, Dimitris Christofias, was even more outspoken because he stated “The one thing that Kosovo and Cyprus have in common, as far as the situation in these regions is concerned, is that in both cases, the basic principles of international law and legality, as well as UN decisions, are constantly being violated.” A similar comment was made by Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish Foreign Minister, because he made it clear that “the Government of Spain will not recognise the unilateral act proclaimed by the assembly of Kosovo […] We will not recognise because we consider […] this does not respect international law.”

Therefore, this issue is very important and complex and it is not about denying either the majority Kosovo Albanians independence or supporting minorities like the Serbians, Roma, and other minorities in Kosovo. It is about a deeper issue and this applies to international law. So if America and her supporters can justify Kosovo then what about creating new independent nations for the Abkhazians and South Ossetians in Georgia, Palestinians, Karen in Myanmar, Tamils in Sri Lanka, West Papuans in Indonesia, Basques in Spain, Balochis in Pakistan, and the list can go on and on; so do these ethnic groups deserve independence?

This is the problem because you can not seriously claim that Kosovo is special or unique. After all, you have countless conflicts in the world and many ethnic groups face terrible persecution. Therefore, many other ethnic groups are aghast by events and Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Palestinian politician, stated “Kosovo is not better than us. We deserve independence even before Kosovo, and we ask for the backing of the United States and the European Union for our independence. If things are not going in the direction of continuous and serious negotiations, then we should take the step and announce our independence unilaterally.”

Also, the international community, on a whole, is saying that this colonial attitude is really not warrented and of course major institutions, like the United Nations, have been violated and the same applies to international law. So we have a genuine dilemma over this issue and again if the United Nations and international law can be violated, then why have either? Sadly, nations like the United States believe that they are above the international community because they also bypassed international law when they attacked Iraq and bombed the former Yugoslavia.

You also have problems within Kosovo itself and major divisions still exist. This especially applies to northern Kosovo because the Serbian community is relatively sizeable throughout this region. Therefore, you still have major flashpoints and Serbians, the Roma, and other minorities, feel isolated or abandoned. Also, the international community must still guard and protect Serbians, the Roma, and other minorities, throughout the whole of Kosovo. This in itself is evidence that the institutions of Kosovo are weak.

Therefore, the longer this situation remains in limbo the worse it will get because we have already seen convulsions in Georgia based on the Kosovo model. Whereby nations can now clearly state that America, the United Kingdom, France, and others, violated international law, therefore, other nations can follow suit and support their own self interests. So what does the future hold for Kosovo, countless other conflicts throughout the world, the United Nations, and international law?


By Lee Jay Walker, The Modern Tokyo Times

Source: Islamic Terrorism and Religious Persecution


Basic introduction to the Kosovo problem

 Siptarska stoka

Figure 1. Ethnic Albanian refugees at the Lion airport, April 18, 1999

A French magazine published a couple of photos from the Lion airport on April 18th, 1999, at the time when NATO bombers were pouring their lethal burden over Serbia (and partly over Montenegro), in the course of their “preventing humanitarian catastrophe” at Kosovo. One picture showed the French weaponry ready to be transported to Kosovo, the other presented an ethnic-Albanian family from Kosovo, refugees just arrived to France. The photo deserves well our attention, for it speaks very much indeed; it exposes vividly the very crux of the matter. Let us analyze this picture, presenting the unfortunate family of Kosovars (as the ethnic Albanians call themselves).

First of all, it is a single family, consisting of three generations. On the left we see grandmother (with scarf), on the right father and mother of the children posing around. Evidently, it is the peasant family. Tough the children appear well dressed (probably by a humanitarian agency), the adults reveal their modest wellbeing. We notice first three daughters, the eldest (somewhat hidden behind the boy in the centre) and two twin girls next to her. Then we see two daughters in the front and two boys beside as well.

The central figure appears the young girl, of about 8, who shows the V sign in a Churchill-like gesture. What is she trying to tell us? The family is hardly in a “victorious position”. Who is going to defeat whom? Who instructed her to pose before the cameras in that manner? These are the questions which come to mind when looking at this scene at the Lion airport. We shall come back to this photo many times later on, but here we need just to bear it in mind.

 Kosovo in Serbia

Kosovo is a part of the region on the south-west of Serbia, called Kosovo and Metohia, which was an autonomous region of Serbia from 1945 to 1989, designated by the postwar Serbian state-republic by KosMet, as the short name for Kosovo and Metohia. The very name Kosovo is a short name of Kosovo Polje, meaning in Serb language Field of blackbirds (kðs – blackbird in the Serb language).[1] To avoid confusion we adopt the standard rule for the terms we are going to use here and in the following: Serb(s) will designate the ethnicity and adverb Serb too, like Serb language. Serbians will mean citizens of Serbia (regardless of their ethnicity), and adverb Serbian also, like Serbian state etc. Albanians will designate ethnicity (regardless of their citizenship), and Albanian the adverb, like Albanian language. Ethnic Albanians who are citizens of Serbia will be designated by Shqiptars (Shqiptare, “sons of eagles”),[2] as they call themselves and were called in Yugoslavia until recently. Another interpretation of the term has been as stemming from shqipoj, “one who understands. This interpretation appears in accordance with similar case of Slav – “one who speaks (slovi)”, as different from Nemac (German), “one who is mute (nem)”.  We must mention, however, that most Serbian Albanians consider now the term pejorative, if used by Serbs, for historical reasons.[3] The principal reason is that many designations of the present-day Albanians throughout the history were, to many Balkan people eponymous to wild people, including Turks. In particular, the name Arnaut, widely used during the Turkish occupation of the Balkans, was synonymous to robber, highwayman, belligerent savage etc.[4] The name Shqiptar was in many respect similarly used by Slavic population. Modern equivalent to Shqiptar in our usage, Kosovo ethnic Albanians, is Kosovars, used by Albanians and some foreigners alike. The term appears misleading, however, for it implies “inhabitants of Kosovo”, what includes other ethnicities in the region, at least in Slavic ears. It is with regret that we will have to use this term, nevertheless, for the technical clarity and economy, without any pejorative overtones implied. We just mention that Shqiperia is the internal official name of the present-day Albania. Likewise, Metohia is a corrupt of Greek μετóχι, which designates a dependency of a monastery, usually allotted by the local ruler or the king. The name refers to the monasteries complex of the southwestern part of the region, bordering the Albania, which is crowded by the medieval Serbian monasteries. The same region is called by Albanians Dukagjin, Land of Duke.[5] We mention here that it designates generally a border region, which used to be under the military rule of a duke. The northern Serbian region, which was an autonomous province in the same period as KosMet was (1945−1989) is called Vojvodina (the land of duke), for the same reason, since it was situated between the Habsburg Monarchy (Austria-Hungary from 1867) and the Ottoman Empire for centuries and big part of it was under the military rule as such. (We emphasize here that kos is a purely Serb name, as duka is corrupted Italian one).

It must be stressed here that these details are not merely of linguistic nature, but bear a heavy weight when dealing with the essence of the issue, as we shall elaborate later on. Toponyms appear the most reliable identification of a region and at the same time evidence of the fact as to whom the region belongs. We shall devote some more space to this point here.

We start with Kosovo again.[6] It is a pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic name of the kind of birds, which has about 300 subspecies, from the family Turdidae, derived from the Greek kopsihos. Kosovo field, where a number of important battles were fought, is situated northwest from the regional capital Priština.


 Figure 2. Map of the Balkans: Kosovo-Metochia is a central part of it 


 Metohia (Metochia) is derived from Greek metohi as mentioned above, from meteho – to take part. It denotes a monastery estate.

Priština, pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic term, derived from prysk, derived in its turn from the Indo-European (s)per, to become the verb prisnoti, meaning to spurt, to gush. In modern Serb prisht designates decease, boil (anthrax). An important trade and mine medieval centre, with a Dubrovnik colony. Serbian King Stefan Dečanski (1321−1331) used to stay at Priština, while Tsar Stephan Dushan (1331−1355) had his court here for some time.[7] After Stephan Dushan Priština became the capital of Vuk Branković feud, and retained that position even after Kosovo battle. His wife Mara lived there with her sons, Grgur (Gregorie) and Đurđe (Georgie), as well as Prince Lazar’s widow Eugenia (Тsarica Milica). Turks took Priština in 1439, but Dubrovnik colony remains there. Priština had its flori in 17th c., as one of the most prominent towns in present-day Serbia. In 1660 a Roman-Catholic missionary mentions it as an important post between Novi Pazar and Constantinople (Carigrad). During Austrian-Turkish war (1683−1699) the former had a small garrison there in 1689.[8] According to their records  there were about 360 villages around, some of which were sat to fire by Turks and Tatars and inhabitants slaughtered. At the beginning of 19th century Priština appears an important trade town, with a famous fair, with 12.000 inhabitants. France established her consulate there in 1812. According to some reports, Priština had at the time about 7.000−9.000 inhabitants, mainly Orthodox Serbs, but Arnauts and semi-Islamized Serbs too. In 1852 reports count 12.000−15.000 inhabitants, one third Serbs and Cincars, the rest Arnauts. After two big fires, 1859 and 1863 Priština suffered a considerable decline.

Prizren, pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic name, from zreti, to see. Derived from the Indo-European gher, to flash, participle perfect  zren. Prefix pri is the common pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic for besides, at. “Carigrad of Serbian Тsars”, as it used to be called, was mentioned in the Roman time as Teraida. Turks used to call it Terserin and Perserin.. First mentioned as the episcopate in 1019, subordinated to Ohrid archiepiscopate. The first Serbian archiepiscop St Sava (1219−1236) subordinated it to his new Serbian archiepiscopate.[9] Prizren was developed as a trade town in 13th and 14th centuries, especially during King Milutin (1282−1321) and Tsars Stephan Dushan and Stephan Urosh (1355−1371), who  had their courts there. Stephan Dushan built a monastery with the memorial church St Archangels (Michael and Gavril). After falling into Turkish hands monastery was demolished and no trace of the grave of Dushan has remained. It was an important colony of Dubrovnik, with two Roman-Catholic churches. Turks took Prizren in 1455. During Turkish occupation Prizren lost most of its trade role. Nevertheless, we have reports of a wealthy Turk Mehmed Hajredin Kukli-beg and his 117 shops (dućans), and 6 watermills and caravanserai. Arnauts appear there late, in the second half of 17th century. only. In 17th century trade receives a new impetus at Prizren, with some 8.600 (1610) and 12.000 (1655) homes. Town was renowned for his fountains, watermills (600), nice houses and pleasant gardens. Craftsmanship was very developed, especially guns and sabers productions. Prizren was the largest Serb town in the region, second only to Skopje. The overwhelming majority of population was Serb Orthodox. Though there was a Roman-Catholic episcope chair, there were 30−40 Roman-Catholic homes only. In both 16th and 17th centuries Prizren was victim of ethnic-Albanian highlanders, mainly Mirdites tribe. Turkish taxes were sometimes extraordinary large and devastating, as a victim complained. At the end of 18th century many towns were devastated by Arnauts, including Prizren, mainly by krdžalije and other highwaymen. Father Sava reports  how in 1795 Mahmud-pasha Bushatlija  and his Arnauts devastated Prizren that only 7.000−8.000 homes remained, much less than there were in 17th century. In 1805 Pukvilj  records that Prizren  experienced a revival. Inhabitants were partly Muslims partly Orthodox, but both Serbs, as their (Slavic) language revealed. 19th century witnessed further development of Prizren. According to J. Miller (1844) the following statistics was offered; 6.000 homes, with 18.600 Orthodox citizens, 2.150 Roman-Catholics, 4.000 Muslims (4/5 Serbs), 600 Tsigans (Roma/Gypsis). Trade was mainly in hands of Serbs. Town had many mosques (12 big, 42 altogether), many clock towers, one Orthodox and one Roman-Catholic Church. Trade was  done mainly with Thessaloniki, since the trade road to Skadar (Scodra/Scutari) was  insecure due to Arnaut highwaymen (kachaks).

Mitrovica, after the Greek saint Demetrios, Serb Dimitrije. Demetrios itself means son of Demetre, goddess of fertility and agriculture.[10] When King Milutin donated (14th century) to the St Stephan monastery at Banjska the church “St Dimitrije under Zvečan”, the new town founded in the vicinity obtained the name D(i)mitrovica, or Mitrovica. Renown Turkish traveler Evlia Čelebija mentions Mitrovica “on the border of Bosnian vilayet”, with the castle (probably Zvečan) abandoned but the town flourishing. Father Jukić mentions (1852) 300 Muslim and 50 Orthodox houses. Unimpressive until 1871 Mitrovica experiences a fast development with railway.

Zvečan was a Serbian castle set up  in 11th century during fighting Byzantin Empire. The castle served as a prison (something like London Tower), where many noblemen finished their lifes, including King Stephan Dečanski brother, Constantine, and the King himself. Turkish rule was imposed already  at the end of 14th century. Certain “Feriz ćefalija (Z)večanski”[11] arranges an agreement with Dubrovnik in 1399 and the latter donated 50 ducats to him in return. Zvečan used to be left empty for many periods. It suffered the most in  1884 when the wall material was used for building casern and the bridge across Ibar in Mitrovica.

As mentioned before, nearby Banjska was a village, which had a nice monastery, but was ruined after Kosovo battle.[12] But the place won it celebrity after the beautiful folk poem Strahinjić Bane, an epic Serb hero from the place. Turks seems to have founded a small town over the ruins of Banjska, with a mosque and sahat-kula (clock tower). At the hill foot there was a bath,[13] in use long time afterwards. At the beginning of 20th century one could still see a remnant of minaret on the ruins of the old Serb church, converted into mosque  in 15th century.

Đakovica, from Greek diakonos, servant, pupil. The earliest record about the place came from 17th century. Original name Gjakova was given by Turks and Arnauts, and Serbs turned it into present-day Đakovica.[14] It was a small town, which started to be populated by Albanians after the Serb migration into Austria (i.e, southern Hungary) in 1689−1690.[15] It was probably on that account that Serbs used to call it Arnaut-Pazar. According to Miller (in 1844 there were 1.900 houses, 11 mosques, 640−650 shops. 18.000 were Muslims, 2.600 Orthodox, 450 Roman-Catholics. As for the ethnical partition the same record provides: 17.000 Arnauts, 3.800 Slavs (Serbs), 180 Turks, and finally some Cincars and Tsigans. However, statistics greatly differ from author to author and may be taken as a rough estimate only.  Christians were engaged mainly in craftsmanship, with Roman-Catholics as goldsmiths and Orthodox saddle-makers and painters.

Peć, pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic from pekti, to roast. Pekt-peć means furnace. Cult place of Serbian people, the seat of Patriarchate of Peć, in the nearby church, established under King Milutin (1282−1321). Besides spiritual importance Peć was  the town with a lively trade, with Dubrovnik colony. Turks abolished Patriarchate after 1459, to be re-established in 1557 and ultimately abolished  1766 and subordinated to Patriarchate of Constantinople.[16] In 19th c. there was 2.000 houses with 7.000−8.000 inhabitants. Mainly Orthodox (Serbs). Town had 900 shops (dućans). Principal occupation was silk production and agriculture (fruit and tobacco). Despite its size, Peć was not able to develop trade,  due to insecurity ”from (local) Arnauts”, who were “public highwaymen”.

Uroševac, pra-Church-Slavic from Uroš, derived from ur, master, from Hungarian ursu for lord. Originally Turkish Ferizović, was a small Gypsy village. The railway made it  a town and a trade centre of the region. Albanians called it Ferizaj, and Serbs ultimately named it Uroševac.

Lipljan, old-Serbian, probably from the Roman name for the nearby Roman-Byzantine castrum Ulpiana.

Orahovac, pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic name oreh for nut (orah in the contemporary Serb), derived from Indo-European ar and reks (to smash), something one eats skinned.

Drenica, derived from pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic dren, dogwood, from the Indo-European root dher(e)ghno.

Vučitrn, derived from Serb vuk, pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic vlk, for wolf, Indo-European ulkuos[17] and trn, Teutonic-pra-Slavic term for thorn  (Indo-European (s)ter, for thorny plants). Built probably over the ancient Vicianum, is mentioned for the first time in 14th century as a place belonging to Serbian feudal lord Vuk Branković, who had his palace there too. Town was renowned for his trade activities, with Dubrovnik colony. Serbian despot Đurađ Branković (1427−1456) used it as his seat too. In the vicinity there was a well known trade and mine town Trepča. Vučitrn fell to Turks in 1439 (or 1440) for the first time, then definitely in 1455. Some travelers mention it as an important trade centre. Evlija Čelebija  counts 2.000 houses, then tekija,[18] schools, Orthodox school (bogoslovija), hamam, vineyards, orchards. In 18th century Vučitrn appears an insignificant place, but becomes the seat of a sandžak (sanjak was Ottoman smaller administrative-territorial unit a part of bigger pashalik). In 1894 one counts about 7.000−8.000 inhabitants. The main occupation was blacksmith and leather craftsmanship.

Glogovac, pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic name from glog for hawthorn (from Greek glohiis – top of blade).

Istok, from tok, pra-Slavic noun for flow (from Indo-European teq – to run (away), and iz as the perfective prefix for the verb teći – to flow, from Indo-European eghs.

Gračanica, pan-Slavic and pra-Slavic diminutive of gord, initially any fenced settlement, later town, and castle, from Indo-European gherdh, to fence.[19]

Kačanik. Turkish name, from kaçak, highwayman. Kachanik was notorious for its highwaymanship from the beginning of known history, which dates from 16th century. Situated at the entrance of the gorge Kačanik, made by the river Lepenac, it controled the passage through the gorge, the only possible between Macedonia and Kosovo. Report from 1573 warns people to guard themselves well in passing the gorge, for the denger from the local Arnauts. It was for this denger that Sinan-pasha built the small fortress at the gorge entrance, which was intended to protect travellers, mainly trademen, from the robbery and slaughter.  Austrians under General Piccolomini took the fortress in 1689, but after their retreat in 1690 Turks captured the fortress and slaughered the Ausrian garrison. It was not until 1807, when Reshid-pasha cleared Kačanik from highwaymen that  the trafic through the gorge was resumed. Around the middle of 19th century the town consisted of about „hundred miserable Arnaut houses“, situated beside the ruined fortress. Before the Balkan wars (1912−1913) town was renamed by Turks as Orhanije and at that time had about 250 houses.

Serbia proper

Names of rivers, mountains and other geographical entities are likewise Slavic. They are easily recognized by suffixes, like –va for river, -ica for rivers or settlements. We mention rivers Sitnica, Studenica, etc. Suffix  -or for mountains is considered to be of Celtic origin, but mountains with this ending are scattered all around the Western Balkan. Some toponyms bear Turkish names, as expected after centuries of the Ottoman rule of this part of the Balkans.[20] We emphasize here that since the KosMet used to be separated from modern Serbia for two centuries, its development was considerably retarded concerning the language and folklore generally. It appears today as a sort of reservation in this respect, as a relict of the ancient times, from the medieval Serbian state and Serb population in general. This is the case with other mountainous regions of the Balkans, in particular Northern Albania, Montenegro and Herzegovina, who were on the margin of European civilization and culture for centuries.[21] We shall come to this point again, later on.

As for the toponyms in Albania, many appear corrupted from the original Greek or Roman, whereas some bear purely Slavic names. This applies particularly to the plane regions, which were settled by ethnic-Albanian montagnars only relatively recently.

As pointed out above these details are not merely of linguistic nature, but reveal the essence of the issue, as we shall elaborate later on. Unfortunately we have to dwell on the linguistic matters more. It concerns the  question of “negative designation”. Ancient Greeks (and Romans as well) used to call other nations “barbarians”, meaning “non-Greeks”, “neither Romans nor Greeks”. It had somewhat pejorative overtones, which one could appreciate regarding their superiority over the surrounding nations, in particular those much less civilized, like Skits.[22]  The same point appears with Israelites, who designate non-Jews as goyim, meaning (other, non-Jewish) nations.[23] Though no Jew would admit it, it has a pejorative meaning whatsoever, and this overtone can not be ignored.

As we shall see later on, the Albanian issue (question) involves all nationalities in which ethnic Albanians are in close contact at the Balkan Peninsula. Thus one faces the conflict of Albanians versus  non-Albanians, which places inevitably ethnic Albanians at a privileged position. This will sounds cynical when we compare civilization levels of both sides in conflict, as we shall see soon. Unfortunately, term “non-Albanians” has been widely accepted by the international community, that even an eventual neologism which would substitute the unfortunate term “non-Albanian” would not do. In a sense this terminology would correspond to “non-sick” man (as compared to sick one), meaning “healthy man”. “Non-Albanian” implies inevitably the feeling of “something wrong” with those singled out so.

Unfortunately, the story does not end here. Serbia used to have, during her recent history, two regions, which had privileged positions relative to the rest of the state. One was the autonomous province of Vojvodina, the other the autonomous region (later to become province, too) of Kosovo and Metohia (KosMet, KosMet).  The problem is “rest of Serbia”. Some call it as “Serbia proper”, some “Central Serbia”. The first designation appears particularly unsuitable, for it implies that KosMet is not ”proper Serbia”, thus concealing in the very name a political message.


[1] Amselfeld as Germans call it, after Amsel for blackbird.

[2] Derived from shqipojnë, which designates eagle, possibly totem of a tribe.

[3] We note that Shiptar political leaders at the federal level, used to use this term freely, during Tito’s era.

[4] By contemporary Balkan population Arnauts used to be experienced in a similar sense as North-American Indians by European population in 19-th century.

[5] Another interpretation of this toponym from Albanian side is that it was the land of the medieval family Dukagjini, but the latter, if ever existed, comprised much larger area than Metohia.

[6] In this paragraph we are making use of the linguistic elaboration by Vladan Đorđević, published in the daily “Politika”, and geographical study by K. N. Kostić, Our New Towns on the South (Naši Novi Gradovi na Jugu, Beograd: Srpska književna zadruga, 1922).

[7] About the Empire of Stephan Dushan see: Миладин Стевановић, Душаново Царство, Београд: Књига-Комерц, 2001.

[8]  About this war and KosMet see: Радован Самарџић и други, Косово и Метохија у српској историји, Београд: Српска књижевна задруга, 1989, 127−141.

[9]  About St Sava see: Драган Антић, Љиљана Цвекић, Венац Светога Саве, Шабац: Глас цркве, 1988.

[10] According to Robert Graves, Demetre means mother of barley.

[11] It was probably after him that town of Ferizović (later Uroševac) got his name.

[12] As we shall see, Slobodan Milošević’s family claims to have the origin from Banjska.

[13] Banja in Serb means bath, spa.

[14] Other variants are known, like Jakova, or Giacovo.

[15] About this First Great Serbian Migration see: Стефан Чакић, Велика сеоба Срба 1689/90 и патријарх Арсеније III Црнојевић, Нови Сад: Добра вест, 1990.

[16] About historical role of the Patriarchate in preservation of Serbian national and cultural identity see: Vladislav B. Sotirović, “The Historical Role of the Patriarchate of Peć in Preservation of Serbian National and Cultural Identity”, Актуальнье проблемы науки в контексте православных традиций, Сборник материалов международной научно-практической конференции, 28−29 февраля 2008 года, Армавир, Россия, 2008, 22−25.

[17] Ulk has been preserved in contemporary Albanian, as a common name, with the same meaning – wolf. In modern Serb Vuk appears a common name, too, in particular among Dinaroids.

[18] Dervish house, after Turkish tekke (Arab täkyä).

[19] Some toponyms Shiptars still call by Albanian names, like Ferizaj for Uroševac.

[20] About Ottoman rule in the region see: Peter F. Sugar, Southeastern Europe under Ottoman Rule, 1354−1804, Seattle−London: University of Washington Press, 1977.

[21] See the book by Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, New York−Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[22] The anecdote on dispute between a bully Greek and philosopher Abaris, of Scythian origin, who exclaimed “My homeland is shame for me, but you are the shame of your homeland!”  illustrates well the issue.

[23] In modern parlance it renders gentiles.

By Prof. Petar V. Grujic

Corrections & arrangement by Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirovic










Who are the Serbs?


Serbs: Basic facts

Ethnic location: Central and western part of the Balkan Peninsula (South-East Europe)

Population: 10.2 million (1.8 million Serbs live outside their ethnic location)

Language: Serbian

Religion: Eastern Orthodox Christians

1 Introduction

Serbs belong to the Southslavonic group of Indo-European peoples. As their tradition, culture, language, beliefs, and customs show, the ethnogenesis of Serbs goes far back into the past. Serbian ancestors, Protoslavs and Old Serbs, were described in the 5th century BC by Herodotus, under the names of Neuri and Budini, living north of the Danube in the region between Dniepar and north-eastern Carpathian Mountains.

The first mention of the name “Serbs” appears in the 1st century BC (69-75), in the Historia naturalis by Plinius Caecilius Secundus, who states that Serbs (Serbi) live on the coast of the Black Sea. In the 2nd century, Claudius Ptolomaius writes in his Geographica that Serbs (Serboi, Sirboi – Serboi, Sirboi) live behind the Caucasus, near the hinterland of the Black Sea. The first mention of the Serbian name on their present ethnical location appears in 822, in the work of Frank chronicler Einhardt (Annales regni Francorum). He confirms that Serbs are very numerous in Dalmatia.

During the great migrations in Europe (5th to 6th century), Serbian ancestors arrive to the Balkan Peninsula from several directions and settle in the wide area between four seas (Black, Adriatic, Aegean, and Ionian). It is on this location that the eldest Serbian feudal states Raska (later Serbia) and Duklja (later Zeta or Montenegro) were formed. From the second half of the 12th century Raska expanded by taking over the Byzantine territory. The medieval Serbian state reached the height of power under the rule of Nemanjic dynasty (1166-1371). From 1217 Serbia was a kingdom, and from 1346 an empire. The Serbian Orthodox Church acquired independence in 1219, thanks to its first Archbishop St. Sava Nemanjic (1175-1235), a man of wide education, who inspired the revival of Serbian literature, education, law and medicine. The medieval Serbian state was most powerful during the reign of Emperor Dusan Nemanjic, who consolidated the legal system of the empire by his Law issued in 1349 (with additions of 1354). Medieval Serbian art, architecture, and fresco painting have been included into the World Cultural Heritage, sponsored by UNESCO (monasteries Sopocani, Mileseva, Studenica).

An invasion by the Turks at the end of the 14th century cut short the development of Serbian countries, and they fell under Turkish occupation after the battles of Marica (1371) and Kosovo (1389). The occupation was completed by the end of the 15th century and it lasted for several centuries. The Turkish occupation was one of the most tragic periods in the Serbian history. Serbian population was heavily taxed (harach) to support the Turkish imperial machinery. But even more tragic was the blood tax (danak u krvi) when pre teenage boys were separated by force from their parents to be raised as Turkish soldiers (janicari), and pretty young Serbian girls were taken to harems.

Serbian Orthodox churches and frescoes were destroyed and mutilated. Rebellions were harshly punished – men were buried alive or impaled on posts. Near the town of Nis, stands today a tragic reminder of the brutality – skulls of Serbian people built into a tower (Cele Kula). Earthly remains of St.Sava, the most worshipped Serbian Saint, were publicly burned by the Turkish soldiers on the hill of Vracar in Belgrade.

On this sacred ground stands today the Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral. The Turkish occupation forced many migrations of the Serbs to the west (up the White Craina in Slovenia) and the north (up to Budapest). The greatest of the migrations happened in 1690, when Serbs, led by Patriarch Carnojevic escaped to Pannonia (Austrian Empire). The revival of the Serbian state started with the First Serbian Rebellion against the Turks (1804-1813), led by Karadjordje Petrovic. It was also the first instance of the break up of a feudal order after the French Revolution (1789).

From 1815, Serbia was a principality, and from 1882 a kingdom ruled by the Obrenovic dynasty. During the Karadjordjevic dynasty (1903-1945), Serbia liberated the territories of Old Serbia, Kosovo, and South Serbia from the Turks (in 1912). In 1908 the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexed Bosnia, mainly populated by Serbs. After the assassination of the Arch-Duke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, the Empire declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia. The Allies (France, England, Russia and USA) sided with the Serbs.

The London Declaration of the Allies of 1915 recognized that the traditional Serbian lands of Vojvodina, Lika, Dalmatia, Slavonija, Baranja, Bosnia and Herzegovina, occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, join the Kingdom of Serbia. In 1918, the Kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro, with the territories of Slovenia and Croatia, formed a new state – The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which in 1929 was renamed The Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This multiethnic, multireligious state was headed by King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, the Liberator.

King Aleksandar was assassinated in 1934 in Marseilles, France, and became the first victim of the growing Fascism in Europe. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was attacked in April 1941 by the Fascist Forces of the Axes with Hungary and Bulgaria. The territory of Yugoslavia was occupied by these Forces, and the Independent State of Croatia was created, which declared war on the USA in December 1941. Serbia under occupation provided home and shelter to thousands of deported Slovenes.

From 1941 to 1945, a systematic persecution and genocide was committed against the Serbian people in both Serbia proper, Croatia and Bosnia. About 1,000.000 Serbs perished. The most brutal were Croatian Fascists, Ustashi. ” We shall kill one part of the Serbs, we shall transport another, and the rest will be forced to convert, ” so said Dr. Mile Budak Minister of Education and Creeds in Craoatia on July 22,1941. In the concentration camp of Jasenovac, the most heinous crimes recorded in history were committed on more than 700,000 men women and children. ( When in 1984 the Serbian Patriarch German consecrated the memorial church in Jasenovac, he said “Forgive we must, forget we cannot.”)It was customary for Ustashi to torture Serbian people, tie them in bundles and throw into pits. Examples of such crimes are numerous. In the village of Prebilovci, near Medjugorje in Hercegovina, 870 people were massacred. Nearly 50 years later their remains were exhumed and laid to rest in a newly built memorial church. Both the church and the remains were dynamited after the secession of Bosnia . in 1992.

In October 1941, the Nazi Germans executed over 7000 Serbs in the city of Kragujevac, including classes of high school students during the school session. In Vojvodina, Hungarian Fascists killed by drowning in ice covered rivers of the Danube and Tisa thousands of Serbian men, women and children. In 1941, General Draza Mihajlovic and his followers, Chetniks, organized the first armed resistance in the Nazi occupied Europe. As a Royalist, he opposed the Communist Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito. During the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia, 1941-1945, General Draza Mihajlovic and his Chetnics saved over 500 downed allied pilots mainly from the United States.

In recognition, General Mihajlovic was awarded posthumously The Legion of Merit by President Harry S. Truman (March 1948). General Mihajlovic was captured by Tito’s Communists and executed in 1946.

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was abolished by the Communist Decree in 1945. Yugoslavia was one of the founders of the United Nations.

The parliamentary life in Serbia has a very long tradition. In the Nemanjic times, in medieval Serbia, there were Councils of Lords. One characteristic of Serbian social system is a developed local government – local councils and country meetings were instances where all decisions were made during several centuries. Serbs retained this kind of local administration even under the Turkish occupation. In the newly established Serbian state (from 1804) national conventions were held regularly, and the first, very democratic Constitution was introduced in 1835. At the beginning of the 20th century (1903-1915) Serbia had a highly developed parliamentary system, according to European standards.

From 1945 Serbia was under the communist one-party rule. The parliamentary system with several political parties (Socialist Party of Serbia, Democratic Party, Serbian Revival Movement, Serbian Radical Party, etc.) was reintroduced in 1990. There is a strong Student Movement in the country. It organized protests in 1954, 1968, the 1992 strike, and has become a major political force since November 1996, being transformed into a Student Parliament in 1997 and continuing the struggle for the autonomy of universities. In 1991/92 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a multiethnic, multireligious and multicultural state ceased to exist after the unilateral, unconstitutional secessions of the Republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Macedonia.

In 1992 the Security Council of the United Nations imposed the most draconian economic sanctions on the remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro, which today constitute the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

2 Ethnic location

The eventful Serbian history, full of wars, occupations and migrations that ensued from them, influenced strongly the location and migrations of Serbs.

They live in the republics of Serbia and Montenegro, in the Serbian Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until the exodus of August 1995, they also lived in the Republic of Serbian Craina in Croatia.

The population consists of 16,282,000 people, 8,500,000 living in the above-mentioned ethnic locations, 1,782,000 in the republics of former Yugoslavia, 60,000 in neighboring countries, 882,000 in other European countries, 720,000 in North America, and about 170,000 in other parts of the world.

3 Language

Serbs speak Serbian language. Old Slavs had a special kind of literacy, but when they reached the Balkan Peninsula, they developed (under the influence of Christianity and the Greek alphabet) a particular Slavonic literacy (from 863) with a special alphabet (glagoljica). From the 10th century it was perfected and became known as Cirilica (cyrillic alphabet). First documents written in Old Slavonic date from the 9th and 10th centuries, and those in Serbian language from the 11th century (Temniski zbornik – The Book of Temni}). Following the linguistic and spelling reforms by Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic (1787 – 1864), based on the rule “write as you speak”, and “one sound one letter”, the folk language became Serbian literary language, with phonetic orthography. Thus, Serbs have the simplest orthography and the most perfect alphabet in the world. Serbian language is a very developed language (more than 800,000 words) with rich and detailed grammar (nine kinds of words, seven cases, three genders of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and precise expressions for active and passive states or the times of action). Depending on the pronunciation of the Old Slavonic sound “yat” Serbian language has three dialects: ekavski (child = dete), ijekavski (child = dijete), and ikavski (child = dite). Serbian Christian names indicate some basic qualities of the person, i.e. Stojan (postojanost – steadiness), Ratko (ratnicka vrlina – warrior qualities), Miroljub (peace-loving, mir = world- peace), etc. They also derive from trees, flowers, or animals, especially female names, e.g.: Borko (m.) or Borka (f.) (bor = pine), Golub (pigeon), Cveta (flower). Many names derive from Christian tradition, e.g.: David, Nikola, Petar, Pavle.

Serbian language has very precise terms for defining family relationships, both on father’s and mother’s side, and marriages are not allowed down to the cousins seven times removed. Definitions in the family genealogy are varied up to the ninth or even fifteenth level of relationship, both in the direct line and sidelines in the genealogical tree. Every family relationship has a particular term to denote it, and some have even more terms. To name only some of them: otac (father), mati (mother), sin (son) kci (daughter), unuk (grandson), unuka (granddaughter), deda (grandfather), baba (grandmother), brat (brother), sestra (sister), stric (uncle – father’s brother), ujak (uncle – mother’s brother), svastika (wife’s sister), zaova (husband’s sister), surak (wife’s brother), dever (husband’s brother).

4 Folklore

Serbian folk believed that the Balkans were inhabited by different half- gods or demons: dragons, fairies, vampires, witches. The greatest heroes of the Serbian folk tradition were born out of the union of dragons with mortal women, or fairies with mortal men. The dragons protect people, defend the faith, care about fertility, and keep off demons that carry on disease. Their offspring begotten with mortals are branded with a special “dragon sign” and are exceptionally brave and capable. Many heroes of the epic oral poetry belong to this sort of people – Milos Obilic, Banovic Strahinja, Kraljevic Marko. There are also water dragons, carriers of negative influences. Fairies of Serbian beliefs remind us of Greek nymphs. They live near running waters – springs, rivers, and when angry they stop their flow. They also live in the clouds and they can give exceptional strength to warriors whom they had fed with their milk.

There are three main myths in the Serbian folk and popular tradition. The most important among them is the Kosovo legend, which grew around the terrible defeat suffered by the Serbian army, annihilated by Turks at the battle of Kosovo in 1389. Events connected with that historical tragedy acquired mythical proportions in the folk tradition and folk poetry, and took on many details and meanings derived from the Christian tradition. Thus Prince Lazar and his knights became identified with Christ and the martyrs, the Prince’s son-in-law Vuk Brankovic with Judas, and Milos Obilic, who slew Turkish sultan Murat, with saintly warriors.

Another historical personage became the bearer of a myth. Prince Rastko Nemanjic (1174 – 1235) became monk Sava, and in time was elected the first Archbishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Different traditions and legends grew around his character – with the passage of time – he is supposed to have thought the Serbs to till the land, to build watermills, to keep flock. He was able to open springs in dry rocks by his wand, he fought the . devil, he mastered the wolves, he created dogs to keep the flocks, etc. He is also celebrated as a national saint.

Prince Marko (around 1335 – 1395) also became a folk hero, the most popular character in the folk poetry of all the Slavonic peoples in the Balkans (Serbs, Bulgarians, Macedonians). Many traditions joined in the building up of this mythical hero – the old Greek stories of Heracles, historical facts (Marko was heir to the Serbian medieval empire), traditions of chivalry, and the idea of a folk hero. He was strong, just, brave, he had a winged horse, and he wielded a club with which he fought both mortals and supernatural beings.

Children’s folklore retained many elements of old customs and rituals. It contains many songs and games that initiate a child into ideas and concepts of life. It is through such songs and games that a child learns to synchronize its movements, to pronounce words correctly, to count. When the stage of group games is reached, it is through traditional games (“ducks”) that a child learns to differentiate between basic and irrelevant things.

With such games a child gets to know about agriculture, cattle breeding, crafts. Girls play with dolls, boys play “heroic games” (wrestling, jumping, stone throwing), preparing for their role in adult life. Some of the adult games have survived only in children’s folklore, with some reminiscences of more serious magic rituals. Most of these games develop abilities and quickness in children and teach them to use things from their environment – sticks, stones, dry fruits, etc. Some of them can even be dangerous if the players are not cautious or skilled enough.

5 Religion

In the early Middle Ages Serbs accepted Christianity, and according to 1991 . census, 95% of population belong to Eastern Orthodox Christians. The old Slavonic pagan religion that Serbs had brought from their former habitations survived for a long time along with Christianity. The cult of the ancestors and the belief in the life after death, survived in the Memorial Feasts at the Graveyards (zadusnice), days when people visit the graves, light candles for the souls of the dead, and offer food and drink. There are four main zadusnice feasts, always on Saturdays, usually on a second Saturday before the beginning of the Lents (Easter Lent or Christmas Lent), the Saturday before the Holy Trinity Day, before Saint Kiriak’s Day (12th October), and Saint Demetrius Day (8th November). In some strata of Serbian society, especially among the elderly, some superstitions and pre-Christian beliefs (malignant eyes, fairies, witches, vampires, unclean objects) persisted until the fifties of this century.

Traditional beliefs, many of them changed by the influence of Christianity, survived in ritual processions down to the 20th century, and then changed into popular entertainment or tourist attractions, like lazarice – a procession of maids on Lazarus Saturday, or koledari – a procession of masked youths at Christmas.

6 Major holidays

Serbs honor the Christian religious feasts very much: Christmas Day, Epiphany, Visitation of the Virgin, Palm Sunday, Eastern Sunday, Ascension Day, Holy Trinity Day, Transfiguration, are duly honored by the church and the laity. Christmas Eve (6th January) is widely celebrated as a family feast which retained many traces of older pagan beliefs and the cults of ancestors. On the morning of that day a dry oak branch and hay are brought into the house as symbols of fertility and family prosperity in the next year, and a meal of non-animal Lent foods is partaken by the family (a Christmas Eve cake, baked beans and walnuts).

The main national saint, Saint Sava (Sabba), is deeply honored by Serbs and celebrated on 27th January by schools (he is the patron saint of education), many artisan guilds and families. Saint Vitus’ Day (28th June) is a great national feast, in which the memories of the old Slavonic God Vitus joined with the memory of the terrible defeat of the Serbs in the Kosovo Field in 1389. Other popular saints’ days connected with many folk customs, are St. George’s Day (6th May), St. Demetrius’ Day (8th November), formerly celebrated by cattle breeders, as well as St. Eliah’s Day (2nd August), on which some customs reaching back to the celebration of old Slavonic god Perun have still remained.

There are three special kinds of religious feasts among Serbs: slava – the patron saint of the family, zavetine or litije – the village patron saint’s day procession, and zanatlijske slave – patron saints’ days of different guilds. It is believed that people who celebrate the same slava are brothers and have a same ancestor. There are about 150 patron saints, the most popular among them being St. Nicholas, St. Archangel Michael, St. George, St. Demetrius, and St. John. In former times slava was celebrated for seven days, but today there are only three days of slava celebration: navece (the day before), slava (the saint’s day itself), and okrilje or sutradan (the day after). On that occasion the family is visited by kumovi (godfathers and best men), friends, relatives from the female line and neighbors. Obligatory slava objects are the icon of the saint, a tall candle and a spring of dried basil. There are also ritual dishes: slavsko zito (boiled and kneaded wheat grains) and slavski kolac (slava loaf, an especially adorned ritual bread), blessed by priest before the main meal. Slava is accompanied by toasts that are gems of folk oratory, and by singing.

7 Rites of passage

The cycle of the year

Serbian folk tradition divides each year into two half-years, winter and summer (“from St. Demetrius to St. George’s Day”, i.e., from 8th November to 6th May, and “from St.George’s Day to St. Demetrius”). In the winter half, earth is tilled, seed is sown, and its growing watched. The watch was accompanied with prayers to ancestors and when the crops began to grow (around Easter), the ancestors were relegated back to the “other” world.

The summer half of the year was devoted to the collection of crops and fruits. When the granaries and basements were full, in the autumn, weddings took place, and the succession of feasts began. Most of the slavas fall in autumn, and they commemorate both one’s Christian patron saint and one’s family ancestors. In the winter half of the year there are also several kinds of masked processions in villages ( koleda, dodole, lazarice), with ritual songs and actions intended to contribute to general fertility.

Life cycle

Serbs take birth, marriage, and death to be the main turning points in human life. Up to the recent times they believed that birth and death were passing from one world into a parallel one, and back. Death in one of them means birth into another and vice versa. Both worlds rejoice in those who arrive and mourn for those who go away. Both consider the Earth to be their original ancestress. A midwife used to lay a new born child on the earthen floor for a moment as if it had come out of the earth. The act of burial was the act of birth in reversal. The child of earth, the dead, is brought to the graveyard, a holy location fenced off as earth’s womb. The gates of the earth (similar in shape to female genitals) are broken open and the earth’s child is laid down into earthen womb from which it originally came. Ritual customs surrounding a mother and her baby during the first 40 days after birth are parallel to those appropriate for the 40 days after death.

The marriage ceremony is not only the establishment of connections between two families. It is also a special rite of passage, the initiation rite for youths and maidens. Oral folk poems follow every step of this most important event in human life, from ritual ablutions, dressing and bedecking the bride with ornaments, to her leaving the home and arriving into her new family.

8 Interpersonal relations

Serbs are open, direct, and warmhearted people, cautious and reserved to strangers at first, but very friendly, curious and helpful, once they get to know them. Salutations are obligatory at encounter, as a sign of good will, honest intentions, and good manners. They can be verbal, hand shakes, cheek kissing. In old times the formula for salutation was “God helpsS (Pomaze Bog), answered by “God help you” (Bog Ti pomogao), a blessing. Today the usual formula of greeting is “Good day” (Dobar dan), “Good morning” (Dobro jutro), “Good evening” (Dobro vece). At parting one says “See you” (Dovidjenja), “Good night” (Laku noc). Travelers are seen off with words “Lucky journey” (Srecan put). Handshakes are used, with appropriate greetings, between acquaintances, friends, and equals, and kisses are exchanged between close relatives, godfathers (kumovi), and blood brothers. When coming to a family gathering, slava, or some other feast, guests exchange kisses with host and hostess, kissing their cheeks three times.

Stiff bearing indicates haughtiness and putting one’s chest forward challenge. Agreement is expressed by nodding, and disagreement by shaking one’s head from left to right. Surprise is denoted by hitting one’s forehead with a hand, and confusion by scratching one’s head behind the ear. Winking denotes a secret message, thumb between the index finger and the third finger (sipak) as well as hitting the bent elbow of the left arm with the right hand means rude refusal, offense and contempt. It is a rule that a younger person greets the elder, the guest greets the host, a rider greets a pedestrian, a man greets a woman, and a passer by – those sitting or standing. Formerly, elder or important people were greeted by bowing, kissing their hand, and taking of caps.

When coming on a visit it is a must to bring some gift. The quality and the cost of the gift depend on the kind of the visit or the attitude toward the host, so gifts range from drinks, coffee, or flowers, for a short friendly visit, to expensive gifts for slavas, family feasts, birthdays, and weddings. Boys and girls met, danced and played together on the occasion of great feasts, or in the evenings after important work in the field (harvest, husking corn, or carding wool), but always in the presence of reliable older persons. From the middle of the 20th century, meetings of the young people and their entertainment in the streets or restaurants goes on without any control either in towns or villages.

9 Living conditions

Apart from the migrations caused by wars and foreign occupation, Serbs were, until the middle of the 20th century, very attached to their home counties and lived mostly in places where they were born. From that time migrations to industrial and cultural centers began, as well as mass economic immigration, mostly to the countries of Western Europe. This caused depopulation and aging of Serbian villages. Health care and health culture have much improved. All the larger towns have hospitals, large health centers and pharmacies, and many villages have small health centers with doctors on duty. The preventive medicine cut the appearance of many diseases, and in general, Serbs have a healthy young . generation.

The family budget is mainly spent on food, clothing, home appliances and cars, then on holidays and vacations, and on building of weekend houses. Serbian settlements are very varied, because of the natural and geographic conditions, as well as the social, economic, and historical differences in the development of particular areas. There were several types of settlements in the near past, but they have become increasingly uniform at present. There were stone houses along the coast of the Adriatic, loghouses in mountains and woods, brick houses in the Morava valley, and mud houses in Pannonia. Each of these types had its own internal arrangement, building techniques and external shape. Today these differences are lost, houses are built of brick and concrete, their form is modern, and many village houses have several stories. It is a matter of prestige to build large houses with pools, wrought iron fences and other luxuries. Most Serbs belong to the middle class, which is a consequence of limitations imposed on private ownership in former Yugoslavia. In the last few years, a smaller part of population and quite a few of agile individuals are getting rich quickly.

There is a developed train, road, and river traffic, carrying people and goods. The village carts, once very popular like horse drawn vehicles, are rarity now, and many villages have good asphalt roads.

10 Family life

Women are always the mainstay of Serbian families, with men often away – in wars or working and traveling around, plying their jobs, arts, or trades in cities. Left alone to care about the whole farm a woman had to take over man’s work as well, and accept it as her chores, which made life very hard for Serbian women. But it added value to the old cult of motherhood that had always existed among the Serbs, and confirmed the honor and distinction of women in Serbian society. An average Serbian family today consists of parents and children. The census of 1863 described an average Serbian household to have 6.5 members against 4 members in 1961, Now it has 3.5 members. In the earlier centuries Serbs lived in large family communities (zadruga). The families are monogamous, marriage is a great event and there are very luxurious wedding feasts, accompanied with many customs and ritual actions by which success, happiness, fertility, and wealth should be assured to the newlyweds (sprinkling the newly wed couple with wheat grains, ritual introduction of bride into the new household and thus, symbolically, into the cult of ancestors). Apart from the civilian marriage (which is the only legal marriage), many young people marry in church nowadays. Village households have domestic animals as a rule, and many families in the cities keep pets (dogs, cats, birds, fish).

11 Clothing

Until the end of the 19th century, women produced material and made dresses for themselves and their families. Then the professional dress-making took over, in towns and later in villages. Traditional Serbian folk costumes developed through ages and reached the summit of beauty and elegance by the end of the 19th century. Differences among the costumes are very great and depend on the region from which they come, so that the variety and perfection of the work are a wonder of imagination and craft of the folk. Whatever the differences, these costumes are all of appropriate cut, which allows freedom of movement and walking, and assures the perfection of handwork, from the making of the materials to the rich embroidery, done with thread, cord, silver buttons and gold ornaments. Serbian traditional male costume consists most often of tanned cow leather shoes, with upper part decorated with leather strips (opanci), and the tip upturned above the toes (nos). The leather strips keep them fastened to the legs. In some parts (Slavonija, Vojvodina), village people wear rubber shoes and boots. Socks and half-socks (nazuvice) are of knitted wool, often done in a decorative pattern. Trousers have the shape of knickerbockers (caksire), with linen underwear beneath them (gace). A strong and wide, finely woven sash, with decorative pattern, serves as a belt (tkanice). Over the embroidered white shirt of linen or silk, a short sleeveless jacket of waterproof cloth (gunjic – jelek), or a larger, lined, long sleeved, braided with cord, jacked (anterija) is worn. The head is covered with a fur cap (subara) or hat, and from the end of the last century, with a special national cap (sajkaca), which was a military cap at the time. In winter and rain, one wore capes of strong cloth or leather, with a hood.

Traditional Serbian female dress consists also of opanci, embroidered woolen socks that reached to the knees and nazuvice. Skirts were very varied, of plaited or gathered and embroidered linen, with tkanice serving as a belt. An important part of the costume were aprons (pregace) decorated with floral motifs. Shirts were in the shape of tunics, richly decorated with silver thread and cords was worn over the shirt. In some areas it was replaced by an upper sleeveless dress of red or blue cloth, knee-long, richly decorated and buttoned in front (zubun). Scarves and caps bordered with cords were worn as headdress. Girls also wore collars, or a string of gold coins around their throats, earrings, bracelets, and their caps were decorated with metal coins or flowers. Young people do not wear this kind of costume nowadays. It can be seen on elderly villagers, as tourist attraction, or in museums. From the 19th century on, Serbs have adopted the usual European way of dressing.

12 Food

Serbia is rich in agricultural and cattle breeding produce, vegetables and fruit, so it is natural that Serbs have a very strong interest in food. They take three meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and five meals during the exhausting summer work in the fields (breakfast, small collation, lunch, collation, and dinner). Serbs eat a lot of wheat bread, made with or without yeast. A special bread without yeast, pogaca, is made for special occasions. In former times proja (a kind of corn bread) was more common. Bread is also made of barley, millet and rye in the mountains. Cheese, cream cheese (kajmak), boiled eggs and ham (smoked or dry) are served as hors d’oeuvres. They are followed by consommes and soups (like the famous Backa soup made of four kinds of meat). Vegetable dishes made of string beans, potatoes, and cabbage are very popular. The “wedding feast cabbage” is a special culinary treat, made of large chunks of cabbage, mixed with several kinds of meat and spices and boiled for 12 hours at least. Different dishes made with beans are also very popular, as well as paprika and sour cabbage (sauerkraut) leaves stuffed with ground meat, rice and spices (sarma). There are various salads: the most popular, srpska is made of tomatoes, paprika, onions and dressing, and its variety with cheese is called sopska. Sour and sharp paprika filled with cheese and sour milk (yogurt) are also served very often. Meat is eaten in all forms (boiled, fried, roasted), in many kinds of dishes made of pork, beef, mutton, kid or chicken, or (as the Serbs prefer) roasted on a spit. Fish is also popular, and regions along the Danube are famous for their fishermen’s pots (alaska corba). Pitas are made with many fillings, salty or sweet, the most common sort being gibanica (pita leaves filled with cheese, cream and eggs). On feast days there is an abundance of different dishes, 12 sorts of small cakes and several large cakes. These dishes are accompanied by brandy slivovica (plum brandy), cool or warmed up, by many good local wines, home made fruit juices, and coffee to end the feast.

13 Education

The first written data about education of Serbs belong to the 9th century, when the first school was opened by Christian missionaries and educationalists Cyril and Method, the creators of Slavonic literacy. In the Middle Ages Serbian monasteries were centers of education and they remained to be so during the dark ages of Turkish occupation (14th – 19th centuries). At the beginning of the 18th century, the Serbs who fled to Austria opened several higher schools there. Education received a strong inspiration by the re-establishment of the Serbian state in 1804, and many secular schools began to appear, together with the Great School, an embryo of University in Belgrade, in 1808. Between the two world wars, basic education (four years) became compulsory for girls too, and after World War Two a compulsory eight year education was introduced. Almost whole generations (95% of pupils) go forward to high schools (there are about 500 of them in Serbia). There are six universities, with 76 faculties, that receive 130,000 students every year, and 60 highly specialized schools (with two year courses), entered by 40,000 students every year. Unfortunately, many young people go abroad every year after having finished their education (brain drain). Parents strive to provide for the education and specialization of their children, expecting them to continue with independent life and work, to provide for their families, and enter the economic and social life of the country.Education is free for all.

Serbs fighting ISIS

14 Cultural heritage


The first period of Serbian literature belongs to secular and church literature. The secular has not been so well preserved as the church one in the upheavals of later times. It is represented by stories and novels written in the contemporary literary fashion. The most original literary genre of that time, a cross between secular and church literature, are biographies of Serbian kings and archbishops. Their authors belong to the ruling Nemanjic dynasty (St. Sava, Stevan Prvovencani), or distinguished feudal families (Domentijan, Danilo). After 1690, Serbia was covered by complete silence – people copy old works, nothing new was written. The new age began with the work of great lexicographer, collector of folk oral literature, and reformer of Serbian alphabet – Vuk Karadzic. At the beginning of the 19th century, Serbian literature adhered to folk realism, later replaced by social and national realism. Other literary trends, like Enlightenment (Dositej Obradovic) or Romanticism (P. P. Njegos, J. P. Sterija), did not develop fully. There are two main literary tendencies in the new literature: one started from national standpoint without getting further (S. Sremac, B. Stankovic, P. Kocic, A. Santic), the other was inspired by European spiritual movements and strove to join European trends (L. Kostic, J. Ducic). Literary creation of the new age reached its maturity and exceptional value with the generation of writers who wrote between the two wars: Nobel prize winner Ivo Andric, and Milos Crnjanski were among them. Literature after World War Two was also of high value. The national line was sustained by D. Cosic, M. Selimovic, and B. Copic in prose, Lj. Simovic and M. Beckovic in poetry. M. Pavic and D. Kis in prose, and D. Maksimovic, V. Popa, and M. Pavlovic in poetry, followed the European literary trends. Oral folk literature lived and grew along with the written one. There were two independent attitudes toward literary creation in it. We can recognize folk literature born in or left over from ancient rituals. It represents national folk “religious literature” (koleda, lazarice, dodole, songs sung on St. George’s and St. John’s Day (7th July), kraljice, octosyllabic epic poems sung in kolo, ritual circle of poems in decasyllabic verse, puzzles and fables). The other distinctive form is the “secular folk literature”, It consists of poems originating from no longer recognizable rituals, of love and family songs, or songs sung during work. The greatest part of oral epic poems, that represent a special kind of “national history”, belong to this kind of folk literature. They are a memory deposit of those events in the national history that should be remembered. Folk anecdotes are a special kind of “pulp fiction”, containing piquancy and details “not worthy” of epic poetry. Short folk stories, rich in motives, structurally complex, are similar to kinship poetry from any part of the world. The verse of folk poems varies: lyrical poems range from four to thirteen syllables, but octosyllabic and decasyllabic verse prevail in this genre. Epic poems are mostly in decasyllabic, a considerable number of them being in octosyllabic verse. Some are in so-called “long verse” of fifteen or sixteen syllables (bugarstice).


When Serbs arrived to the Balkans from their old Slavonic homeland, they brought with them the old music of that part of the world. In meeting with the remnants of cultural tradition of the old inhabitants of the Balkans, and a gradual assimilation of the indigenous population, have made the Serbian music acquire a different, Balkan sound. By accepting Christianity at the end of the 9th century, Serbs fell under enormous influence of Byzantium. Both church music composed in monasteries, and secular-courtly music played at feudal courts, developed at that time. Most of the texts of the old Serbian music (15th and 16th centuries) have been preserved in the Chilandar monastery on the Mount Athos. At the beginning of the 19th century it became evident that Serbian music (folk, church, artistic) had a tendency to adapt itself to contemporary European concepts of music. The most popular forms were choral music and music accompanying plays (Kornelije Stankovic, Stevan Mokranjac). Ever since the time of Romanticism one could see the composers striving to find inspiration for their music in Serbian folk music and old church music (M. Milojevic, P. Konjovic, S. Hristic, Lj. Maric, V. Milankovic, S. Bocic, J. Marinkovic), but also to go a step further (V. Mokranjac). The development of radio and TV, record players and tape recorders, has enabled young people in Serbia to listen to and to like the same music as their generation around the world. The young also like to listen to the native Serbian light music, composed on the basis of the traditional sound, but in essentially modernized rhythm.


The most typical Serbian folk dance is kolo. In a kolo, the dancers form an open or closed ring of people who hold each other’s hands, belts, shoulders, etc. Kolo is a symbol of the sun’s circle. The dance is accompanied by music, sometimes singing, but it can also be a so-called mute kolo (nemo kolo). Kolo dances differ in rhythm, step and also by the direction in which the dancers move. When kolo dancers move in the direction opposite the usual one, it is a kolo for the dead (mrtvacko kolo). At medieval Serbian feudal courts people danced dances that were popular in Europe at the times. After a long period under the Turkish rule, the revival of the Serbian state in the 19th century produced a new and important opening to European influence. The process was evident in the acceptance of modern dances. But kolo was a compulsory dance at the Serbian court until the beginning of World War Two. It is danced at parties today. The young eagerly accept new dances, in the same way as they accept modern light music, rock and pop. Particularly popular dances are those not requiring a particular partner. Such dances resemble ancient communal rituals. Dance (both folk and floor) is taught in prep schools as well as in specialized institutions. Classical ballet is also present, but the young seem to prefer modern ballet, with much freer movement. Social entertainment dances exist still among the folk. These are the dances of skill and strength, agility and cleverness. Some of them help girls to grow, others are intended for boys. They help in the process of initiation. Dances of adults have lost the essential elements of ritual, so that they are considered to be pure entertainment.

15 Work

Working habits and the preparation of young people for future occupations and productive work began at an early age among the Serbs, by including children into household chores, according to their age and capabilities (taking care of chicken, then sheep, gathering of fruits, teaching girls to knit, to take care of household chores, to weave cloth). Although farming and cattle breeding were main branches of economy, Serbs developed many crafts and brought them to perfection in the Middle Ages (making of tools and arms, stone cutting, wood carving, goldsmithy, pottery making, leather making). During the Turkish rule Serbs had to produce everything they needed for themselves, so that craftsmanship was highly valued, and a particular caste of craftsmen was formed. Serbian craftsmanship suffered badly during the German occupation from 1941 to 1945, and it was strongly suppressed during the communist rule, when all private business and individual initiative were cut down. But in spite of all this, some traditional crafts have survived and remained productive until the present day, like pottery and ceramics (Pirot, Arandjelovac), making of traditional leather shoes (Sabac, Natalinci), weaving of carpets with lively colored designs (Pirot and Dragacevo), hand-knitting of woolen sweaters, caps, jackets (Sirogojno), and stone-cutting (Bukovik and Banja).

16 Sports

Strength, endurance and quickness were fostered in numerous folk games and contests. There are still some children’s games that have their roots in distant past. Some traditional adult games and contests were a kind of chivalrous tournaments and they included long jump, stone throwing, mounting a pole, and pulling a rope, regular disciplines in village sport games that have been taking place annually until today. Football (soccer) is the most popular of all contemporary sports. It was introduced by Serbian students returning to Switzerland at the end of the 19th century, and the first football clubs were founded in Belgrade as early as 1903: “Soko” – “The Falcon” and “Srpski mac” – “The Serbian Sword”. “Crvena zvezda” – “The Red Star”, one of the most popular Serbian football clubs, won the European and the world championships in 1991. The quality of Serbian professional football is reflected in the number of Serbian football players playing for the best European and world clubs. Beside football and excellent results in team sports (volleyball, basketball, handball, water polo), the Serbs show great affinity for chess and fighting sports (wrestling, boxing, judo). Sports events have wide audiences both on playing grounds and on TV.

17 Entertainment

There are many occasions and reasons for Serbs to relax and enjoy themselves (state and religious holidays, family gatherings, birthdays, weddings, day of recruitment, end of the school year). Every village or town has several days during the year devoted to community celebrations. Instrumental and vocal concerts are often held in squares, sport stadiums, or great halls, as mass entertainment, especially popular with the young people. There are quite a lot of professional, amateur and children’s theaters and cinemas, but they do not have such large audiences. The main entertainment of the population is watching television, especially local and foreign serials and films. Video clubs are numerous and popular, especially among the young. The young also crowd disco clubs and dances in halls of culture and youth clubs, and dance to the tunes of jazz, folk, rock and pop music, as well as the national melodies. Parties at home are also popular among the young.

18 Folk arts, crafts and hobbies

Folk art was an important part of everyday Serbian life. Folk songs, tunes, dances, and oral folk literature (now gathered in many volumes), accompanied numerous human activities and filled the time of leisure. The same applies to the naive painting and sculpture. The gravestones (krajputasi) have very original, witty, or clever epitaphs, and they are decorated by multicolored images and scenes invoking the character of the dead. Woodcarving, rich in floral and geometric ornaments, adorns parts of houses (ceilings, doors) furniture, musical instruments and household objects. Women decorate both their dress and household linen and curtains with knitting or embroidery. A typical folk object are linen embroidered pictures decorating the kitchen walls (kuvarice), once a matter of prestige and a picture of housewife’s cleverness.

19 Social life

In the second half of the 20th century Serbian society underwent a swift social transformation, with migrations from rural to urban centers, and economic transition from agriculture to industry. Although dynamic and quick, these changes did not cause great social upheavals. Two main problems are the lack of employment and the lack of housing. They were aggravated by the destruction of former Yugoslavia in the early nineties of the century, by the war in the neighboring regions, and the arrival of more than half a million refugees, together with the imposition of international economic sanctions. These events also caused numerous family problems (mixed marriages, separated families, etc.). Human rights are not limited in any way: men and women, different nationalities and social strata, all have the same rights. With the end of ideological single-mindedness imposed by communists (1945 – 1990), the civil rights and freedoms began to expand towards the scope and standards that Serbia had had in the earlier periods of its history. Starting from the native democratic tradition and the love for freedom, Serbs are now striving to revive and improve democracy in their country. Although the country is rich in wine and brandy (especially the famous sljivovica), alcoholism has never been a major social problem in the country. It does not include an important percentage of the populace. The same applies to the problem of drugs. They are taken by a smaller number of young people, mainly in larger cities.

20 Bibliography

Popis stanovnistva 1991, 1-7, Beograd, 1993.
Group of authors, Istorija srpskog naroda, I-VI, Beograd, 1994.
Deroko, Aleksandar, Narodno neimarstvo, Beograd, 1968.
Djordjevic, Tihomir R., Nas narodni zivot, I-IV, Beograd, 1984.
Ivic, Pavle, Srpski narod i njegov jezik, Beograd, 1986.
Karic, Vladimir, Srbija – opis zemlje, naroda i drzave, Beograd, 1887.
Milicevic, Milan Dj., Zivot Srba seljaka, Beograd, 1894.
Nedeljkovic, Mile, Godisnji obicaji u Srba, Beograd, 1990.
Novakovic, Stojan, Selo, Beograd, 1892.
Pantelic, Nikola, Narodna umetnost Jugoslavije, Beograd, 1988.
Slijepcevic, Djoko, Istorija srpske pravoslavne crkve, 1-3, Beograd, 1991.
Corovic, Vladimir, Istorija Srba, 1-3, Beograd, 1989.
Cvijic, Jovan, La Peninsule Balkanique – Geographie humaine, Paris, 1918.
Cajkanovic, Veselin, Mit i religija u Srba, Beograd, 1973.

Text is prepared by:

“Vuk St. Kardzich” Foundation Belgrade, Serbia, and

Serbian National University “Vuk Stefanovich Karadzich” Cleveland, Ohio

Source: www.kosovo.net



The shortened list of the Serb Christian Orthodox shrines of Kosovo-Metochia (13th-20th centuries)


This list of shrines is based on a study by Milan Ivanovic, Crkveni spomenici XIII-XX veka (Church Monuments from 13th to 20th century) from Zaduzbine Kosova (The Foundations of Kosovo), Prizren-Belgrade 1987, and other recent publications. Dragan Jovanovic, researcher, compiled the major part of this list.


AJKOBILA (in the Middle Age Prozdrikobila, Pristina): demolished church in the vicinity of the present-day mosque.
AJNOVCE (in the Middle Ages Hainovci, K. Kamenica): 1. ruins of the Tamnica monastery with the church built and frescoed in the 14C on the foundations of an older Byzantme basilica; 2. remains of a church in the old cemetery on the site called Ravan.
ALAGINA RIJEKA (Pec): 1. ruins of a Serbian church on Crkveno Brdo (Church Hill); 2. remains of a church near the place called Izvorski Laz.
ARILJACA (in the Middle Ages Arhidijaca, Pristina): ancient ruins of a church and an old Serbian graveyard.


BABALOC (in the Middle Ages Babe, Decane): according to legend, a mosque was erected on the site of an old church.
BABLJAK (Urosevac): old church (restored in 1966, dedicated to the Holy Trinity); a Serbian priest mentioned in the census of 1455.
BACKA (Dragas): church of St. Barbara formerly occupied the site called Vakuf.
BADOVAC (Pristina): 1. remains of an old church on the site called Crkvine (i.e. ruins of a church), 2. ruins of a former church above the Belograb site; 3. ruuns of the monastery of Vojsilovica (14C) at Androvacki Breg – its stone remains were used for the building of the Catholic church of St Nicholas in Janjevo, the Turkish mill on the Gracanka river and dwellings of the Albamians from nearby villages; 4. an old church, above the cemetery, on the site called Krstac.
BAJCINA (in the Middle Ages Bajcino Podujevo): a Serbian church existed (village priest mentioned in the census of 1455).
BAJGORA (formerly Bela Gora K.Mitrovica): remains of a church on the site called Backa.
BAKS (Srbica): microtoponyms “Crkva” (Church) and “Crkveni Do” (Church Valley) indicate that a church once existed in the village.
BALABANE (Pristina): ruins of an ancient church next to the old graveyard on the site called Crkvena Livada (Church Meadow).
BALANCE (Vitina): 1. remains of the church of St Helen in the village; 2. ruins of the monastery of St Eliah, above the village.
BANOV DO (in the Middle Ages Banje Polje, K. Mitrovica): on the foundations of an old Serbiam church, a new church was erected in 1950; next to it is an ancient Serbian cemetery.
BANJE (K. Mitrovica): 1. church erected in recent times on the site of an old one, surrounded by the old and present-day village cemetery; 2. remains of a monastery with a church and a bell-tower ( 13C or 14C), restored in 1492, in the Cpilje-Kuline hamlet; a large medieval graveyard situated on the plateau surrounding the church.
BANJE, BANJA RUDNICKA (Srbica): 1. church of St Nicholas erected by the Serbian feudatory Rodop some time before 1432; restored in the 20C 2. old Serbian cemetery on the St Paraskeve hill; 3. another old Serbian cemetery towards the village of Suho Grlo.
BANJICA (Glogovac): according to legend and some microtoponyms, the church of St Sava and an old Serbian graveyard were situated in the village.
BANJICA (Lipljan): a church existed once (suggested by the reference to a village priest in the census of 1455 and the toponym “Crkvena Njiva (Church Field).
BANJSKA (K. Mitrovica): 1. monastery of Banjska 2. remains of the church of St. Elijah (mentioned in 1313) in the hamlet of Jelici; 3. remains of an old church in the hamlet of Stevonci; 4. traces of a structure, perhaps a church, in the hamlet of Kozareva Rijeka.
BANJSKA (Vucitrn): 1. old church of St Nicholas; 2. ruins of the church of St Stephen in the hamlet of Seliste.
BARAINA (in the Middle Ages Barajino or Borajno, Podujevo): according to written sources, a Serbian church existed there in the 15C.
BARANE (in the Middle Ages Barani, Pec): unascertained monastery of Barane (mentioned in 15th and 16th-century sources); 2. the site where an old graveyard was formerly siruated.
BARDOSAN (Djakovica): 1. ruins of an old Serbian church and a graveyard (recorded in the 19C); 2. archaeological ret mains of early medieval Slavic culture.
BARE (Leposavic): old Serbian graveyard.
BARILJEVO (Pristina): church of Samodreza (village priest mentioned as early as 1455); the Turks used its building material for the construction of the mill on the Lab river at the beginning of the 19C.
BATAIRE (in the Middle Ages Batahire, K. Mitrovica): the toponym “Crkva” (Church) points to the former presence of a Serbian church in the village.
BATUSA (Djakovica): a written source from 1330 refers to the church of St Nicholas in the village (according to tradition, it occupied the site of the present-day mosque).
BEGOV LUKAVAC (in the Middle Ages Lukavac Istok): remains of an old Serbian church and devastated graveyard on the hill of Vucur; a note from 1643 makes mention of the church of St George in the village.
BEGUNCE (Vitina): old church formerly existed.
BELA CRKVA (Orahovac): 1. remains of an early three-aisled Byzantine basilica and a necropolis; 2. church of St Elijah, mentioned in a source from 1330 (unascertained); 3. church of St Helena, formerly situated on the road to the Sopnic village; 4. church of the Holy Archangels, on the site called Listenol.
BELAJE (Decane): rock-cut anchoritic dwellings of the Decani monastery on Streocka Mt: 1. hermitage of King Stefan Decanski; 2. hermitage of St Helena (built up); 3. central hermitage (between the former rwo); 4. hermitage of St Ephraim (14C); 5. Belajska hermitage (church of the Virgin) chief monastic anchoritic dwelling with 14th-century frescoes.
BELASICA, VRHLAB (Podujevo): according to folk legend in the village and its surroundings there were seven sites with the ruins of former churches.
BELEG (Decane): in the previous century, the ruins of a Serbian church and old graveyard still existed in the village.
BELICA (Istok): 1. Lazarica church, formerly venerating St George (probably from the 14C; repeatedly restored in the 16C, 17C and 18C); old and new graveyards are situated next to it; 2. remains of a church.
BELINCE (Urosevac): remains of a church on the site called Kisha (Crkva (Church)).
BELO BRDO (Leposavic): uninvestigated ruins of a former church and remains of a medieval mine.
BELOGRACE (in the Middle Ages Belogradice, Kacanik): ruins of a former church with a graveyard used to exist once.
BELO POLJE (Istok): remains of a church, dedicated according to legend, to the Holy Saviour, and of an old graveyard on the site called Crkvenjak (Verger).
BELO POLJE (Pec): the census of 1455 makes mention of rwo priests and a monk in the village. Today exist: 1. church of the Presentation of the Virgin (19C) erected on the foundations of an ancient church, surrounded by an old graveyard; 2. remains of a church on the hill called Krst (Cross); 3. the cave called Careva Stolica, or Razboj (the Emperor’s Stool or the Loom) (according to legend, used to be a hermitage).
BELO POLJE (Podujevo): a church existed in the 15C.
BELUCE (Leposavic): ruins of an old church and an old graveyard. BENCUK (in the Middle Ages Bencuj Vucitnn): remains of the church and dormitory called Dusan’s church.
BEREVCE (Urosevac): 1. church of St Paraskeve with a belltower (mentioned in a note from 1353); 2. ruins of the church of St Demetrios on the site called Crkvica (Small Church)
BERIVOJCE (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): church of Globarica, dedicated to st John with frescoes from the 16/17C (village priest mentioned in the census of 1455).
BERKOVAC or BERKOVICA: unascertained village (mentioned in the 15C in the Lapska nachye) somewhere in the environs of Podujevo, with “the church of “St Vasil” (Basil).
BERKOVO (Klina): church of the Holy Archangels formerly situated on the site called Crkviste (i.e ruins of a church), demolished by the Turks; above Crkviste an old Serbian graveyard survives.
BESINJE (Pristina): an old Serbian church stood once on the site called Crkveni Do (Church Valley); an old graveyard situated today on the site called Babino Groblje; the Pustinja Leskovac monastery (mentioned in 1455) formerly located in the vicinity of the village.
BINAC (Vitina): 1. ruins of an old settlement above the village; in the village and its environs there are the ruins of the churches of St Paraskeve St Stephen and c, Nicholas (recently restored); 3. monastery of the Archangel Michael (Buzovik), south of the village, from the 14-16C with the remains of two layers of frescoes (the younger dating from the 16C).
BISTRAZIN (in the Middle Ages Bisazina, Djakovica): new church, erected on the foundations of an old one demolished in 1941; the old and new graveyard formerly situated next to it.
BISTRICA (Leposavic): remains of a church and an old graveyard.
BISTRICA SALJSKA (Leposavic): remains of an old church on the site called Crkviste (ruins of a church).
BIVOLJAK (Vucitrn): old cemetery, known as the Wallachian cemetery.
BLAGAJE (Pec): old Serbian cemetery.
BLJAC (Dragas): in the village with several old Serbian toponyms, the remains of a smaller church still existed in the mill-19C.
BOB (Kacanik): archaeological finds of two churches, Byzantine and medieval Serbian, with a graveyard, on the site called Crkva (Church).
BOBOVAC, BOBOVCE, BOBOJEVCE (Klina): ruins of a church with an old graveyard existed until 1870.
BOGOSEVCI (Prizren): 1. church of St Nicholas in the graveyard (16C) frescoed in the 16/17C; 2. church of the Dormition of the Virgin in the hamlet of Peicici (18C).
BOJNOVICE, BOJINOVICE (in Kolasin upon the Ibar) 1. Old cemetery, in the Bojnovacko field 2. a church formerly situated on the site called Crkvine (i.e. ruins of a church), in the centre of the village; 3. old graveyard church, on the outskirts of the village, restored in 1950.
BOLJETIN (K.Mitrovica): Sokolica monastery with the church of the Intercession the Virgin (14-15C) at the foot of the Sokolica his; the church contains damaged frescoes, especially valuable is the marble sculpture of the Virgin with Christ transferred from Banjska, the demolished mausoleum of King Milutin (1312-1316); a Serbian graveyard situated above the monastery.
BOLJEVCE (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): 1. ruins of the old church of St Panteleemon with the traces of the original fresco-pamtmg.
BORCANE (in the Middle Ages Borcani, Leposavic): new church erected in the 19C on the foundations of the ruins of a former church, on the hill above the village.
BOSCE (Kriva Reka neat Novo Brdo): several Serbian microtoponyms and an old cemetery have survived.
BOSTANE (Pristina): 1. remains of the medieval Saxon (Latin) church venerating the Virgin, scarce fragments of frescoes with Cyrillic and Roman inscriptions; 2. church of the Virgin in the graveyard, erected in the 19C with the material of the old church of the Virgin in Novo Brdo beneath Mt Javor.
BRABONIC (K. Mitrovica): old ruins of a former church.
BRADAS (Podujevo): Three churches formerly existed (whose stone remains were carried off in the 19C and 20C); the remains of one have survived.
BRAINA (Podujevo): according to histoncal sources the village had: 1. church of the Virgin Amolyntos Brainassa – of Braina (14C); 2. church of St Nicholas (14C) 3. church of St Peter (14C). The remains of two churches and two old graveyards have been uncovered in the village area
BRASALJCE (Gnjilane) 1. ruins of a former church in the hamlet of Barice; 2. ruins of a former church in the hamlet of Sasivar.
BRATILOVICE (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): 1. remains of an old church on the site called Crkviste (ruins of a church) in the location named Rupiste 2. demolished old church on the site called Prisoje in Rupiste.
BRATOTIN (Orahovac): old church on the Glavica hill; old and present-day Serbian cemetery, north of the village.
BRECE (in the Middle Ages Brezovica, Podujevo): ruins of an old church in the Haimovic (Halilovic) mahala.
BRESJE (in the Middle Ages Brestije, Pristina): church of St Catherine, demolished in the 19C by Jashar-Pasha Dzanic, restored in the 20C.
BRESNICA (K. Mitrovica): traces of the ruins of a church (village priest mentioned as early as the 15C), old graveyard on the hillock above the village; remains of amother old graveyard in the hamlet of Alin Do.
BRESTOVAC (Orahovac): microtoponym relating to the old graveyard.
BRESTOVIK (Pec): old graveyard on the site also occupied by the remains of a church (village priest mentioned in the 15C).
BREZNA (Dragas): according to legend, the church of St John occupied the site of the present-day mosque (confirmed by the toponym Crkveni Do – Church Valley).
BRNJACA (in the Middle Ages Brnjasca, Orahovac): ruins of the church of St Kyriake (mentioned in a source from 1348) embellished with stone reliefs in the 16C and repeatedly restored.
BRNJAK: 1. foundations of several structures (probably belonging to Queen Helen of Anjou palace, known only from written sources) discovered near the confluence of the Oklach stream into the Brnjicka river; 2. medieval cemetery in the hamlet of Basce; 3. remains of an old church near the graveyard in the hamlet of Dublje; 4. ruins of a church and an old graveyard on the site called Krnje; 5. remains of an old church called Crkvas in the hamlet of Presjeke 6. small dilapidated church in the hamlet of Staro Guvno 7. traces of a graveyard in the hamlet of Usce on the site where, according to tradition, a church stood once.
BROCNA (in the Middle Ages Brodna, Srbica): old Serbian graveyard and the site called Crkviste (i.e. ruins of a church) (village priest referred to in the 15C); according to legend, the village mosque was erected on the site formerly occupied by a church
BROD (Dragas): 1. church of St Demetrios (unascertained); 2. church of St Panteleimon and an old graveyard on the Pantelejci hill; 3. church of St Nicholas (completely destroyed in the 20C), 4. old Christian cemetery (situated on the site of the present-day burrial ground for cattle).
BROD (Urosevac): remains of the church of St Peter, near the village, and of an old graveyard, in the village.
BRODOSAVCE (Dragas): 1. remains of a larger church stood above the village in the 19C; 2. remains of the small medieval fortress of Zinovo in the area of the same name.
BRUS (Lipljan): a church existed in the hamlet of Velih Brus very old Jewish cemetery located near the village.
BRUSNIK (Vucitrn): remains of an old church on the site called Marina Voda.
BRUT (Dragas): old graveyard with a demolished church on the site called Vakuf.
BRVENIK (Podujevo): remains of the medieval fortress of Brvenik with the foundations of buildings and outer walls (a church situated in the centre).
BRZANCE (Leposavic): old cemetery.
BUBE (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): 1. remains of an old church in the village graveyard 2. remains of two old probably eccleciastical, buildings on the his called Bupski Siljak.
BUBLJE (Malisevo): Budisavci monastery with the church of the Transfiguration (14C), the church restored and frescoed in 1568, to the wish of the Patriarch Makarije Sokolovic.
BURINCE (in the Middle Ages Bujince, Podujevo): a church existed (demolished so that Pashas mill would be constnucted with its stone remains)
BUSINJE (Pristina) locality “Srpsko groblje” (Serbian Graveyard).
BUSOVATO, BUSOVATA (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): old cemetery (now called the Jewish cemetery).
BUSAC: unascertained village (in the wide neighborhood of Pristina), in which, according to a written source from 1581, the church of St Nicholas was located.
BUSNICE (in the Middle Ages Baosici, Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): old cemetery called Jewish, on the site called Bara.
BUZEC (Dragas): remains of an old church on the site called Crkviste (i.e. ruins of a church).


CAREVAJKA (Gnjilane): foundations of an old church on the site called Crkvena Bukva (Church Beech); by the stream near the village, next to the demolished church, was an old graveyard.
CAREVAC (Suva Reka): ruins of a modest-sized church.
CAREVCE (K. Kamenica): very old graveyard.
CECELIJA (Vucitrn): locality “Crkveni Do” (Church Valley).
CERANJA (Leposavic): remains of the church of St Paraskeve (with spolia from antiquity), in Ceranjska Reka, on the site called Mramor.
CERNICA (Gnjilane): village church referred to in a document from 1512. Three churches are known today: 1. ruins of the church of St Paraskeve, in the present-day village; 2. ruins of the church of the Holy Saviour, in the present-day village 3. new church of St Elijah, erected in 1933.
CEROVIK (Klina): microtopnyms “Crkva” (Church) and “Srpsko Groblje” (Serbian Graveyard) anest to the existence of an old Serbian graveyard and church.
CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS in the Lapska nachye: mentioned in the 15C, with three monks (which indicates that it was a monastery), but its site has not been precisely acsertained.
CREPULJA (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): church of St Nicholas, probably erected in the 14C, completely reconstructed in the 16/17C; painted with Eescoes in the 18C.
CRKOLEZ (Istok): 1. church of St. John in the old graveyard built in the 14C, adorned with frescoes in 1672/73 (treasuring a coDection of 17th-century icons), 2. amother church might have existed near the village (grazing lands called “Sabor – Crkva” (“Cathedral Church”) and “Celije” (Cells).
CRKVENA VODICA (formerly Crvena Vodica, Pristina): remains of an old church and an old graveyard.
CRMLJANE (in the Middle Ages Crmlje, Djakovica): a church formerly located on the Crmljanska peak (village priest mentioned in the 15C), converted by the Turks into a turbeh an archaeological locality is also situated in that place (Iron Age).
CRNCE (in the Middle Ages Crnca, Istok): church at “Crnca in Hvosno” mentioned in 1264, until the middle-19C, remains of the church and the old graveyard stood on the slope above the village, on the site called Crkviste (ruins of a church).
CRNI LUG (Malisevo): in the 15C, there was a church with a priest (noted in a Turkish defter).
CRNI VRH (in the Middle Ages Cmu Vrh Pec): the 19C registered the ruins of the church of St John the Baptist; only an old graveyard exists today
CRNOLJEVO (Urosevac): according to tradition a Serbian church stood on the site of the present-day mosque.
CRNOVRAN (Malisevo): remains of the foundations of a church, on the his outside the village, on the site called “Kod Crkvenog Cera” (“By the Church Oak”).
CRVENI (Leposavic): remains of the medieval church called the Mining church.
CABIC (Klina): 1. church of St Peter, mentioned in a charter from 1335, unascertained; 2. church of St Nicholas, with 17th century frescoes, 3. remains of the “graveyard of the Lalics”, near the village intersection; 4. “the graveyard of the Mazics” in the village.
CABRA (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): old cemetery.
CAGLAVICA (Pristina): old graveyard with a modest buildmg for memorial feasts.
CAJDRAG (Suva Reka): locality “Srpsko Groblje” (Serbian Cemetery).
CARAKOVCE (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): old cemetery.
CECEVO: church of St Paraskeve constructed in 1938 on the foundations of an older church (14C), remains of two buildings from the original complex situated next to it; several old graves west of the church.
CELOPEK (Pec): old graveyard on the site called Glavicica.
CESKOVO (Klina): locality “Crkviste” (ruins of a church) and an old graveyard.
CIFLAK (Orahovac): graveyard in which the church of St Basil stood, on the eastem side of the village.
CIKATOVO (in the Middle Ages Cigotovo, Glogovac): “Jezevica” church constructed after World War 1, at present only an old graveyard exists. The foundations of the church have been dug out by the Albanians, who also plowell the site.
CITLUK (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): 1. old graveyard on the site called Dublje; 2. old graveyard and remains of walls on the site called Cardacine (where according to tradition, was a town); 3. the monastery of Duboki Potok, with the church of the Presentation of the Virgin, above the village.
CUBELJ (Srbica): localities “Crkveni Izvor” (Church Well), “Crkvena Njiva” (Church Field) and “Srpsko Groblje (Serbian Cemetary).
CESENOVICE, CESANOVICE (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): remains of an ancient church in the old graveyard, on the hillock called Crkvina (ruins of a church).
CIREZ (Srbica): in a Turkish census of the 15C the “Lozoris (?) church” was noted on the village territory; today, the locality called “Groblje Srba” (Graveyard of the Serbs) exists.
CUSKA (Pec): until recently, the old cemetery of the exiled Serbs stood completely preserved.


DABISEVCE (in the Middle Ages Dabizivovci, Pristina): at the end of the 19C, the abandoned church widh the foumder’s inscription above the entrance still existed.
DAJKOVCE (formerly Dojkovce, Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): old church existed on the site called Prekobanjik.
DAMJANE DAMNJANE (Djakovica) 1. church and an old graveyard formerly situated in the Trava mahala; 2. remains of a church near the site called Dva Bresta (Two Elms) (Catholic church in the village of Smac built with its stone remains); 3. church in Seh-mahala (with its stone remains, the Albanians constructed a bridge and a house in the village) 4. the fourth village church located on the site where in 1940 Mon Bajram erected his tower Two microtoponyms and the name of the village also bear witness to the existence of Serbian churches.
DAVIDOVCE (Urosevac): traces of a Serbian graveyard in the part of the village called Staroselo where a church used to occupy the site called Crkva (Church). DAZDINCE (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo) pan of the village still called Srpsko Groblje (Serbian Cemetary).
DECANE (Decane): 1. Decani monastery 2. hemmitages in Decani, see Belaje, Hemmitages.
DEDINJE (K.Mitrovica): microtoponym -Kod Crkve” (By the Church).
DELOVCE (Suva Reka): ruins of the church of St Nicholas and an old graveyard.
DESIVOJCE (Kriva Reka on Novo Brdo): remains of a church in the old graveyard have been archaeologically established.
DEVAJE (Vitina): ruins of a church on the site called Bresje (village priest mentioned in the 15C) and traces of an old settlement in Seliste.
DEVIC, monastery, see LAUSA.
DIKANCE (Dragas): remains of an old settlement with the ruins of a church in the locality called Popove Rupe (Priest’s Holes), near the village.
DIVLJAKA (in the Middle Ages Divjak, Lipljan): remains of an old village church and an old graveyard, as well as the localities “Crkva” (Church) and “Crkvena Livada” (Church Meadow).
DOBLIBARE (Djakovica): 1. archaeological remains of early medieval Slavic culture, 2. ruins of a church and a graveyard were present in tbe village in 1868; the 19C saw the construction of the turbeh called Djordje with the material from the church of St George.
DOBRAVA (in the Middle Ages Dobrhava, Leposavic): old ruins of a former church and a graveyard.
DOBRCANE (Gnjilane): 1. ruins of the so-called Latin Church, on the site named Baba-Andjin Most; 2. ruins of the church of St Basil above the village, 3. church of St Paraskeve constructed after 1918; 4. ruins of the old fortress of Kaljaja, near the village.
DOBRA VODA, UNJEMIR (Klina): 1. church (monastery?) of St Peter – Petrovica, with the remains of frescoes and stone decoration from the 14C and 16C; 2. the so-called Little Church, unresearched, on the sire called Crkveni Lug (Church Grove).
DOBRI DO (Pec): 1. written sources from 1330 make mention of the church of St Kyriake (unascertained), 2. remains of the medieval church of St Demetrios; 3. ruins of a church (considered to be the remains of the church of the Virgin Amolyntos); 2. remains of an old settlement and graveyard, near tbe ruins.
DOBRI DOL (Klina): remains of the church of St Demetrios (village priest mentioned in 1455) and an old graveyard used to exist.
DOBRI DOL (Podujevo): small village cemetery.
DOBRODOLJANE (Suva Reka): church of St Stephen existed in the 16C; demolished by Mahmud-Pasha of Skadar in the first half of the 19C, when the village was forcibly Turkized..
DOBROSEVAC (Glogovac): a written soutce from the 14C mentiones the remains of a church and “Dmitar’s church” within the village bounds, two microtoponyms testify to the existence of churches in the village and its neighbourhood.
DOBROTIN (Lipljan) old church of St Demetrios.
DOBROTIN (Podujevo): surviving graveyard; a church existed in the 15C.
DOBRUSA (Istok): remains of an old church on the hill of Vucar and two old graveyards (the Albanians from the village of Prekale made use of stone remains for tbe construction of their houses),
DOBRUSTA (Prizren): monastic church of St Nicholas, restored around 1332 by King Dusan (there are several locations near the village on which it might have stood).
DOJNICE, DOJINICE (in the Middle Ages Doenci, Prizren): over the ruins of the church of the Virgin of the Passion a new church was erected in 1940.
DOLAC (Klina): the Turkish census of 1455 makes mention of two village priests and a monastery with three monks near the village, today exist: 1. church of the Presentation of the Virgin, formerly in the monastic range (remains of two expansive wars), with frescoes dating from the 14C and from 1620; 2. traces of a church in one of three old graveyards.
DOLJ (Djakovica): a church existed on the site called Doljska Crkva (Doljska Church).
DOLJAK (Vucitrn): old graveyard; microtoponym “Crkvina” (ruins of a church) testisfies to the existence of a church.
DOMANEK (in the Middle Ages Domaneg Malisevo): in the mill-19C, the remains of an old church, according to legend a monastery, were noted; as early as the 14C the church of St Elias existed in the village or its environs.
DOMOROVCE (Izmornik): ruins of a large monastery on the hill of Popovac and three very old graveyards in the village and near the Konculjska gorge.
DONJA BITINJA (Urosevac): 1. church of St Theodore with 16th-century frescoes; 2. church of St Demetrios, the 16C.
DONJA DUBNICA (Vucitrn): an old church formedy existed (village priest mentioned as early as 1455) ,probably somewhere around today’s Crkveni Do (Church Valley).
DONJA DUBNICA (Podujevo): a church existed in the 15C.
DONJA FUSTICA (Glogovac): ruins of a medieval church ( 14C and 16C), near the site called Crkva (Church).
DONJA GADIMLJA (Lipljan): microtoponym “Crkva Jorgovanova” (Jorgovan’s Church).
DONJA GUSTERICA (Lipljan): church of the Holy Prince Lazar erected at the outset of the 20C, on the site of the old church of the Beheading of St John the Baptist.
DONJA KLINA (Srbica): as early as 1455, the village had a priest; today the microtoponym “Crkva” (Church) exists.
DONJA LAPASTICA (Podujevo) the village had a church in the 15C its site is probably indicated by the present-day microtoponym “Crkva” (Church).
DONJA RAKOVICA: an unascertained village in the sanjak of Vucitrn and the Lapska nachye (the Turkish census of 1455 makes mention of the church of St Nicholas near the village).
DONJA SUDIMLJA (Vucitrn): old cemetery.
DONJE DOBREVO (in the Middle Ages Dobrijevo, Pristina): at the time of the immigration of the Albanians in the 18C, a Serbim church stood on the site called Crkva (Church).
DONJE GODANCE (Urosevac): village church constructed after World War 1.
DONJE ISEVO (Leposavic): ruins of an old church and an old graveyard.
DONJE KORMINJANE (Izmornik): church with 19th-century frescoes.
DONJE LJUPCE (Podujevo) a church existed in the 15C (the census of 1455 refers to two village priests), and a monastery was situated in the neighbourhood.
DONJE NERODIMLJE (Urosevac): according to the Turkish census of 1455, the village had two Serbian priests. At present, there are: 1. remains of the church of St Stephen; 2. restored church of the Virgin on the Glavica hill 3. church of St Nicholas, erected on the foundations of sm old church.
DONJE ZABARE (K. Mitrovica): locality called “Crkva” (Church).
DONJI JASENOVIK (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): remains of churches on the hill of Janjevac and in the location called Staro Groblje (Old Graveyard).
DONJI LIVOC (Gnjilane): tuins of a church at the top called llijina Glava.
DONJI MAKRES (Gnjilane): traces of an old settlement and the foundations of a Serbian church on the site called Seliste; rwo old graveyards on the sites of Rudna Padina and Ljudje.
DONJI OBILIC (Srbica): microtoponyms “Crkva” (Church) and “Crkvena Glava (Church Head).
DONJI SIBOVAC (Podujevo): a church existed once (the census of 1455 mentions a village priest).
DONJI STRMAC (Srbica): remains of in old church on the site called Crkvina (ruins of a church).
DONJE RAMNJANE (Vitina): ruins of an old church registered at the start of the 19C.
DRAGANAC (Gnjilane): monastery with the church of the Archangel Gabriel erected in the 19C over the ruins of an old church.
DRAGAS: remains of an old churh and a graveyard on the site called Cukare.
DRAGOBILJE (Malisevo): church of the Virgin mentioned in a 14th century written source.
DRAGOBRATA: unascertained village in the sanjak of Vucitrn; a monk mentioned in the 15C, and the church of St John in the 16C.
DRAGOLJEVAC (Istok): remains of two churches (in the Petkovica field and on the site called Crkvine (ruins of a church) and an old Serbian graveyard; as early as the 14C, the so-called Krstovo Crkviste (i.e. ruins of the Church of the Cross) stood near the village.
DRAGOVAC (Pristina) old graveyard
DRAINOVICE (K. Mitrovica): ruins of an ancient church with an old graveyard.
DRAJCICI (Prizren): church of St. Nicholas (the end of the 16C), with frescoes smd icons from the 16/17C.
DRAJKOVCE (Urosevac): church of the 40 martyrs of Sebasteia from the 16C (restored)
DRAMNJAK (m the Middle Ages Drobnjak, Urosevac): an old church occupied the site called Crkvene Jaruge (Church Gullies).
DREN (Leposavic): remains of a church.
DRENOVAC (Klina): remains of the church of St Nicholas registered in the 19C; at present, there is an old graveyard.
DRENOVAC (Orahovac): worship stone above the village (m all probability, remnant of the old church of St Panteleimon).
DRENOVCIC (Klina): a church formerly existed on the his above the village, on the site called Crkviste (ruins of a church); at present, two cemetenes are located near the village.
DRENOGLAVA (Kacanik): ruins of the so-called Macicka church, not far from the village.
DROBNJAK (Kacanik): graveyard and the church of St George formerly existed (village priests mentioned in the censuses of 1452 smd 1455).
DRSNIK (Klina): 1. remains of an old fortress, on the hill above the village; 2. church of St Paraskeve (St Nicholas) with 16th-century frescoes; 3. remains of a former church in the place called Celije (Cdls)
DUBOKA (in the Middle Ages Glboko, Leposavic): a new church erected on the foundations of an old one, on Duplje hill.
DUBOKI POTOK (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): church of the Virgin in the monastery of the Presentation of the Virgin erected in the 14C, restored in the 166 and 18C, and also in recent tmmes.
DUBOVNIK (Decane): ruins of an old church and an old graveyard
DUBOVO (Pec): according to tradition, the present-day mosque was erected on the site of a former church; the remains of an old Serbian graveyard are situated at the foot of the Ozrim hill.
DUGA (Lipljan): microtoponym “Crkva” (Church) and a census from the 15C bear witness to the existence of a Serbian church.
DUJAK (Djakovica): ruins of an old church with a churchyard existed in the 19C.
DULJE (in the Middle Ages Duhlje, Suva Reka): 1. remains of the church of the Holy Sanour in the graveyard, 2. ruins of the church of St Paraskeve by the spring of the Lukara stream.
DUNAVO (Gnjilane): 1. ruins of sm old church near the site called Velika Kosa; 2. ruins of a church near the site called Reka.
DUZ (formerly Dusje or Dusci, Podujevo): a Serbian church existed in the 15C; the ruins of three churches registered in the 19C.
DVORANE (Suva Reka): 1. modest village church of the Holy Saviour, 2. ruins of the church of the Archangel Michael; 3. Serbian cemetery demolished by the Albanians in 1984,
DJAKOVICA 1. unascertained church (in the 16C), metoch of the Decani monastery, a village priest mentioned as early as the 15C); 2. church of the Dormition of the Virgin (with icons from the 17C, 18C and 19C) in Srpska Street; 3. Iarge church, mausoleum of the Serbian warriors fallen in the wars of 1912-1918 (dynamited in 1949).
DJELEKARE (Vitina): ruins of a church probably existed in the vicinity of today’s Crkveni Kladenac (Church Well) (village priest mentioned in the census of 1455).
DJOCAJ (Decane): microtoponym “Grobac” (Small Grave) marks a Serbian grave or graveyard (perished).
DJONAJ (Prizren): 1. remains of the church of St Catherine, near an old mill, 2. remains of a church (Catholic?), on the site called Gedza.
DJURAKOVAC (Istok): 1. church of St Nicholas, with a sepulchar slab from the 14C and frescoes from the 16C a stecak tombstone from the 14/15C in the Serbiam graveyard in front of the church; 2. a Catholic church recently built over the remains of the church of the Holy Anargyroi; 3. ruins of a former church with an old graveyard, at the present-day trash dump.
DJURDJEV DOL (Kacanik): remains of an old church registered on the site called Crkva (Church).
DJURKOVCE (Urosevac): toponym “Crkviste” (ruins of a church) points to the existence of an old church.


ENCE (Pristina): a microtoponym testifies to the existence of a church.


FIRAJA (Urosevac), see PAPRATNA
FIRIDJEJE (formerly Stanilovac, Knva Reka near Novo Brdo): old graveyard.


GATANJE (Urosevac): the village had three churches: 1. on the site called Manastir (Monastery); 2. on the site called Kaludjere (of the Monks) 3. church of St Nicholas (recently reconstructed in east of Gornja Mahala).
GAZIVODE (K. Mitrovica): remains of a town-fortress stood on the hill above the village; an old graveyard located in the village.
GLADNO SELO (Glogovac): microtoponym “Crkveni Do” (Church Valley) points to the existence of a village church.
GLAVICICA (Pec): old and present day cemetery.
GLIVNIK (Dragas): ancient graveyard and ruins of a church on the site of an old, abandoned village.
GLOBOCICA (Dragas) present day mosque constructed upon the foundations of a former church; the plateau above the village still called Crkva (Church)
GLOBOCICA (in the Middle Ages Dlbocica, Kacanik): at the end of the 19C, the church of St Nicholas (?) with an old graveyard, whose traces have been destroyed, stood in the centre of the village.
GLODJANE (Decane): old cemetery (called Zivko’s Cemetery), in the Zivkaj mahala.
GLOGOVAC: remains of the foundations of a medieval church, on Mt Kosmaca, south of the village; a Serbiam cemetery in the village.
GLOGOVCE GLOGOVICA (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): ruins of an old church in the hamlet of Demovici.
GLOGOVCE (Lipljan): old cemetery (called Svatovsko, i.e. the Wellding Guests’ Cemetery).
GMINCE (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): ruins of the old church of St Paraskeve on the site called Crkve (Churches).
GNJEZDANE (in the Middle Ages Gnjezdani, Leposavic): old cemetery.
GNJILANE (in the Middle Ages Gnivljani): church of St Paraskeve probably occupied the site called Petkovce (Petigovce) 2. monastery of St John south of the town (demolished by the Turks in the 18C); 3. church of St Nicholas, erected in the 19C on the foundations of an older church.
GODANCE (in the Middle Ages Hudince, Glogovac): according to written sources from the 15C and 17C, the vilsage had a church.
GOJBULJA (Vucitm): old church of St Paraskeve in the village graveyard (recently restored); a Serbian graveyard from the 18C.
GORANCE (Kacanik): 1. church of St Atanas (Athanasios) in the centre of the village demolished by the Albanians, 2. ruins of the church (monastery?) of St Elijah, above the village, 3 church of St Nicholas, formerly located in the west part of the village; 4. ruins of the church of St Paraskeve, in the west part of the village 5. church of the Virgin, situated in the north-east of the village; 6. church of St George in the north of the village (demolished in the 19C); 7. church of the Holy Archangels, previously located in the north-east side of the village.
GORAZDEVAC (in the Middle Ages Gorazde Vas, Pec): 1. Iog-cabin church, dedicated to St Jerome, dating from the 16C (the oldest in Serbia), in the old graveyard; 2. church of the Intercession of the Virgin, erected in 1926.
GORNJA BITINA (Urosevac): new church constructed over the remains of the old church of St George (the apse with old frescoes) several stone slabs from the 14C have survived in the church and next to it (the Turkish census of 1455 makes mention of two village priests).
GORNJA BRNJICA (Pristina): church of the Holy Aposdes Peter and Paul, erected in 1975 on the foundations of the old church of St Nicholas.
GORNJA GUSTERICA (Lipljan): 1. ruins of a former church, dedicated to St Elijah; 2. ruins of the church of the Virgin Amolyntos with an old graveyard.
GORNJA KLINA (Srbica): a 15th-century source makes mention of “the monastery of St Ahilije” (Achilleios) in the vicinity of the village; several microtoponyms testify to the existence of a church.
GORNJA KRUSICA (Suva Reka): microtoponym “Srpsko Groblje” (Serbian Cemetery).
GORNJA LAPASTICA (Podujevo): a village church existed in the 15C (when mention is made of its priest), probably on the site of the present-day ruins.
GORNJA NERODIMLJA (Urosevac): in the 14C, the palaces of Serbian rulers were situated in Nerodimlja (Rodimlja Porodimlja). Today exist: 1. monastery of the Holy Archangels from the 14C, restored in 1700; 2. church of the Dormition of the Virgin (“the Monastery of St Uros”), in the hamlet of Sarenik dating, according to legend from the 14C, 3. remains of the church of St Nicholas, near the site called Kaludjerska Vodenica (Monks’ Mill), where the ruins of several secular structures (as it seems, the palaces of rulers) are situated; 4. foundations of three churches in the village.
GORNJA SLATINA (Vitina): microtoponym “Crkvene Njive” (Church Fields) testifies that the village used to have a church.
GORNJA SRBICA (Prizren): church of St Basil, erected in 1863 over the ruins of an old church.
GORNJA SUDIMLJA (Vucitrn): remains of a church on the site called “Crkviste” (ruins of a church) and two old Serbian graveyards.
GORNJA SIPASNICA (Knva Reka near Novo Brdo): ruins of a church, in the village, and the church of St Panteleimon, in a village field, towards Donja Sipasnica.
GORNJE GADIMLJE (Lipljan): ruins a former church and the significant archaeological site called Gradina (Lower Stone Age and Iron Age).
GORNJE GODANCE (Lipljan): ruins of an old church on the site called Zirovnica.
GORNJE KARACEVO (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): a priest mentioned in the village in the 15C, so that it must have had a church at that time, nowadays, the area of the old Serbian graveyard is used by the Albanians for grazing cattle.
GORNJE KORMINJANE (Izmomik): the demolished monastery of St George in the wood not far from the village; an old graveyard next to the village.
GORNJE KUSCE (Gnjilane): remains of the churches of St Paraskeve and St Kyriake.
GORNJE LJUBINJE (Prizren): remains of the church” of St Paraskeve and St Kyriake.
GORNJE LJUPCE (Podujevo): a church existed, and perhaps a monastery as well (the census of 1455 makes mention of a village priest and a monk).
GORNJE POTOCANE (Orahovac): old church and graveyard formerly existed.
GORNJE PREKAZE (Srbica): in the 16C, mention is made of the monastic church of the Dormition of the Virgin; the old and new cemeteries exist nowadays.
GORNJE SELO (Prizren): the graveyard church of St George with stone ornamentation and frescoes from the 16/17C.
GORNJE VINARCE (K. Mitrovica): medieval church, restored in the 16C; in 1972, demolished by a group of Albanians.
GORNJI and DONJI CRNOBREG (in the Middle Ages Crveni Breg, Decane): a written source from 1330 refers to the church of St Nicholas (stir existed in the 19C) and St George in the environs of the village.
GORNJI and DONJI STREOC (Decane): in the 14C, mention is made of the church of St Stephen (Stefanja church) and the monastery of the Holy Anargyroi, the old Serbian cemetery with one stecak situated in Nevestin Vrh (Bride’s Peak)
GORNJI JASENOVIK (K. Mitrovica): remains of a church and an old graveyard on the Leskovaca hillock and the site called Rovce.
GORNJI KRNJIN (in the Middle Ages Krnjino, Leposavic): ruins called the Latin church.
GORNJI LIVOC (Gnjilane): the site of a former church, near the hamlet of Jabucani.
GORNJI MAKRES (Gnjilane): remains of an old settlement and old graveyard on the site called Grobljiste.
GORNJI OBILIC (Srbica): acccording to a 17th-century travel account and folk tradition, the monastery of St George was situated in the vicinity of the village; next to the village, there is an old cemetery.
GORNJI PETRIC (Klina): remains of an ancient church in the graveyard (where according to tradition, was the monastery of St John the Baptist) and the ruins of the medieval town of Petric, on the his above the village.
GORNJI STRMAC (between Kolasin upon the Ibar and Drenica): old graveyard church (restored in recent times) in the hamlet of Perkovac, and the old Serbian cemetery in the hamlet of Rusce.
GORNJI STRMAC (Srbica): restored old church and an old graveyard.
GORNJI SUVI DO (K. Mitrovica): small church and an old graveyard.
GOROZUP (Prizren): umril recent times, the microroponym of the old Serbian cemetery was preserved.
GOTOVUSA (Urosevac): 1. church of St Nicholas with 16th-century frescoes; 2. old church of the Dormition of the Virgin (restored in 1886); 3. traces of an old church in the vicinity of the ancient fortress of Zidovica.
GRABAC (Klina): remains of the church of the Holy Trinity and an old graveyard.
GRABANICA (Klina): the surviving name of the old Serbian cemetery.
GRABOVAC (K. Mitrovica): old graveyard and the ruins of a former church.
GRACE (Vucitrn): old graveyard and the ruins of a formet church were situated in Ljigate, near the river Lab.
GRACANICA (Pristina): 1. Gracanica monastery); 2. medieval hermitage of St Luke near the Kiznicki stream; 3. monument to the Serbian soldiers fallen in the wars of 1912-1918; 4. Gladnice, an early Slavic necropolis from the 6-7C.
GRADICA (Glogovac): according to 15th-century Turkish census, a church existed there.
GRADJENIK (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): remains of demolished church on the site called Seliste and in the Kaludjerica mahala.
GRAMOCEL (in the Middle Ages Grmocel, Decane): foundations of an old church with the remains of medieval bricks and frescoes (the census of 1455 makes mention of a village priest) in the present-day Catholic cemetery.
GRANICANE (Leposavic): 1. remains of an old church in the village graveyard, 2. church erected around 1860 in the old graveyard, razed ro the ground in 1876.
GRAZDANIK (m the Middle Ages Ogradjenik, Prizren): in the 14C, the church of St Pantaleemon stood on the hill near the village demolished in the 16C by Suzi Celebija a converted Turk from Prizren, who erecred a palace on its site.
GRCINA, GRCIN (Djakovica): according to tradition, the village had five churches.
GREBNIK (Klina) 1. ruins of the Church of St Jerome and an old graveyard on the site called Kucine, where an old settlement was situated; 2. old cemetery, on the hill west of the village, 3. church erected in 1920 on the site of a former religious building (dedicated to St Athanasios?).
GREBNO (Urosevac): at the end of the 19C and the beginning of the 20C, the ruins of two churches stood in the village, and above the village was the church called Manastir (Monastery).
GREKOVCE (in the Middle Ages Grehovac, Suva Reka): ruins of an old church.
GRIZIME (in the Middle Ages Grizimjeh, Knva Reka near Novo Brdo) traces of an old settlement; according to tradition, an old church was situated on the present-day locality called Crkviste (ruins of a church).
GRKAJE (Leposavic): univestigated remains of an old church.
GRMOVO (Vitina): a church existed in the village (priest mentioned in the Turkish census of 1455).
GRNCAR (Vitina): 1. village church of St Nicholas constructed on the foundations of an old in all likelihood monastic church; 2. ruins of the church of St Paraskeve, above the village, 3. ruins of an old fortress, called Staro Gradiste or Kaleja, above the village; 4. shrine from the pagan epoch and late antiquity, and, as it appears, a Christian cell – hemmitage, in the cave above the village.
GULIJE (Leposavic): small village church, south-east of the village.
GUMNISTE (Vucitm): ruins of rwo churches, in the mahalas of Zekej and Memetej, an old cemetery situated on the site called Ulica.
GUNCATE (Malisevo): in the mill-19C, remains of a former church and of an old graveyard still existed.
GUSICA (Vitina): old church with a graveyard formerly existed.


HOCA ZAGRADSKA (in the Middle Ages Hodca beneath Cviljen Prizren): 1. remains of the church of St Nicholas (mentioned in notes from the 16C and 17C) recorded in the 19C.
HRTICA (in the Middle Ages Rtica, Podujevo): remains of the church of St Cyrill and Methodios, with an old graveyard, in Donja Hrtica.


IBARSKO POSTENJE (Leposavic): remains of a church on the his called Crkvine (ruins of a church).
IGLAREVO (Klina): old church (a village priest mentioned in the 15C) and a graveyard existed.
ISTINIC (Decame): 1. monastery of St Symeon, mentioned in 1485, 2. ruins of the church of St Elijah, registered in the 19C; 3. so-called “Obaljena” (“Pulled down”) church, mentioned in the 19C, 4. in the first half of the 20C, old Serbian tombstones could still be seen in the present-day Albanian cemetery.
ISTOK: 1. remains of an ancient church, in the old graveyard, on the site called Crkvine (ruins of a church); 2. church of St Peter and Paul, erected in 1929; 3. Gorioc monastery with the old church of St Nicholas (according to tradition, dating from the 14C, repeatedly restored).
IVAJA (in the Middle Ages Ivanje, Kacanik): ruins of a church (of St Demetrios?), on the site called Crkva (Church).
IZBICE (Srbica): the church of the Ascention in “Isbinac” known from historical sources, probably located in the vicinity of the village.



JABLANICA (Djakovica): ruins of a church and a graveyard noted down in 1868.
JABUKA (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): remains of an ancient church and graveyard dating from the Late Middle Ages.
JANCISTE (Malisevo): in 1879, a graveyard with the remains of a former church still existed un the village.
JANJEVO (Lipljan): 1. church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel mentioned in the Plakaonicka mahala in 1548; 2. church of the Annuciation mentioned in the Sopotska mahala in 1581; 3. on the foundations of the old church of St Nicholas (with frescoes and old inscriptions) a Catholic church was erected in the 19C.
JARINJE (Leposavic): remains of an old church and graveyard in the hamlet of Mijatovici; several specimens of old village houses typical of the area at the foot of Mt Kopaonik.
JASENOVIK (Pristina): a church existed in the 15C; today there are rwo old graveyards and the ruins of rwo churches: in Beli Breg and near the hamlet of Filipovci (dedicated to the Virgin).
JAZINCE (Urosevac) I church of St Paraskeve erected on the site of the former log-cabin church 2. the site called Crkvine (ruins of a church) (near the present-day school), on which an old church formerly stood.
JELAKCE (in the Middle Ages Jelasci Leposavic): remains of an old church near the hamlet of Strzin – perhaps the church of the Archangel Michael, erected by the Archbishop Danilo II (1324-1337).
JELOVAC (Klina): a church existed in the 15C; the remains of the church of St Paraskeve have survived in the graveyard and the ruins of another church on the hill called Celije (Cells).
JESKOVO (in the Middle Ages Elhovev or Elhovo, Prizren): in the 14C, the church of St Nicholas was situated in the neighbourhood of the village.
JEZERCE (Urosevac): 1. church of St Elijah, once situated on the site called Crkvena Livada (Church Meadow); 2. church of St Uros, constructed in the 19C on the site of the large temple dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin; 3. ruins of a church in the hamlet called Prorok, on the Rid ridge.
JOSANICA (in the Middle Ages Jelsanica, Klina): remains of a church (of the Holy Saviour?) with whose material the mosque in the village of Lesan (Pec) was constructed in the 19C.
JOSANICA (in the Middle Ages Jelsanica, Leposavic): remains of the old church of the Resurrection in the village graveyard and 4 roadside tombstones from the beginning of the 20C.
JUNIK (Decane): old ruins of a church and a graveyrad in the Stepan-mahala.


KABAS (formerly Grm, Vitina): demolished church, formerly situated near the village; the old graveyard has been plowed.
KABAS HAS (Prizren): remains of a medieval fortress with massive oval walls and a church in its centre, on the his called Dubovi Sv Djordja (Oaks of St George).
KABAS KORISKI (formerly St Peter, Prizren): 1. hermitage and monastery of St Peter of Korisa with the remains of three layers of frescoes from the 13C and the 14C; 2. foundations of the church of the Virgin next to the hermitage; 3. remains of a church with a crypt in the Luka-mahala; 4. unascertained remains of another church in the Luka-mahala, known from tradition; 5. ruins of the Graveyard church (remains of frescoes with Cyrillic inscriptions); next to the church was a cemetery with tombstones from the 15C and 16C, used for the construction of boundary lines between estates; 6. walls of a massive tower or a bell tower, on the hill of Cuklja.
KACIKOL (Pristina): remains of an old church and a graveyard in the mahala of Limonovic.
KAJKOVO (in the Middle Ages Kaikovo, Leposavic): remains of an old graveyard church.
KALICANE (Istok): an old church formerly existed; slabs fmm the church of Studenica Hvostanska were incorporated into the walls of the village mosque.
KALUDRA (in Kolasm upon the Ibar): 1. old graveyard and the ruins of a church in the hamlet of Velika Kaludra; 2. another old graveyard, in Mala Kaludra.
KAMENICA (Leposavic): remains of an old church with a dommitory, bell-tower and small graveyard.
KARACE (Vucitrn): mycrotoponym “Crkva” (Church).
KARACICA (Lipljan): a Serbian church existed in the 15C, as it appears, in the present-day locality called “Crkva” (Church).
KARASINDJERDJ (Prizren): old church of St George, after which the village was named, probably situated on the site called Crkvene Njive (Church Fields). Today this site is occupied by the memorial chapel of the Franciscan Stefan Djecovija.
KARMIL, KARMEL: unascertained monastery with the church of St Elijah from the 14C (built by the Serbian Patnarch Joanikije); registered in a 15th-century census as situated somewhere “in the nachye of Pec”.
KASICA (Istok): 1. remains of an old church, in Brdo Malisica; 2. foundations of a church and an old graveyard (north of the village).
KIJEVCICE (in the Middle Ages also Doljani, Leposavic): ruins of a former church (above the counfluence of the Crnilovica stream), an old water mill (on the stream), and an old graveyard.
KIJEVO (Klina): old church of St Nicholas from the 16C, perhaps even from the 14C, the narthex, added at a later date, was painted in 1602/3; the bell-tower. Dates from the 19C.
KISELA BANJA (Podujevo): remains of an old church on the site called Miloseva Crkva (Milos’s Church).
KISNA REKA (Glogovac): foundations of an old church, on the his above the village.
KLADERNICA (Srbica): microtoponyms “Crkveni Do” (Church Valley) and “Srpsko Groblje” (Serbian Cemetery).
KLECKA (Lipljam): a church existed in the 15C (the surviving toponym “Crkveni Do” (Church Valley).
KLINA 1. remains of the church of the Presentation of the Virgin in the nothern part of the village; the old and new cemetery located in proximity; 2. ruins of a former church were formerly situated in the village, in the clearing called Vakaf.
KLINAVAC (Klina): remains of the church of St. Paraskeve in the village graveyard.
KLOBUKAR (Pristina) ruins of an old church on the site called Crkviste (ruins of a church), and the remains of the slag ground of a medieval mine (Novo Brdo).
KLOKOT (Vitina): 1. demolished church of St Nicholas in the village 2. Crkveni Lugovi (Church Groves) with the site called Lugovska Crkva (Grove Church) near the village; 3 traces of the old settlement called Vrban-grad, 4. old graveyard, formerly situated in the so-called Seliste (remains of a village); 5. archaeological remains of a large Roman settlement.
KLOPOTNIK: ruins of the medieval fortress called Klopotnik, with the remains of a church and a suburb on the hill of the same name between the villages of Ugljar and Dobrosevina.
KMETOVCE (Gnjilane): ruins of the monastery and church of St Demetrios (St Barbara) from the 14C with the fray meets of frescoes; next to the church is a very old cemetery.
KOBILJA GLAVA (in Kolaxin upon the Ibar): old cemetery.
KOJLOVICA (Pristina): an old graveyard in the village amd the remains of the old church of St Elijah, not far from the village.
KOLIC (Pristina): a church existed once.
KOLO (Vucittn): church of St Mark registered in the 15C (erected by Olivera Balsic in the 14C). The remains of two churches exist today: in the Rasevacki stream and in Klisura.
KOLOLEC (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): old graveyard and an old church.
KOMORANE (Glogovac): locality “Crkveni Lugovi” (Church Groves); an old Serbian cemetery situated next to the village.
KONJUH (Lipljan): old graveyard.
KOPORICE (Leposavic): the village had churches as early as the 14C, nowadays their remains are found on the hill called Mali Krst (Small Cross) and in the hamlet of Zavrata (Modri Mel) an old graveyard stands on the site called Dub and the ruins of an ancient town are on the hill of Straznik; remains of an old mining settlement have also survived.
KOPRIVNICA (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): a village church existed in the 15C; the remains of an old church and abandoned graveyard stand near the hill of Sitak, while the ruins of an old fortress are on the hill.
KORBULIC (Kacanik): an old church was situated in the wood, on the site called Crkva (Church), and an old graveyard on the site called Kljuc.
KORENICA (Djakovica): old ruins, probably of a church.
KORETIN (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): a Slavic archaeological site (9-1 IC).
KORETISTE, KURETISTE (Gnjilane): remains of the church of the Virgin, in the pan of the village called Seliste (remains of a village); an old graveyard (Kane’s graveyard) located near the village, and an abandoned medieval mine situated on the Glam hill.
KORISA (Prizren): 1. remains of the church of St Peter erected before 1343 (with the fragments of 14th-century frescoes); restored several times, for it was demolished in 1885 (the mosque in Korisa built with its stone remains), then in 1915-1918 and in 1941; 2. remains of the church of St Nicholas on the slopes of Gradiste (demolished fortress) 3. ruins of the church of St George (14C) with the fragments of frescoes, in the village graveyard, 3. church of the Intercession of the Virgin with the fragments of murals from the 16-17C, riddled with bullets, in the hamlet of Vrelo; 5. remains of the fortified monastery of Muzljak (with the fragments of frescoes), abandoned in the 17C, above the hamlet of Muzljak; 6 monastery of St Mark of Korisa from 1467, restored in the 17C; in 1915, the Albanians devastated it and murdered the monks; the restored monastery was plundered in 1941, now restored again 7. hermitage of St Mark of Korisa, on the hill above the monastery.
KOSIN (Urosevac): remains of a church in the hamlet of Seliste.
KOSMACA (Glogovac): the mountain on which the tums of a fortress are situated, as well as those of a church, or, according to tradition, the Jezevica monastery, King Milutin’s foundation.
KOSORIC (in the Middle Ages Kosorici, Pec): remains of an old graveyard.
KOSOVCE, KOSOVCI (Dragas): locality “Crkva” (Church) in the meadows testifies to the existence of an old church.
KOSOVO POLJE: church of St Nicholas erected in 1940 on the foundations of an older ecclesiastical structure.
KOSOVSKA KAMENICA: 1. ruins of an ancient fortress, in all likelihood Prizrenac, on the Kuline hill ruins of an old church are beneath it; 2. new church, erected at the beginning of the 20C on the foundations of an older one, in the town: surrounded by an old graveyard.
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA: 1. church of St Demetrios (14C) stood at the foot of Mali Zvecan: 2. church of St Sava (the end of the 19C), 3. traces of an old small church in today’s graveyard, on the road to Pristina, according to unconftrmed data, the church of St Elijah was situated in the southem part of the town.
KOSTADINCE (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo) remains of an older Serbian village (devastated by the Turks in the mid 19C) and traces of an old cemetery on the site called Grobiste.
KOSTIN POTOK (Leposavic): remains of an old church and an old graveyard.
KOSTRC (Srbica): traces of two small medieval churches and a medieval graveyard.
KOSTRCE (in the Middle Ages Kostrc Suva Reka): the Byzantine and Serbian medieval fortress of Kostrc formerly overlooked the present-day village.
KOS (Istok): of two churches (according to tradition dedicated to the Virgin and St Nicholas), only the ruins have survived – one in the Obradovic mahala, near the neglected “Selarevic” graveyard, and the other in the village cemetery (a more recent church erected over it). The traces of foundations (according to tradition a monastery) can be found on the site called Devicak. The new church of the Holy Prince Lazar was constructed in the centre of the village in 1969.
KOSARE (Urosevac): old necropolis called Srpsko Groblje (Serbian Graveyard).
KOSTANJEVO (Urosevac): ruins of a church by the present day mosque, on the site called Crkva (Church); in the 19C the church of st Peter was situated near the village.
KOSUTOVO (K. Mitrovica): ruins of a church existed in the locality called Crkva (Church).
KOSUTOVO (Leposavic): according to unconfirmed data, the traces of the remains of a church and a graveyard exist there.
KOTLINA (Kacanik): foundations of a medieval church and several Orthodox tombs uncovered on the ute of the presentday mosque.
KOTORE (Srbica): microtoponyms “Crkva” (Church) and “Crkveni Do” (Church Valley) have preserved the memory of the destroyed church.
KOVACEVAC (Kacanik): ruins of an old church formerly existed.
KOVACICA (K. Mitrovica): remains of a former church on the site called Crkvena Livada (Church Meadow).
KOZNIK (Orahovac): ruins of a modestly sized church surrounded by walls (probably a fortified monastery in the past).
KPUZ (formerly Kupusce, Klina): 1. remains of an old church and an old graveyard on the hill of Dolinci 2. ruins of a church (west of the village) whose stone fragments were used for marking boundaries between estates.
KRAJISTE (Lipljan): remains of the monastic church of the Holy Anargyroi in the Serbian cemetery (mentioned in 15th century documents), demolished by Jasar-Pasha Dzanic in the 19C.
KRAJNI DEL (formerly Kranidol, Knva Reka near Novo Brdo): monastery of St Luke mentioned in the 15C and the 16C today there is the locality “Srpsko Groblje” (Serbian Graveyard; the traces of an old settlement exist on the site called “Seliste” (remains of a village).
KRALJANE (Djakovica): remains of an old fortress and a church with a small graveyard situated on the hill near the village (according to tradition, it was a large royal town with the church of St John the Baptist).
KRASMIROVAC (Srbica): locality “Srbinov Grob” (the Serb’s Grave), probably occupied by a graveyard once.
KRAVASARIJA, KRAVOSERIJA (Malisevo): ruins of a church upon which a primary school building was erected after 1945.
KREMENATA (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): remains of an old church and graveyard on the site of a former settlement (not far from the present-day Serbian cemetery) the remains of the medieval mine of Ce’ovi are located in the vicinity of the village.
KRILJEVO (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): ruins of an old church on the site called Crkva (Church).
KRNJINA (Istok): old graveyard, formerly with a church, on the hill above the village the localities “Kod Crkve” (By the Church) and “Crkviste” (i.e. ruins of a church) exist in the village.
KRNJINCE (Klina): church of St George, with a graveyard demolished in the second half of the 19C.
KRPIMEJ (Podujevo): 1. church of St Peter and Paul on the Kraljevica hill, erected upon the foundations of an older, according to tradition medieval, religious building 2. remains of medieval walls unearthed in the village, probably belonging to an ecclesiastical sttucture.
KRSTAC (Dragas) 1. ruins of the church of St Panteleimon, on the Pantelevac hill in Veliki Krstac 2. remains of a church on the Djula hill 3. remains of a former church and an old graveyard in Mali Krstac, on the site called Rudina.
KRUSEVAC (Srbica): in the 13C, the churches of St Bartholomew and St Elijah were situated near the village (unascertained).
KRUSEVICA (Podujevo): a 15th-century written source indicates that a monastery may have existed in the village or its surroumdings.
KUCICA (Srbica): the mill-19C recorded the ruins of two churches today a microtoponym survives indicating that a graveyard also existed once.
KUKULJANE, KUKOLJANE (Dragas) : microtoponym “Crkva” (Church) survives.
KUTNJE (Leposavic): ruins of the Kutna church, on the his by the Ibar river.
KUZMIKAN, KUZMICANI, KOZMEKAN: an unscenained monastery in “the nachye of Pec” (mentioned in the Turkish censuses from the 15C and the 16C).
KUZMIN (in the Middle Ages Kuzmino, Pristina): ruins of an old church and an old graveyard.
KRVENIK (in the Middle Ages Pokrivenik, Kacanik): ruins of the so-called Staro Selo with the remains of a church (the village burned down by the Turks in 1690).


LABLJANE (Pec): nor far from the village stands the ancient oak-tree next to which the Patriarch Atsenije III gathered the Serbs who escaped from the Turks in 1690 and started the Great Migration to the north. An old graveyard, and perhaps the old ruins of a former church was situated next to the oak.
LABLJANE (Pristina): old cemetery.
LABUCEVO (Orahovac): anchoritic cave-dwellings the so called Uljarice north east of the village, in the ravine above the cascades of the Mirusa river – 1. the large rock-cut church from the 14C restored in the 16C, with the fragments of medieval ceramics, glass and frescoes, 2. small rock cut dwelling (the remains of frescoes completely destroyed by Albanian shepherds).
LAJCIC, LEJACIC (in the Middle Ages Leocic, Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): ruins of an old church and an old graveyard formerly existed.
LANDOVICA (in the Middle Ages Lutovica, Prizren): the 19C recorded the remains of the church of St Catherine and an old graveyard in Nemislje.
LAPLJE SELO (in the Middle Ages Ljapov, Pristina): church of St Paraskeve, tecently erected upon the remains of an older church (village priests mentioned as early as the 15C).
LAUSA (in the Middle Ages Lovisa, Srbica): 1. medieval monastery of Devic, restored several times, with the complex of churches dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin, St Joanikios and St George. In 1941 destroyed by the Albanian nationalists. The monastery reconstruction, in whose ruins frescoes from the 15C, 16C and 19C were umcovered, commenced in 1950. 2. hemmitage of St loannikios of Devic, on the hill north of the monastery, demolished in 1941 3. medieval cemetery called Groblje Srba (Graveyard of the Serbs), in the village.
LEOCINA (in the Middle Ages Lel’cino, Srbica): 1. church of St John from the 14C completely reconstructed in the 16C, widh the remains of frescoes (16C): next to it stretches a large graveyard with stone crosses from the 17C the 18C and the 19C 2. remains of the so-called Kaludjerska (Monks’) church (of the Transfiguration) ( 14C).
LEPINA (Lipljan): church existed in the 15C old ruins of a church and an old graveyard survive.
LEPOSAVIC 1. remains of the church of the Dormition of the Virgin, by the graveyard 2. remains of the church dedicated to the Palm Sunday, in the part of the settlement called Ulije 3. church of the Crucifiction, constructed in 1935 on the foundations of an older church, on the Gradac hill.
LESKOVAC (in the Middle Ages Leskovec, Klina): an old church existed (the traces of which have perished)
LESKOVCIC (Pristina): old graveyard.
LESKOVEC (Prizren): the site formerly occupied by an old graveyard.
LESAK (in the Middle Ages Ljes’k, Leposavic): 1. church of the Dormition of the Virgin, erected in recent times on the foundations of an older church: 2 “Borjani” church in the hamlet of Kamen 3. old graveyard in the hamlet of Vrujci, on the Okruglica hill, 4. drinking foumtain called Sulender in the hamlet of Vrujci earthen pipes brought water to it even in the Middle Ages.
LESANE (Suva Reka): remains of the church dedicated to St Kyriake.
LESNICA (Podujevo): a church existed (a village priest mentioned as early as the 15C).
LESTANE (Dragas): in 1861, the ruins of a church were recorded to have existed in the village.
LESTAR, LJESTAR (in the Middle Ages Lestije, Knva Reka near Novo Brdo): remains of two demolished churches – on the site called Manastir (Monastery) and the present-day cemetary.
LETNICA (Vitina): new church of the Virgin erected in 1934 on the foundations of the Catholic church from 1584 (restored in the 19C), treasuring two wooden statues from the 16/17C.
LIPLJAN 1. church of the Presentation of the Virgin from the 14C (reconstructed and expanded in the 16C) with frescoes from the 14C and 16/17C beneath the church foundations, the remains of two Florus basilicas have been uncovered 2. church of SS Florus and Laurus, recently constructed.
LIPOVAC (Djakovica): a church probably existed on the site called Crkvena Stena (Church Rock), above the village.
LIPOVCI (Gnjilane): ruins of the old church of St Paraskeve and an old graveyard, in the village; the remains of an older settlement near the village.
LIPOVICA (K. Mitrovica): the remains of an old, small church and an old cemetery.
LIPOVICA (in the Middle Ages Lipovci, Lipljan): a church formerly existed (suggested by a reference to a village priest in a 15th-century source and a microtoponym).
LISICA (K. Mitrovica): locality called “Staro Gorblje” (Old Graveyard) and the ruins of an old church.
LISOCKA (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): traces of an old cemetery, on the site called Jovanovo Groblje (Jovan’s graveyard); the ruins of an old Serbian church are situated next to it.
LIVACE (in the Middle Ages Livadije, Lipljan): church of St Gregory the Theologos erected in 1935 on the site of an old graveyard church, demolished to the order of the Turks.
LIZICA (Pec): according to historical sources, in this place (unascertained) the Archbishop Nikodim (1317-1324) constructed the church of St Sava, adorned by his successor Danilo II.
LOCANE (Decane): remains of a church existed until the end of the 19C an old cemetery and a village log-cabin (one of the oldest in Serbia) have survived.
LOKVICE (Prizren): 1. ruins of the church of the Holy Archangels ( 14C); 2. ruins of the church of St John or St George (16C); 3. church of St Elijah, erected in 1866 on the foundations of an older church; 4. old cemetery.
LOVAC (in the Middle Ages Lovac Potok K. Mitrovica): old graveyard with the ruins of a former church.
LOVCE (Gnjilane): two demolished churches used to exist; at present, there is only the locality called Crkveno Brdo (Church Hill).
LUCKA RIJEKA (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): 1. church from more recent times built upon the foundations of an older religous building; 2. ruins of an old, small-sized church, in Prijeselo, in the old graveyard; 3. old graveyard in Prljevo.
LUKA (Decane): remains of a church and an old graveyard noted in the 19C.
LUKARE (Pristina): it is known where the sites of the ruins of a church and an old graveyard were located.
LUKINAJ, LUKINJE (Pristina): ruins of a church (according ro tradition, of St Luke) on the site called Crkveni Do (Church Valley).
LUZANE (Podujevo): 1. medieval monasrery of St Nicholas, known from sources (unascertained); 2. Pasha’s mill, built with the stone remains of the Serbian churches in the villages of Burince and Bradas


LJESANE (Pec): after expelling the Serbs in the 19C, Hadzi Zeka, an Albanian, erected a mosque in the village making use of the stone and marble columns taken from the vast church of the Holy Saviour in the village of Josanica.
LJEVOSA (Pec): 1. remains of the church of St Nicholas, on Tavor 2. remains of the church of St George “in Zdrelnik” (before 1411); 3. remains of the church of St Demetrios (14C) with the traces of frescoes featunng Cyrillic letters in Meta’s meadow; 4. remains of the church of the Birth of St John the Baptist on the site called Crkvine (Ruins of a Church); 5. remains of the church of the Holy Archangels in the village, 6. remains of the church of St Symeon the Myrrobletos; 7. monastic bell-tower on the Idvorac hill; 8. old graveyard above Savo’s meadow 9. remains of the medieval fortress of Zdrelo, at the entrance ro the Rugovska ravine; 10. Kuzmica Pestera (the Kuzmics’ Caves), a rock-cut dwelling west of the village; 11. according to tradition, the residence of a Patriarch of Pec was formerly situated in the hamlet of Krstelan.
LJUBENIC (Pec): old and new cemetery.
LJUBICEVO (Prizren): a written source from 1348 makes mention of the church of st Nicholas (unascertained).
LJUBIZDA (in the Middle Ages Ljubiznja, Malisevo): 1. remains of a former church in the centre of the village in the locality called “Kod Crkve” (by the Church); 2. remains of a structure, probably religious, and several graves, on the Ljubizdanski peak.
LJUBIZDA (in the Middle Ages Ljubiznja, Prizren): 1. church of St Nicholas from the 16C, restored and painted in 1867 2. ruins of the church of the Holy Saviour (the surviving Royal Doors dating from the 16C) upon which apartment houses have been recently constructed; 3. ruins of the church of St Paraskeve on the right bank of the Ljubizdanska river 4. remains of the church of St John (the surviving Royal Doors from the 16C) on the hill above the village 5. remains of the church of St Kyriake, near the village drinking fountain 6. remains of the church of St Kyriake in the hamlet of St John; 7. remains of the church of St Nicholas, in the hamlet of St John; 8. remains of the church of the Holy Anargyroi, in the hamlet of Todosici; 9. new church of St Elijah, in the Serbian cemetery, erected on the remains of an older church dedicated to the same saint 10. remains of the church of the Holy Archangels, in the yard of the present-day mosque; 11. remains of the church of St George near the Cooperative centre.
LJUBIZDA HAS (Prizren): a church existed, perhaps on the site called Grobovi (Tombs).
LJUBOVAC (in the Middle Ages Ljubonce, Srbica): old and new cemetery of the expelled Serbs.
LJUBOVISTE (in the Middle Ages Ljubovici Dragas): according to tradition, the village had nine churches; the remains of only one, allegedly monastic, church have survived on the site called Dub.
LJUBOVO (Istok): 1. church of St Basil of Ostrog built in 1939; 2. traces of an old graveyard, on the site called) Markov Cer (Marko’s Oak).
LJUBOZDA (in the Middle Ages Ljubosta Istok): 1. foundations of a church (with the fragments of frescoes) and a dormitory, in the village 2. remains of a church and an old graveyard in the present-day graveyard; 3. remains of an old town-fortress, on the hill called Gradina.
LJUBUSA (in the Middle Ages Streoce, Decane): in 1854 the ruins of the church of Sr Elijah were seen by A. Boue in the village.
LJUMBARDA, LJUBARDA (Decane): ruins of an old church and a modest-sized cemetery recorded in the 19C.
LJUSTA (in the Middle Ages Ljustica K. Mitrovica): remains of a small, old church, below the hill in the village.
LJUTOGLAV (Prizren): old cemetery.
LJUTOGLAVA (Pec): 1. ruins of an old church formerly stood in the graveyard; 2. remains of an ancient town (mentioned in 1220), on the hill above the village.


MACITEVO (Suva Reka): ruins of an old church in the centre of the village, and an old graveyard.
MADJERA (K. Mitrovica): a microtoponym testifies that a church existed in the village.
MAJANCE (in the Middle Ages Mojanovce, Podujevo): a church existed in the 15C.
MAJDEVO (Leposavic): walls of an old church in the village, and the remains of a fortified structure on the site called Kuline.
MAKOVAC (Pristina): microtoponyms “Crkvene Njive” (Church Fields) and “Crkveni Do” (Church Valley) bear witness to the existence of a church before the Albanians settled here.
MALA SLATINA (Pristina): microtoponym “Crkva” (Church) and the Serbian graveyard formerly existed in the village.
MALI DJURDJEVIK (Klina): old graveyard and the ruins of an old church.
MALI GODEN (Gnjilane): the Albanians that settled in 1780 found a dilapidated Serbian church and an old well which still exists today
MALISEVO (formerly Malesevo, Gnjilane): a church and an abandoned old graveyard were situated by the Vlajkovac stream.
MALO KRUSEVO (Klina): remains of the church of the Virgin Amolyntos and an old cemetery.
MALOPOLJCE (Urosevac): 1. three localities bearing the name “Crkva” (Church) exist today in the village whose priest is mentioned in the 15C 2. walls of a demolished church on the ridge called Pokvarena Crkva (Ruined Church) (Rid).
MALO ROPOTOVO (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): old and abandoned church of St Nicholas, on the hill outside the village.
MAMUSA (in the Middle Ages Momusa, Prizren): clocktower (1815) in the yard of the mosque its bell was taken from a Smederevo church and brought as a booty by Mahmud-Pasha Rotul.
MANASTIRCE (Urosevac): a church (Drenkova Church) and a monastery existed in the 15C and 16C, the ruins of the latter have survived (on the site called Vrelo).
MANASTIRICA (Prizren): a church stood on the hill, northeast of the village (its traces have disappeared).
MANISINCE (Pristina): 1. traces of an old settlement and a church in the part of the village called Seliste (i.e. remains of a village); an old cemetery.
MAREVCE (in the Middle Ages Maroevci, Pristina): 1. ruins of a church by the Kukavicka river 2. remains of a church by the Modri stream; 3 ruins of a church in Klokoc; 4. demolished church in the settlement called Niksino Kolo (whose priest is mentioned in a note from the 16C); 5. remains of ore processing facilities from the Middle Ages.
MARINA (Srbica): written sources from the 15C and 16C testify to the former existence of a church.
MARMULE (Djakovica): ruins of a church and an old cemetery registered in the 19C; the remains of an old church and a graveyard can be discerned on the Rezina hillock above the village; another old graveyard located at the entrance to the village.
MATICA (K. Mitrovica): traces of the old ruins of a church and a graveyard.
MATICANE (Pristina): 1.1arge 10th-century necropolis, belonging ro the so-called Belobrdska Slavic culture; 2. old and abandoned graveyard.
MAZAP (in the Middle Ages Mihozub, Podujevo): old graveyard.
MAZGIT (Pristina): 1. memorial turbeh to the Turkish Sultan Murad I on the site where he was murdered by a Serbian nobleman (Milos Obilic) during the battle of Kosovo in 1389; 2 Marble Column (destroyed) erecred by the Despot Stefan Lazarevic on the site of the battle of Kosovo; the text written on the column, dedicated to the Serbian warriors, has survived in copies 3. monument to the legendary Serbian hero Milos Obilic, destroyed by the Albanian nationalists in 1941.
MAZNIK (Decane) ruins of a church and the remains of a graveyard recorded in the 19C.
MAZIC (K. Mitrovica): 1. ruins of an old church in the village; 2 ruins of two churches formerly situated on the site called Stara Trepca, in the village area, 3. ruins of the oldest mosque in Kosovo (15-16C).
MEDREGOVAC (in the Middle Ages Milidrugovce, Podujevo): Serbian cemetery.
MEDVECE (Lipljan): old graveyard.
MEDJEDJI POTOK (in Kolasin upon the Ibar): 1. ruins of a former church and an old graveyard in the hamlet of Krivcevici; 2. old graveyard in the hamlet of Kopilovici; 3. old graveyard called Grobljiste, above the Cukica mahala.
MELJENICA (K. Mitrovica): microtoponym “Kod Crkve” (By the Church) points to the site of a former ecclesiastical structure.
MESINA (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): 1. ruins of a church on the sire called Svilas, 2. walls of a Serbian church in the graveyard, in the hamlet of Potok.
METOHIJA (Podujevo): remains of an old church on the site called “Crkva” (Church) in the village whose priests are mentioned in the 15C; another church was situated in the village cemetery, in the Donja Metohija mahala.
MIGANOVCE (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): old ruins of a church and an old graveyard.
MIJALIC (Vucitrn): ruins of rwo churches – in the hamlet of Topal-Mihalic and by the Church stream.
MILANOVIC (Malisevo): microtoponym “Crkviste” (Ruins of a Church).
MILJAJ, MILA (in the Middle Ages Milista Prizren): ruins of a church recorded on the Kulin hill near the village, in the 19C.
MIOKOVICE (Leposavi6): old ruins of a church and a graveyard; two water-mills on the stream.
MIRUSA (Malisevo): church treasuring a collection of medieval manuscripts formerly existed; the foundations of a church were situated in the vicinity of the village on the site called “Kod Crkvenog Cera” (By the Church Oak).
MLECANE (formerly Mlecani, Klina): church of St Nicholas (called St Paraskeve) with frescoes from 1601/2, in the graveyard on the hill above the village.
MLIKE (Dragas): foundations of a church recorded in the 19C; the ruins of a former church and an old cemetery presently situated in the hamlet of Djurdjevica.
MOCARE (K. Kamenica): ruins of the monastery of Ubozac (Rdjavac) from the first half of the 14C, with the church dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin surviving fragments of frescoes.
MOGILA (Vitina): church of St Theodore on the hill in the centre of the village; the old cemetery near the village has been plowed.
MOGLICA (Djakovica): ruins of an old church in today’s Catholic cemetery; microtoponym “Pusto” or “Svadbarsko Groblje” (Deserted or Wedding Guests’ Graveyard).
MOJSTIR (Istok): two churches existed – in the present-day hamlet of Staro Selo, on the site called Crkviste (Ruins of a Church), and in the cemetery situated in the village.
MOKRI DOL: unascertained monastery, somewhere in the vicinity of Pec (mentioned in Turkish census from 1485 and the 16C).
MONASTERY OF ST PETER AND PAUL: unascertained monastery, formerly belonging to Vucitrn, mentioned in a 16th-century Turkish census.
MORINA (in the Middle Ages Homorje, Djakovica): historical sources indicate that a church might have existed there.
MOSINCE (Leposavic): old ruins of a church and a graveyard.
MOVLJANE (in the Middle Ages Muhovljani, Suva Reka): ruins of an old church and an old cemetery.
MRAMOR (Pristina): two churches existed – on the site called Ljog, and the site called Manastir (Monastery) (the latter probably monastic).
MUCIVORCE, MUCIVRCE (Kriva Reka near Novo Brdo): a priest mentioned in the village as early as the 15C at present, the ruins of a Serbian church and an old Serbian graveyard are situated in it.
MURGA (Srbica): remains of an old church.
MURGULA (Podujevo): a church existed in the 15C.
MUSNIKOVO (Prizren): 1. church of St Peter and Paul with frescoes from 1563/64 erected, according to tradition, upon the foundations of a 14th-century church 2. church of St Nicholas in the graveyard, erected and painted in the second half of the 16C, with icons from the 17C.
MUSUTISTE (Suva Reka): 1. church of the Virgin Hodeghetria, erected in 1315 and frescoed soon afterwards; apart from the remains of frescoes, the church is embellished with two icons frnm 1603; 2 remains of the church of St Nicholas in the Upper mahala; 3. small church of the Holy Saviour in the Meciceva mahala- 4. church of St Symeon (mentioned in 1326) which has perished; 5. remains of the church of the Holy Archangel Michael in Pasha’s mahala; 6. ruins of the church of St Nicholas in Pasha s (Golema) mahala; 7. remains of the church of St Athanasios in Pashas mahala; 8. remains of the church of St George in the Kovaceviceva mahala on the site called Mijovac; 9. church of St Paraskeve, west of the village 10. ruins of a church beneath the Bolovan mountain ridge, on the site called Carevac; 11. monastery of the Holy Trinity – Rusinica (the 14C 16C) 12. Rusinica hermitage (in all probability, from the 14C), above the monastery; 13. Matoske hermitages, by the spring of the Matoski stream; 14. Iocality called “Gradac” with the remains of an old fortress upon which a hunting house has been recently erected (above the hermttages).
MUZEVINE (Istok): remains of an old church (completely perished).
MUZICANE (Urosevac): small church and an old graveyard near the village, on the site called Staro Selo.

Source: www.kosovo.net

9 Samodreza



Kosovo under Nazi Germany: Nazi-created Albanian security forces in Kosovo during the World War II

3. regrutacija za SS Skenderbeg diviziju Kosovo april 1944

Greater Albania under Nazi Germany

During World War II, 35,000 to 40,000 Kosovo Albanians were recruited by Nazi Germany as part of the German occupation forces and security formations in Greater Albania, a state created by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini that included Kosovo-Metohija, western Macedonia, and territory from Serbia and Montenegro. In Albania, there were 30,000 Albanians who were in the German occupation forces. In 1941, the German occupation forces created a Kosovo Albanian Gendarmerie with headquarters in Kosovska Mitrovica. In 1944, these forces were incorporated into the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division. In 1942, Balli Kombetar organization battalions were established by the German forces, which existed until 1945. In 1943, a Kosovo Regiment was created in Kosovska Mitrovica made up of Kosovo Albanians by German forces. In 1944, these troops were also incorporated into the Skanderbeg SS Division. The German forces also established the Pec and Pristina Territorial Police Regiments from 1944 to 1945. The Albanian Macedonian Militia was created in Macedonia in 1943-1945.

Most of the Albanian Nazi collaborationist forces were made up of Albanian Muslims from Kosovo-Metohija. The Nazi-created Gendarmerie, the special police, the paramilitary formations, the militias, and the Ushtars, Albanian security forces, were mostly from Kosovo-Metohija. It was only the Albanian Army that was made up of Albanians from Albania.

After the Italian surrender on September 8, 1943, the construction of a Nazi German Greater Albania began. This effort was led by Hermann Neubacher, and Franz von Scheiger and Martin Shliep of the German Foreign Ministry in Albania. Abwehr II or German Military Intelligence agents were also sent into Albania at this time. Three German divisions in the XXI Corps under General Hubert Lanz occupied Greater Albania. The 297th Infantry Division occupied Pristina and Prizren in Kosovo. The 100th Jaeger Division occupied Elbasan and Struga in western Macedonia. The 118th Jaeger Division advanced from Niksic and occupied the Albanian coastal areas.

Kosovo Albanian Muslim hodzas or Islamic clerics pray for Nazi occupation forces with Nazi swastika flags and Nazi-fascist officers, 1942.

The German plan to secure the occupation was based on Hermann Neubacher’s initiative to achieve “national mobilization”. Neubacher, who was from Austria, acted as the envoy of the German foreign ministry and was German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop’s representative in Albania.  This Nazi plan was to be realized by creating an Albanian Army that was led and organized by German forces. The Germans also sought to create an Albanian gendarmerie corps. They planned to arm and use certain Greater Albanian ultra-nationalist groups such as the Balli Kombetar. A Nazi Waffen SS Division in Kosovo made up of “Kosovar” Muslims was also created by Nazi Germany.

Neubacher’s military adjutant attached to Abwehr II, Captain Lange, sought to create an Albanian national militia of 30,000 which would be a reserve force. The Germans were able to find collaborators with the Roman Catholic Albanians in the Mirdita region of northern Albania. They had been collaborators with the fascist Italian forces and with the Austro-Hungarian forces in World War I. They were able to open the Prizren to Shkodra road for German forces. Gjon Marka Gjoni, the leader of the Roman Catholic Albanian Ghegs in the Mirdita, stated that: “The Germans have been my friends. To betray my friends is immoral.” They remained Nazi Germany’s closest allies. The Germans provided them with weapons and paid them for this collaboration.

Armed Albanian gendarmes or police under fascist-Nazi control walk in front of Nazi swastikas on walls above the fascist “V” symbol with a mosque in the background.

Another group the Germans collaborated with were the opportunistic Greater Albania ultra-nationalist Balli Kombetar (National Front), “Balisti” or “Balists”. The BK group was founded by Midhat Frasheri with the single objective of annexing Kosovo to a Greater or Ethnic Albania. The BK was the key collaborationist group with the Nazis in Kosovo. Bernd Fischer noted that “the Germans did win the cooperation of many BK cetas”. This disproves the pro-Albanian propagandistic historiography which seeks to portray the BK as anti-Nazi and anti-fascist. The key to the German occupation was making Kosovo-Metohija a part of Greater Albania. That was the linchpin of Nazi policy. As long as Nazi Germany supported Kosovo as a part of Greater Albania, they would have Albanian support.

The head of the Gestapo in Kosovska Mitrovica in northern Kosovo was Gunther Hausding. The Germans established Kosovo Albanian Gestapo agents who were part of the fascist Albanian Committee. Perijuc Mamut, Ramiz Mulic, and Osman Ibrahimovic were Kosovo Albanian agents of the Gestapo who seized and looted Jewish property and businesses in Kosovska Mitrovica. This followed an order by Dzafer Deva, the president of the Kosovska Mitrovica district, that Jewish property be seized and that commissioners be appointed by the Albanian Committee to oversee Jewish businesses. Ibrahimovic ordered the destruction of the Jewish synagogue.

Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Kosovo-Metohija place responsibility for the genocide against Jews in Kosovo on the fascist Kosovo Albanian Committee. The members were Rushid Mehmet, Sahsivar Alic, Husen Pristina, Tahir Kaldziu, Malus Kosova, and Sadik Galimuci. They incited the first and second waves of arrests of Jews in Kosovo-Metohija. Miljus Kosova was the president of the Albanian Kosovo Committee.  Dzemal-beg Ismail Kanli was the chief of police. Rashid Mehmed Ali was the president of the district. Rifat Sukri Ranadan, Jahnja Asan, and Mahmud Saban Pasic were also members of the Committee.

An Albanian fascist-Nazi Ushtar or gendarme escorting a group of Albanian Muslim hodzas or clerics. He is wearing the goat’s head Skanderbeg symbol on his cap, the emblem of the fascist-Nazi security forces in Greater Albania.

There were several internment or prison camps set up in the Albanian cities of Preza, Berat, Kavaja, Burrel, Lakosnik, Shijak, Elbasan, and Kruja, where Kosovo Serbs and Jews were sent. In April, 1942, 100 Jews from Pristina were transferred to the prison camp at Berat, while 79 were transferred to Preza. In July, 1942, 88 Jews were transferred from Pristina to the prison camps at Burrel, Kruja, and Kavaja in Albania. There were also prisons in Pristina and Kosovska Mitrovica. According to Fischer, of the 400 Kosovo Jews sent to Bergen-Belsen, about 100 survived.

Josip Josifovic, a Kosovo Jew, recalled the Albanian role in the Holocaust in Kosovo. He stated that “Albanians brought us more harm than the Germans did as occupiers.” He recalled that the Albanians interned the Kosovo Jews and sent them to the Berat prison in Albania in 1942. On their work documents the word “Jude” was stamped and they had to wear a yellow card.

An Albanian member of the Nazi German occupation militia forces in 1943, wearing fascist Italian uniform.

There is overwhelming evidence that proves the Balli Kombetar collaborated with the German forces. Based on NARS Microfilm T-501, Roll 258, Frame 000628, the Balli Kombetar “would be courted by the Germans and…they would throw their support on the German side.” The new Nazi-created government for Greater Albania gained the support of the BK. Steve Kane noted that “the remnants of the Balli Kombetar entered into open collaboration with the new government.”

All of the officers in the Albanian Fascist battalions were Italians while the NCOs were a mixture of Albanians and Italians. The 1st Legion was stationed in Tirana while the 2nd Legion was at Korce, the 3rd at Valona, and the 4th at Scutari. They were dissolved in 1943. They were battalion strength in size. Many of them were later incorporated in the German occupation forces. They wore Italian blouses, Italian helmets, and a collar tab described as a flame or Fiamme which showed a goat’s head. This was the goat’s head symbol of Skanderbeg. In the fascist Albanian Militia forces, members wore helmets with the goat’s head symbol over the “V” symbol, which was the emblem for fascism. Italian M33 helmets and captured French helmets were also used.

Gunther Hausding, the Gestapo chief in Kosovska Mitrovica.

The Albanian Gendarmerie and the civil administration welcomed the Nazi German occupation in 1943. Albanian Muslim hodzas or clerics were photographed in Islamic prayer services for the Nazi forces. They supported the Nazis because they would put them in control of Kosovo.

In September, 1943, the Germans sent the 100th Jaeger Division to occupy Tirana. This was the beginning of the German military occupation of Albania. The 92nd Independent Motorized Grenadier regiment was also sent. In September, 1943, the 181st Infantry Division, the 297th Infantry Division, and the 21st SS Division Skanderbeg were meant to garrison Albania.

In October, 1943, the Germans sent three Feldkommandanturen numbered 1030, 1039, and 1040. This was the beginning of the German attempt to create an Albanian Gendarmerie or police or security apparatus. These were sent to Tirana, the capital of Greater Albania, Prizren in Kosovo, and Struga in Macedonia. A German Plenipotentiary in Albania or DGA was created.  The post was given to Oberst Dr. Westphal, whose duty it was to coordinate German military moves in the country with those of the Albanian collaborationist civil and military authorities. The members of Albanian Gendarmerie were known as Ushtars and they wore collar tabs that were red while the uniform was green. The emblem on their caps was the goat’s head symbol of Skanderbeg which was worn in metallic.

General Gustav von Myrdacz, on right, the Austrian-born commander of the fascist-Nazi Albanian Army wearing a goat’s head Skanderbeg symbol on his cap walking in front of a fascist Albanian militia member. U.S. National Archives

An Albanian militia formation, wearing Italian uniforms, consisting of a battalion of 600-700 Albanian volunteers from Kosovo, was formed by Nazi Germany under Hermann Neubacher. Neubacher sought to use them to safeguard German lines of communication in Kosovo and Albania. The battalion was under the command of Albanian Lieutenant Colonel Adem Boletini. The Germans trained the battalion in Zemun, then part of the Nazi-created Ustasha NDH. Neubacher even contemplated having the battalion occupy Tirana. In September, 1943, the Germans redeployed the battalion to Tirana.

Dzafer Deva, the Kosovar Albanian Muslim Interior Minister of Greater Albania, redeployed 1,200 Albanian Gendarmes from Kosovska Mitrovica to Tirana in December, 1943. The SS Leader in Albania Josef Fitzthum was in control of the Albanian security forces, which were described as “a thoroughly undisciplined version of storm troopers.” These Nazi Kosovar storm troopers “ravaged the countryside”. It was an example of “Kosovar brutality”. The Germans provided 14,000 rifles and 425 machine guns and funds and supplies to the Kosovo Albanian security forces.

The Germans sought to create a Nazi-led Albanian gendarmerie force and an Albanian Army. General Gustav Fehn, the commander of the German XXIst Corps and SS Leader Fitzthum organized the formation of the Albanian Army. Heinrich Himmler had initially sent Fitzthum to Albania to provide expertise on security and police matters. Fitzthum had been born in Loiersdorf, Austria on September 14, 1896. He died in an auto accident on January 10, 1945 in Vienna. He had joined the SS in April, 1932. He had earlier commanded the SS Volunteer Legions “Flandern” and Niederlande”. In 1945, he was the commander of the 18th Volunteer Panzergrenadier SS Division “Horst Wessel”.

Inmates in the Preza internment camp in Albania where Kosovo Jews were interned, 1942.

Josef Fitzthum was the Higher SS and Police Leader in Albania, Hoherer SS und Polizei Fuehrer “Albanien”, with a headquarters in Tirana from August 1, 1944 to January 1, 1945. He had originally been the SS und Polizei Fuehrer “Albanien” from October, 1943 to August 1, 1944. He was also the Beauftragter des Reichsfuehrer SS fur Albanien, Heinrich Himmler’s representative in Albania, from October, 1943 to January 1, 1945.

The German plan was to create an Albanian Army consisting of 8,250 men. The Gendarmerie was to consist of 2,400 men.

Fitzthum, who had been an oberleutnant in the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I, planned to create an Albanian Waffen SS Division. This would be based on the Albanian Legion formed during World War I as part of the Austro-Hungarian Army. Himmler wanted to revive the Austro-Hungarian recruitment of Balkan Muslims from World War I. Bosnian Muslims, Albanian Muslims, and Sandzak Muslims had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I. Himmler, thus, strongly backed the creation of an Albanian SS Division. SS General Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the head of the SD, Neubacher, and the German Foreign Ministry in Albania, opposed the plan.

SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Talbot von Pistor, the supply officer of the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division.

In February, 1944, Adolf Hitler approved the formation of the Skanderbeg Division “because the Albanian government itself favored the plan” and because German occupation forces in Greater Albania needed more manpower. Bedri Pejani had even written Himmler personally to request that an Albanian Nazi SS Division be formed. According to Fischer, the “’Skanderbeg’ Division was to serve only in Kosova and was to protect ethnic Albania.” This is incorrect. The Skanderbeg Division was deployed to Kosovo, but also in Montenegro and Macedonia. The division became notorious for massacres of Kosovo Serbs. Fischer noted: “Units of the division gained an unenviable reputation, apparently preferring rape, pillage, and murder to fighting, primarily in Serbian areas.” According to Fischer, the Germans arrested Albanian officers in the SS Division at Pec and Prizren due to war crimes against Kosovo Serbs. Those arrested were sent to the Pristina prison and to incarceration in Germany. The Skanderbeg Division thus engaged in the genocide of Kosovo Serbs.

Troops in the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division.

The Final Solution in Kosovo

The Skanderbeg Division also contributed to the Final Solution, playing an important role in the genocide of Kosovo Jews. There was a Jewish presence in Kosovo. Based on 1931 population statistics for Yugoslavia, there were a total of 488 Jews in Kosovo-Metohija: 373 in Pristina, 109 in Kosovska Mitrovica, and 6 in Djakovica. In Pristina, the Beth Israel synagogue had been built in 1897. In Kosovo, the Skanderbeg Division rounded up the 281 Jews who were sent to the camp at Pristina and later to Bergen Belsen where they were killed.

The first operation of the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division was to round-up 400 Kosovo Jews in Pristina on May 14, 1944. From May to June, 1944, Skanderbeg rounded-up 519 Kosovo Serbs and Jews. Haim Solomon, a Kosovo Jew from Lipljan, described how he was apprehended by the Skanderbeg SS Division:

I was captured on May 14, 1944 by troops of the SS division “Skanderbeg” which was made up of Albanian soldiers, but whose officers were German. All of us in Lipljan were captured only after a few hours after the Jews of Pristina were rounded up. From Pristina we were transported to the prison in Kosovska Mitrovica where we stayed for three weeks.

August Schmidhuber, on left, the commander of the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division, leaving a hospital for wounded Waffen SS troops.

Solomon was sent to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. On April 23, 1945 he was freed by advancing Soviet troops when prisoners from the camp were transported by rail to Czechoslovakia.

Josip Levi, a Kosovo Jew from Pristina, recalled how he was captured by the Skanderbeg division:

They captured us on the night between May 13 and 14. The round-up of us Jews in 1944 in Pristina began in the night, exactly at midnight, and lasted until eight the next day…Our round-up was conducted by the SS division “Skanderbeg” which consisted of Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija, particularly from Drenica, but the officers were German. We were captured based on addresses which the Germans had received from the Albanian fascist civil administration. In Pristina we were put in a “G” wagon, a cattle wagon, and sent to the “Sajmisate” prison in Zemun, which was under the control of “SD” police, but where the Ustasha was in charge of the administration and security.

Levi was sent to Bergen Belsen. He survived and was able return to Pristina.

Genocide against Kosovo Serbs

The ethnic cleansing and genocide committed against the Kosovo Serbs is described by Bernd Fischer as follows:

The wholesale expulsion of Serbs by the Albanians created special problems for the occupation, however, since the Serbs had performed important functions in Kosova. The Serbs had run most of the businesses, the mills, the tanneries, and the public utilities. Once the Serbs had gone, there were no pharmacists in Kosova. Serbian peasants, somewhat more technologically progressive than their Albanian counterparts, were responsible for much of the surplus agricultural production for which Kosova was so useful.

Fascist Albanian Ushtar or gendarme wearing the goat’s heat Skanderbeg insignia of fascist-Nazi Greater Albania on cap.

Bedri Pejani, the president of the Nazi-created Second League of Prizren, a revival of the ideology of Greater Albania, wanted 150,000 weapons from the German forces to be used to kill and drive out the remaining Serbian population in Kosovo-Metohija. The expulsion of Serbs is described as follows by Fischer:

By April 1944, German documents tell us, 40,000 Serbs had been forced to leave, and Neubacher anticipated that the Germans might have to deal with as many as 150,000 Serbs leaving Kosovo.

The policy of genocide against the Kosovo Serbian population had been officially announced in June, 1942, by Albanian Muslim Mustafa Kruja, the fascist Prime Minister of Greater Albania:

The Serbian population of Kosovo should be removed as soon as possible. Serbian settlers should be killed.

Albanian Gendarmerie under Nazi Germany

In August, the DGA office and its command were integrated into the Higher SS and Police Leader “Albania” under the command of SS Gruppenfuehrer und Generalleutnant der Waffen SS Josef Fitzhum or Fitzthum. SS Oberfuehrer Karl Gstottenbauer of the German Consular Office in Tirana was also to be attached to the HSSPF command. Fitzthum reorganized the Albanian Gendarmerie and the Army. By April, 1944, the total Albanian forces raised were two Jaeger light infantry regiments and four militia battalions.

The Albanian Order of Battle was as follows:

1. Albanian Jaeger Regiment 1
2. Albanian Jaeger Regiment 4
3. Albanian Militia Battalion “Pec”
4. Albanian Militia Battalion “Pristina”
5. Albanian Militia Battalion “Prizren”
6. Albanian Militia Battalion “Tetovo”

Three of the battalions were set up in Kosovo-Metohija, while the fourth was set up in Macedonia, known as Illirida in the Greater Albania ideology. According to German military sources, these formations were under the German Order Police or Orpo and were fighting the guerrillas. These four militia battalions were made up of 2,000 men and were under the command of Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Spruny.

The leaders of the Nazi-fascist collaborationist Balli Kombetar (BK): From left, Ekrem Peshkopi, Vasil Andoni, Midhat Frasheri, Ali Klissura, Koco Muca.

The Skanderbeg Waffen SS Division was also being formed with recruits from Kosovo and central and northern Albania. The Balli Kombetar (Shqip, National Front) also provided men for this Nazi SS Division. Between July 14 and 30, 1944, the 1st and 2nd Battalion/1st Regiment and its 1st battalion/ 2nd Regiment performed field maneuvers south of Berane in Montenegro and near Gusinje. The four militia battalions also participated in these maneuvers as did the 14th Mountain Regiment of the Prinz Eugen Division.

General Gustav von Myrdacz (1874-1945), a former Austrian officer who commanded the pre-World War II Albanian Army under Zog, was put in charge of the reorganized Albanian security police, but was captured by Communist guerrillas. Myrdacz was the liaison officer between the Albanian Army and the XXI Army Corps. He joined the Albanian Army in 1921 and became chief of staff by 1925. He had been an engineer-officer on the staff of the Austrian Army. He was a highly decorated military officer. He was awarded four Austrian orders, one Turkish war decoration, and a Grand Cordon of Skanderbeg Order from the Albanian government. During World War I, he had been the chief of staff of the XIVth division and had commanded a regiment at Tonale. He had been the chief of staff of the military commander in Sarajevo. He was involved in the engagements at Isonzo and Piave in 1917. After Myrdacz was captured, Albanian General Prenk Previsi was put in his place.

Once it became clear that Nazi Germany would lose the war, the Albanian Gendarmerie and militia battalions began deserting and switching sides.

The German occupation forces were better able to use the Albanian security and military forces than the Italians. German occupation forces were able to integrate Albanian forces into their security and military forces. Moreover, German policy was able to fully exploit the Albanian nationalist and political objective to achieve a Greater or Ethnic Albania first envisioned and enunciated by the 1878 League of Prizren. Nazi Germany revived the League of Prizren in 1943. The key to the Nazi occupation was to maintain the collaboration of the Balli Kombetar and the Albanian population by advocating a Greater Albania that would include Kosovo-Metohija. This was the crux to Nazi policy. Kosovo was the key.

An Albanian member of Nazi-fascist Albanian occupation forces armed by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

Greater Albania Realized

There was widespread Albanian popular support for the Nazi occupation regime. Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler allowed Albanian nationalists to create a Greater or Ethnic Albania. This had been an unrealized goal of Albanian nationalism since the League of Prizren in 1878. Greater Albania was realized by Nazi Germany. Kosovo was thus crucial in Nazi policy. Making Kosovo a part of Greater Albania was crucial to maintain the Nazi German occupation.

The Nazi realization of Greater Albania had implications and political repercussions for the future status of Kosovo. Albanian ultra-nationalists had a precedent and a model for Greater Albania. Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler showed them how to realize a Greater Albania. The history of a Greater Albania from 1941 to 1945 under Nazi Germany is covered-up and censored in the US and the so-called West. Consequently, it is not known that Kosovo was “independent” under Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. Kosovo was annexed to a Greater Albania from 1941 to 1945.

Albanian popular support for fascism and Nazism was widespread. Nazi Germany exploited the Greater Albania nationalist ideology to gain popular support for the Nazi German occupation of Kosovo. Bernd Fischer noted that “numerous Allied sources give evidence of widespread support for the Germans and their government. In the north and northeast support was widespread.” The Nazi creation of a Greater Albania that incorporated Kosovo-Metohija would have future political repercussions and implications.


Fischer, Bernd Jurgen. Albania at War, 1939-1945. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1999.

Ivanov, Pavle Dzeletovic. Jevreji Kosova i Metohije. Beograd: Panpublik, 1988.

Kane, Steve. “The 21st SS Mountain Division”. Siegrunen. Volume 36. October-December 1984.

Munoz, Antonio, ed. The East Came West. NY: Axis Europa Books, 2001.

Trye, Rex. Mussolini’s Soldiers. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife, 1995.

By Carl Savich

Source: Serbianna

1. Siptarska regrutacija za SS Skenderbeg diviziju na Kosovu april 1944





ISIS and the Kosovar Albanians


U.S. air strikes continue against the terrorists of the so-called “Islamic State” — formerly the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or ISIS — in the borderlands of Iraqi Kurdistan. American military action has been impelled by the genocidal ISIS threat to Christians and various small Kurdish and other religious minorities, including Yazidis, whose faith is linked to Zoroastrianism, and the ancient monotheistic community of Mandaeans. Meanwhile, questions about the extremist movement and its foreign recruits have spread throughout the Muslim lands and the Muslim minority communities in the West, from Belgium to Australia.

On Monday, August 11, authorities in the Kosovo Republic — among the most pro-Western Muslim-majority states in the world — announced the detention of 40 Kosovar citizens suspected of participation in terrorism in Iraq and Syria. The arrests came after raids at 60 locations in the Balkan country, and were carried out under procedures established by the Kosovo Penal Code protecting “constitutional order and security in the Republic.”

The individuals jailed were identified only by initials and ages, and comprised eight in the Kosovo capital, Prishtina; seven in the eastern town of Gjilan, near the Serbian border; 11 from Ferizaj in the southeast; five from Prizren in the south; four from Peja in the northwest, and five from Mitrovica in the extreme north. The latter city is divided between Albanians and Serbs. Dates of birth ranged from 1962 to 1994.


Evidence seized included explosives, weapons and ammunition. Kosovo police noted that 16 Kosovar Albanians have been reported killed in fighting in Syria.

According to the Kosovar newspaper of record, Koha Ditore (Daily Times), police said the sweep followed a two-year investigation, which is ongoing. Koha Ditore quoted Sevdije Morina, Kosovo’s acting chief special prosecutor, who declared that several local Muslim clerics are also under scrutiny. The same newspaper cited Blerim Isufaj, the prosecutor of the case, saying the majority of the suspects were affiliated with ISIS or Jabhat Al-Nusra, rival splinter groups from al Qaeda.

In Western Europe, alarm over ISIS and its appeal to the local Muslim diaspora emerged after the Brussels attack on the city’s Jewish Museum on May 24. Four people were killed in that incident, allegedly by Mehdi Nemmouche, a French Muslim who had fought in Syria. French interior minister Manuel Valls had warned in January that the return of jihadists from distant combat zones to Europe is “the greatest danger that we must face in the coming years.” Valls referred to ISIS influence in Muslim minorities as “a phenomenon of unprecedented size.”

On August 11, Australia was shocked as its media reported that Khaled Sharrouf, a convicted terror conspirator in that country, who went to Syria last year, had posted an image on his Twitter account of a child believed to be Sharrouf’s son holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier.

In between, both in time and space, Albanians were repelled when, on July 31, a Kosovar in the ranks of ISIS, Lavdrim Muhaxheri, posted photographs on his Facebook page of himself decapitating a Syrian soldier.

Muhaxheri has a history in Kosovo of supporting extremists in Syria. On May 12, the Kosovo daily web-portal Express, in a reportage signed by its intrepid investigator of radical Islam, Visar Duriqi, said that Muhaxheri had worked in the official Kosovo Islamic Community apparatus in Kacanik, a city near the southern Kosovo border with Macedonia. In Facebook posts before his atrocity photo was posted, Muhaxheri claimed he controlled the appointment of the imam at the Central Mosque in Kacanik, which has become a center of conflict between Islamist radicals and local traditional Muslims.

Muhaxheri threatened to kill Kacanik clerics as well as politicians and public figures in Kosovo who denounced incitement of young Albanian Muslims to fight in Syria.

As described by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) on its portal, Balkan Insight, for July 31, Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga summoned a meeting with security officials of the Balkan republic the day Muhaxheri’s Facebook images appeared. She called for “treating this threat to the security of Kosovo as a priority.” Jahjaga said, “It is our responsibility as institutions and as a society to condemn these ugly phenomena. We must distance ourselves from these brutal acts of criminals, and we must denounce and treat them as such.”

Kosovo justice minister Bajram Rexhepi stated that an international arrest warrant had been issued for Muhaxheri.

The involvement of Albanians in ISIS has not escaped the attention of more influential global commentators. On August 7, David Gardner, a Middle East expert and reporter for the London Financial Times, pointed out that when, at the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, corresponding with the end of June, the “Islamic State” proclaimed its authority over all the Sunni Muslim believers in the world, the text was “translated into English, French, German, Turkish, Russian – and Albanian.” Gardner asked, “Why… take the trouble?”

Gardner attributed the appeal of the “Islamic State” for Albanian Muslims to penetration of the Muslim communities in the Western Balkans by Wahhabism, the fundamentalist doctrine originating in Saudi Arabia.


Radio Free Europe reported on August 8 that Naim Maloku, a prominent veteran of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1998-99 war for the territory, and now a military and security expert, said that Kosovo legal institutions must prevent local citizens from fighting abroad and that the official Islamic Community must be more involved in countering jihadist propaganda. “In their preaching, [Muslim] religious leaders should be more active in their statements,” Maloku said.

During the fighting in Gaza, radical voices were heard in Kosovo demanding that Albanians support Hamas. On August 1, the “Islamic Movement to Unite,” also known as “Join!,” and by its Albanian initials as LISBA, was supported by fewer than 100 people in a pro-Gaza protest held in Prishtina.

Kosovar Albanians are sympathetic, within limits, to the Palestinians. Many Kosovars are bitter about close relations between Serbia and Palestine. Muhammad Nabhan, ambassador of the Palestinian Authority in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, since 1974, has stated repeatedly that Palestinians support Serbian claims to rule in Kosovo and has even denied that Serbia – which invaded and annexed Kosovo in 1912 — ever “occupied” Kosovo. In 1999, the Palestinian Authority invited the late Slobodan Milosevic to visit Bethlehem for Orthodox Christian Christmas in January 2000. Israel then warned that if the Serbian dictator attempted to cross its borders, he would be arrested and sent to the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. The visit never took place.



Prof. Dr. Petar V. Grujić: Twenty principal misconceptions about the Kosovo issue (2014)



 1. Kosovo issue is a conflict between ethnic Albanians and ethnic Serbs over the territory

Wrong: It is a part of the conflict between Balkan Albanians and the surrounding populations, in Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece (ex. clashes between Albanians and Macedonians in Macedonia from 1991 onward including and open rebellion in 2001

  1. The issue is a fight of Albanians for their political rights

Wrong: The crux of the matter lies at the biological level. The real rationale is a demographic explosion which is going on within the Albanian population for a century or so (rate of growth by Albanians four to five time faster than the average rate in other European countries) and the ensuing expansion for Lebensraum

  1. The southern Serbian province is called Kosovo

Wrong. It is Kosovo and Metohia, abbreviated KosMet. Kosovo itself is an abbreviation of Kosovo Polje, what in Serbian language means Blackbird Field (in German Amselfeld). Metohia is a corrupted Greek name for Metohi, meaning dependency to monastery, referring to the land bestowed by Serbian kings and other rulers to the monasteries and churches in KosMet like of Pecka Patrijarshija, Dechani, Grachanica etc. (the 13-14 century).

  1. Ethnic Albanians at KosMet (Shqipetars in the following, as they call themselves) constitute a majority of 90% out of total KosMet’s population

Wrong. In the last reliable census carried out at KosMet in 1961, Shqipetars constituted 67% of the overall population, with (predominantly) Serbs and others sharing the rest. As for the subsequent censuses (1971, 1981, 1991) Shqipetars refused to take part in them. All figures quoted for the period after 1961 are estimates only

  1. Shqipetars are autochthonous population at KosMet

Wrong. In the Middle Age KosMet was the central part of Serbian state, culture and civilization. Shqipetars were tiny minority (about 2%, according to the Ottoman census in 1455), nomadic herdsmen mostly. They came to KosMet from North and Central Albania mainly after the First Great Serb Migration in 1690 from KosMet to Vojvodina (then in Habsburg Empire), after an abortive uprising against the Ottoman rule in 1689. When KosMet was liberated from Ottoman rule in 1912, by Serbia, Serbs and Shqipetars shared equally the overall population there (50% versus 50%). All toponyms (place names) at Kosmet are Slavonic-Serb, except for a few of them (as opposite to the state in Albania)

  1. KosMet is an undeveloped, poor region

Wrong. It is the most fertile land in Serbia (apart from Vojvodina). The average DNP per family is the same as in the rest of Serbia. It is low only if counted per head, since the Shqipetars’ family has six times more children than Serbian family (and former Yugoslavia’s one, for that matter. We are referring to a proper family here, not to the so-called fis, extended Shqipetar family, which may comprise hundreds members). In fact, accounting for the fact that proportionally more Shqipetars are working in the Western Europe, their income are not accounted for when estimating family earnings and KosMet appears better off than the rest of Serbia. That KosMet is a prosperous region can be verified by direct inspection at the spot. KosMet is the biggest coal reservoir in Europe

7.The aim of Shqipetars is an independent Kosova

Wrong. It is a common goal of all Albanians to live in a single (united) national state of (a Greater) Albania. The political program of a Greater Albania is designed in 1878 by the Albanian First Prizren League (1878-1881). This aim has been practically already achieved. KosMet has been practically annexed by Albania as there is no border between KosMet and Albania. As for the West Macedonia, it is a matter of the near future. The next step is Cameria, as the Southern Epirus (today in Greece) is called by Albanians and the East Montenegro

  1. The expulsion of Serbs from KosMet after June 1999 is an act of retaliation

Wrong. The process of Shqipetar committed ethnic cleansing of KosMet goes on for the last century and refers to all non-Shqipetars (Roma, Turks, Croats, etc). It is a clear case of well planned ethnic cleansing, whose rationale is an extreme xenophobia. As a matter of fact, Albania appears the most pure ethnic state in Europe, 98%, with Greeks, Slavs, Jews, Roma, etc. banished in one or other way. After the NATO occupation of KosMet in 1999 the ethnic “purity” has reached the figure of 97%.

  1. Kosmet used to be economically supported by the rest of former Yugoslavia

Wrong. Since the Serbia’s contribution to the Yugoslav Federal Fund for the undeveloped regions matched exactly the amount donated by the Fund to KosMet, it was Serbia which helped KosMet to construct the infrastructure, schools, the Prishtina University, hospitals, factories, mines, etc. Further, since the Shqipetar population consists mainly of children and teenagers, who used to get children allowance, it was another source of enormous income from the rest of Serbia, which had on average less than 1.5 children per family (as compared with 8 with Shqipetars)

  1. There is no such an entity as a Greater Albania

Wrong. Although there not publicized, the maps of that projected united national state of all Albanians do appear occasionally in the Western press, either explicitly, or as the region with predominant Albanian population. The point with the latter is that these regions exceed the (semi) official maps of the future united Albanian state, and even include regions without Albanian population at all!

9 Samodreza

  1. Albanians are autochthonous Balkan population descending from the ancient Balkan llyrian tribes

Wrong. They appear in the mid-11th century in the Balkan history and their origin appears uncertain (most probably they came to the Balkans from the Caucasus Albania via Sicily, according to the Byzantine sources, in 1043). As for the claims of Illyrian heritage (which is more a political wishful thinking than a very historical fact), distinguished English linguist Potter wrote “Some would associate it with extinct Illyrian, but with so doing they proceed from little known to the unknown”

  1. The rebellion in Southeast Serbia at Preshevo valley is due to the Belgrade repression on the Shqipetar population there

Wrong. This region was not included into the KosMet (autonomous) region after the WWII, for the simple reason that Shqipetars were a tiny minority at that time there. Now, many villages, which were purely Serb, are inhabited exclusively by Shqipetars. The influx from KosMet, plus the enormous natural birth rate, made this population to be majority in two of three rebellious counties. Due to this fast change in the ethnic structure, and due to the large percentage of young people not eligible for voting, Shqipetars’ representatives there are not proportional to the overall share of the population in the region. In fact Preshevo issue is a paradigm of the Albanian syndrome, as conspicuous at KosMet, and at Macedonia. First comes land occupation, then fight for the “political rights” and finally secession. It is the system which Henry Kissinger called “Domino Game” (referring to the Communist tactics in spreading over the borders). What Slobodan Miloshevic did at Kosmet in 1998 was much the same as J. B. Tito did in 1944-1945, after the Albanian rebellion of the Kosovo Liberation Army (the KLA) at Drenica (February 1998), when the military rule had to be imposed in the Province

  1. Shqipetars used to be friendly with their neighbors. They were protecting Orthodox monasteries there

Wrong. After the World War II more than 250.000 non-Shqipetars moved from KosMet due to the “demographic pressure”, not to mention violence. After NATO’s “humanitarian intervention” in 1999 at least 200.000 (according to some claims up to 300.000) non-Shqipetars fled away from massacres (including and Muslim Turks, Muslim Gorani, Muslim Roma population, etc.). At the same time, more than 200.000 Albanians moved to KosMet after the WWII (most probably even more than 300.000), and about 300.000 after the expulsion of non-Shqipetars in 1999. As for the shrines, they are protected in the same manner as the synagogues in Germany by the NSDAP party members. Only from 1999 to 2001 about 100 monasteries and churches have been leveled to the ground at KosMet. The peak of KosMet Albanian organized ethnic cleansing and destruction of Serb Orthodox shrines came in March 2004 (the „March Pogrom“, March 17-19th, 2004)

  1. The „blood feud“ has been extinguished among Albanians

Wrong. It was much reduced during the communist regimes in the area (Albania, Montenegro, KosMet), but has been revived after the “democratic governments” have taken power in Albania. It is widely spread at KosMet, despite the opposite claims by the local politicians. In fact, the persecution and expulsion of non-Shqipetar population in 1999 was experienced by Shqipetars as a collective blood feud as it is, for instance, recognized by Shqipetar girl Rajmonda from KosMet in the British Channel 4 documentary movie „Why Rajmonda Lied“ (June 1999)

  1. The KFOR holds control at KosMet and helps the region reestablish the order and law

Wrong. It has no control whatsoever over the local population, in particular the irregulars of the KLA, turned into mock police forces. The whole region, y compris North Albania (and Montenegro for that matter) is the European center for drug traffic and smuggling of arms, tobacco etc. There are no proper juridical system, no effective police, prisons, etc. What KFOR/EUFOR can do the most is to protect itself, but it is well aware that when Shqipetars conclude the UN/EU presence is a nuisance for them, international forces will be expelled easily. A single step from “protection force” to hostages would be sufficient, and everybody at the spot is aware of that

  1. Americans are siding with Albanians in the current Balkan affairs

Wrong. They are directly involved, at all levels, from financing, organizing, training, arms supplies, diplomatic supports, etc. Training camps at the North Albania, KosMet, and Macedonia are lead by American instructors, who are engaged even at the front line, as the case with Arachinovo near Skopje illustrates, for instance

  1. The rationale for the American interference into the Albanian issue is a humanitarian concern for human rights in the area

Wrong. All events that lead to the violation of human rights and massacres were induced by Americans and (to a lesser extent) by Germans. Nothing of those would have happened had not the NATO (sic) intervened in the region. The USA is interested in the peace, not in justice. Since Albanians do not appear convenient interlocutors for political discourse, Americans insist to the rest to submit to the Albanian demands, who have made their political goals their political rights! As a “collateral gain” the USA have got an important stronghold in the region (like the  military base Bondsteel at KosMet), a secure (sic) passage for the oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea, via Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania, to the Adriatic cost, etc. Another “collateral gain” is, of course, a free traffic of heroin from Afghanistan (occupied and controlled by the USA in 2001) through the area, right to the USA schools, colleges, etc (among other destinations). It is a claim that even 90% of the West European drug market is controlled by Albanian narco-dealers

  1. It was Slobodan Miloshevic who was to blame for the NATO ‘s intervention in 1999

Wrong. It was the Belgrade government responsibility to protect interest of the state of Yugoslavia, in face of a violent rebellion. The manners this state affairs have been conducted, including all eventual misdeeds committed over civilians is a matter of humanitarian concern and should be cleared up at the Hague Tribunal (or other international tribunal for the war crimes). But it does not justify bombing of Yugoslavia nor deprivation of a state to conduct its internal affairs. KosMet issue is much older than Slobodan Miloshevic and much deeper than disputes over political rights and state borders. Macedonia 2001 affairs clearly demonstrate this

  1. Former Yugoslavia disintegrated because of Slobodan Miloshevic

Wrong. His political (sic) manners only provided an excuse to Slovenia and Croatia for leaving Yugoslavia. The real rationale for this understandable decision was to leave the state that was burdened with the time bomb called KosMet, which the Federal Police hardly dismantled in 1981. And, of course, Slovenia and Croatia decided to leave Yugoslavia, a country in which they could not enjoy any more a privileged economic and political position as they used to have after the WWII. The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to the dispute between Montenegro and Serbia from 1999 to 2006

  1. It is the duty of the international community to help the Albanian issue settled down

Wrong. The international community does not comprehend the nature of the problem, for good reason, since it is not a political one, but a clash between a Middle Age (tribal) mentality and a (quasi) modern European standard of civilization. The only reasonable way towards a permanent and rational solution would be an a agreement between Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece and Albania, on mutual responsibilities and a civilized settling down of this Balkan affair, without interference from the outside, certainly not from the USA. If the USA want to compete for a role of an arbiter, they should first qualify by helping a permanent settling down of the Palestinian issue in the Middle East


Author: Prof. Petar V. Grujic

2. Sotirovic 2013

Corrector: Assoc. Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirovic


© Petar V. Grujic & Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2014


Inside Kacanik, Kosovo’s jihadist capital


Nestling in a wooded valley that its citizens laid their lives down to defend, the town of Kacanik in southern Kosovo is fiercely proud of its war dead.

Well-kept cemeteries include nearly 100 victims of Serb-led ethnic cleansing in 1999, while in the town centre, a statue clutching an RPG honours fallen members of Brigade 162 of the Kosovan Liberation Army.

But a decade and a half on from the war that brought about Kosovo’s independence, there is rather less pride in Kacanik’s new crop of warriors.


Infamous son: Lavdrim Muhaxheri, from Kacanik, in Syria 

In the last three years, some 24 local menfolk have gone to fight for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, giving the town of just 30,000 people an unwanted reputation as the jihadist capital of the Balkans.

To add to the sense of shame, one of them, a 25-year-old recruiter named Lavdrim Muhaxheri, has committed atrocities as gruesome as any of those carried out in Kacanik in 1999, when British troops unearthed a mass grave containing 81 bodies.

Last summer, in an act that sent shockwaves across Kosovo, Muhaxheri posted Facebook pictures of himself apparently beheading another man suspected of spying against the Islamic State. Another shows him executing a Syrian man using an RPG.

“Muhaxheri has given Kacanic a name as the most radical city in Kosovo, if not the whole Balkans,” said Musli Verbani, a local imam, who claims that hardliners forced him from Kacanik’s Islamic Association four years ago. “I warned that this kind of thing was coming, but no-one listened.”

Kosovo, of course, is not alone among European nations in acquiring its own equivalent to Britain’s Jihadi John. But for a nation of just 1.8 million people, it now punches well above its weight in terms of the number of citizens joining Isil.

The interior ministry estimates that some 300 Kosovans have followed in Muhaxheri’s’ footsteps, making Kosovo Europe’s biggest contributor per capita. Along with neighbouring Albania, which has fielded around 200, and nearby Bosnia, which around 160, it is now seen as a potential launch pad for Isil in its bid to establish a new front against Europe in the Balkans.

What also alarms Western security officials, though, is why any Kosovans would join Isil’s fanatics at all.

After all, back in 1999, it was the West that rescued Kosovo’s mainly Muslim population, with Nato bombing raids that halted the campaign of ethnic cleansing by Serb extremists.

Since then it has been staunchly pro-Western, with the capital, Pristina, boasting both a statue of Bill Clinton and a road named after George W Bush, who was president when Kosovo formally gained independence in 2008. There are even young Kosovans named “Tony” in honour of Tony Blair.

Most Kosovans also follow moderate Islam that allows bars on the same street as mosques, and which is enshrined in a new constitution promoting the diversity suppressed during Communism.

Yet those same liberal values have also allowed less tolerant voices to flourish, including hardline Islamic charities that arrived during the chaotic post-civil war years.

Such is the foothold of radicalism in towns like Kacanik that last week, its modest town hall received a personal visit from Kosovo’s interior minister, Skender Hyseni.


Kacaniku in southern Kosovo where some residents have left to fight in Syria. To the left is the mosque where Imam Musli Verbani was forced from by extremists  Photo: Will Wintercross

“Kosovo is a multi-cultural state, not a terrorist one,” he told assembled officials, speaking at a conference table decked out with the American and Kosovan flags. “Those going overseas are joining groups that spread violence and terror.”

In its defence, the Kosovan government argues that other European nations actually have higher rates of radicalisation if it is counted per head of Muslim population.

But since Muhaxheri’s shocking Facebook post last summer, Mr Hyseni has backed words with action, arresting around 100 suspected extremists, including the grand mufti of the main central mosque in Pristina.

Prosecutions are already pending of various recruiting networks, including one that passed messages via go-betweens at a kebab shop near the Bill Clinton statue.

It is, however, already too late, according to Mr Verbani, the Kacanik imam.

A former KLA fighter, he personifies the moderate face of Kosovan Islam. He studied in Cairo and speaks fluent Arabic, yet looked just like another drinker in the cafe bar where he met The Telegraph, wearing neither a beard nor robes.

It was precisely that secular outlook that he found himself having to defend as far back as 2006, when a confrontation with a young local radical named Jeton Raka turned violent.

“At first Jeton was just another good Kacanik kid, but he became more extremist by the day,” said Mr Verbani. “He said the government of Kosovo was against faith, and that school taught children to be unbelievers. I told him he couldn’t speak like that at my mosque, and eventually he came to my house, saying ‘I will burn you and your family’, and petrol bombed my car. Even then, though, the municipality and the police didn’t help me.”


Kacaniku in southern Kosovo where some residents have left to fight in Syria  Photo: Will Wintercross

Raka is now believed to be in Syria along with Muhaxheri, while the government crackdown has largely driven the rest of Kacanik’s radical fringe out of town. Even so, locals remain reluctant to talk about the town’s most infamous son, although in such a small community, most know someone now fighting abroad.

Among them is Sadek Dema whose nextdoor neighbour, Hetem Dema, 41, was killed in January after apparently going to fight with Isil’s rival al-Qaeda faction Jabat al-Nusra.

“He fought in the KLA and was always a good and religious man, although he never showed signs of being radical,” said Mr Dema, as Hetem’s five year-old son, Harith, cycled past on his bicycle.

“Nobody is my father now,” Harith shouted out, before Mr Dema could usher him out of earshot. “Now my uncles look after me.”

Quite why Kacanik in particular has become such a hotbed of radicalism is unclear. Some cite its closeness to the border with Macedonia, where they say hardline preachers remain unchecked. Others blame the same lack of prospects that blight everywhere in Kosovo, where the annual GDP is only £2,500 and where youth unemployment is up to 60 per cent.

That same poverty, they also point out, has made Kosovo fertile ground for Islamic charities from the likes of Saudi Arabia, which offer education and welfare programs but also peddle a hardline vision.

Arbana Xharra, a Kosovan journalist who has investigated their activities, says that anyone who speaks ill of them can find themselves denounced and threatened as “Islamophobic”.

“I’ve had to change my kids’ school after I got messages online from people saying they would cut my children’s throats – they even knew what time they went to class,” she said.

Like many moderate Kosovans, she also points the finger at Turkey, whose Islamist government has funded networks of mosques across its Ottoman-era provinces of Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania. And while the Turkish government has denied recent claims that has offered tacit support for Isil in Syria, Kosovans are not the only ones to voice concerns.

One senior diplomat from a moderate Arab regime recently told The Telegraph that radicalism would foster in the Balkans as long as Turkey’s influence remained unchecked. “The EU’s best chance s to get countries Kosovo and Albania into its club,” he warned.

That is a view echoed by Ramadan Ilazi, Kosovo’s 30-year-old deputy minister for EU integration, who says the EU is being too slow in accepting Kosovo’s membership bid. Kosovo’s constitution, he says, is everything that a liberal EU bureaucrat could want, complete with a national anthem that has only music rather than words so “as not to offend anyone”.

Yet to this day, Kosovans cannot even travel to Europe without visa, giving small town youth in places like Kacanik little chance to broaden their horizons.

“Kosovo was built as an antidote to nationalism and the causes of the war,” said Mr Ilazi, who has a picture on his office wall of him shaking President Clinton’s hand as a 14-year-old boy. “But when people don’t see tangible results of their desire to become part of Europe, that allows radicals to suggest that Europe doesn’t want us.”

Still, with Kosovo still also suffering problems with corruption and organised crime, and with Brussels suffering enlargement fatigue, most estimates are that it may be another decade before Pristina enters the Brussels club. That, gives the radicals plenty more time to urge men in towns like Kacanik to head East rather than West.


By , Chief Foreign Correspondent

Source: The Telegraph






The killing of Serbian children in Kosovo: The story of a survivor


At the age of 15 on a riverbank he was shot eight times just for being Serbian. He survived and a few days later during the religious holiday of Transfiguration he was out of his coma. But until now he has not received an answer to his question: who shot the children bathing in the river near the Kosovo village of Gorazdevac on August 13, 2003? In his interview to the Voice of Russia Bogdan Bukumiric tells a wonderful story of his rescue.

“It is not so scary to die as to be buried alive” – this is the inscription on the monument to the victims of Albanian terrorists and the NATO aggression in the small town of Gorazdevac, an oasis and at the same time a ghetto for the Serbian population in Metohija. There are portraits of two boys on the monument – Panto Dakic and Ivan Jovovic. They died on August 13, 2003 on the bank of the Bistrica River when unknown persons opened fire at the people resting there. Four more teenagers were wounded at that moment. Concerning one of them, Bogdan Bukumiric, 15 years of age, the doctors gave the following forecast: 96% chance of death and 4% chance of survival. He survived. He is 24 now, he lives in Belgrade, and when he read the story about the recent acts of vandalism in Kosovo (the monument in Gorazdevac was shot at) published by the Voice of Russia web site, he agreed to share with our journalists his memories of that horrible crime that nobody has been held responsible for.

Bogdan was born in Gorazdevac, where according to him after 1999 people turned immune to the sounds of shooting. After the war and the NATO aggression, which ended in the withdrawal of Serbian troops, the life there was difficult. The village had a population of 1000 and was surrounded by only Albanian settlements. The closest large city is Pec. They had to go there to buy food escorted by KFOR. There was no end to the Albanian provocations: Bogdan’s aunt, Milica Bukumiric, was killed at the doors to her house as somebody threw a grenade into her yard. The youth was isolated from the world – there was no entertainment, no chance to travel from the village; all they had left was only the community at school and around it. There was not even a swimming pool. Why “even”? Perhaps that fact played the lethal role in the whole story…

“My house was the closest to the river. On August 13 all my friends who passed by my house called upon me to go for a swim. I asked my father if I could go. My dad had something like a premonition. He said that I should not go, that the water was still cold. But then I asked again, and as a result went along with my friends. There were a lot of kids at the Bistrica River, as well as lots of youth and parents. I entered the water, it was really cold, and so I went to the fire. Less than ten minutes later I heard machine gun fire. My friends and me stood closest to the terrorists. Three bullets hit me in the left side. The guys and I knew that forest they were shooting from pretty well. I realized that if they came out of the bushes, I would see them. I sharply turned in that direction they were firing from – a few more bullets hit me in the breast and stomach. My legs gave in, I began to fall down, and at that moment a bullet hit me in the head. And the eighth bullet hit my left leg”.

Bogdan cried for help and still tried to get up. The villagers brought the boy to the hospital at the KFOR military base, but the doctor was not there. The wounded boy received the first aid at the local clinic; primarily they tried to stop the bleeding. Bogdan was conscious and kept asking the doctors to take his brother away from the room, as he did not want him to see him in such a state. The local resident demanded that the KFOR personnel take the boy to the hospital in Pec, but they found millions of excuses not to do it. As a result, Bogdan’s brother and his neighbor at their own risk drove him in a car to the completely Albanian town of Pec. “Bogdan, hold on, you are a hero, you will live”, – they kept saying. “I will not surrender”, – was Bogdan’s answer.

“Unfortunately, near the farmers’ market in Pec our car engine stopped. Our license plates were Serbian, so the Albanians attacked us. They destroyed the car, crushed the windows and wanted to drag us out of the car. They hit my neighbor who was trying to start the engine with their fists on the head; my brother was hit with a stone. There was neither mercy nor pity, although they saw a person who was hardly alive. If they dragged us out, we would have not survived. But fortunately, two KFOR patrol cars appeared and started shooting into the air. Up until that moment I was still conscious, but then I was in coma. What happened next I know from the stories of those who were with me”.

Bogdan Bukumiric was first admitted to the local hospital. Another victim of the shooting, Panto Dakic, was there as well.

“Panto was in a bed next to mine. Both the medical personnel and the patients had fun: “You wanted Kosovo, here you go!”, “Whoever did this, he is a good guy!”. Panto’s father would hold his son’s hand in one hand and mine in the other. An Albanian doctor came, but Panto’s father did not let him examine us, since he did not trust him. At that moment my friend died. The doctors believed that I died as well. However, a doctor who came from our village established that I was still alive. She insisted that they transport me by helicopter to the Northern part of Mitrovica. KFOR people said that they needed to get permission. She tried to convince them for three hours, and finally, a helicopter brought in another wounded, Marco Bogicevic to Prizren, and then they took me to the hospital of the French KFOR troops in the Southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica”.

Milenka Cvetkovic, a doctor from the Northern part of Mitrovica played the most important role in saving Bogdan’s life. When she found out about what had happened, despite the risk she went to the Southern, Albanian, part of the city where the French KFOR doctors operated on Bogdan’s spleen (the bullet passes in two millimeters from his left kidney). But when there was a delay in getting a neurosurgeon, the doctor insisted that the boy was taken to Belgrade. Naturally, a Serbian helicopter could not be allowed to land on the territory of Kosovo, but first that information was not openly stated. So in a car Bogdan was taken to central Serbia and from there – to the Military Medical Academy in the capital. Bogdan’s blood pressure went down to 40, but the doctor took all the necessary measures and it was stabilized. Due to the endless bureaucratic delays of KFOR, the entire process of transporting half-alive boy took 11 hours.

“When the doctors at the Military Medical Academy found out that in my body there was only 1.4 liters of blood instead of the normal 5-5.5 liters, they decided not to do the surgery right away. I was given a blood transfusion and the surgery was planned for the next morning. They forecast was the following: 4% chance for survival, 96% chance to die. On August 19, at Transfiguration I was out of coma. My neurosurgeon said that he did not believe that I would regain consciousness, it all depended on my organism”.

But it was only the beginning: Bogdan had a high fever and it turned out that the splinters of the bone damaged the cortex. Bogdan survived through four surgeries, had meningitis, and was motionless for four months – only the right side of his body functioned. But thanks to the exercises and of course, his perseverance he got back on his feet. Many high-ranking officials visited him at the hospital, including Harri Holkeri, who at that time was the UNMIK chief.

“He hurried to catch a plane; he asked me about my health and wished me a fast recovery and return to my home village, where everything was peaceful and under control. I asked him: Mr. Holkeri, can I ask you a question? Have you arrested the criminals? He clearly did not expect such a question from a 15-year old boy. He was at a loss and said that they were working on it, but had not collected sufficient evidence”.

For many years has Bogdan corresponded with various international organizations in Kosovo. They promised to «leave no stone unturned » in order to find the murderers: between 2003 and 2007 nothing much was done, then a new group started the investigation from scratch. They wrote to him that if new evidence came up, the investigation would be continued. But all the same, – says Bogdan, – justice will eventually take over.

“Monsters did that. To shoot at children who are having fun at the river… The youngest kids were about five years old. And it was a specifically developed plan – to scare us. They could not drive us away from the village and decided to strike at the most sensitive place for every person – the children”.

Bogdan has gone through many recovery courses, but even now he cannot fully control his left arm. Maybe in Russia there are doctors that can help me, because after all that I have gone through, I deserve to have everything right, – he says. However, the fate has another «surprise» in store for Bogdan Bukumiric. In 2003 he received an apartment in the Serbian capital as a long-term use with the right to buy it out. Then the decision was changed, and now every year he has no sign an agreement to extend the lease. Bogdan is afraid that one day they would come to remind him of such a thing as market driven terms and would tell him to move out.

“The publication “Vecernje novosti” has launched a campaign to collect funds to buy out the apartment. They estimated its value to be 59 thousand euro; I do not have that much money. Thus, I am forced to ask others for help, as it appears that the state is not interested in my problem. Right now about 6 thousand has been raised. I don’t know where to get the remaining sum. This problem needs to be resolved within a month or two”.

Bogdan lives with his brother and father. His mother died when the boy was five. He is currently not working, although he graduated from a school for electricians. He is completely dedicated to staying healthy. Bogdan Bukumiric cannot go back to Gorazdevac as he has to constantly be under the observation of the best available doctors in the capital. But the other children wounded on August 13, 2003, continue to live in the village of Gorazdevac. The families of the killed Panto and Ivan are also there.

“At the Gorazdevac cemetery there is a church that is the oldest in the Balkans. It was built without a single nail eight centuries ago. And I believe it protects my homeland. Gorazdevac was not burned down during World War I, it was not abandoned in World War II, or in the 1999 war or during all the events that followed; my village lived through all that”.

Irina Antanasijevic, the teacher of the Russian language and literature, who has lived in Kosovo for any years wrote in her memoires about the early 2000s: “The disarmament of Kosovo was the disarmament of the Serbian peasants, the shooting of who then turned into a sport of some sort. It was not even an extreme kind of sport. There was no danger. Go… shoot… leave, and then soldiers would arrive who would deal with the evacuation of the dead bodies and turning the stones…”


By Timur Blokhin

Source: American Council for Kosovo



Book: Prof. Petar V. Grujic, KOSOVO KNOT, Pittsburg, PA: Rosedog Books, 2014, pp. 450 (available on amazon.com)


Kosovo has been a troublesome region of West Balkan for the last half millennium. The latest events, which have resulted in NATO occupation of the southern province of Serbia, marked the culmination of the violence that includes both domestic and international agencies.

p_grujicMany authors have dealt with the Kosovo affair, but none of them endeavored to present a complete picture of the case. This book attempts to provide a broad and objective analysis of the problem from the historical, anthropological, political and sociological points of view. The emphasis is on the sociological side of the conflicts.

Only by understanding the differences of the mental structures and civilizations of the populations involved can one hope to achieve a just and sustainable solution. It is shown that the Kosovo affair is a part of the perennial issue of montagnards versus plane people.

This forms the background of the conflicts West Balkan has witnessed in the last decades. The Kosovo case cannot be considered isolated from the global political situation and this book provides bold, even provocative, examinations of the principal players from outside.

It provides also a detailed account of the political situation in Serbia for the last half century, with a detailed account of the struggle to overthrow Milosevic’s regime.

From the book review






The “Illyrian” theory of Albanian ethnic origin as the foundation of the ideology of the Albanian ethnic racism at the Balkans


The topic to be addressed in this article is Albanian ethnogenesis and national identity framed by the “Illyrian” theory of Albanian ethnic and cultural origin and the regional political-security consequences of the implementation of the “Illyrian” theory of Albanian ethnogenesis, which was accepted by the Rilindja, (the renaissance) – the Albanian national awakening movement in 1878–1913.

The so-called “Illyrian” theory of the ethnic origin of the Albanians (created by German and Austrian scholars) is the most popular theory of  the Albanian nation’s derivation among the majority of 19th and 20th century Albanian scholars, politicians and intellectuals.[1] The crucial and concluding point of this theory (in fact, it is actually a non-provable hypothesis) is that the Albanians are an authentic nation (ethnolinguistic group) of the Balkans, the oldest, aboriginal and autochthonous one in this part of Europe. As a result, the Albanians’ South Slavic neighbours  (the Serbs, Montenegrins,[2] and Macedonian Slavs) in contrast to the “indigenous” Albanians are just “newcomers” to the Balkans. Their ethnicity and nationality are much more recent than that of the Albanians.[3] Subsequently, “historical rights” of the Balkan autochthonous Albanian population on certain disputed Balkan territories (between the Albanians and the South Slavs) are stronger, more justifiable and historically more deeply rooted than the “historical rights” of the Serbs, Montenegrins or Macedonian Slavs.[4]

According to the theory of Illyrian-Albanian ethnolinguistic continuity, the Albanians are descendants of the ancient Balkan population – the Illyrians. The national name of the Albanians comes from the name of one Illyrian tribe – the Albanoi. Furthermore, the tribal name, Albanoi, was the designation applied to the entire number of Illyrian tribes around the Ionian Sea.[5] The proponents of the Illyrian theory of Albanian origin build their hypothesis mostly on the speculation that the modern Albanian language is directly descended from the ancient Illyrian one. Both of them belong to the same Indo-European language-group.[6] Nevertheless, this claim is disputed by contemporary linguistic science. The fact is that Albanian language as a spoken language of the inhabitants of present-day Albania was not mentioned in historical sources until 1285 in the manuscripts from Dubrovnik in which the language was referred to as lingua albanesesca. The name for the land – Albanon (the territory in which Albanian language speakers live) is derived from the name of the language. This term for Albania, according to the supporters of this theory, appears in several 13th century Latin dictionaries, as well in some of the Byzantine historical sources. The same Byzantine sources referred to the region between the Lake of Scodra and the Drim river as Arbanon (or Arber). According to the 2nd century Greek geographer Ptolemy, this territory was settled by the Albanoi tribe which was Illyrian in origin.[7]

The partisans of the Illyrian theory of the Albanian origin speak in support of the school of thought on the origin and evolution of the Illyrians, which claims that the ancient Illyrians did not migrate to the Balkans. Instead, they were an autochthonous people in this part of Europe and even one of the oldest settlers in Europe. It has been suggested that the Albanians, as the direct ethnic, political and cultural offsprings of the ancient Illyrians, are the original and indigenous inhabitants of the Balkans, even more aboriginal than the ancient Greeks since the ancient Greeks migrated to the Balkans in two great migration waves: first, around 2000 B.C., and secondly (Dorians), around 1200 B.C.[8] Clearly, Albanian “historical” rights are much stronger, justifiable and historically deeper based in comparison to Serbian, Montenegrin, Greek or Macedonian Slavs’ and Bulgarian rights with respect to several Balkan territories of doubtful authenticity. In other words, the Albanians are the “hosts” while their all neighbors are the “guests” in the Balkan Peninsula.[9] American medievalist John V. A. Fine simplified the crucial point of the theory of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnical-cultural-political continuity, nothing that: “…if the Illyrians were the ancestors of the Albanians, then the Albanians, as original inhabitants, have some historic right to that region and possibly rights to other regions which had been settled by Illyrians. And their Illyrian ancestry has been very important in Albanian nation-building myths”.[10]

The pivotal aspect (from a historical-political point of view) of the Illyrian theory is the claim that the Illyrian-Albanian tribes withdrew from the vast areas of the Balkans settling  in Balkan coastal towns and in the mountains of present-day Albania, Epirus, Macedonia and Montenegro during the Slavic invasion and occupation of the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries. However, according to this theory, Kosovo and Metohija were the only fertile lowlands in the entire Balkan Peninsula, which were somehow not abandoned by Romanized Illyrians-Albanians. As a result, the Albanians of the Illyrian ethnic origin were considered as an autochthonous population of Kosovo and Metohija while the Slavonic Serbs and Montenegrins were looked upon as newcomers and occupiers in the region of Kosovo and Metohija. Shortly, the Illyrian-Albanian historical and ethnic rights to Kosovo and Metohija – the land claimed by both the Albanians and their neighbors – are 15 centuries older than the Slavonic Serbian-Montenegrin historical and ethnic claims to the same territories, according to the theory of Illyrian-Albanian ethnogenesis.[11]

This theory emphasizes that in present-day Northern Albania an extensive settlement of old inhabitants emerged after the occupation of the Balkans by the more powerful South Slavonic tribes.[12] There was particular emphasis on this part of the Illyrian theory during the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 as a way of refuting Serbia’s claims on the territory of North Albania. Furthermore, the Illyrian-Albanian population from the lowlands of Kosovo and Metohija began to come under Slavonic political-cultural influence, while the Illyrian-Albanian mountainous tribes from the Albanian highlands, who had less contacts with the Slavs, succeeded in maintaining their social system and cultural inheritance without alteration. The defenders of this theory claim that the Byzantine province of Theme Dyrrhachium (which was established around 809 and covered the entire Albania’s territory, part of Northern Epirus, Western Macedonia and the main part of the Montenegrin littoral with the area of the Lake of Scutari) was inhabited by Albanians who “caused the region to develop a special (Albanian) character”.[13] Charles I of Naples  (1227–1285) established his own feudal domain under the name of the Regnum Albanai, which is considered in Albanian historiography as the first Albanian national state, located on the territory of the Byzantine Theme Dyrrhachium. Its capital became the city of Dyrrhachium (Durazo/Durës/Drač).

According to the Illyrian theory, the Albanians as one of the oldest European peoples, who had lived on the same territory since the early period of Antiquity, deserved to be taken into account as one of the original inhabitants of Europe. They were descended from the Illyrians, i.e. from a special branch of Indo-European peoples, just like the Greeks or Armenians. Moreover, the Albanians have a language which reflects the quality, intensity and period of important pre-Indo-European and Mediterranean (i.e., Pelasgian) influences. Their culture is different from neighboring ones in terms of religious tolerance, a common history of permanent resistance against any foreign power and subjugation, a partial (medieval) experience in independent statehood, a culture which is an amalgamation of Illyrian-Balkan origins and East-West European elements, a very old and distinctive folk culture, and ultimately  a certain kind of “individualist toughness which, all together, singles the Albanians out of their immediate surroundings…”[14]

In accordance with this theory, since in historical and ethnic terms, the following territories in South-Eastern Europe were inhabited by the Balkan Illyro-Albanians they should be defined as the territory of a united (Greater) Albania, as the national state of all Albanians, in the future: it would extend from the area of the Lake of Scodra in Montenegro on the north, to the Bay of Ambrazio in Greece on the south, and from the Adriatic Sea on the west, to the Treska river in Macedonia and Preševo, Medveđa, Bujanovac and Lebane districts in Serbia on the east.[15] That was and is, in the eyes of supporters of the Illyrian theory of Albaian ethnogenesis, the exact territory of the Illyro-Albanians who have a 2.000 year-old history and culture.[16] The aim of the Albanian national movement Rilindja (1878–1913) was Albanian liberation from Ottoman rule and the creation of a national Albanian state whose borders would encompass all of the territories cited above. The political arm of the movement, the First League of Prizren (1878−1881),[17] established its own organizational structure in all of the territories considered to be parts of a united ethnic state of all Albanians.[18] The League launched the motto: “feja e shqyptarit asht shqyptaria” (“The Religion of the Albanians is Albanianism”) for the sake of ovecoming Albanian religious diversity and separation. This movement has been the crucial united force of the Albanians and the pivotal point for defining the national identity and development of the Albanians.

The Illyrians – autochthonous Balkan people and nothing to do with the Albanians who are originally the people from the Caucasus

It is true that every story about the Balkan Peninsula begins with the ancient Illyrians.[19] Historians believe that this Indo-European people were one of the largest European populations to inhabit the western portion of the Balkans from the coasts of the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea to the Alps about 1000 B.C. Their eastern neighbors were also Indo-European peoples – the Thracians. The demarcation line between their settlements and their cultural and political influence was the Morava river in present-day Serbia (in Latin, the Margus located in the Roman province of Moesia Superior) and the Vardar river in present-day Macedonia. On the north, on the shores of the Sava and the Danube rivers, their neighbors were the Celts, while on the south the Pindus Mountains separated the Illyrians from the ancient Macedonians and the Greeks.[20] The Illyrians lived on the eastern littoral of the Adriatic Sea around 500 B.C. according to Greek geographer Hecatei (Hecateus) from the city of Miletus in Asia Minor. According to the early Byzantine historian Pseudo-Scilac, who lived 150 years later, the Illyrian settlements in the Balkans in the south extended to the southern Albanian port of Valona (Vlorë).[21] Among the ancient and early medieval historians and geographers the most reliable information on the geographic dispersion of the Illyrians and  the demography of the Illyrian territory appears in the writings of Herodotus, Livy, Pliny, Ptolemy, Appianus, Strabo, Procopius of Caesarea, Synecdemos of Hierocles, Isidorus Hispaniensis, and Euagrius.

When the Celts came to the Balkans in the 3rd century B.C. some of the Illyrian tribes mixed with them. In the same century, the Illyrian King Agron from the Ardaei tribe organized the first Illyrian state. At the time of greatest expansion its borders extended to the Neretva river in Dalmatia, to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Vjosë river in the Southern Albania and Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. Some of the 20th century Albanian historians and national workers claimed that a proclamation of independent state of Albania on November 28th, 1912 was based on the Albanian political-state inheritance which dated back to King Agron’s Illyrian Kingdom. Nevertheless, the Romans succeeded in defeating the Illyrians and abolishing their state organization during the three Illyrian-Roman Wars between 229 and 168 B.C.

The administratively-political concept of “Illyria”, or “Illyricum”, was used in subsequent centuries by the Romans who after the new conquests in the Balkans established first the Province of Illyricum, and in the 4th century the Praefectura of Illyricum.[22] It stretched from the Istrian Peninsula in the north-west to Northern Albania on the south-east, and from the Adriatic littoral in the south to the Drava river in the north. However, the main portion of present-day Albania was not included in this “Illyrian” province and became part of the Roman Province of Macedonia. This was the result of the Roman conclusion that only the territory of Northern Albania had been settled by the Illyrian tribes, but not the Central and Southern Albania. The proponents of the Illyrian theory of the origins of the Albanians did not provide an answer to the question of why all of Albania was not absorbed into the Roman Province of Illyricum if it was entirely settled by the ancient Illyrians? The Romans finally brought under control all of the Illyrian tribes during a new war of 6−9 A.D.[23]

From that time the overwhelming and very successful process of Romanization of the whole Balkan Peninsula began.[24] Some protagonists of the Illyrian theory of Albanian origin developed the hypothesis that the Roman Emperors Aurelian, Diocletian and Probus, who were from the western part of the Balkans, which was settled by the Illyrian tribes, were the predecessors of the modern Albanian nation.[25] During the reign of Diocletian (284–305), who was of Illyrian origin, the whole Balkan Peninsula, except its eastern part, was administratively organized as the Praefectura Illyricum. Mainly due to such Roman administrative organization of the Balkans the names Illyria and the Illyrians were preserved for a very long period of time as common names for the peoples who lived in the western and central parts of the Balkans, i.e. for the South Slavs[26] and the Albanians.[27] However, according to  19th−21st century official sciences of history, ethnology and philology (but not according to many relevant sources), the Illyrians and Slavs were not synonymous as the later came to the Balkans 1.500 years after the Illyrians.[28]

Clearly, the name Illyrians disappeared in the 7th century at the time of the Slavic migrations to the Balkans. After the 6th century, however, Byzantine texts do not record any accounts of Illyrians abandoning Balkan territories from the Dalmatian Alps to the Danube. The new Illyrian political and cultural center became the region of Arbanum (in Greek, Αρβανον or Αλβανον, in Serbian, Рабан) in the Southern Albania. The name “Albani” appeared in historical sources no earlier than the 9th century. Byzantine historians employed the name “Albani” for the Slavic inhabitants living around the sea-port of Durazzo (ancient Dyrrhachium) in Northern Albania. From the 11th century the name “Albani” (in Latin, Arbanensis, or Albanenses, in Greek, Αλβανοι or Αρβανιται) was associated with all Albanian tribes.[29]

In the Middle Ages the “Albanoi” lived in the area between the cities of Skadar (Scodra), Prizren, Ohrid and Valona. According to the champions of the Illyrian theory of Albanian ethnogenesis, the Slavic raids and migrations to the Balkans in the early Middle Ages did not affect the native inhabitants of the territory of present-day Albania. They continued to live there, preserving their own culture, habits and social organization. The southern Illyrian provinces retained their earlier ethnic composition. And of course, this ethnic composition was identified, although without supporting evidence in the sources, as the Albanian regardless on historical evidences and facts that the original homeland of the present-day Balkan Albanians is the ancient Caucasian Albania.



[1] See, for example [Marmullaku R., Albania and Albanians, London, 1975, pp. 5–9; Miridita Z., Istorija Albanaca (“Iliri i etnogeneza Albanaca”), Beograd, 1969, pp. 6–13; Historia e popullit Shqiptar, I, Prishtinë, 1969, pp. 155–161].

[2] The “Montenegrins” should be considered from a cultural, religious and ethnolinguistic point of view as the Serbs from Montenegro [Glomazić M., Etničko i nacionalno biće Crnogoraca, Beograd: TRZ „PANPUBLIK“, 1988]. Historical, political, religious, economic and cultural relations between the Serbs from Montenegro (the Montenegrins) and the Serbs from Serbia are similar to those of the Germans from Austria (the Austrians) and the Germans from Germany. However, today 60% of the citizens of Montenegro claim that they are ethnolinguistic “Montenegrins” different from the Serbs. On this problem see more in [Lazarević D., “Inventing Balkan Identities: Finding the Founding Fathers and Myths of Origin – The Montenegrin Case”, Serbian Studies: Journal of the North American Society for Serbian Studies, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2011 (2014), pp. 171−197].

[3] However, the Albanian national identity was created by Austro-Hungarian authorities at the late 19th century and the very beginning of the 20th century. Bulgarian scholar Teodora Todorova Toleva in her book on the creation of Albanian national identity published in 2012, cites unpublished documents from the Austrian State Archives (Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv) in Vienna that demonstrate that the Austro-Hungarian authorities had a crucial influence on the creation of Albanian nationality in the years of 1896−1908 [Тодорова Толева Т., Влиянието на АвстроУнгария за създаването на албанската нация, 1896−1908, София: CIELA, 2012]. This book is based on her Ph.D. dissertation defended at Barcelona University on September 16th, 2008. See also: Schanderl D. H., Die Albanienpolitik Österreich-Ungarns und Italiens 1877−1908, Albanische Forschungen № 9, Wiesbaden: Otto Harassovitz, 1971.

[4] About the problem of relations between national identification and border identities, see [Wilson Th., Donnan H. (eds.), Border Identities. Nation and state at international frontiers, Cambridge, 1998].

[5] However, contemporary German historiography does not mention the Illyrian tribal name Albanoi. The territory of Albania in Greco-Roman times was populated only by one Illyrian tribe, the Taulantii. In addition, neighboring present-day Greek territories were settled by the Illyrian tribe Dassaretii, while in ancient Macedonia by the Paeones and Dardanes, and in Kosovo and Metohija by the Scirtones (Westermann Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, Braunschweig, 1985, pp. 38–39).

[6] The “Illyrian” linguistic theories of Albanian and South Slavic ethnogenesis have certain similarities with the “Thracian” linguistic theory of the ethnic origin of the Lithuanian nation that was championed by the 19th century Lithuanian linguist and national worker Jonas Basanavičius. The theory was the result of Basanavičius’ linguistic research of ethnogenesis of the 19th century Lithuanian nation. In his book Lietuviškai trakiškos studijos he developed the theory that part of the ancient Tracians emigrated from their Balkan homeland and ultimately settled in the eastern littoral of the Baltic Sea. Basanavičius claimed that these Thracian migrants from the Balkans were the predecessors of the modern Litvanian nation. This theory was based on the fact that the ancient Thracian language was similar to the 19th century Lithuanian language. Both of these languages belong to the family of Indo-European languages. Basanavičius was working for years in Bulgaria and in order to prove his theory collected documents with the Thracian personal names, toponyms and names for different kinds of drinks and then compared them to those of the Lithuanians. He claimed, for example, that Lithuanian name Getas comes from the Thracian tribal name Getai [Basanavičius J., Lietuviškai trakiškos studijos, Shenandoah, PA, 1898, pp. 8–15; Seen A. E., Jonas Basanavičius: The patriarch of the Lithuanian national renaissance, Newtonville, MA, 1980]. According to Basanavičius, the name for the mediaeval Lithuanian capital Trakai was derived from the Greek name for the ancient Thracians, while some of the “Polish” names for the settlements (for instance, Kalisz in the region of Poznan) were not originally Polish: they were of Lithuanian-Thracian origin. Basanavičius concluded that the ancient Thracians were of the same ethnicity as the Lithuanians [Basanavičius J., Lietuviškai trakiškos studijos, Shenandoah, PA, 1898, pp. 21−74].

[7] Before the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, the  population of Albania called themselves Arbërësh/Arbënesh and their country Arbën/Arbër. The South Slavonic name for the people from Albania was Arbanas. The Arnauts (Арнауташи) were Islamized and later Albanized Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija who still did not forget their original ethnicity [Цвијић Ј., Основе за географију и геологију Македоније и Старе Србије, III, Београд, 1911, pp. 1162−1166]. However, during the period of the Albanian national revival movement in the late 19th century the Albanians called themselves Shqipëtarë and the country Shqipëtaria. The name is most probably derived from the word shqipe what means “eagle” referring to the mountainous settlers of the highlands of Albania. However, this word probably comes from the ancient Dacian-Moesian language adopted by the Bulgarians who settled the Roman province of Moesia Inferior in 680/681. In the Bulgarian language “Shqiptars” means the “highlanders”. The popular nickname for the Albanians is the “Sons of the Eagle” and for Albania the “Land of the Eagle”. Two of the most important and powerful Albanian tribal units around 1900 were the Ghegs (the Roman Catholics) in Northern Albania and the Tosks in Southern Albania. The Albanian population was (and is) divided with respect to religion. They are Muslims (the majority of the Albanians), Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox (the minority of the Albanians). The last group occupies South-Eastern Albania around the cities of Korçë and Gjirokastër (Argyrus). For more details see [Hobhouse J. C. (Lord Broughton), Travels in Albania and other provinces of Turkey in 1808 and 1810, I, II, London, 1858; Skendi S., “Religion in Albania during the Ottoman rule”, Südost Forscungen, № 15, Münich, 1956; Hobsbawm E. J., Nations and Nationalism since 1789. Programme, Myth, Reality, Cambridge, 2000, p. 70].

[8] Oxford Dictionary of World History. The world’s most trusted reference books, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 253.

[9] For instance, see: Marmullaku R., Albania and Albanians, London, 1975, p. 6; Miridita Z., Istorija Albanaca (“Iliri i etnogneza Albanaca”), Beograd, 1969, p. 9.

[10] Fine J., The Early Medieval Balkans, Ann Arbor, 1994, p. 10.

[11] See, for instance [Noel M., Kosovo: A Short History, New York: New York University Press, 1999, pp. 22−40].

[12] This opinion is also shared by some Serbian scholars. For instance, Ferjančić B., Istorija Albanaca (“Albanija do XII veka”), Beograd, 1969, p. 29. The champions of the Illyrian theory frequently cited the words of Milovan Đilas, one of the leading Yugoslav communists after the Second World War (and a war criminal) from Montenegro who wrote: “The Albanians are the most ancient Balkan people – older than the Slavs, and even the ancient Greeks” (cited from: [Costa N., Albania: A European Enigma, New York, 1995, p. 1]), or French scholar Andre Malraux who wrote that “Athens was, alas no more than an Albanian village” [Malraux A., Anti-Memoirs, New York, 1968, p. 33].

[13] Marmullaku R., Albania and Albanians, London, 1975, p. 8; Ferluga J, “Sur la date de la création du thème de Dyrrhachium”, Extrait des Actes du XII Congrès International des Etudes Byzantines, vol. 2, Beograd, 1964, pp. 83−92. Regarding the borders of the Byzantine Theme Dyrrhachium see: Engel J. (ed.), Groβer Historischer Weltatlas. Mittelalter, München, 1979, p. 14.

[14] Ismajly R., “Albanians and South-Eastern Europe (Aspects of Identity)”, Conflict or Dialogue. Serbian-Albanian relations and integration of the Balkans. Studies and Essays, Subotica, 1994, p. 269.

[15] For example, Protest of the Population of Shkodra, Podgorica, Shpuza, Zhabjak, Tivar, Ulqin, Gruda, Kelmend, Hot and Kastrat addressed to the Ambassador of France in Istanbul against the annexation of Albanian lands by Montenegro (Shkodra, May 8th, 1878), Archives du Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Paris, Fund of the French Embassy at the Sublime Porte, Turkey, vol. 417, pp. 51–54, supplement to the report № 96. Original in French. English translation in Pollo S., Pulaha S. (eds.), Pages of the Albanian National Renaissance, 1878–1912, Tirana, 1978, pp. 12–13; Contents of the coded telegram sent by Dervish Pasha from Shkodra (December 27th, 1880), Basbakanllik Arsive, Istanbul, Fund of Jilldiz esas evraki, 14 88/16 88 12. Original in Turkish. See figure 2. For the Albanian scholars, of course, any project of creation of a Greater Albania is only the myth [Kola P., The Myth of Greater Albania, New York: New York University Press, 2003].

[16] However, several written historical sources from different cultural environments (Byzantine, Arab…) clearly say that the Albanians arrived in the Balkans in 1043 from the Eastern Sicily and that their  original home was in Caucasus Albania which is mentioned in several ancient sources as an independent state with its own rulers. The Caucasus Albania was neigboring the Caspian Sea, Media, Iberia, Armenia and Sarmatia Asiatica (see figure 4). The most important source which mentions that the Balkan Albanians came from Eastern Sicily in 1043 is the Byzantine historian Michael Ataliota [Ataliota M., Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantine, Bonn: Weber, 1853, p. 18]. This historical fact is recognized and by some of Albanian historians like Stefang Pollo and Arben Puto [Pollo S., Puto A., The History of Albania, London-Boston-Hebley: Routledge & Kegan, 1981, p. 37].

[17] The League (Lidhja e Prizrenit) was established in the town of Prizren in Metohija for the very political purpose: to claim that this old Serbian town is in fact an Albanian one. However, Prizren was at that time consisted of 70% Serbs and 30% Albanians. The town was a capital of Serbia in the 14th century (called by Serbs as “Imperial City”). It was the location of the royal-imperial court and the Orthodox cathedral (саборна црква) built in 1307. Today, only several Serbian houses remain in the town of Prizren. Metohija is a term of the Greek origin (μετόχι). It refers to the land owned by the Orthodox church. As the Serbian medieval rulers granted huge portions of land between the towns of Peć, Prizren, Mitrovica and Priština to the Serbian Orthodox Church the western part of Kosovo came to be called Metohija [Батаковић Т. Д., Косово и Метохија у српско-арбанашким односима. Друго допуњено издање, Београд, Чигоја штампа, 2006, p. 10]. This province is called by the Serbs, Kosovo and Metohija, while the Albanians purposely refer to it only as Kosova/Kosovë. However, the word Kosovo/Kosova/Kosovë is of Slavic origin (kos = type of eagle), but not of Albanian, what means that Albanians even do not have their own (Albanian) name for Kosovo. The Albanians, of course, do not mention Metohija at all.

[18] For example [The Activity of the Albanian League of Prizren in the vilayet of Kosova (1880), Consul-General Blunt to the Marquis of Salisbury, Public Record Office, Foreign Affairs, London, № 195/1323; The British Museum, London, Fund of Accounts and Papers (43), 1880, LXXXII, 82, 77–78]. The document is published in [Rizaj S., The Albanian League of Prizren in British Documents, 1878–1881, Prishtina, 1978, pp. 279–280].

[19] Stipčević A., Every Story About the Balkans Begins with the Illyrians, Priština, 1985; Buda A., “The Southern Illyrians as a Problem of Historiography”, Historical Writings, vol. 1, pp. 13–15. During the last decades many scholars have claimed that the Balkan Illyrians (and Thracians) were nothing else but ethnolinguistic Serbs [Бајић Ј., Блажени Јероним, Солинска црква и Србо-Далмати, Шабац, 2003; Деретић И. Ј., Антић П. Д., Јарчевић М. С., Измишљено досељавање Срба, Београд: Сардонија, 2009; Милановић М., Историјско порекло Срба, Београд: Admiral Books, 2011; Земљанички Б., Срби староседеоци Балкана и Паноније у војним и цивилним догађајима са Римљанима и Хеленима од I до X века, Београд: Стручна књига, 1999]. In other words, they claim, that the Serbs, but not the Albanians, are the only autochthonous people (nation) on the Balkan Peninsula, according to the historical sources of the time.

[20] Islami S., Anamali S., Korkuti M, Prendi F., Les Illyriens, Tirana, 1985, p. 5; Anamali S., “The Illyrians and the Albanians”, Prifti K., Nasi L., Omari L., Xhufi P., Pulaha S., Pollo S., Shtylla Z. (eds.), The Truth on Kosova, Tirana, 1993, p. 5; Cabanes P., Les Illyriens de Bardylis à Genthios, IV–II siècles avant J.C, Paris, 1988, p. 17. The borders of geographical distribution of the Illyrian population in Antique Balkans are primarily reconstructed according to the writings of the Greek historians Herodotus who lived in the 5th century B.C. and wrote Historiae and Appianus who lived in the 2nd century A.D. and wrote Illyrica.

[21] The most outstanding Illyrian tribes were: Iapudes, Dalmatae, Autariatae, Docletae and Taulantii.

[22] The Praefectura of Illyricum was subdivided into the following Provinces: Dacia Ripensis, Dacia Mediterranea, Moesia Superior Margensis, Dardania, Praevalis, Macedonia Prima, Macedonia Secunda, Epirus Nova, Epirus Vetus, Thessalia, Achaia and Creta.

[23] Ростовцев М., Историја старога света: Грчка и Рим, Нови Сад: Матица српска, 1990, pp. 383−384.

[24] Regardless of the fact that the Latin language did not replace the Illyrian one in the territory of Albania during Roman rule, Latin did not become the language of the common people. The Illyrian language was Romanized to a certain degree and the Latin alphabet was later chosen by the Albanian national leaders as the national script of the Albanians (one of the reasons for such a decision was purely political). For sure, the Roman culture and Latin language participated in the process of the ethnogenesis of the Albanians. However, the proponents of the Illyrian theory of Albanian ethnogenesis refute this opinion emphasizing that the number of Latin inscriptions found in Albania is small when compared with the number found in the other provinces of the Roman Empire. Their total number is 293. Half of these inscriptions are found in and around the Roman colony located in the ancient city of Dyrrhachium. Theodore Mommsen thought that people used exclusively the Illyrian language in the interior of Albania during the Roman occupation [Mommsen T., The Provinces of the Roman Empire, vol. 1, Chicago, MCMLXXIV, pp. 202–203]. Dardania was one of the least Romanized Balkan regions  and its native population preserved its ethnic individuality and consciousness. Subsequently, the Dardanians, who escaped Romanization and survived the South Slavic migrations to the Balkans, emerged in the Middle Ages with the name of the Albanians. Nevertheless, Latin terminology in modern Albanian and the place-names in Albania are evidence of the Illyrian-Albanian Romanization/Latinization.

[25] However, the proponents of the theory of Serbian Balkan origin claim that all Balkan-born Roman emperors (arround 20) were ethnic Serbs. Diocletian and Constantine the Great are the most important among them.

[26] Among the South Slavs, and in part among the Poles and Russians, the Illyrian theory of Slavic origin was widespread from the early 16th century to the early 19th century. According to this theory, the South Slavs were the autochthonous population in the Balkans originating from the ancient Illyrians. Furthermore, all Slavs formerly lived in the Balkans and were known by the ancient authors as the Illyrians. At the beginning of the Middle Ages they split into three groups: one group migrated to Central Europe (the Western Slavs), another group went to Eastern Europe (the Eastern Slavs) while the last group remained in the Balkans (the South Slavs). According to several medieval chronicles, the South Slavic ascendants were the ancient Illyrians, Thracians and Macedonians. Thus, Alexander the Great, Constantine the Great, Diocletian and St. Hieronymus were of South Slavic origin. In the time of Humanism, Renaissance, Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, a number of Dubrovnik (Ragusian) writers became the most prominent champions of this theory. They included Vinko Pribojević (On Origin and History of the Slavs, published in Venice in 1532), Mavro Orbini (De Regno Sclavorum, published in Pesaro in 1601) and Bartol Kašić (Institutiones Linguae Illyricae, published in 1604). Pribojević claimed that all Slavs spoke one common language, which originated in the Balkans. For him, the Russians spoke a Dalmatian dialect of the common Slavic language. This common Slavic language was named by Dubrovnik writers as “Our”, “Illyrian” or “Slavic” one. Subsequently, all Slavs who spoke “Our” language belonged to “Our” people. The influence of the Illyrian theory of (the South) Slavic origin can be seen in: 1) the work of Serbian noblemen from Transylvania, Count Đorđe Branković (1645–1711) who in 1688 wrote the first political program of the South Slavic unification into a free and independent state which he called the “Illyrian Kingdom”; in 2) the fact that Orbini’s De Regno Sclavorum was translated into Russian in 1722; and in 3) that the Croatian movement of national renewal from the time of the first half of the 19th century was officially called as the “Illyrian Movement”.

[27] Miridita Z., Istorija Albanaca (“Iliri i etnogeneza Albanaca”), Beograd, 1969, pp. 9−10; Qabej W., Hyrje në historinë e gjuhës shipe, Prishtinë, 1970, pp. 29–32; Prifti K., Nasi L., Omari L., Xhufi P., Pulaha S., Pollo S., Shtylla Z. (eds.), The Truth on Kosova, Tirana, 1993, pp. 5–73; Dobruna E., “On some ancient toponyms in Kosova”, Onomastika e Kosoves, Prishtina, 1979; Anamali S., “The problem of the formation of the Albanian people in the light of archaeological information”, The National Conference on the formation of the Albanian people, their language and culture, Tirana, 1988; Çabej E., “The problem of the autochthony of Albanians in the light of place-names”, Buletini i Universitetit Shteteror te Tiranes, № 2, 1958, pp. 54–62.  

[28] For instance, see [Ћоровић В., Историја Срба, Београд: БИГЗ, 1993, pp. 3−66; Ферјанчић Б., Византија и Јужни Словени, Београд: Завод за издавање уџбеника Социјалистичке Републике Србије, 1966, pp. 20−26; Kont F., Sloveni. Nastanak i razvoj slovenskih civilizacija u Evropi (VI−XIII vek), Beograd: Zavod za izdavačku delatnost „Filip Višnjić“, 1989, pp. 14−43; Пипер П., Увод у славистику, 1, Београд: Завод за уџбенике и наставна средства Београд, 1998, pp. 81−96].

[29] The name for the Albanians – “Арбанаси” is derived from the Latin name for the Albanians as the “Arbanenses”.

2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović



© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2017




Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A history written with an attempt to support Albanian territorial claims in the Balkans (First part)


Noel Malcolm – Kosovo – A Short History

A history written with an attempt to support Albanian territorial claims in the Balkans


A Short History of Kosovo by Noel Malcolm is usually considered as one of the prime historical sources on the history of the province. In fact, this book is an example of the History with a political attitude because it is not by chance that Malcolm who attacks the “myths” of Serbian history is at the same time a president of the Anglo-Albanian Association and one of the strongest supporters of independence of Kosovo. Being far from an objective scientific work Malcolm’s History of Kosovo can be better classified as a kind of historical pamphlet which will not easily outlive the present political moment for which it was written.

Similarly, like his Shorter History of Bosnia, in which he idealizes the Ottoman rule beyond any measure, the Short History of Kosovo will find eager readers only among those who seek instant, black and white histories and do not have much time and intellectual eagerness to delve more deeply into the history of the Balkans.

With a boldness of an experienced historian, although he has written very few historical books, Malcolm in his rather journalist style very subjectively draws conclusions out of his carefully filtered bibliography in which Serb sources hardly find any place at all. But, more than anything, it is very strange that Malcolm almost completely ignores Serbian Orthodox archives and libraries although more than 90% of all cultural and historical monuments in Kosovo belong to this Church. Furthermore, although Malcolm consulted 16 different archives in six countries, none of them were in Serbia. It is a puzzling gap indeed, because so many other sources have been explored. This fact, most persuasively reveals that this is in fact a book intended to falsify the history rather than to approach it in an evenhanded and scientific way.

of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Collection of Works
Volume 18

Response to Noel Malcolm’s Book

Scientific Discussion on Noel Malcolm`s book “Kosovo. A Short History”
(Macmillan, London 1998, 492)
8th October 1999

This book contains eight historical studies with the criticism of Noel Malcolm’s book: Kosovo A Short History. The texts were read at the Discussion organized by the Historical Institute of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Art in Belgrade on October 8, 1999.

“Needless to say, the motifs for this Discussion are scientific. It was not organized because the book in question is worthy of it as a scientific work, but because it deals with a phenomenon deserving to be thoroughly discussed. Noel Malcolm’s book Kosovo. A Short History is not a scientific work, yet the general public, and even some professional circles, have accepted it as an objective presentation of the past, notably the past of Kosovo. The publicity it has received in many media in the West as well as its eager inclusion in the holdings of many libraries bear witness to that”.

From the Foreword of the Editor-in-Chief
Prof. Slavenko Terzic


About This Scientific Discussion
October 8, 1999

By Slavenko Terzic

The Discussion on Noel Malcolm’s book Kosovo. A Short History was scheduled for early April 1999, but it had to be postponed owing to the NATO aggression. We invited some thirty colleagues to take part in the Discussion, notably historians but also art historians, archaeologists, Orientalists and political scientists. As a matter of course, we also invited the author of the book Noel Malcolm. We have recently received his letter (fax) telling us that he was not able to attend the Discussion.

Our historiography does not pride itself on a very rich tradition of scientific discussions. Many books have been published here (in Pristina and other Yugoslav centres), but also abroad, calling for impartial scientific appraisal. As a rule, these books used to be passed over in silence, or even met with a kind of haughtiness, and in the course of time such unscientific attitudes became an accepted system of knowledge which it was very difficult to counteract, and today it is even more difficult to do so.

Needless to say, the motifs for this Discussion are scientific. It was not organized because the book in question is worthy of it as a scientific work, but because it deals with a phenomenon deserving to be thoroughly discussed. Noel Malcolm’s book Kosovo. A Short History is not a scientific work, yet the general public, and even some professional circles, have accepted it as an objective presentation of the past, notably the past of Kosovo. The publicity it has received in many media in the West as well as its eager inclusion in the holdings of many libraries bear witness to that.

Noel Malcolm’s book is undoubtedly a phenomenon. In other words, it demonstrates the extent of the betrayal of the historical truth and the manipulation of the past of nations, regions or states for the sake of the political ends of the day. It was a commonplace view that such books are possible only in totalitarian societies. But we can see that the appearance of such books is also possible in a milieu which, until recently at least, could not be called totalitarian, and that it is possible within a historiography excelling in great authors and trustworthy works.

The colleagues about to talk about this book will throw light on various aspects of this work ranging from its basic methodological and theoretical approach, its research conception, to its documentary reliability and interpretation characteristics.

Noel Malcolm has begun his studies of South-East Europe recently, at the time when the process of disintegration of the Yugoslav state was beginning. So he very rapidly became an expert in the history of the “regions going through a crisis” and of “unstable regions”. He has produced a short history of Bosnia, to be followed by this one of Kosovo, so that he can be expected to manufacture “a short history” of Dagestan or Chechnya tomorrow. He resembles a little, in everything, a “holy warrior” brandishing a pen in his hand. With his “history” of the regions with which he deals he caters to the demands of the political moment. In this particular case, to the demands of the Great Albanian project and NATO political plans in South-Eastern Europe.

Source: www.kosovo.net





The Albanian Origin: The main challenges of research


We must be clear on the meaning of Albanian autochthony, anthroponymy and ethnogenesis. Actually, the question is: have the Albanians lived without interruption in the  present-day “ethnic” territories of the Albanians (Albania, the Eastern Montenegro, Kosovo and Metohija, the Southern Central Serbia, the Western Macedonia and the Northern Epirus in Greece) since the ancient Greek and Roman times? In the other words, are the Albanians really the indigenous people of the Balkans as they claim or just newcomers to their present-day ethnic territories?  It is true, however, that the question of the Illyrian ethnic and cultural background of present-day Albanians (i.e., the ethnogenesis of the Albanians) has been politicized subsequent to the Second World War. The question is related both to the ancient history of the Albanians and to the pre-history of their language.

For some German and Austrian 19th century linguists and historians it was evident that the Albanians had been an autochthonous population in Albania since pre-Greco-Roman times. These scholars accepted the theory that the 19th century Albanian nation represented a direct ethnic continuity of the autochthonous Balkan people – the ancient Illyrians. For Albanian scientists it is incontestable that not only cultural, but also, ethnic continuity extends from the ancient Illyrians to present-day Albanians. Many of the 20th century scholars, especially after the Second World War, however, held an opposite opinion, i.e., that the theory of the Illyrian origin of the Albanians is not supported by any single historical source! They claimed that the Albanians are not a native Balkan population but newcomers to present-day Albania from more or less distant regions.

The main two arguments for the second “anti-Illyrian” hypothesis or theory are: 1) the Dacian-Albanian-Romanian linguistic connections (but not the Illyrian-Albanian one); and 2) the place-names in Albania, which indicate a lack of Illyrian-Albanian continuity. Nevertheless, the second approach to the question of Albanian ethnogenesis, i.e. that the Albanians are the newcomers to the Balkan Peninsula who came later compared to all Albanian neighbors, is backed by several historical sources.

The Albanians believe themselves to be the last pure and direct descendants of the ancient Illyrians, the Balkan people who lived on the peninsula in Antiquity. Many scholars consider the Albanians the offspring population of the ancient inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula, either the Pelasgians or the Illyrians, i.e. the population residing in this part of Europe before the Middle Ages. During the mid-19th century and especially after the establishment of the Albanian national-political organisation – the First League of Prizren in 1878 the romanticist understanding of nationhood based on the linguistic principle prevailed among the Albanian intellectuals, particularly among those living as the emigrants in Italy (the Arabëresh, as the Italo-Albanians called themselves).[1]

The Albanian national movement Rilindja assumed an anti-South Slavic (mostly anti-Serbian) and anti-Greek political-ideological orientation, which in any case cannot be considered as anti-Christian. The Albanian national identity is derived from confrontation with, and from, differences relative to their neighbours. The majority of Albanian political activists from the time of the Rilindja accepted the German-Romanticist principle of “linguistic” nationhood and they created the notion of the designation of the Albanians as an ethnic group as their mother tongue was the Albanian language.[2] However, referring to the linguistic evidences some scholars defend the thesis that the Albanians are descendants of the ancient Dacians who inhabited the lands south of the Danube river (the Roman provinces of Moesia Superior and Moesia Inferior) and migrated south-west to the territory of present-day Albania. There are some serious indications that point to the Albanian ethnic origin in Dacian-Moesian roots. This is supported by the fact that Albanian name for themselves–Shqiptars, is a word of Dacian-Moesian origin, which means the “highlanders” in the Bulgarian language.  

However, the proponents of the Illyrian theory of Albanian ethnogenesis connected the modern international name for the Albanians with Albanoi which was the name of the Illyrian tribe living in present-day North Albania, mentioned for the first time in the works of the Greek geographer Ptolemy in the 2nd century A.D.

The ideology and efforts of the Albanian national movement from 1878 to 1913 to unify the entire Albanian Balkan population who lived in compact masses in a single independent ethnically homogenous state of the Albanians jeopardazied the territorial integrity of Serbian, Montenegrin and Greek national states. Since the Second World War that situation has been replaced through various projects to re-create the 1941−1945 “Greater” Albania.

As would be expected, various historical developments have brought about numerous transformations of the Albanians that produced an alternation of their real (the Caucasus) ethnic entity. There are no “pure” peoples (nations) in the world and the Albanians are not “pure”, either. There is an ethnic substratum that is present in all Balkan peoples (nations). However, it is evident that the Albanians have retained some of the Illyrian elements in their ethnic make-up for this very reason: they were settled in Illyrian territory in 1043. But, on the other hand, all the peoples (nations) who today live in the Western and Central Balkans possess Illyrian  traits.[3] However, in the other regions of the Western and the Central Balkans, the Slavic element is predominant. Among the Albanians the Latinized Illyrian elements are strong, especially with respect to language. Nevertheless, this fact cannot be utilized to claim that Albanian historical and ethnic rights to certain Balkan territories are stronger and older than Slavic or Greek ones. In making this point, the Illyrian-Albanian cultural-ethnic continuation could gain a new political dimension with the inter-ethnical conflicts in the Balkans, which already exist, as a “Greater” Albania is from 1999 in the process of re-creation. The first Balkan province already de facto incorporated into the united national state of the Illyro-Albanians with the capital in Tirana is Kosovo and Metohija.  


[1] On political ideas in the Romantic Age in Europe, see [Berlin I., Political Ideas in the Romantic Age, Vintage Digital, 2012].

[2] On Albanian renaissance in political thought, see [Ypi L. L., “The Albanian Renaissance in Political Thought: Between the Enlightenment and Romanticism”, East European Politics and Societies, Vol. 21, No. 4, 2007, pp. 661−680].

[3] On ancient Illyrians, see [Stipcevic A., The Illyrians: History and Culture, Noyes Press, 1977; Wilkes J., The Illyrians, Oxford, England−Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1995; Evans A., Ancient Illyria: An Archaeological Exploration, London: I. B. Tauris, 2007].

2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović



© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2017





Understanding Albanian nationality and regional political-security consequences


The Albanian nationhood as understood in the 19th century was part of a romanticist notion of nationality, i.e., the Albanians were the Balkan people whose mother tongue was Albanian regardless of any confessional division of Albanian people into three denominations (Moslem, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox). Within the north Albanian tribes, especially among the Miriditi, the Roman Catholic Church was very influential. The Roman Catholic Church became the main protector of the Albanian language and cultural heritage and the main protagonist of the national identity of the Albanians in the Northern Albania.[1] The expression of common notions of the Albanian nationhood were expressed by the Albanian political leadership in the years of the Balkan Wars 1912–1913 in slogans such as: “Neve Shqiptar nuk jemi Greke, Sllav, or Teerk, neve jemi Shqiptar” (“We Albanians are not the Greeks, Slavs, or Turks, we are the Albanians”).

The Albanian political “methodology” from the time of the First Prizren League in 1878 until the Balkan Wars was applied in preparation for unification of all “ethnically Albanian territories” in the Balkans into (a “Greater”) Albania – a single national state of all Albanians, i.e., within the ethnic borders demanded by the League in the years of its existence from 1878 to 1881. Essentially similar national-state concepts were also included in the political programs of the Albanian Peja (Pejë) League, from 1899, the Greater Albanian Kosovo Committee, from 1920, and the Second Prizren League, from 1943. This included preservation of the traditional, common law and local community[2] as the organizational basis of the national movement followed by the demand for unification of all territories populated by the Albanians became Albanian primary national interest from 1878 onward.

Clearly, the process of creation of Albanian nationality was not yet completed at the end of the 19th century. The Albanian nation was not considered a political reality in Europe by many politicians at that time. The Albanian people were among the last ones in Europe to build up their own national identity and national community.[3] When during the sessions of the Congress of Berlin in 1878 the question of Albania and the Albanians was put on the agenda, the German Chancellor (Kanzzelar) Otto von Bismarck decisively rejected discussing it with the explanation that there was no Albanian nationality.[4] For him, the Albanians were the Turks. At the same time, the Serbs (either from Serbia or from Montenegro) and the Greeks considered themselves as a nation (i.e., ethnic groups which had their own state organizations), and as such were understood by Europe, while the Albanians were understood as the Balkan ethnic group (i.e., the group of people who did not have its own state). Consequently, the ethnic group of Albanians could live only as an ethnic minority included into some of the Balkan national state(s) and could not expect more than the right to autonomy within it (them). At the turn of the 20th century many politicians in Serbia, Montenegro and Greece shared the opinion that the ethnic group of the Albanians was culturally and politically incapable of a modern national development and above all unable and  insufficiently competent to establish and rule their own national state.[5] The backwardness of the development of Albanian society at the beginning of the 20th century was evidenced by the fact that the initiation of a  process of modernization shook the Albanian tribal society, but failed to replace it with a modern industrial, parliamentary and civil society. The Albanian national movement was seen as an archaic social movement that could not reach a level of national cohesion in modern terms. This movement produced among the Serbs, Montenegrins and Greeks a feeling of jeopardization of the political and territorial integrity of Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.[6] For them, the theory of the Illyrian-Albanian continuity was in essence a nationalistic ideological construction which became a driving politically-ideological force for Albanian politicians to create, from the Albanian point of view, their ethnic borders according to Albanian acquired rights.[7] Geopolitically, this project, from 1878 to the present, demands not only the territories which ethnically and historically belong to the Albanians, but goes beyond them and encompasses the entire Illyrian-Albanian ethnic population, dispersed in different areas over the neighboring Balkan regions: Kosovo and Metohija, southern parts of Central Serbia, Çameria (Greek Epirus and Greek Western Macedonia), the western portion of the Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM) and the Eastern Montenegro.[8]

Albania ISIL flag

However, contrary to the theory of the backwardness of Albanian social development, the Albanian political and intellectual leadership from the turn of the 20th century has argued that the Albanians met all conditions required by contemporary political science to be recognized as a nation: 1) they have their separate ethnic, linguistic and cultural identity; 2) the Albanian settlements in the Balkans are compact; 3) the Albanians have a very precisely defined national program; and 4) they possess the abilities to build up a community and their own independent state which would be self-governed.[9]

The Albanian political and intellectual leadership often stressed that the Albanian people with their own national idea would never be successfully integrated either into Serbian, Montenegrin or Greek societies and states. That is, in addition to numerous and diverse causes, also due to the fact that the Albanians do not belong to the Slavic or Greek linguistic and cultural groups. There is also significant divergence of national development of the Serbs, Montenegrins, Greeks, on the one hand, and the Albanians, on the other. These nations had a different kind of national movements and distinctly different political elite and national ideology. However, the Albanian national ideology of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnogenesis was created and still exists as a pure myth in the form of a quasi-scientific political propaganda for the sake of the creation of a “Greater” Albania.

Finally, the Albanians surely were among the very few Balkan peoples who managed to find an internal balance between three faiths and to build up the national identity associated with each one as Islam is followed by 70% of Albanian population (primarily from Albania proper, Kosovo and Metohija, the Western Macedonia and the Eastern Montenegro), Eastern Orthodoxy is professed by 20% of the Albanians (chiefly from the Southern Albania and the Greek Northern Epirus) and Roman Catholicism is adhered by 10% of the Albanians (mainly from the Northern Albania proper and Kosovo and Metohija).[10] In one word, the Illyrian theory of the Albanian ethnogenesis played a crucial role in forming a common Albanian identity regardless on confessional division of the Albanians.

The 19th century movement of the Albanian national awakening started half a century later in contrast to a similar process of other Balkan nations and an entire century after similar movements in Central Europe. The cause of this delay was a general national-cultural underdevelopment of the Albanian people who lived under the Ottoman Empire for centuries without cultural and ideological connections to Western Europe where the ideology and movement of nationalism emerged and spread throughout the European continent. Subsequently, the ideas of national identification, national statehood and the concept of historical-ethnic territorial boundaries was realized by Albania’s neighbors (the Greeks, Serbs and Montenegrins) well in advance of the Albanian people. When Albanian intellectuals during and after the Great Eastern Crisis 1875–1878 theoretically shaped the thought and concept of the Albanian national idea related to the question of fixing Albanian national territories and creating an Albanian national state, they faced, and had to struggle with, Serbian, Montenegrin and Greek national aspirations towards the realization of their own national statehood. This ideological, political and military fight was focused primarily on the question upon certain “national” soils on the Balkans which would be included either into a united Serbia, united Montenegro, united Greece or united Albania: Kosovo and Metohija, Northern Epirus, Western Macedonia, Skadar (Skutari) region in the Northwest Albania and the territories around the city of Ulcinj and the Bojana river in the Eastern Montenegro.

The national program of the First League of Prizren set up the following two ultimate national goals of the Albanians: 1) the national liberation of all Albanians, of whom a majority lived within the Ottoman Empire and a minority in the independent states of Serbia and Montenegro; and 2) the creation of a national state of the Albanians in which the entire Albanian historical and ethnic territories would be incorporated into Greater Albania. This second requirement led the Albanians in subsequent decades into open conflict with the neighboring Christian states: Serbia, Montenegro and Greece. The national awakening of the Albanian people in the years of 1878–1912 resulted in the establishment of an ideology of nationhood and statehood that was, to a greater or lesser extent, challenged and opposed by all  of Albania’s neighbors today – the Serbs, Greeks, Montenegrins and the Macedonian Slavs.


[1] Draškić S., “Nadmetanje Austro-Ugarske i Italije koncem XIX i početkom XX veka u Albaniji”, Albansko pitanje u novoj istoriji, III, Beograd: Marksistička misao, 2-1986, pp. 129–132. See also: [Starova G., “The Religion of the Albanians in the Balkan European Context”, Balkan Forum, Skopje, vol. 1, № 4, 1993, pp. 201–204].

[2] On Albanian traditional common law, see [The Code of Lekë Dukagjini, New York: Gjonlekaj Publishing Company, 1989; Salihu V., Qerimi I., Social Organization and Self-Government of Albanians According to the Costumary Law, GRIN Verlag, 2013 (in German); Gjeçovi Sh., Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014].

[3] On this issue, see more in [Schwandner-Sievers S., Fischer J. B., Albanian Identities: Myth and History, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2002].

[4] Logoreci A., The Albanians. Europe’s Forgotten Survivors, Colorado, 1977, p. 41.

[5] Such approach can be understood as an old theory, which was used during the Balkan Wars 1912–1913 to justify Serbian conquest of the Northern Albania, Greek occupation of Southern Albania and Montenegrin military taking of the city of Skadar/Scutari [Туцовић Д., Србија и Албанија, један прилог критици завојевачке политике српске буржоазије, Београд, 1913, pp. 177–118].

[6] The Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonian Slavs and Greeks accuse Albanian intellectuals and politicians of using the theory of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnic, linguistic and cultural continuity for the sake of realizing the political concept of a “Greater Albania” in the Balkans (see figure 2). This concept cannot be realized without a radical change of the borders of the Balkan states established in 1912–1913, following two Balkan Wars. Such a change in the borders would violate the territorial integrity of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. In conclusion, the concept of a “Greater” Albania, based among other ideological constructions and on the theory of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnogenesis, may serve as a prelude to a Third Balkan War. Regarding the concept and consequences of creation of a “Greater” Albania at the Balkans, see [Čanak J. (ed.), “Greater Albania”. Concept and possible Consequences, Belgrade: the Institute of Geopolitical Studies, Belgrade, 1998; Borozan Đ., “Greater Albania”-Origins, Ideas, Practice, Belgrade: the Institute of Military History of the Yugoslav Army, Belgrade, 1995]. It should be stressed that in addition to Orthodoxy and the so-called St. Sava’s spiritual legacy, the province of Kosovo and Metohija (i.e., Serbia proper) is the third pillar of Serbian national identity. Contrary to the Serbian case, Kosovo and Metohija are not of any significance for Albanian national identity. Regarding the (crucial) importance of Kosovo and Metohija for the Serbs from historical perspective, see: [Самарџић Р. и други, Косово и Метохија у српској историји, Београд: Српска књижевна задруга, 1989].

[7] See more in: [Илири и Албанци, Научни скупови, књ. XXXIX, Београд: САНУ, 1988].

[8] According to the map of United Albania, composed by Ali Fehmi Kosturi and distributed since 1938. Historically, there were two attempts to create a “Greater” Albania: first in 1912 supported by Austria-Hungary, and second in 1941 with the direct intervention of fascist Italy and the logistic support of the Third Reich. In both cases the concept of “Greater” Albania reasserted the demands of the 1878–1881 Albanian First League of Prizren to create an Albanian state inside alleged Illyrian-Albanian historical-ethnic borders.

[9] Similar arguments referring to Kosovo and Metohija were presented by the Albanian Kosovo intelligentsia in the 1990s during the Kosovo crisis and the war. See, for example: [Maliqi S., “Strah od novih ratnih uspeha”, Borba, Beograd, September 16th, 1993].

[10] To date, the Albanian Muslims are the main corps of the Albanian national movement and nationalism. The concept of “United”, or “Greater”, Albania, in its original form (from 1878), was under the strong influence of conservative, political Islam.

2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović



© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2017





Serbian Patriarchate of Peć in the Ottoman Empire: The First Phase (1557−1594)


Article is publishes as: “The Serbian Patriarchate of Peć in the Ottoman Empire: The First Phase (1557−94)”, Serbian Studies: Journal of the North American Society for Serbian Studies, Vol. 25, 2011, № 2, ISSN 0742-3330, 2014, Slavica Publishers, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, pp. 143−167


 The goals of this article are: 1) to investigate the role of the revived Patriarchate of Peć in Serbian and Balkan history?; and 2) to explore and present the results of investigation of the problems with respect to: a) the role of the Serbian Church during the first decades of the Ottoman occupation of Serbian lands in the process of the creation of a Serbian national identity; b) Serbian-Turkish relations in the second half of the 16th century; and c) the reasons for Serbian disloyalty towards the Ottoman government at the turn of the 17th century.

The article addresses the reasons and causes of the decline of the Ottoman Empire, which was one of the most powerful European states in the New Age of European history. Marking a period of prelude to the “Eastern Question” in the Balkans, i.e. the question of the survival of the Ottoman Empire in Europe.[1] This was one of the crucial questions in the history of Europe from the time of the Reformation to the beginning of the First World War. The methodology employed consists of analysis of available documents and comparison of different historical sources and literature on the subject.

The Patriarchate of Peć is a subject of major significance as it was the only Serbian national institution within the Ottoman Empire and whose role was of crucial in influencing the Serbian population to remain loyal to their faith rather than convert to Islam. The patriarchate was responsible as well for the fact that the Serbs preserved their own national medieval heritage and the idea of an independent national state. Under the influence of the patriarchate Orthodox Christianity became the central and crucial element of Serbian national identity that has been sustained to the present day.[2]

The Patriarchate of Peć was one of the most important institutions in the history of the Serbs, particularly with respect to their religious and cultural history. This institution was founded in 1346 during the realm of the most significant Serbian monarch: emperor Stefan Dušan the “Mighty” (1331−1355).[3] The foundation of the national Serbian Patriarchate of Peć was a consequence of a new political situation on the Balkan Peninsula, the emergence of Serbia as the most powerful country in this region positioned to replace the Byzantine Empire. In the same year as the founding of the patriarchate, Dušan the  Mighty was crowned by the Patriarch of Peć as the Emperor of Serbs and Greeks (i.e., the Byzantines). The period that followed was one of  full independence of the Serbian medieval church from the Greek one (named as an Ecumenical Church in Constantinople).

The history of Patriarchate of Peć can be divided into two periods, with a long interruption between them which lasted approximately one century: 1) from 1346 to 1459; and 2) from 1557 to 1766. In the first period the Patriarchate of Peć was the state church of the independent medieval Serbia. When the Ottoman Turks conquered Serbia in 1459 the patriarchate, as Serbian national church, was soon abolished (most probably in 1463) and it did not exist for a century, until its revival in 1557. However, the new patriarchate found itself in a new political situation in comparison to its previous position in independent Serbia. Now, from 1557 to 1766 the new Patriarchate of Peć was under total control of the authorities of the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, the territory under the jurisdiction of the “second” patriarchate was greater than that of the “first” patriarchate.

The “second” Patriarchate of Peć had jurisdiction over all Serbs in the Ottoman Empire. It is important to stress that only two (Orthodox) patriarchates (the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć) were permitted to exist in the Turkish state after the Ottoman conquest of the largest part of the Balkans. After the fall of the Serbian independent medieval state, the Patriarchate of Peć was the only institution which could unite all Serbs in the Ottoman Empire. The patriarchate actually became a representative institution of the Serbs before the Ottoman government. Essentially, in the eyes of the Serbs, the “second” Patriarchate of Peć was a substitution for the lost medieval national Serbian state. 

The main roles of the “second” patriarchate during the two centuries of its existence were: 1) to prevent the Serbs from converting to the Islamic faith; 2) to serve as the political representative of the Serbs in Sublime Porta (the Ottoman government); and 3) to preserve the medieval cultural inheritance of the Serbian state and people.

This article deals with history of the new Patriarchate of Peć during the first thirty-eight years of its existence: from the revival of the patriarchate until the incineration of St. Sava’s relics on the Vračar Hill near Belgrade (1557−1594).

The main issues discussed in this article are: 1) the reasons for the revival of the patriarchate; 2) the reasons for the Serbian insurrection of 1594−1595 against Ottoman rule; 3) the reasons for the incineration of the relics of St. Sava and the consequences of this action with respect to the relationships between the Serbs and the Turks, 4) the tolerance and intolerance in the Ottoman Empire regarding the relationships between the Islamic and Christian Orthodox faiths in the areas under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Peć, and 5) consideration of whether the “second” patriarchate was a new patriarchate, only with old name, or was it a real resumption of the medieval (“first”) Serbian patriarchate?

132. srpsko carstvo 1346

Serbian Empire of Stefan Dušan in 1355

The Serbian people under Ottoman rule in the 16th century

The making the Ottoman state into a world power was the work of  the sultan Mehmed II al-Fatih, “The Conqueror” (1451−1481), whose conquest of Constantinople in 1453 removed the last major barrier to expansion into the northern Anatolia and enabled the Ottomans to dominate the Straits and the southern shore of the Black Sea.[4] After the conquest of Constantinople Mehmed II in four military campaigns succeeded in occupying Serbia and finally annexing it in 1459 after the fall of Smederevo – Serbia’s capital at the time.[5] Mehmed the Conqueror soon occupied Bosnia in 1463, Albania in 1479 and Herzegovina in 1482. He also made the preparations for the Ottoman conquest of Negro Monte or Montenegro (medieval Doclea or Zeta) in 1499. As a consequence, ultimately all of the Serbian medieval states and Serb populated territories came under the Ottoman sultan as parts of the Ottoman Empire. Actually, the Serbian people and  Serbian areas were being conquered by the Turks from 1371 (Macedonia) to 1499 (Montenegro). During the time of the Ottoman expansion in the Balkans, the smaller Ottoman provinces – sanjaks, which were located at the Turkish borders with Christian states, became the most important for the Ottoman administration primarily from a military point of view. The strong military fortresses and a special system of military stations were built on the territories of the borderland sanjaks. A typical example was the Sanjak of Smederevo (northern medieval Serbia) which existed from 1459 to 1552 (from the time of the fall of the city of Smederevo until the conquest of the province of Banat).

During the 16th and 17th centuries the Serbian people lived in five larger Ottoman provinces – pashaliks. The most important of these were the Pashalik of Rumelia with its sanjaks: Skoplje, Kjustendil, Sofia, Prizren, Vučitrn, Scodra, Kruševac, Vidin and Smederevo; and the Pashalik of Bosnia, divided into the following sanjaks: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Klis, Zvornik, Bihać and Lika. The other pashaliks in which the Serbs lived were: the Pashalik of Timişoara (in the sanjaks of Čanad and Timişoara), the Pashalik of Jeger (in the sanjaks of Seged and Srem), and the Pashalik of Kanjiža (in the sanjaks of Mohach and Požega).[6]          

The Ottoman administrative system was organized with the most important goal of securing full military success and thus primacy.[7] A fundamental principle of inter-ethnic relations within the Ottoman Empire was a legal and practical superiority of the Mohammedan creed (Islam) over all other creeds. The most remarkable features of superiority and the privileged position of the Muslims in the Ottoman society were the requirement that Christian subjects pay extra taxes in money (haraç) and taxes in blood – devşirme (in Serbo-Croat –  “danak u krvi”).[8] The last one – devşirme (collection of boys) was especially harsh for the Christians as it was the practice in which the Ottoman authorities collected by force the boys from the Christian families to be trained and later enrolled in the Ottoman Empires’ military or civil service.[9] In general, in the Ottoman Empire there was a legal declaration of religious tolerance (for instance, by the sultan’s firman in 1566) and a fairly complete political and social intolerance. The Christians were clearly second class citizens. While formally proclaimed religious tolerance in the majority of cases was not respected on the ground in the provinces by the local Ottoman governors.       

It is assumed by historians that approximately 90−95% of the Serbs in the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century lived in the rural areas.[10] Theoretically, the sultan owned all Ottoman lands and he was the absolute master of all inhabitants: Muslims and non-Muslims. In this way, the Christian Serbs were the sultan’s flock or subjects (reaya) – the members of tax-paying lower class in the Ottoman society. However, in the 16th century there were Christian Serbs who were timar owners.[11] A majority of them had been small and middle level feudal lords at the time of the independent Christian states. It was very rare to have more Serb Christian than Ottoman Muslim sipahis (the Ottoman feudal lords) as in the majority of cases the Serb Christian sipahis were a minority.[12]

In the Serbian ethnolinguistic territories, the farmers, who were in the majority Serbian reaya, had subordinated small-land properties (čiftluks) and tax-paying obligations to both the sultan and the Ottoman Muslim feudal aristocracy. In addition to ordinary taxes, required of all members of the reaya social strata (whether Muslim or not), Christian Serbs, as non-Muslim members of the reaya, while having to pay to the sultan, had extra tax obligations: monetary, natural and labour ones. The most important was the haraç or džizija, which was paid by all labour-able men per capita. During the second half of the 16th century, meritorious Serbs were granted by the sultan abandoned lands as čiftluks (private possessions) along with peasants as their serfs.[13] Generally speaking, during the first hundred years of the Ottoman rule, the status of the peasants was better than it had been in the Christian medieval feudal states. This was the main reason that until the end of the 16th century among the Christian Serbs there were no rebellions against the new (Ottoman) rule. There were also some privileged territories, as for instance Montenegro, where a feudal system was abolished by the Ottomans and where all inhabitants were proclaimed as free-peasants (not feudal serfs). In  Montenegro even the Ottoman administrative system was not established on the local level (nahijas). Local administration thus was left to the domestic (Christian) aristocracy.[14]

A main part of northern portion of the territory of the formerly independent medieval Serbia was transformed into a borderland Ottoman military province which was ruled by a paşa whose administrative seat after 1521 was in Belgrade (before 1521 it was in Smederevo). The paşa determined the amount of the tribute and taxation. He was also the head of the justice system and of the Ottoman administration in his province – paşalik (pashalik, pašaluk). The Christians, in contrast to the Muslims, had no rights to complain against the paşa, but they could appeal to him for his protection against the local Ottoman feudal aristocracy – the sipahis. The Ottoman paşaliks were subdivided into several sanjaks governed by sanjak-begs. The sanjaks were subdivided into vilayets or subaşiluks administered by a subaşa and finally, the subaşiluks were composed of several nahiyes, or local districts, administered by mudirs. The administration of justice was given to the kadi, whose administrative territory was the kadiluk.[15]

Almost until end of the 17th century there were large districts in the Serbian ethno-linguistic territory administered by the local Christian Serb başi-knezes. They were persons were usually the descendants of Serbian nobles or princes who had become dependent on the Turks, but managed by their services to win the latter’s goodwill and retain their lands relatively intact. Başi-knezes were responsible only to the paşa in Belgrade as the administrator of the entire province of the Belgrade paşalik. The Ottoman Muslim kadis had no jurisdiction in the territories administered by başi-knezes and the Turks did not have the right to live in their districts. Thus, a large part of Serb populated land was not under the Ottoman administrative jurisdiction in the 15th and 16th centuries. In many cases the nahiyes were administered by local Serb Christian obor-knezes. They were elected by their compatriots, but their election was subject to the paşa’s approval. The obor-knezes were mainly responsible for order in the nahiyas. Thus, some type of local national-territorial autonomy existed among the Serbs under the Ottoman rule during the first century and a half of the Ottoman administration.

3 ottoman_empire_1481-1683

The Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1683

A revival of the Patriarchate of Peć in 1557

The (“first”) Patriarchate of Peć was established in 1346, at the time of the height of the medieval Serbian state. In the same year the greatest Serbian ruler, Stefan Dušan, was crowned as emperor by the first Serbian patriarch, on Easter Sunday (April 16th, 1346). The Patriarchate of Peć existed, at least, until the collapse of Serbian medieval state in 1459 or some years later (until 1463) .[16]

The status of the Serbian (Orthodox) church in the East-Christian world was singular. In 1352 the Serbian church was excommunicated by the Greek patriarch in Constantinople, but in 1374 the ban was removed at the request of Serbian prince Lazar (the most powerful Serbian feudal lord at the time), and the independent and autocephalous character of Serbian church was again acknowledged by the Byzantine (Ecumenical Orthodox) church authorities. However, after the fall of Constantinople (in 1453) the authority of the Greek church of the Archbishopric of Ohrid (in Macedonia) was extended over the autocephalous Serbian church (Patriarchate of Peć)[17] by permission of the Ottoman authorities.

For the Serbs, the danger of denationalisation of their national church, as it was put under the jurisdiction of the Greek church, after 1459 became much higher, especially when the Greek-Phanariot system of administration was established in the Balkans[18]. The Phanariot system of administration was a mixed framework of governance by the Ottoman Islamic and the Greek Orthodox rule, headed by the Greek patriarch of Constantinople. Although historians have not determined the exact date of the abolition of the Serbian patriarchate by the Ottoman government, it was most likely that during the next several years after the fall of the Serbian capital of Smederevo (in 1459) the Patriarchate of Peć functioned in some form under the Ottoman occupation. The Serbian patriarchate was, according to some historians, abolished in 1463 and was subject to the jurisdiction of the Greek-governed Archbishopric of Ochrid (the Archbishopric of Ohrid was established in 1018).[19] The archbishop of Ohrid was of Greek nationality but his archbishopric was independent from the Greek patriarch of Constantinople and not subject to the Greek Phanariot system. The archbishop succeeded, in the course of time, to enlarge his own area of jurisdiction, and consequently, a main part of the Serbian population in the Balkan Peninsula was put under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Ochrid. This may have been the result of: 1) a lack of Serbian loyalty to the Ottoman sultan on the eve of an extremely important battle against the Hungarians at Mohacs in 1526 and 2) the personal position of the second person in command in the Ottoman Empire, Ibrahim pasha, who was a grand vizier and a Greek by ethnic origin. The Serbian clergy, led by bishop Pavle of Smederevo, rose in 1528 against this decision by the Ottoman authorities and succeeded to, de facto, separate the Serbian church from the authority of the archbishop of Ohrid. Such limited autonomy of the Serbian church within the Ottoman Empire ended in 1541 (when the Ottoman army conquered the city of Buda) at a council of Orthodox churches which was convened by order of the sultan. It was the fist planned and executed action by the Serbs as a nation after the loss of their national state in 1459 – an event which together with other favorable developments at the time, including first of all the constructive and crucial role of Mehmed pasha Sokolović (a Serb from Eastern Bosnia who was converted to Islam)[20], paved the way for the reestablishing of the Patriarchate of Peć by the sultan’s firman issued in 1557.

During the Ottoman rule in Southeast Europe the Christians were bound solely by their own church organizations. The Catholics were in a more difficult position then the Orthodox believers because the Ottoman authorities were more suspicious of the Catholics than the Orthodox since the greatest Ottoman enemies were the Catholic states of Spain, Austria and Venice. Conversely, the Orthodox churches were not a great danger for the Ottoman government – Porta, until the emergence of a strong Orthodox Russia as a great and important European military power (from the time of Petar the Great 1689−1725). The Ottoman tolerance toward the Orthodox believers in the Balkans can be explained, additionally, and by the fact that all the centres of the national churches of the Balkan Orthodox nations were located in the Ottoman Empire and thus controlled by the Ottoman authorities. The Ottoman government was particularly tolerant toward the inhabitants living in the Ottoman borderland provinces since they wanted to prevent any political co-operation between the Christian believers from the Ottoman Empire and the hostile Christian border states − Venice and Austria. Particularly, the Orthodox believers and church institutions were protected by the Ottoman authorities and enjoyed certain privileges during the time of the Ottoman wars of conquest in the southern part of Central Europe north of the Danube and Sava Rivers (Hungary and Transylvania) from 1521 to 1541.

In the Ottoman Empire the Christians were regarded as the zimias − the peoples who had the “divine books”. For that reason, Christian believers enjoyed the rights of Ottoman citizens but not on the same level as Ottoman Muslim believers.[21] As a part of the Ottoman system of religious tolerance (millet system) there was recognition of the rights of the Christian churches and monasteries to own real estate.[22] Serbian historian Milenko Vukićević has noted that just before the revival of the Patriarchate of Peć, the Ottoman sultan Suleyman the “Magnificent” (1520−1566), issued a firman ordering the free profession of all religions in his state.[23]

Until the end of the 16th century the Serbs in the Ottoman Empire enjoyed full religious tolerance offered by the Ottoman authorities. At the same time the Serbs had a very important military role in the Ottoman army during the Ottoman wars against Catholic Hungary and Austria. There were three reasons for sultan Suleyman the “Magnificent”’s decision to re-establish the Serbian national church (the Patriarchate of Peć) in 1557: 1) as reward for Serbian loyalty to the Ottoman authorities; 2) to further encourage the Serbs to continue to actively participate in the Ottoman wars in Central Europe; and 3) to fulfill the wish of the grand vizier Mehmed Sokolović (a Muslim Serb from the eastern Bosnian village of Sokolovići)[24] who played a very influential political role at the court of the sultan and in the Ottoman government. It can be concluded that the revival of the Serbian Patriarchate was a reward for Serbian national loyalty, and above all, for the full military assistance in the sultan’s wars against the borderland Catholic Christian countries in the southern part of the Central Europe. Naturally, the sultan expected that such a reward would further encourage Serb national loyalty to the Ottoman state and further Serb participation in the forthcoming decisive wars against the Austrian Empire and its capital Vienna – the  main military target of the Ottoman foreign policy at that time. However, Serb loyalty to the sultan was sustained only until 1594 with the outbreak of the first Serbian uprising against the central authorities in Istanbul.   

There is no question that the re-establishment of the Patriarchate of Peć was in 1557 and that it was the result of the sultan’s personal decision and decree. It is also evident that the role of the second-ranked man in the Ottoman Empire (the first one after the sultan) − grand vizier Mehmed Sokolović, was of significant importance on the sultan’s decision to issue the decree (firman).[25] Additionally, Mehmed Sokolović was strongly influenced by his brother Makarije, a Serbian monk, who became the first patriarch of the restored Serbian church in 1557. However, it would be incorrect to conclude that the influence of the grand vizier on the sultan’s decision to re-establish the Patriarchate of Peć was a crucial one since the revival of the Serbian Patriarchate was the sultan’s reward to the Serbs for their contribution in the Ottoman wars against Hungary and the Habsburg Monarchy. In this way, the sultan was attempting to assure future Serbian political loyalty.

The Serbian national church was restored in 1557 under its own medieval historical name. The Ottoman administration was affecting an illusion that the (“first”) medieval Patriarchate of Peć had continued its existence and function as an institution. However, in fact, in the history of the Serbian church there was an interruption of a real institutional existence for at least 30 to 50 years. It is important to note that the medieval Serbian church existed as an independent national institution from 1219 and it was an integral part of the Serbian national state. However, the revived patriarchate in 1557 was under the total control of the Ottoman administration, but with significant autonomous rights. The city of Peć (Ipek in Turkish language) in Kosovo-Metohija once again became the seat of the Serbian patriarch who was autocephalous, of Serbian nationality and who supported Serbian national interests in the Ottoman Empire.

Moreover, with the permission of the sultan, the grand vizier Mehmed paša Sokolović provided for the continuation of the Patriarchate of Peć and inheritance of the patriarchal throne by members of the Sokolović’s family. The first patriarch was the brother of grand vizier – Makarije (1557−1571). After his death, the next two heads of the Serbian church in the Ottoman Empire were Antonije (1571−1575) and Gerasim (1575−1586); both of whom were nephews of Mehmed Sokolović.[26] In reality, the influence of the Serbian patriarch on Serbian society in the Ottoman Empire was critical as he became the person with the most influence on the political behaviour of the Serbs in their relations with the Ottoman administration. In other words, the patriarchs in Peć in the new political and historical climate assumed the role previously held by the medieval Serbian monarchs as the heads of a nation – ethnarch.[27] Concurrently, they were the political representatives at the court of the sultan of all Serbs as a nation in the Ottoman Empire.

143. pecka patrijarsija 1557

Territory of the Second Patriarchate of Peć in 1557

The territory and organization of the Patriarchate of P

The sultan’s most important aim with regard to the revival of the patriarchate was to gather all of the Serbian population living in the Ottoman Empire under their own national church organization. There were two crucial political reasons for this decision by Suleyman the “Magnificent”: 1) it was a reward for the Serbian loyalty and service to Ottoman civil and military authorities; and 2) the sultan could more easily control all Serbian citizens within the Ottoman Empire because the Patriarchate of Peć was under total Ottoman administrative control and considered to be under the strong political influence of the Ottoman administration and, thus basically instrument of Ottoman policy among the Serbs.

One of the crucial points of difference between the old (“first”) and revived (“second”) Serbian patriarchate was with respect to the territory under their administrative and spiritual jurisdiction. The former medieval Serbian patriarchate controlled a significantly smaller territory under its jurisdiction in contrast to the reestablished Patriarchate of Peć.

The centre of the renewed patriarchate was the ancient Serbian medieval religious and cultural center – the city of Peć (in Turkish Ipek), located in the region of Kosovo-Metohija or Serbia proper.

The southern border of the new patriarchate included the cities of Tetovo, Skopje and Štip in Macedonia and in northern Albania the city of Scutari (Skadar).

The eastern border included in Bulgaria the city of Samokov and the Serbian city of Niš. However, Bulgaria’s city of Sofia and Serbia’s city of Pirot were left under the control of the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. The city of Severin, which is located on the left bank of the Danube River, was also not included in the Serbian patriarchate.

The north-eastern border of the patriarchate embraced the main part of the area of the Moriş River in Romania. Thus, Romania’s cities of Timişoara and Arad were located within the patriarchate’s borders.

The northern border of the patriarchate extended far from the Hungarian town of Sent Andrea which is only 25 km. north of Buda and Pest.

The north-western border passed between Balaton Lake and the Raba River in Hungary and even included Slovenia’s city of Ptuj and the Dalmatian cities of Nin and Zadar. Consequenly, Croatia’s capital Zagreb, and Croatia’s cities of Karlovac and Sisak were put under the jurisdiction of the Serbian patriarchate regardless the fact that these cities were not part of the Ottoman Empire.

The south-western border incorporated the Adriatic littoral from Nin, on the north, to the Bojana River, on the south.[28]

It is important to note one additional significant difference between the medieval and the revived Patriarchate of Peć: the central territories of the first one were located in the south-eastern parts of the Balkans, while the central territories of the renewed patriarchate were located in the northern and north-western parts of the Balkans including some territories which had never been a part of the Ottoman Empire. The reason for this difference was the fact that the borders of the new patriarchate followed the ethnographic boundaries of the Serbs at that time. However, the new ethnographic territories of the Serbs were different from those prior to the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans (more precisely, before the Battle of Maritza in 1371). In other words, during the time of the Ottoman conquest of South-Eastern Europe a great number of the Serbs migrated from the south-east towards the north-west. Undoubtedly, the migrations were the most significant consequence of the Ottoman presence in the Balkans from 1354 to 1912.[29]

The territory of the re-established (“second”) Patriarchate of Peć was divided into approximately 40 metropolitans or archbishoprics. Those located southward from the Danube River were parts of the medieval Serbian church organization. On the other hand, the archbishoprics located northward from the Danube River and the Sava River and westward from the Drina River (i.e., located in the Southern and Central Hungary, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia) were established by the authorities of the new Patriarchate of Peć after 1557.[30]

There was a new moment in the development of the Serbian church organization when after 1557 the Serbian churches in the Ottoman occupied part of Hungary were included in the administrative system of the Patriarchate of Peć. However, the Orthodox church in Transylvania – the province mainly settled by the Orthodox Romanians, was placed under the spiritual and administrative jurisdiction of the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople.[31] Accordingly, the south-eastern borders of the Patriarchate of Peć shared common boundaries with the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. A southern neighbour of the Serbian Patriarchate was the Greek Archbishopric of Ohrid in Macedonia. Finally, in the north and west the administrative and spiritual territory of the Patriarchate of Peć had common borders with the Roman Catholic Church in the Habsburg Monarchy and in the Republic of Venice.

It is not possible to specify the exact date of the administrative re-organization of the Patriarchate of Peć. It most probably began within the first ten years of the revived Patriarchate of Peć.[32] Nevertheless, it is known that the entire Serbian church organization in Ottoman Hungary was restructured during the second half of the 16th century into five eparchies (dioceses): Belgrade-Srem, Bačka, Slavonia, Lipova and Vršac. However, the eparchy of Budim was not established at that time.[33] It was a fact that all of the lands of the Kingdom of Hungary (northward from the Danube River and the Sava River) settled by the Orthodox Serbs immediately after the Ottoman conquest (from 1521 to 1541) were incorporated into the administrative-spiritual territory of the Greek Archbishopric of Ohrid, but when the Patriarchate of Peć became re-established in 1557 they were included into the administrative-spiritual territory of this Serbian national church organization and institution. The residences of the metropolitan of Belgrade-Srem were in Belgrade and in the Hopovo monastery in Fruška Gora (in present day Vojvodina province in Northern Serbia).[34]

The province of Banat, at that time in the southern part of the Kingdom of Hungary, but after 1918 in present day Romania and Serbia, was already settled by the Serbs in the late Middle Ages. Banat had in the 16th century two eparchies (Lipova and Vršac) and in the next century two additional ones (Timişoara and Bečkerek). The first known metropolitan (archbishop) of Vršac was Teodor, who was one of the most important spiritual leaders of the Serbs in the uprising of 1594 against the Ottoman government.[35]


A headquarters of the Patriarchate of Peć (14th century) in Kosovo & Metochia

The inter-confessional relations, rights and privileges

One of the critical research problems in dealing with the history of the revived Patriarchate of Peć is the question of the inter-confessional relations in the southern part of the former Kingdom of Hungary, while under jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Peć. It is a question of the inter-confessional tolerance and intolerance between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic believers living within the borders of the Serbian patriarchate. The Catholic religion, which was dominant in Hungary before the Protestant reformation and the Ottoman influence in the Balkans and the southern parts of Central Europe, had simply disappeared in many regions of Southern Hungary (present day Vojvodina province in Serbia) which had become heavily populated by the Orthodox Serbs. Catholic clergy together with the Hungarian feudal aristocracy fled from many parts of Hungary and Transylvania during the Ottoman wars against the Hungarians (1521−1541).[36] Several Catholic dioceses from Hungary such as Srem, Pecs, Kalocsa and Csanad were even devoid of Catholic archbishops. Consequently, all  Catholic believers in Srem, Bacska and Banat (these three provinces constitute the region of Vojvodina in present day Serbia) were put under the jurisdiction of Serb Orthodox archbishop of Belgrade-Srem. The Orthodox archbishops (metropolitans) received permission from the Ottoman sultan to collect ordinary taxes from Catholic believers (such as dimnica and milostinja) and extraordinary taxes (such as those for weddings).

The introduction of the new Gregorian calendar in 1582 by the Roman Catholic Church caused some problems with respect to the relations between the Catholic and the Orthodox believers within the Patriarchate of Peć. According to some sources, in the province of Srem the Orthodox-Catholic relations were negatively impacted after 1582 when the Orthodox believers became aware of the intention of the Catholics to force Orthodox believers to adopt the Gregorian calendar. However, according to documentation provided by one Catholic believer, in the case of a Christian war against Muslim Turks the Catholics from the Southern Hungary would have joined the Orthodox Serbs and Romanians from Transylvania.[37]

It is important to note that the tendency of Catholics to convert to the Orthodox faith increased when the pope issued a bula “Inter Gravissimos” on February 24th, 1582. There were some areas in Southern Hungary where the Catholic and Orthodox believers celebrated holidays together according to the old Julian calendar until the expulsion of the Ottoman authorities and Muslims from Hungary during the Great Vienna War 1683−1699.[38] This fact can be explained only by the strong influence of the Orthodox Church on the Roman Catholics in Southern Hungary where the Catholics had become a minority without the protection of their own church organization.

Among other privileges, the Patriarchate of Peć was granted land properties, the right to collect one ducat (gold currency) for each priest and the right to collect the so-called bir – 12 akçes (Ottoman currency) per house. The Serbian church had the autonomy to elect its own patriarch and archbishops. However, the elected patriarch had to be recognized by the Ottoman government, the Porta. One of the most important privileges given to the patriarchate was the right to adjudicate marital disputes of its own believers.

The organization of the Serbian church consisted of not only high officers such as a patriarch, archbishops and bishops, but also lower rank servants – the priests. The rural priests lived and worked basically like peasants while the urban priests lived as did the other urban population.[39] According to Serbian philologist Vuk Stefanović Karadžić (1787−1864), every priest in Serbia was beared while in Montenegro it was not the case. Montenegrin Orthodox clergy did not wear the religious caps of the clergy as it was done in Serbia. In Serbia priests served in several villages and when they were at home they worked at the typical rural jobs of the peasantry. In Montenegro priests carried arms like ordinary people, thus eliminating differences between the priests and their congregations. Furthermore, the priests in Montenegro participated in the battles against the Turks along with the rest of the population.[40]

The Serbian Church was a great landowner on the borderlands of the Patriarchate of Peć. The residences of the church were located in the monasteries and one part of their support was provided through the income generated by the real estate holdings of the monasteries. The church’s incomes were guaranteed by the sultan’s berats. In turn the patriarchate was required to pay special taxes for the election of a new patriarch, archbishops and bishops.[41] However, this regulation and practice was in many cases used by the highest church authorities to bribe the sultan and the ministers in Porta. In order to insure that a new Ottoman sultan confirmed all privileges of the patriarchate through the issuance of a new berat the church authorities were required to pay new taxes. This taxation was the miri-peşkeş. For instance, the price of a berat for the appointment of a new patriarch was 100.000 akçes in 1766.[42]

The legal relations between the authorities of the Patriarchate of Peć and the Ottoman Empire were regulated by the sultan’s firman issued in 1557. From the religious point of view the patriarchate was autonomous and self-governed. Generally, the government of the Ottoman Empire did not interfere in the internal religious life of the Christian churches. For all Ottoman Christian subjects it was very important that destroyed or damaged churches and monasteries were repaired or rebuilt. This required special permission issued by the Ottoman authorities. However, according to Ottoman law, any rebuilt Christian religious structure could not be higher than its original height prior to destruction[43] or higher than any local minaret.

The privileges and rights which the first patriarch Macarius (Макарије) received from the sultan were equivalent to the privileges given to the Greek church in Constantinople. The Serbian patriarch was recognized as a leader of all Serbs in the Ottoman Empire (ethnarch, in Turkish milet başa).[44] The Serbs saw their patriarch primarily as a secular national leader. For the Ottoman administration the Patriarchate of Peć was a legal representative institution of the Serbs in the Ottoman Empire, but for Serbian people it was both a religious and court institution.[45] A patriarch, archbishops and bishops of the Serbian church had received the right to freely profess their religion, to freely administer the church’s properties and the right to collect taxes from the people, priests and monks. The Ottoman sultan gave the Serbian patriarch the right to appoint archbishops (архиепископе, владике и митрополите) and bishops (епископе) with the sultan’s approval. The Patriarch also had the right to arrogate properties of the priests, monks, archbishops and bishops which were left without any successors (ius caducitatis) and to adjudicate marital or civil disputes. Thus, the Ottoman state did not have jurisdiction over  the Serbs. The Serbian church used the medieval Christian laws such as Dushan’s Codex from 1349/1354, the Vlastareva Sintagma (revised Byzantine Law) or the common law.[46] Taking these rights and privileges into consideration, we can conclude that the Patriarchate of Peć was in practice a Serbian state within the Ottoman Empire.


A White Angel from Mileševa monastery in the South-West Serbia (13th century)

The historical role of the Patriarchate of Peć in preservation of Serbian national and cultural identity

The Patriarchate of Peć was one of the most significant national institutions in Serbian history. The importance of its role in the history of the Serbs takes on even more significance if we know the fact that the “second” patriarchate (1557−1766) was the only Serbian national institution that functioned and subsequently could protect and unify all Serbs in the Ottoman Empire. The Patriarchate of Peć basically assumed the role of the Serbian state which had disappeared in the mid-15th century.

The upper structure of the patriarchate had a feudal organization,[47] but the lower structure was composed of priests who originated in the ordinary Serbian folk social strata. The patriarchate succeeded in the course of time to bring together the main groups of Serbs who were dispersed across large territories of the European parts of the Ottoman Empire into a single national organization  – that of the patriarchate – which served as the Serbian national and political representative in Istanbul. The main national task of the patriarchate was to foster the idea of Serbian ethnic unity within Orthodox Christianity and the spirit of St. Sava. Compared to the Patriarchate of Peć, all autonomous local communities of Serbs in the Ottoman Empire played a secondary role of importance in this regard.[48] A commonly held opinion of researchers of the history of the Patriarchate of Peć is that this “unique spiritual Serbian community in Turkey took the most important merits, not only for preservation of the Orthodoxy but also for forming and developing of one common and strong Serbian national conscience throughout all Serbian ethnic territories.”[49] In addition, the patriarchate had a significant influence on the Serbian population living in Hungary and under the Habsburg Monarchy.[50]

By protecting the spiritual and cultural tradition of medieval Serbia, the Serbian church sustained and continued the cultural development of the Serbs during the time of Ottoman rule. In the 16th century several new printing-houses began to operate (in the monastery of Mileševa, in Belgrade, in Rujna, in Scodra, etc.) in which the religious books written in the Old Church Slavonic language were printed and later used by the Serbian clergy not only in the Ottoman Empire but also in the Habsburg Monarchy. In Serbian monasteries some of the most significant medieval Serbian manuscripts and books were re-written. That the Serbian clergy, while under Ottoman rule continued to write in the traditional (medieval) Serbian manner is exemplified by the case of Serbian patriarch Pajsije Janjevac (1614−1648) who wrote a biography (животопис) of the Serbian medieval emperor Uroš (1355−1371) according to the style of the Middle Ages. The others collected or revised ancient annals which were written in the Serbian type of the Old Church Slavonic language (Serbian-Slavonic language).[51]

After the revival of the Patriarchate of Peć the construction of Orthodox shrines increased in Serbia, Slavonia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina. For instance, immediately after the patriarchate was re-established  in 1557 the most important church buildings in the administrative centre of the patriarchate – the city of Peć in Kosovo-Metohija were renovated. Patriarch Makarije (1557−1571), for instance, became directly involved in supervising  the construction of the narthex (припрата) in the central church in the town of Peć  and in the program of its fresco paintings. In 1560 one of the most significant Serbian medieval monasteries – Gračanica in Kosovo-Metohija near the city of Priština was restored. The process of restoration of ancient Serbian sacred buildings (monasteries and churches) especially affected the region of Kosovo-Metohija, the cultural, political and spiritual cradle of the Serbian nation.[52] According to Serbian art  historian Sreten Petković, during the first decades of the revival of the patriarchate approximately one hundred monasteries and churches were restored; twenty of them in Kosovo-Metohija.[53] However, this period of restoration and new construction lacked the support of wealthy founders of churches and monasteries, typical of Serbia in the Middle Ages. It was the main reason that the buildings and decorative art were modest in comparison to those of the independent Serbian medieval state. However, the style and execution characteristic of medieval Serbian churches and traditional iconography served as the prototypes for the creation of the new fresco paintings.[54]

From the time of the revived Patriarchate of Peć a special term emerged among the Serbs – the so-called “Serbian faith”, which, using the model of the Serbian medieval tradition, defined Orthodox Christianity as the synthesis of state and culture, infused with the “spirit of St. Sava”. The “Serbian faith” became in the 17−18th centuries a basic foundation of the Serbian national identity.[55]

One of the most important features of the restored Patriarchate of Peć was that it became more interested in domestic national questions rather than in the broader questions of Christian dogma being debated in Europe at a time of struggle and wars between Roman Catholics and Protestants. The reason for this fact was that the patriarchate was primarily interested in the preservation of a medieval Serbian national heritage and Serb national identity. In practice it meant that the prime task of the patriarchate was to prevent the Serbs from conversion to Islam.[56]


Dečani monastery (14th century) in Kosovo & Metochia

A rebellion of the Serbs in Banat in 1594

The conflict between the Muslim Ottoman state and its own Christian subjects started in the second half of the 16th century and very soon became intensified. The Ottoman feudal system at the end of the 16th century ended the process of destruction of the Serbian feudal strata and consequently formed conditions in witch the class and religious opposition to the system were united.[57] Enlarged political and social differences between the Ottoman Muslims and Ottoman Christian citizens made a strong impact on the behaviour of the Serbian church towards the Ottoman authorities. The Serbian church experienced economic and financial pressure by the Ottoman state during the crises in the Ottoman feudal system which began with the death of the sultan Suleyman Magnificent in 1566, and even in the second half of the 16th century some old rights enjoyed by Serbian monasteries were abolished by the Ottoman government.[58] Such new Ottoman policies directed at the Serbian church aggravated the position of the monasteries. Increased taxes required of the Serbian monasteries and churches became a reality from the first years of the reign of the sultan Selim II (1566−1574). There were even examples of Ottoman feudal and military aristocracy appropriated properties of Serbian monasteries and requiring bribes in exchange for solving every disputed question.[59]

Just before the end of the 16th century the Ottoman Empire lost two great battles in their struggle against the European Christian states: a naval battle near Lepanto in 1571 (in the Ionnian Sea) and a land battle near Sisak in the Habsburg Monarchy (present day Croatia) in 1593.[60] The moral impact of these two Christian victories on the Ottoman Christians was of great importance for the subsequent Christian uprisings against the Ottoman rule in the South-East Europe. Most of the Ottoman Christians wrongly believed after 1593 that the military power of the Ottoman Empire could be easily broken and subsequently with the support of some Christian state they could be liberated from Ottoman power. Particularly, they had been considering the Habsburg emperor Rudolf II (of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire, 1576−1611)[61] as a potential liberator of all Ottoman Christians. The Austrian emperor also viewed himself as a European monarch determined to finally break Ottoman power in Europe and to become a Saviour of Europe. In order to fulfill this “holy mission” he primarily expected great support of the Transylvanian prince and the Serbs from Southern Hungary. In 1591 the Austrian imperial deputy Richard Schtreit promised the Serbs and the Bulgarians Austrian military support in the case of a Christian rebellion against the Ottoman Empire during the upcoming war (“Long War” 1593−1606) between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. Both, Serbian and Bulgarian negotiators pledged that in the event of war the Serbs and Bulgarians from the Ottoman Empire would contribute fully in order to support the Habsburg Monarchy – a country seen by many Europeans as antemurale christianitatis.

Relations between the Serbs and the Ottoman government were drastically aggravated during the last decades of the 16th century. There were several causes for this fact but the most important was that at the end of the 16th century the pressure on Serb tax-payers (and on other non-Muslims) in the Ottoman Empire increased as the government in Istanbul needed additional funds in order to continue their wars against Austria, Venice, Spain and the Vatican. Generally, the situation of the non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire worsened at the turn of the 17th century. Basically, the Ottoman feudal system was in a great crisis and the Ottoman administration was compelled to increase taxation in order to improve its finances. It was a necessary measure in order to continue Ottoman military-political expansion towards the heart of Central Europe, i.e. the city of Vienna (Wien) which was unsuccessfully besieged in 1529 by the troops of the sultan Suleyman the “Magnificent”. The Serbian church was already under economic and financial pressure by the Ottoman administration during the reign of sultan Selim II (1566−1574) when for the first time Serbian monasteries and churches were being sold. The annual taxation rate, which the Patriarchate of Peć had to pay to the sultan at the end of the 16th century was increased to 100,000 akçes.

The highest Serbian church administrators became involved in the struggle against the Turks at the end of the 16th century. Patriarch Jovan Kantul (1592−1614) was the first head of the Serbian church who began to plot against the Ottoman authorities.[62] As a national representative of all Serbs in the Ottoman Empire, the Serbian church at the end of that century tried to find a protector for the Serbs in some foreign country. The church representatives negotiated with the representatives of Austria, several Italian rulers and the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.[63] Thus, hoping that the Austrian emperor would assist in Serbian liberation from the Ottoman rule at the time of the  “Long War” or the “Sisak War” (1593−1606) between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire the Serbs from the Banat region (historical southern province of the Kingdom of Hungary; today divided between Serbia and Romania), led by their own church clergy, took an active role in this war against the Ottoman Empire on the side of the Austrians. Together with the Serbs from Banat and the Serbs from Kosovo-Metohija (in the region of Peć in 1594) and from Herzegovina (in 1597) rose in arms.[64] Thus, the Serbs and their national church entered into the overt hostilities against the Ottoman government, siding with the Habsburg Monarchy for the attainment of their national liberation and in defense of Christianity.[65]

This Christian rebellion, the biggest up to this point against the Ottoman authorities broke out in Southern Transylvania and the Banat region among the Orthodox Serbs and Romanians. The Serbian intention was to involve on their side the Transylvanian prince Sigismund Batory. In order to realize this aim, a special Serbian delegation was sent to the Transylvanian city of Belgrade (Giulafehervar in Hungarian or Alba Iulia in Romanian). The delegation participated in a session of the Transylvanian feudal assembly of local magnates. This Serbian delegation was led by one of the highest administrators of the Patriarchate of Peć − the metropolitan of Vršac, Teodor Tividorović. The Serbian deputies offered the throne of the Serbian kings to Sigismund Batory in exchange for his support of the Serbian rebels. During the rebellion the Serbs were in constant contact with the prince of Transilvania, as well as the Austrian general Teifenbach. The Serbian deputy Đorđe (Georgije) Rac, helped by general Teifenbach, succeeded in meeting with the Austrian archduke Maximilian, who at that time was leading the siege of the Hungarian fortresses of Esztergom on the Danube River. Đorđe Rac’s talks with him were on the future of the war and Serbian destiny after the war.

A turning point in the Serbian rebellion occurred when the new beglerbeg (or paşa-the governor) of Timişoara (Temišvar), Sophy Sinan-paşa, organized a great military counter-offensive at the end of June 1594 against the Serbs, Romanians (Wallachians) and Austrians. Firstly, he succeeded in ending the Christian siege of Hungarian Esztergom and in the same month his troops were merged with the Ottoman army of the paşa of Budim. This united Ottoman army (c. 30,000 soldiers) of two paşas moved toward the Banatian Serbs. The Serbian army numbered only about 4,300 men. The main battle took place near Bečkerek in Western Banat where the Serbs suffered a great defeat. Sinan-paša entered the city of Bečkerek and totally plundered it. The Serbian metropolitan of Vršac was arrested and, by order of Sinan-paša, he was flayed. With the fall of Bečkerek the rebellion collapsed. In determining the main causes of the failure of the rebellion the political role of the Roman Catholic pope Clement VIII (1592−1605) must be considered. He had who sent many deputies to the Serbs to different Balkan provinces encouraging them to rise in arms, while promising significant military help from the West in their final struggle against the Muslim Ottoman Empire. However, during the time of rebellion it became clear that these were only empty verbal promises by the pope and no real military support and help for the rebels was forthcoming. The latter were left to mainly deal alone with the  much stronger and far numerous Ottoman forces.

During this Serbian rebellion of 1594 in Banat against the Ottomans there was one unusual political event with a huge symbolic character. The Ottoman authorities knew very well that this great Serbian revolt was directly inspired and encouraged by the Serbian patriarch Jovan Kantul who blessed the revolt. The rebels and their leaders had a picture of Serbian St. Sava on a flag of blue, white, and red colors (the colors of the present-day Serbian national flag and therefore, the rebellion was named “St. Sava’s Rebellion”. In order to exert revenge on the Serbs and, particularly on the Serbian church, Sinan-paşa (Kodža) ordered that on Easter day of 1594 (April 27th /May 10th) the body of St. Sava would be burned and reduced to ashes. The Turks solemnly exhumed the body from his holy grave in the 13th century-monastery of Mileševa (in Southern Serbia on the border with Montenegro), conveyed it to Belgrade and there (“near Banat”), on Vračar Hill (today the down town area of Belgrade), incinerated the body of the most significant Serbian saint in Serbian history. Some parts of the saint’s relics were saved by the people who had gathered around the bonfire and returned to the Mileševa monastery. St. Sava’s relics were again burned by the Turks in 1692, as revenge against the Serbs who had again sided with the Habsburg Monarchy in its war against the Ottoman Empire in 1683−1699. In the Banat rebellion of 1594 the rebelious Serbs were lead by Đorđe Slankamenac-Rac, Deli Marko and Sava Temišvarac. During the same „Long War“, the Herzegovinian Serbs were lead by a local metropolit Visarion, who wrote a letter to the new Roman pope Paul V (1605−1621) asking the Vatican for political and military help, and by the duke Grdan from Nikšić (today in Montenegro). After putting down the rebellion the Turks invited the Serbian patriarch to Istanbul where he was murdered in 1614.[66] The death of patriarch Jovan Kantul in Istanbul had a deep impact on the subsequent policy of the Serbian Patriarchate with respect to the Ottoman authorities. The patriarch was in fact betrayed by several western diplomatic representatives to the Ottoman Empire, but above all by the Venetian one who reported to the Ottoman authorities on the former’s secret activities and even negotiations with the western Christian states on the issue of the liberation of Christian subjects on the Balkan Peninsula from the Ottoman yoke. This western conspiracy against the Serbian patriarch, church and the nation became the central reason that many prominent Serbs and above all the Serbian church abandoned hope for the support of Serbian national liberation by western European countries. They turned, instead, towards Orthodox Russia. That was in fact the case with the first sucessor of patriarch Jovan Kantul – patriarch Pajsije (1614−1648).

Nevertheless, even the symbolic act of burning the relics of St. Sava in 1594 had failed to crush the rebellion as its success really depended only on Austrian military support.[67] The Ottoman authorities had chosen this political act because St. Sava actually was the most remarkable holyman in all of Serbian tradition and history and the most significant symbol of the Patriarchate of Peć and the Serbs as a nation. Basically, the Serbian church was identified with its own founder. Nevertheless, after the incineration of the St. Sava’s body the influence of his spirit and myth were not deminished. Rather, after 1594 the name of St. Sava passed into legend and the Serbs came to be known as the “nation of St. Sava”.


Gračanica monastery (14th century) in Kosovo & Metochia


The Patriarchate of Peć was one of the most important institutions in the history of the Serbs, particularly regarding their religious and cultural history. This institution was founded in 1346 during the reign of the most significant of Serbian monarchs – Stefan Dušan the “Mighty” (1331−1355). The foundation of the national Serbian Patriarchate of Peć was the consequence of a new political situation in the Balkan Peninsula when Serbia reached ascendancy as the most powerful country in this region poised to replace the Byzantine Empire. In the same year, Dušan the “Mighty” was crowned by the patriarch of Peć as emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks (i.e., the Byzantines). Concurrently, the Serbian medieval church became independent of the Greek church of Constantinople.

The “first” Serbian patriarchate was abolished in the mid-15th century after the demise of the medieval Serbian independent state (in 1459). However, the Ottoman authorities allowed the Serbs one century later (in 1557) to restore their own national church, which took the name of the old Patriarch of Peć.

During several centuries of the Ottoman occupation, from the collapse of  the Serbian medieval state (in 1459) to the First Šumadija-Serb Uprising against the Turks (in 1804), the re-established Patriarchate of Peć was the only national institution of all Serbs under the Ottoman rule. This spiritual and national institution of the Serbs lasted for two hundred years (1557−1766) during the most difficult period of Serbian history when there was neither a national Serbian state or any Serbian national institution. However, the Patriarchate of Peć assumed the historical role of protecting Serbian national identity and national interests during the Ottoman occupation. Consequently, the patriarchate was a political representative of all Serbs in the Ottoman Empire.

Officially, according to Ottoman authorities, the Patriarchate of Peć was restored in mid-16th century as a continuation of the medieval Serbian national church. However, in reality, it seems to have been more a new church institution of the Serbs than directly connected to the former (“first”) patriarchate. Nevertheless, the new patriarchate accepted all the medieval traditions and the spiritual legacy of the former patriarchate.

The most important historical achievement of the “second” patriarchate was that it succeeded in legally protecting the majority of Serbs in the Ottoman Empire and influencing them in the preservation of their own national medieval heritage and Christian Orthodoxy as central to the national identity and character of the Serbs. Finally, the history and the role of the revived Patriarchate of Peć remained in the collective memory of all Serbs as the national  “lighthouse” during the dark years of the Ottoman occupation[68] inspiring the Serbs to persevere in their resistence to the Ottoman policy of denationalization through the acceptance of Islam.[69] The Islamisation of the Balkan Peninsula during the Ottoman reign was most successfull only in those regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and the Rhodopes region in Bulgaria where the Christianity was not rooted, as it was left without a strong church organization.[70]


[1] For a discussion of the “Eastern Question” see: Б. Поповић, Источно питање (Београд, 1928).

[2] Today is known that almost all former Orthodox Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Raška (Sandžak) who became converted to Islam are “Bosniaks”, former Orthodox Serbs converted to Roman Catholicism in Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are “Croats” and former Orthodox Serbs converted to Islam in Kosovo-Metohija became “Albanians” (Arbanasi). In Kosovo-Metohija existed Arnauts (Arnautaši) – converted former Orthodox Serbs to Islamic faith who still did not lose their ethnic identity before they finally became Albanians. It is estimated that c. 30% of present-day Albanians in Kosovo-Metohija are of Serb origin (Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија у српско-арбанашким односима (Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2006), p. 33−36).

[3] On emperor Stefan Dušan and his empire see: М. Стевановић, Душаново Царство (Београд: Књига-комерц, 2001).

[4] For information on Mehmed the “Conqueror” see: J. Hammer, Historija Turskog/Osmanskog/Carstva, I, (Zagreb: Ognjen Prica, 1979), pp. 151−252.

[5] H. Inalçik, The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age 1300–1600 (London, 1973), p. 27.

[6] I. Božić, S. Ćirković, M. Ekmečić, V. Dedijer, Istorija Jugoslavije (Beograd: Prosveta, 1973), see the map on p. 136.

[7] H. W. V. Temperley, History of Serbia (New York, 1969), p. 106.

[8] However, the Armenians and the Jews were exempted from devşirme taxation (В. Ћоровић, Историја Срба (Београд: БИГЗ, 1993), p. 373).

[9] About devşirme see more in LookLex Encyclopaedia: http://i-cias.com/e.o/devsirme.htm.

[10] F. Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples (Cambridge, 1989), p. 38.

[11] A timar was an inheritable solders’ small land-property.

[12] I. Božić, Istorija Jugoslavije, p. 137.

[13] On the Ottoman feudal, state’s and military systems see in: Историја народа Југославије. Књига друга од почетка XVI до краја XVIII века (Београд: Просвета, 1960), pp. 9−38

[14] I. Božić, Istorija Jugoslavije, p. 143.

[15] Историја народа Југославије, p. 19−21.

[16] The creation of an independent (autocephalous) Serbian (Orthodox) medieval church in 1219 was possible due to the work of St. Sava (c. 1174−1236) (Ст. Станојевић, Историја српскога народа. Треће издање, поправљено, (Београд: Издавачка књижарница Напредак, 1926), pp. 124−125). St. Sava, however, was and one of the most important Serbian medieval profane national worker. About his profane activities see: М. Црњански, Свети Сава (Шабац: „Глас цркве“, 1988).

[17] H. W. V. Temperley, History of Serbia, p. 123.

[18] The so-called Phanariots were the Greeks who lived in the Phanar – a suburb of Constantinople. This part of the city was mainly poplulated by the Greeks. In this “Greek quarter” was located the “Ecumenical Church” (i.e. the Greek Orthodox church) which enjoyed a large scale of privilages within the Ottoman Empire till 1821.

[19] It has to be stressed that the authority of Archbishopric of Ohrid gradually was taking over the dioceses of the Serbian Patriarchate and extended its own territory of jurisdiction up to the town of Peć in Metohija and monastery of Žiča in Central Serbia.

[20] About the life of Mehmed pasha Sokolović see: Р. Самарџић, Мехмед-паша Соколовић (Београд, 1975).

[21] Ђ. Слијепчевић, Историја Српске православне цркве, т. I (Београд, 1991), pp. 303–304.

[22] On the relations between Christians and Muslims in the Balkans during the Ottoman domination see: G. Castellan, History of the Balkans. From Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin, (New York: East European Monographes, Boulder, 1992), pp. 109−116.

[23] М. М. Вукићевић, Знаменити Срби муслoмани (Београд: Српска књижевна задруга, 1906), p. 43. (reprint in 1998 by ННК, Београд)

[24] On the life of Ottoman grand vizier Mehmed paša Sokolović see in: R. Samardžić, Mehmed Sokolović (Beograd: 1971). It was this grand vizier who built the famous bridge over the Drina River in 1567.

[25] М. Јовић, К. Радић, Српске земље и владари (Крушевац: Друштво за неговање историјских и уметничких вредности, 1990), p. 127.

[26]  Ibid., p. 129.

[27] The Serbian patriarchs were signing themselves in some documents as the patriarchs of “All Illyricum”, i.e. of the main part of the Balkan Peninsula (Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Dalmatia, the Vardar Macedonia and the part of Bulgaria) according to the old tradition that the Balkan lands were called according to their antique names and that Serbia was the synonim for the Roman province of Illyricum (Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија. Историја и идеологија, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, p. 17).

[28] I. Božić, Istorija Jugoslavije, p. 146 (see the map № 23 of the borders of the Patriarchate of Peć in the mid-17 century).

[29] On these migrations see: Ј. Цвијић, Балканско полуострво и јужнословенске земље (Београд, 1922), pp. 60−139.

[30] I. Božić, Istorija Jugoslavije, p. 146 (see the map № 23 of the borders of the Patriarchate of Peć in the mid-17 century).

[31] It has to be said that in Transylvania at that time “lacking political power, the Orthodox faith, the religion of the majority of the Romanian population, was not admitted among the official religions of the country, having only a ‘tolerated’ status” (K. Treptow (ed.), A History of Romania (Iaşi: The Center for Romanian Studies and The Romanian Cultural Foundations, 1996), p. 133).

[32] Историјско друштво у Новом Саду, Војводина, т. I (Нови Сад, 1939), p. 389.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid., p. 392.

[35] Ј. Томић, Устанак Срба у Банату 1594 (Београд, 1899), p. 28.

[36] About Hungarian history from the Battle of Mohács to the fall of Buda, Hungarian relations with the Ottomans and the question of cohabitations of Protestants and Catholics in Hungary in the 16th century see: L. Kontler, Millennium in Central Europe. A History of Hungary (Budapest: Atlantisz Publishing House, 1999), pp. 139−158.

[37] Војводина, p. 407.

[38] Draganović, „Massenubertritte von Katholikenzur ‚Ortodoxie‘ im Kroatischen Sprachgebiet zur Zeit der Turken hershaft“, Orientalia Christiana Periodica, № III–IV (Roma, 1937), pp. 587–592.

[39] Историја народа Југославије, p. 464.

[40] В. С. Караџић, Етнографски списи & О Црној Гори (Београд, 1985), p. 78–80.

[41] Историја народа Југославије, p. 102–103.

[42] Ђ. Слијепчевић, p. 405–407; Р. Самарџић and others, Косово и Метохија у српској историји (Београд: Српска књижевна задруга, 1989), p. 105.

[43] Ibid., p. 401.

[44] Ibid., p. 315; Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија у српско-арбанашким односима, p. 22. The independent Serbian-milet (the Serbian religious nation) was separated from the Rum-milet with the establishment of the Patriarchate of Peć in 1557 (Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија. Историја и идеологија, p. 32).

[45] М. Јовић, К. Радић, Српске земље и владари, p. 128.

[46] В. Ћоровић, Историја Југославије (Београд, 1931), p. 312.

[47] Историја народа Југославије, p. 462.

[48] I. Božić, Istorija Jugoslavije, pp. 145–147. 

[49] Војводина, p. 389.

[50] Ibid.

[51] I. Božić, Istorija Jugoslavije, p. 146–147; Историја народа Југославије, p. 102–109.

[52] О. Зиројевић, Цркве и манастири на подручју Пећке патријаршије до 1683. године (Београд, 1984), pp. 31–33. About Kosovo and Metohija in Serbian history see: Р. Самарџић, Косово и Метохија у српској историји. There were c. 1300 churches, monasteries and other monuments in Kosovo-Metohija before the Ottomans. However, there were only c. 15 active Orthodox shrines in this region in the first decades of the Ottoman rule (Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија у српско-арбанашким односима, p. 22).

[53] С. Петковић, Зидно сликарство на подручју Пећке патријаршије 1557–1614 (Нови Сад, 1965), pp. 49–50.

[54] I. Božić, Istorija Jugoslavije, pp. 146–147.

[55] Ђ. Слијепчевић, Историја Српске православне цркве, т. I, p. 317; М. Павловић, “Српска вјера-српски закон”, Зборник Матице српске за друштвене науке, № 13–14 (Нови Сад, 1956), p. 285.

[56] В. Ћоровић, Историја Срба, p. 418.

[57] Историја народа Југославије, т. II, p. 462.

[58] Ibid., p. 463.

[59] Ibid.

[60] On the Battle of Sisak see: J. von Hammer, Historija Turskog/Osmanskog/Carstva, I, pp. 118−120.

[61] For information on emperor Rudolph II (1576−1611) see: J. Bérenger, A History of the Habsburg Empire, 1273−1700 (London, New York: Longman, 1994), pp. 242−260.

[62] М. Јовић, К. Радић, Српске земље, p. 129.

[63] Историја народа Југославије, т. II, p. 107, 493–494.

[64] М. Јовић, К. Радић, Српске земље, p. 129.

[65] However, the Habsburg authorities in all their wars against the Ottoman Empire never had in mind the re-establishment of any kind of Serbian independent state in the Balkans in the case of Christian victory. In addition, the Serb national-confessional identity was better protected in the Ottoman Empire than in the Catholic Habsburg Monarchy or Venetian Dalmatia. For the reason of Catholic proselityzing the Orthodox Serbs, for instance Dalmatian Serbs, were emigrating several times in the 18th century to Russia (regarding this issue see: М. Јачов, Венеција и Срби у Далмацији у XVIII веку (Београд: Просвета, издање Историјског института у Београду, 1984).

[66] М. Јовић, К. Радић, Српске земље, p. 129. According to historian Vladimir Ćorović, patriarch Jovan Kantul „died“ in Istanbul in 1614. Obviously, for Ćorović it was not clear did he was murdered or not (В. Ћоровић, Историја Срба, p. 431).

[67] H. W. V. Temperley, History of Serbia, p. 125.

[68] Р. Самарџић, Усмена народна хроника, Нови Сад, 1978.

[69] The Ottoman successful policy of peaceful conversion of the Christians to Islam is best seen in the case of the Albanians and in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Today a majority of ethnic Albanians are Muslims. After four centuries of Ottoman rule in Bosnia-Herzegovina almost half (43,7%) of its population are the Muslims (T. Judah, The Serbs. History, Myth & the Destruction of Yugoslavia (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 1997), p. 317). For additional readings on the topic of this article see: Српска православна црква, издање Архијерејског синода Српске православне цркве, Београд, 1969; С. Ћирковић, Срби у средњем веку, Београд, 1995; T. Kostić, Serbia under Ottoman Rule, Vienna, 2005; Р. Самарџић, Србија у списима француских савременика XVI−XVII века, Београд, 1961. The Serbs accepted Islam for two crucial reasons: 1) the fudal aristocracy from the time before the Ottoman occupation in order to preserve their estates and benefits; and 2) the ordinary people for lucrative reasons (Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија. Историја и идеологија, p. 36)

[70] Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија. Историја и идеологија, p. 33.

2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović



© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2014






Five facts about Kosovo the #fakenews media is lying to you about


1. Kosovo is not ancient Albanian land

Its very name comes from the Serbian word “kos,” meaning blackbird. Its Albanian name, “Kosova,” means nothing whatsoever.

Kosovo was the heartland of medieval Serbian state and the site of the 1389 battle in which both the Serbian prince and the Ottoman sultan died, checking the Turkish expansion into the Balkans for almost 70 years. Ethnic Albanians were settled there by the Ottomans over the intervening centuries, and became a majority due to pogroms and persecution of Serbs – which began under Ottoman rule but continued under Austro-Hungarian occupation in WWI and German/Italian occupation in WWII.

Kosovo was never a political entity of any kind until 1945, when the Communist regime that reconstructed Yugoslavia after Axis occupation (with which Albanians overwhelmingly collaborated) created the “Autonomous Region of Kosovo & Metohija” – the latter being a Greek word describing church lands.

The Communists also forbid any Serbs expelled in WW2 to return to Kosovo, cementing its ethnic Albanian majority, which further grew through an influx of illegal immigrants from Enver Hoxha’s Albania and the ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians since the NATO occupation began in 1999.

2. Operation Allied Force

The 1999 NATO bombing campaign, was not a legitimate humanitarian intervention approved by the UN.

It was a war of aggression, in violation of both the NATO and the UN charter. Contrary to what the mainstream Narrative says today, NATO’s justification for the war was not Serbian “human rights violations” against the Albanians. No, the bombing began as a way to force Serbia to accept the ultimatum issued at the French chateau of Rambouillet, in which NATO demanded a 3-year occupation of the province and a NATO-organized referendum that would give the ethnic Albanians independence.

It was at Rambouillet that the US negotiated on behalf of the “Kosovo Liberation Army,” a separatist group it had previously acknowledged as terrorists. As part of its terrorist campaign to separate Kosovo from Serbia, the KLA has engaged in murder, assassination, extortion, torture, and trafficking in drugs, guns, sex slaves and even human organs.

3. Serbia did not kill 10,000 ethnic Albanian civilians during the 1999 war

That figure is an estimate based on assertions by NATO, entirely unsupported by any facts whatsoever – same as the “up to 100,000 men” speculated by NATO propagandists during the war itself. Western media continue to repeat it the same way they repeated the claim of 300,000 dead in Bosnia, which was later revised down to under 100,000.

4. There was no Serbian plan to deport a million ethnic Albanians

The so-called “Operation Horseshoe” was concocted by German and Bulgarian intelligence to provide justification for the illegal and illegitimate NATO war (see #2 above), to the point where they used the Croatian word for horseshoe. While there was a mass exodus of Albanians towards Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro (odd, since it was part of Yugoslavia same as Serbia), some evidence suggests that may have been orchestrated by NATO and the KLA.

Bagra Kosova

5. Kosovo’s “independence” is neither legal nor legitimate

UN Resolution 1244, which authorized a NATO-led peacekeeping mission after the June 1999 armistice, reaffirmed Kosovo’s status as a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Legally, it remained a province of Serbia, whose integrity was sacrosanct on the same grounds as Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia (and later Montenegro) were recognized in their Communist-drawn borders when the proto-European Union and the US decided to declare Yugoslavia nonexistent in 1992.

In February 2008, the provisional administration of Kosovo set up under the UN viceroy and NATO occupation, declared independence – based on a plan rejected by the UN Security Council, the final arbiter of Resolution 1244.

The International Court of Justice later tortured logic and language to rule that international law didn’t say anything about random people making such declarations – but these were not random people. Their very legitimacy rested on the UN mandate, which their declaration violated.

President Barack Obama lied in March 2014 that there was internationally recognized and supervised referendum on the issue; there wasn’t. No mainstream media outlet ever called him on it, though.


Source: Gray Falcon


A short history of Kosovo-Metochia


The region of Kosovo & Metohija (Metochia in English) was a political center of mediaeval Serbia and makes the very essence of Serbian spiritual and cultural identity and statehood since the Middle Ages up today. The biggest and the most important number of Serbian Orthodox mediaeval monasteries and churches (for instance, Gračanica, Pećka Patrijaršija, Bogorodica Ljeviška and Visoki Dečani) are built exactly in Kosovo & Metohija and the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church – Patriarchate established in 1346 was located (till 1766) in the city of Peć in the western portion of the region called Metohija. The capital of Serbian Empire proclaimed in 1346 was also in Metohija in the city of Prizren which is known in Serbian history as the “Imperial city” or “Serbian Constantinople”. The term Metohija means the land in possession of the Serbian Orthodox Church and according to the archival documents c. 70% of the territory of Kosovo & Metohija was in the legal possession of the Serbian Orthodox Church till 1946 when the new Serbophobic Communist authorities, lead by non-Serb party cadre, “nationalized” the land of the church under the policy of agrarian reform and delivered it to the Albanian peasants.

However, contrary to the Serbian case, for Albanians Kosovo & Metohija is not central national land: moreover it is just peripheral for the very reason they started to settle Kosovo & Metohija from the northern Albania only after the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo & Metohija in 1690 during the Austrian-Ottoman War (Vienna War) 1683-1699. That the Albanians, contrary to the Serbs, are not aboriginal people in Kosovo & Metohija is clearly showing the first preserved Ottoman census (“defter”) related to Kosovo & Metohija done in 1485, i.e. only 30 years after this province became occupied by the Turks and included into administrative system of the Ottoman Empire (in 1455). By analysing the personal names and place names from this document already ex-Yugoslav linguists claimed that it is obvious that only 2% of them are of Albanian origin. However, after the First (when c. 100.00 Serbs emigrated from Kosovo & Metohija to the Southern Hungary) and the Second (during the new Austrian-Ottoman War in 1737-1739) Great Serbian Migrations from Kosovo & Metohija, the ethnic composition of the region gradually was changed for the reason that the Ottoman authorities invited neighbouring loyal Muslim Albanians (in Turkish language „Arnauts“) from the Northern Albania (the speakers of the Geg dialect of the Albanian language) to settle this region. Consequently, according to the Austrian historiography and statistoics, only at the end of the 19th c. a tiny Albanian majority became reality at Kosovo & Metohija: in 1899 it was 47,9% of Albanians compared to 43,7% of the Serbs, while in 1871 Serbian majority was clear with 63,6% of the Serbs vs 32,2% of the Albanians. According to official Serbian statistics made immediately after the Balkan Wars 1912-1913 when Kosovo & Metohija became re-included into the state territory of Serbia, it was 50% of all non-Albanians and 50% Albanians living in this region.

There are three reasons for such population change:

1) Constant Albanian immigration to Kosovo & Metohija from Northern Albania after 1699
2) Permanent Albanian terror against and ethnic cleansing of the local Orthodox Serbs (for instance, 150.000 Serbs are expelled from Kosovo & Metohija in the years 1878-1912)
3) A higher Albanian natural birth-rate in comparison to the Serbian one

Differently to the Serbian case, Kosovo & Metohija (except during the WWII) was never part of Albanian state that was, by the way, established for the first time in history only in 1912. Thus, undoubtedly, Serbs have pure historical and legal rights on Kosovo & Metohija in comparison to the Albanians (like Lithuanians on Vilnius and Trakai areas in comparison to the Poles).


The most important Serbian Christian Orthodox shrines in Kosovo & Metochia from the Middle Ages

Kosovo and Metohija is very fertile and clement plane (differently from mountainous Albania – that was the main reason for ethnic Albanian migrations from Albania to Kosovo & Metohija) with mild climate, reach in water resources, with high mountain chains bordering with Albania. It has been God-blessed environment for a fruitful development of the highest achievements in all cultural fields in medieval Serbia. The cultural and demographic strength of the Serbs is best illustrated by the presence of c. 1.500 monuments of Serbian culture. Numerous outstanding noble Serbian families used to live in this province (known as “Old Serbia”), as families Branković, Hrebeljanović, Musić, Vojinović, some of which were the inceptors of Serbian dynasties. In addition, a great number of Serbian noble castles existed all over Kosovo with rich aristocratic life going on inside their walls. They were also meeting places of Serbian nobility and centers where important political and other decisions have been taken and places attended by foreign envoys and outstanding guests from the noble foreign ruling families. In Svrčin castle, for example, the famous Serbian Emperor Dušan (1331-1355) was firstly crowned king in 1331, and Pauni, famous for its beauty, were favoured place of Serbian king Milutin (1282-1321) – a founder of monastery of Gračanica. In Pauni in 1342 Serbian Emperor Dušan had received Jovan VI Kantakuzin, one of the pretenders to the Byzantine throne at that time. Nerodimlja, with the strong fortress over the castle, was favourite residence of Serbian king Stefan Dečanski (1321-1331) who built up the famous monastery of Visoki Dečani in Metohija – a meeting place of western (Roman Catholic) and eastern (Byzantine Orthodox) architecture styles.

However, for the mediaeval Albanian history Kosovo & Metohija is of no importance: no one Albanian feudal lord or dynasty originated in Kosovo & Metohija, no Albanian religious shrines (churches) in Kosovo & Metohija, and mostly important, no Albanian place-names in the province. Even today, 90% of place-names in Kosovo & Metohija are of Serbian-Slavic origin – even in Albanian language the name for the province („Kosova“) has Serbian-Slavic root/origin: „Kos“ (=blackbird).

Serbian elite and minor nobility has built in the Middle Ages in this region hundreds of smaller chapels and several dozens of monumental Christian monasteries and churches. Some of them have been preserved to date, such as Patriarchy of Peć (since 1346 site of the Serbian Patriarch), Dečani, Gračanica, Bogorodica Ljeviška, Banjska, Sveti Arhanđeli near Prizren and others. Serbian churches and monasteries had been for centuries owners of great complexes of fertile land. As it is said, Metohija, the name originated from the Greek word metoh, means church land (administratively, Kosovo province is divided by Serbian authorities into Kosovo covering the eastern part and Metohija covering the western part). Highly developed economic life was an integral part of a high level of civilization attained in the medieval Serbia. The city of Prizren, for example, was a famous economic and commercial center, with developed silk production, fine crafts, and numerous settlements where the merchants from Kotor (today in Montenegro) and Dubrovnik (historically independent republic) had their houses, and in the 14th c. Prizren was the site of the consul from Dubrovnik for the whole Serbian state. And many other commercial centers such as Priština, Peć, Hoča, Vučitrn, are testifying the strength of highly developed economic life in this region. The region of Kosovo & Metohija was also famous in Europe after its very rich silver-mining centers as Trepča, Novo Brdo and Janjevo, out of which in the 15th c. Novo Brdo had become one of the most important mining centers of the Balkans and Europe. Mainly silver, but in certain extent and gold, were exported to the big European centers in great quantities especially during the first half of the 15th c. However, the Ottoman authorities totally neglected mine exploitation in Kosovo & Metohija (likewise elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire) and at such a way this very rich province did not contribute to the economic prosperity of the Ottoman citizens.

Turkish-Ottoman invasion from the mid-14th c. (1354) means a fatal turning point in the Balkan and Serbian history during the second half of the 14th c. The military advance of the Turks towards the Central Europe via the Balkans was a rather slow process. Serbian ruler prince (known in Serbian epic songs as the “emperor”) Lazar Hrebeljanović (1370-1389) and Serbian nobility in the famous „Kosovo Battle“ on June 28th, 1389 did everything to stop the Turkish invasion towards the South Eastern Europe. It was not only a clash of two armies led by their rulers Serbian prince Lazar and Turkish sultan Murat I (1362-1389), who both are killed during the battle, but also a clash of two civilizations, one Christian-European and one Islamic-Asiatic. During the Ottoman yoke in Serbian national conscience the „Kosovo Battle“ has acquired a mythical dimension of a crucial historical event (even today chronology of Serbian national history is divided into two periods: before and after the „Kosovo Battle“), greatly affecting the national identity of the Serbs. The Serbian epic poetry is very rich and the cycle of poems devoted to Kosovo & Metohija are a pearl of that treasure and moral and psychological support to Serbian people during the centuries of slavery under the Turks till the 19th c. Kosovo & Metohija have been longest under the Turkish lordship in comparison to all other ethnic and historic Serbian lands as this region became finally liberated from the Turks only in 1912. On the opposite side, in Albanian national epic poetry there are no examples of devotion to the Kosovo & Metohija land and history. However, even the “father” of Albanian national pride – the feudal lord Georgie Kastriot Skanderbeg (1405-1468, ruler of Central Albania from 1443 to 1468) was in fact of Serbian origin. Contrary to Albanian case, in Serbian national poetry we find such a great number of representatives of Serbian nobility, of Serbian castles and outstanding Serbian monasteries from Kosovo & Metohija.

The Turkish-Ottoman invasion of the South Eastern Europe including and the Serbian lands, have not only brought about the fall of Christian civilization, but is also responsible for the destruction of all social structures, the elimination of the Serbian elite and the destruction of the most outstanding cultural achievements. One part of Serbian nobility was killed, one part expelled to Asia, one part took Islam (mainly voluntarily), and one part managed to emigrate north, west and to across the Adriatic Sea to Italy. Average people (the peasants) deprived from its national leaders had no option but to stick to the traditional national values. It is thanks to the Serbian Orthodox Church which managed to revive its work in 1557 (renewal of the Patriarchy of Peć by the sultan’s decree), that Serbian people kept alive the awareness of the mediaeval national state and high achievements of its civilization. Many mediaeval castles and towns were destroyed, many churches were raised to the ground, and even some of them turn into the mosques. For example, at the beginning of the 17th c., the church of the Holy Angels (Sveti Arhandjeli), where Serbian emperor Stefan Dušan was buried, that was in fact the monumental mausoleum of Emperor Dušan, was totally destroyed, and the stone of which the church was built was used for building the Sinan-paša mosque, still existing in the city of Prizren today. Bogorodica Ljeviška, the monumental church of King Milutin, in 1756 was turned into the mosque and only after the WWI it was again restored into the Christian church. Contrary, there is no one example of conversion of the Muslim mosque into the Christian church in the 20th c. when the Christians (Serbs) ruled the province.

Turkish invasion and the consequences of their conflict with Christian Europe, particularly since the siege of Vienna in 1683, had considerably changed the ethnic and demographic picture of that part of Serbia. The Orthodox Serbs were the absolute majority population until the end of the 17th c., and before the First Great Migration of the Serbs in 1690, due to the defeat of the Christian Europe (the Habsburg army) in the conflict with the Turks and the participation of the Serbs in that conflict on the side of the Christian Europe. After 1690 the Turks have been settled in Kosovo & Metohija’s towns and cities, but the turning point in history of Kosovo & Metohija was the fact that the Albanians have been coming from the mountains of Northern Albania to both (firstly) Metohija and (later) Kosovo. The colonisation of Kosovo & Metohija by Albania’s Albanians has been continued after 1941 up today. Surely, until the 18th c. there are no Albanians in Kosovo & Metohija in bigger agglomerations. In addition to the newly settled Albanians who were mostly Muslims, i.e. originally the Christians converted to Islam already in Albania or soon after settling in Kosovo & Metohija, it was also and the process of Islamization of the Serbs that brought about great changes in the cultural environment of the province. Many of Islamized Serbs (the „Arbanasi“) gradually fused with predominantly Albanian Muslims and adopted their culture and language. Thus, a great number of today Kosovo “Albanians” are in fact of Serbian ethnic origin. The process of Islamization and a change of ethnic structure of Kosovo & Metohija further continued at the beginning of the second half of the 19th c. when the Turks settled the Cherkeses in this province which at that time enjoyed a status of a separate Ottoman administrative unit („Kosovo vilayet“) but with a bigger territory in comparison to Kosovo & Metohija are today (including and Northern Macedonia and parts of present-day South West Serbia). Consequently, due to of all these artificial demographic changes, but also and due to high birth-rate of Kosovo Albanians, the Orthodox Serbs decreased for almost 50% of the total population living in Kosovo & Metohija c. 1900.

In the second half of the 19th c. and at the beginning of the 20th c. the Serbian middle class in Prizren, Peć, Priština and other cities was the main driving force of the urban and economic development of the province. The newspaper “Prizren” was published in both in Serbian and Turkish language. In 1871 the „Orthodox Theological School“ was founded in Prizren by Sima Igumanov. During the eighties and the nineties of the 19th c. a great number of new schools, cultural institutions and banks were founded and many of them have been sponsored by the independent Kingdom of Serbia whose consulate was established in Priština.

It was during the WWII, that the most drastic changes in the demographic picture of Kosovo & Metohija took place. In this region, which became part of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s protected Greater Albania from 1941 to 1944 (composed by Albania, Kosovo & Metohija, Western Macedonia and Eastern Montenegro), the Albanian nationalists got free hands to terrorize and exterminate the Serbs. Under such pressure no lesser than 100.000 Serbs left this region. In their empty houses about the same number of Albanians from Albania are settled (the „Kosovars“). Such policy definitely changed the balance in the Albanian favour. Thus, the first official census in post-WWII Yugoslavia (in 1948) showed 199,961 Serbs (including and “Montenegrins”) in Kosovo & Metohija and 498,242 Albanians. Moreover, the federal National Assembly in Belgrade issued a special law in 1946 according to which all expelled Serbs/Montenegrins from the region during the years of 1941-1944 are prohibited to return back to their homes under the official pretext that such move would provoke tensions between Serbs/Montenegrins and Albanians in Kosovo & Metohija.

After 1945, as a result of unbelievable demographic explosion (up today the biggest in Europe) Albanian population in Kosovo doubled till 1971. The official Yugoslav census for that year shows 916,168 Albanians living in Kosovo & Metohija, while Serb and Montenegrin (the “Montenegrins” as a separate nation from the Serbs are declared in 1945) population reached only to number 259,819. This demographic trend clearly demonstrates that the theory of Serb repression over Albanians after the WWII is absolutely not correct. The truth is that the Serbophobic Yugoslav Communist authorities (lead by Austro-Hungarian Croat Josip Broz Tito who was fighting in 1914 in Austro-Hungarian uniform at the territory of Serbia) gave favour to the Albanians at the expense of Serbs/Montenegrins allowing uncontrolled settlement of Albanian immigrants from North Albania and tolerating different methods of ethnic discrimination over the Serbs/Montenegrins which made more and more Serbs and Montenegrins leave the province to seek more secured life in Central Serbia or Montenegro. The new wave of Serbian and Montenegrin exodus from Kosovo & Metohija started after mass Albanian demonstrations in 1968 in the region with a requirement to transform Kosovo & Metohija into the new (7th) Yugoslav republic in order to easily secede the region from Serbia with a final aim to include it into a Greater Albania. By the 1990s more than 800 settlements in which Serbs lived with Albanians became ethnically pure Albanian villages. From 1974 (when a new Yugoslav (con)federal constitution was adopted) Kosovo & Metohija’s Albanians got extremely huge political-national autonomy only formally within Republic of Serbia. However, it became practically an independent seventh republic within Yugoslav (con)federation having its own president, government, parliament, Academy of Science, flag, police, territorial defence and school systems and even a constitution which was in many articles in direct opposition to the constitution of the Republic of Serbia.

Monah na rusevinama crkveDestroyed Serbian Christian Orthodox Church in Kosovo & Metochia by Muslim Albanians in March 2004

In an attempt to prevent the secession of Kosovo & Metohija after pro-Greater Albanian demonstrations in this province in the spring 1981 (when Albanians openly required unification with Albania), Serbian government in the 1990 abolished only Albanian political autonomy (i.e independence) at Kosovo & Metohija. When the rebels of Albanian classical terrorist „Kosovo Liberation Army“ (established in 1995 and sponsored by the USA) began attacks on both Serbian police forces and Serbian civilians in February 1998 the Serbian government brought the army and stronger police troops to put the rebellion down. In the course of the „Kosovo War“ in 1998 and 1999 which ended by the NATO intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) more than 500.000 Kosovo & Metohija’s Albanians, in order to escape from the NATO bombing and to perform a political refugee show-programme for the West) fled the province to Macedonia and Albania. After the war, despite the international presence, „Kosovo Liberation Army“ organized persecutions of Serbian, Montenegrin and all other non-Albanian population with a result that more than 200.000 Serbs and Montenegrins left Kosovo and Metohija. Only 90.000 Serbs remained living in total isolation, dispersed in several KFOR protected Serb enclaves. After the self-proclamation of Kosovo state independence on February 17th 2008 Balkan ethnic Albanians are living in two national states with a great possibility to create in the recent future a united Greater Albania following the borders from 1941-1944.

By means of the United Nations’ Security Council Resolution 1244 (June 1999), the mandate of the warrant for the effective protection of universal values of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family (which is foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the World) on the territory of the southern Serbia’s Autonomous Region of Kosovo & Metohija (in English known only as Kosovo) after the war against Kosovo Albanian secessionist terrorists (the so-called “Kosovo Liberation Army”, established, financed and supported by the USA administration) from February 1998 to June 1999 was given to the United Nations.

Responsibility for protection of human lives, freedom and security in Kosovo & Metohija was thus transferred to the international public authorities (in fact only to the NATO): the administration of UNMIK (United Nations’ Mission in Kosovo), and the international military forces – (KFOR, Kosovo Forces). Unfortunately, very soon this responsibility was totally challenged as more than 220.000 ethnic Serbs and members of other non-Albanian communities were expelled from the region by local ethnic Albanians. Mostly suffered the Serbs: it left today only 10% of them in Kosovo & Metohija in comparison to the pre-war situation. Only up to March 2004 c. 120 Christian religious objects and cultural monuments were devastated or destroyed.

The most terrible in the series of Kosovo Albanian eruptions of violence against the Serbs living in this region was organized and carried out between March 17th-19th, 2004, having all the features of Nazi organized Pogroms. During the tragic events of the March Pogrom, in a destructive assault of tens of thousands by Kosovo Albanians led by armed groups of redressed Kosovo Liberation Army (Kosovo Protection Corpus), a systematic ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs was carried out, together with destruction of houses, other property, cultural monuments and Serbian Orthodox Christian religious sites. However, the international civil and military forces in the region have been only “stunned” and “surprised”.

The March Pogrom, which resulted in the loss of several dozens of lives, several hundreds of wounded (including the members of KFOR as well), more than 4.000 exiled ethnic Serbs, more than 800 Serbian houses set on fire and 35 destroyed or severely damaged Serbian Orthodox Christian churches and cultural monuments, revealed the real situation in this European region 60 years after the Holocaust during the Second World War. Unfortunately, the attempts of the Serbs to call attention to the situation proved to have been justified in the most shocking way.
It is thus necessary to reiterate that ethnic cleansing of the Serbs (and other non-Albanian population) in the region by the local Albanians after the mid-June 1999 means putting into practice the annihilation of a Serbian territory of exquisite historic, spiritual, political and cultural top-level significance in terms of the Serbian nation, state and the Church, and its every-day visible transformation into another Albanian state in the Balkans with a real wish and possibility to unify it with a neighboring motherland Albania. The main geo-political goal of the First Albanian Prizren League from June 1878 is being brought to its attainment, including its implications for the Preshevo valley in South-East Serbia, Western Macedonia up to Vardar River, Greek portion of Epirus province and Eastern Montenegro.

The Albanian national movement, established in accordance with the program of the First Prizren League in 1878, is keeping on with its terrorist activities up today. It was before after June 1999 particularly active in the period of Italian and German Greater Albania from April 1941 to May 1945, when it undertook the organization of the Albanian Quisling network of agents. During this period of time c. 100.000 Serbs from Kosovo & Metohija have been expelled from their homes to addition to extra 200.000 expelled during Croat-run Titoslavia from 1945 to 1980. The process of articulation of the Albanian secessionist movement in the geo-political sense continued throughout the post-Second World War period marked by the rule of Yugoslav-Albanian anti-Serb communist partocracy. The process became particularly intense and successful in the period between 1968 and 1989. The entrance of the NATO troops in the region in June 1999 marks the beginning of the last stage of the Albanian-planned and carried out “Final Solution” of the Serbian question on the territory of Kosovo & Metohija – a “Cradle of Serbian nation”.
In the light of the main Albanian goal – to establish ethnically pure Greater Albania – it is “understandable” why it is so important to destroy any Serbian trace in the territory defined by the aspirations. Albanian terrorism has been developing for more than two centuries. It has the profile of ethnically, i.e. Nazi-racist style motivated terrorism (like Croat one), marked by excessive animosity against the Serbs. Its principal features are the following:

1. Repressive measures directed against the Serbian population
2. Carrying practical actions to force the Serbs to leave their homes
3. Devastation of the Serbian Orthodox Christian religious objects and other cultural monuments belonging to the Serbian people and testifying to its ten centuries long presence in Kosovo & Metohija
4. Destruction of the complete infrastructure used by the members of the Serbian community
5. Destruction of Serbian cemeteries

Long standing Muslim Albanian Nazi-style terror against the Serbian community in Kosovo & Metohija is a specific phenomenon with grave consequences not only for the local Serbs. It became, however, clear that sooner or later it will bring about severe problems for the whole Europe.

The origins of the endowments of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the heritage of the Serbian state and nation in Kosovo & Metohija, as well in other Serbian ethnographic territories, can be traced in historical sources and other relevant documents since the Early Middle Ages. Unfortunately, throughout the course of their long history, Serbian religious (and at the same time national) objects have often been exposed to physical attacks of numerous foreign invaders including and Albanians who came to the Balkans from the Caucasus’ Albania via Sicily and South Italy only in the year of 1043. In the centuries of the Islamic Ottoman rule (1455−1912) over Kosovo & Metohija, both Serbian nation and its cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, suffered very much by both Turks and especially (Muslim) Albanians who came to this region from present-day Albania after the Great Vienna War that is finished in 1699. However, not those sufferings can be compared to the hardship borne by them since mid-June 1999, when the region of Kosovo & Metohija became turned into the first NATO’s established concentration camp and U.S. 19th c.-style colony in Europe run by both the local Albanians and their numerous fellows emigrated to Kosovo & Metohija from Albania.

It is in Kosovo & Metohija that the richest group of monuments of religious endowments bequeathed by the Christian East to the European Christian civilization can be found. According to the official inventory of protected cultural properties of the Republic of Serbia, as of 1986 and 1994, more than 300 cultural properties, belonging to the “1st and the 3rd categories”, have been granted protected status in Kosovo & Metohija. There is also a considerable number of properties having status of “recognized heritage”, i.e. preventively protected properties.

A considerable number of cultural properties in the highest categories – mediaeval monumental heritage in particular – distinctly shows that the Serbian mediaeval state (early 9th c.−1459), marked by the Nemanjić’s dynasty (1167−1371), which gave ten rulers in the course of two centuries, once (before the Ottoman rule) belonged to the developed countries of Europe. This is the heritage that continued the tradition of the Byzantine architecture: numerous religious objects and cities (for instance Novo Brdo/Novaberda) were built on Byzantine foundations, while in some of them elements of Western European mediaeval architectural styles – before all Romanesque – were incorporated in a unique, original manner. The fact that Serbian king Stephen (Stefan) Uroš III Dečanski (1321−1331) dedicated to Christ Pantokrator his great burial church in the monastery of Dečani (in Metohija near Peć), entrusting its construction to the Franciscan Vito, a member of the order of Friars Minor from Kotor, is an obvious and respectable example of an unbiast approach. The architecture of Kosovo & Metohija acquired some specific features owing to the fact that some other Serbian royal mausolea were built in this region – like burial churches of king Uroš III Milutin (1282−1321) in Banjska and emperor Stefan Dušan “Mighty” (1331−1355) in the monastery of Holy Archangels (in Metohija near Prizren) – and that the Patriarchate of Peć, an important religious centre, with church of Holy Apostles, was the burial place of the highest prelates of the Serbian Orthodox Church since the 13th c. (more than 200 years before Columbus discovered America).

It has to be clearly noted that there is no a single Albanian built mediaeval shrine or profane object on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija for the very historical reason – the Albanians did not live in this region before 1699. Even the term “Kosova” used in Albanian language is in fact of Slavic-Serbian original “Kosovo” what means nothing in Albanian language but it means a kind of eagle in Serbian (“Kos”).

Both Kosovo and Metohija have been the homeland of numerous Serbian aristocratic families like the Musić’s, Lazarević’s or Branković’s. Their estates are situated in this region. The greatest portions of Kosovo & Metohija’s land, rich in ores, belonged to Serbian rulers and to Serbian Orthodox Church. The rulers have been periodically granted to the monasteries vast estates, including villages and shepherds’ settlements (the so-called “katuni”), so that the major part of the present territory of Kosovo & Metohija was occupied with church estates – metochies. It was for that reason that the western part of this region got the name of Greek origin – Metohija.

In the centuries of the Ottoman lordship, Serbian people gathered around their churches and monasteries. After the sudden change of fortune in the war operations of the Habsburg general Piccolomini, whose military campaign against the Ottoman Empire (Great Vienna War, 1683−1699) was readily supported by the Serbian population of Kosovo & Metohija, c. 100.000 of local Serbs were forced to migrate to northern areas, across the rivers of Sava and Danube in the year of 1690 (The First Great Serbian Migration) in order to escape retaliation. In the opening decades of the 18th c., the great Ottoman Empire, together with a policy of mass settlement in the region of loyal Muslim ethnic Albanians from the neighboring mountainous and poor Albania, began to show clear signs of political and military weakening. After the First Serbian Uprising against the Turks (1804−1813), the Ottoman authorities were compelled to accept requests of European great powers, and Russia in particular, regarding protection of the Christian population in the Balkans. When two Serbian states, Serbia and Montenegro, finally managed to liberate Kosovo & Metohija and the whole region of Old Serbia (Kosovo, Metohija, Raška and Vardar Macedonia) in 1912/1913, not a single of the most important monuments of Islamic architecture was destroyed or desecrated – Bayraki mosque in Peć (Metohija), Sinan-pasha’s mosque in Prizren (Metohija), built in the 17th c. of stones and fragments of sculptural decoration brought from the ruins of the monastery of Holy Archangels near Prizren (an endowment of Serbian emperor Dušan), the Imperial (Fetih) mosque in Priština (Kosovo) or Hadum-mosque in Đakovica (Metohija).

2177800481_785277bdf2_b_KosovoA rapid process of Islamization of Christian Kosovo & Metochia after June 1999

However, the major part of Serbian Christian religious objects, which despite all managed to survive centuries of hardship and Muslim Albanian attacks, could not withstand the latest devastations lasting since mid-June 1999 when NATO troops occupied the region. Destruction and devastation of Serbian Christian cultural heritage in Kosovo & Metohija, which in NATO’s countries acquires special treatment, is unprecedented in the whole history of Europe.

The most genocidal action committed by local Albanians under the auspicious by the NATO’s troops in Kosovo & Metohija from the mid-June 1999 was the “March Pogrom” from March 17th to March 19th of 2004. These three days and nights of Albanian vandalism and ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians from the region, primarily the autochthonous Serbs, in the Nazi “Kristallnacht”-style resulted in devastation of 19 cultural monuments, 6 of which fall into 1st category – churches from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, and 16 religious objects without heritage value, which makes a total of 35 recorded cultural properties and churches of Serb nation.

Only during the period between 1999 and 2004 (the first 5 years of NATO’s occupation of Kosovo & Metohija), in this region 15 cultural monuments from the 1st category and 23 from the 3rd category have been destroyed, which makes a total of 38 recorded cultural properties out of much more destroyed Serbian cultural properties of minor importance. The group of cultural properties at risk , i.e. preserved monuments, includes 88 properties: 31 from the 1st and 57 from the 3rd category.

After the “March pogrom” in 2004, as the most remarkable vandalistic assault of the Muslim Kosovo Albanian terrorists, the number of devastated most important cultural properties has reached 21 for the 1st and 36 for the 3rd category, which makes a total of 47 monuments and objects (end of March 2004). If we take into account all the other destroyed cultural properties, as well as ordinary religious objects, the total surpasses 140 cultural monuments, churches and other religious objects up to mid-2004.

It is clear that Europe is facing the organized and deliberate destruction of monuments and religious objects alongside with devastation of private property of Serbian nation in the cradle of Serbian civilization and history by militant-fanatic Albanians who took example of Catholic Croat-run genocide against the Serbs committed three times in the 20th century (1914-1918; 1941-1945 and 1991-1995) in Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Srem, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim in both cases was and is to erase any trace of Serbian Orthodox civilization and the Serbian cultural heritage westward from the Drina River and in Kosovo & Metohija. The genocide is accompanied with promotion of totally false historical data, undue claims to cultural and historic heritage belonging to other people and the changing and renaming of geographical names and toponyms. We have not to forgot that many Kosovo-Metohija Albanians took participation in ethnic cleansing of the Serbs from the Krayina region (Republic of Serbian Krayina) in Titoist-Tuđman’s Greater Croatia in 1991-1995 as volunteers or mercenaries in Croatian army or ultra-right party-military detachments. Some of these Albanians even received the rank of the generals in the Croatian Army like terrorist and war-criminal Agim Cheku who later became one of the leading commanders of the Albanian “Kosovo Liberation Army” and later the chief-commander of the “Kosovo Protection Corps” (transformed KLA). The other KLA top war criminals after the mid-June 1999 took an active part in political life in the region and one of them, Ramush Haradinaj (a leader of the “Alliance for the Future of Kosovo” and deputy-chief-commander of the “Kosovo Protection Corps”), even became “Prime Minister” of “Kosova” in 2004. Unfortunately, but not and surprisingly, such a situation in Kosovo & Metohija, likewise in Croatia, met no adequate response from the international professional circles coming from the “democratic West” with the exclusion of Serbian professionals and institutions from the heritage protection system.

During the time from the mid-June 1999 up today as the major problems in the context of protection and preservation of the Serbian Christian Orthodox cultural heritage in Kosovo & Metohija are:

• Access to cultural properties and work on their protection is impossible for the exiled Serbian experts,
• For the most monuments and objects no protection has been provided,
• Recommended regimes of protection are not being improved nor implemented,
• Measures of protection are not being put into effect, or, to be more precise, they are being implemented in a discriminative manner,
• Not a single process of rehabilitation of devastated or destroyed Serbian Christian Orthodox monuments has been initiated,
• Supervision by responsible higher rank institutions of the Republic of Serbia has been precluded,
• Vandalization of cultural properties is still occurring, but the offenders have not been condemned never mind apprehended,
• Disrespect for the international legal acts, and
• Application of a policy of “double standards” by UNMIK and NATO

Historically, Serbian Christian Orthodox artistic, cultural and religious heritage of Kosovo & Metohija (both movable and immovable properties) has been exposed to the most severe damages and devastation by local Muslim Albanians during the last 250 years, but particularly after the arrival of the civic “UN Mission in Kosovo” (UNMIK) and NATO military occupation of the region under the label of the “Kosovo Protection Forces” (KFOR) in the mid-June 1999. The territory of Kosovo & Metohija is Serbian centre of cultural, religious and artistic heritage of the highest value in European context that is, first of all, a testimony of historical presence of the Serbs, Serbian culture and Serbian civilization. This heritage belongs to the mankind and is thus worth of protection in accordance with the principle of the “European common heritage”. Salvaging and preserving the Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is a great challenge and duty to be undertaken by modern and democratic Europe if it is.


March Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija. March 17-19, 2004 with a survay of destroyed and endangered Christian cultural heritage (2004). Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia-Museum in Priština (displaced)

Improved and corrected by Prof. Dr.  Vladislav B. Sotirovic


The text is not approved by Noel Malcolm! We apologize for any inconvenience.

10 I morto i SerbiDestroyed Serbian Christian Orthodox Church in Kosovo & Metochia by Muslim Albanians in March 2004







Shaking Hands With a War Criminal




Greater Albania


Hilari i Taci dve bagre

10 I morto i Serbi


Is Kosovo a Contested Land?


Serbia entered on December 14th, 2015 a final stage of the negotiations to become a full member of the European Union’s (the EU). The western (the USA/EU) client Serbia’s Government is currently under the direct pressure from Brussels to recognize an independence of the narco-mafia Kosovo’s quasi state for the exchange to join the EU but not before 2020. It is only a question of weeks that a western colony of Serbia has to finally declare its position towards Kosovo’s independence. The President of Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, like all other western bots in Serbia, already publicly announced his official position in regard to this question: Serbia’s Government has to finally inform the Serbian nation that Kosovo is not any more an integral part of Serbia and therefore the recognition of Kosovo’s independence by Belgrade is only way towards a prosperous future of the country that is within the EU (and the NATO’s pact as well).

In the following paragraphs we would like to present the most important features of the “Kosovo Question” for the better understanding of the present political situation in which the Serb nation is questioned by the western “democracies” upon both its own national identity and national pride.


The southeastern province of the Republic of Serbia – under the administrative title of Kosovo-Metochia (in the English only Kosovo), was at the very end of the 20th century in the center of international relations and global politics too due to the NATO’s 78 days of the “humanitarian” military intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (The FRY which was composed by Serbia and Montenegro)[1] in 1999 (March 24th–June 10th). As it was not approved and verified by the General Assembly or the Security Council of the United Nations, the US-led operation “Merciful Angel” opened among the academicians a fundamental question of the purpose and nature of the “humanitarian” interventions in the world like it was previously in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, Rwanda in 1994 or Somalia in 1991−1995.[2] More precisely, it provoked dilemmas of the misusing ethical, legal and political aspects of armed “humanitarian” interventions as the responsibility to protect for the very reason that it became finally obvious in 2008 that the NATO’s “humanitarian” military intervention in 1999 was primarily aimed to lay the foundation for Kosovo’s independence and its separation from Serbia with transformation of the province into the US−EU’s political-economic colony.[3]

Kosovo as contested land between the Serbs and the Albanians

The province of Kosovo-Metochia (Kosova in the Albanian), as historically contested land between the Serbs and the Albanians, did not, does not and will not have an equal significance for those two nations. For the Albanians, Kosovo was all the time just a provincial land populated by them without any cultural or historical importance except for the single historical event that the first Albanian nationalistic political league was proclaimed in the town of Prizren in Metochia (the western part of Kosovo) in 1878 and existed only till 1881. However, both Kosovo as a province and the town of Prizren were chosen to host the First (pan-Albanian) Prizren League[4] only for the very propaganda reason – to emphasize allegedly predominantly the “Albanian” character of both Kosovo and Prizren regardless to the very fact that at that time the Serbs were a majority of population either in Kosovo or in Prizren.[5] Kosovo was never part of Albania and the Albanians from Albania had no important cultural, political or economic links with Kosovo’s Albanians regardless the fact that the overwhelming majority of Kosovo Albanians originally came from the North Albania after the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo in 1690.[6]

However, quite contrary to the Albanian case, Kosovo-Metochia is the focal point of the Serbian nationhood, statehood, traditions, customs, history, culture, church and above all of the ethno-national identity. It was exactly Kosovo-Metochia to be the central administrative-cultural part of the medieval Serbia with the capital in Prizren. The administrative center of the medieval and later Ottoman-time Serbian Orthodox Church was also in Kosovo-Metochia in the town of Peć (Ipek in the Turkish; Pejë in the Albanian). Before the Muslim Kosovo’s Albanians started to demolish the Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries after June 1999, there were around 1.500 Serbian Christian shrines in this province.[7] Kosovo-Metochia is even today called by the Serbs as the “Serbian Holy Land” while the town of Prizren is known for the Serbs as the “Serbian Jerusalem” and the “Imperial town” (Tsarigrad) in which there was an imperial court of the Emperor Stefan Dushan of Serbia (1346−1355). The Serbs, differently to the Albanians, have a plenty of national folk songs and legends about Kosovo-Metochia, especially in regard to the Kosovo Battle of 1389 in which they lost state independence to the Ottoman Turks.[8]

Nevertheless, there is nothing similar in the Albanian case with regard to Kosovo. For instance, there is no single Albanian church or monastery in this province from the medieval time or any important monument as the witness of the Albanian ethnic presence in the province before the time of the rule by the Ottoman Sultanate. Even the Muslim mosques from the Ottoman time (1455−1912) claimed by the Albanians to belong to the Albanian national heritage, were in fact built by the Ottoman authorities but not by the ethnic Albanians. The Albanian national folk songs are not mentioning the medieval Kosovo that is one of the crucial evidences that they simply have nothing in common with the pre-Ottoman Kosovo. All Kosovo’s place-names are of the Slavic (Serb) origin but not of the Albanian. The Albanians during the last 50 years are just renaming or adapting the original place-names according to their vocabulary what is making a wrong impression that the province is authentically the Albanian. We have not to forget the very fact that the word Kosovo is of the Slavic (the Serb) origin meaning a kind of eagle (kos) while the same word means simply nothing in the Albanian language. Finally, in the Serbian tradition Kosovo-Metochia was always a part of the “Old Serbia”[9] while in the Albanian tradition Kosovo was never called as any kind of Albania.

The province became contested between the Serbs and the Albanians when the later started to migrate from the North Albania to Kosovo-Metochia after 1690 with getting a privileged status as the Muslims by the Ottoman authorities. A Muslim Albanian terror against the Christian Serbs at the Ottoman time[10] resulted in the Abanization of the province to such extent that the ethnic structure of Kosovo-Metochia became drastically changed in the 20th century. A very high Muslim Albanian birthrate played an important role in the process of Kosovo’s Albanization too. Therefore, after the WWII the ethnic breakdown of the Albanians in the province was around 67 percent. The new and primarily anti-Serb Communist authorities of the Socialist Yugoslavia legally forbade to some 100.000 WWII Serb refugees from Kosovo-Metochia to return to their homes after the collapse of the Greater Albania in 1945 of which Kosovo was an integral part. A Croat-Slovenian Communist dictator of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito (1892−1980), granted to the province of Kosovo-Metochia a considerable political autonomous status in 1974 with a separate Government, Provincial Assembly, President, Academy of Science, security forces, independent university in Prishtina and even military defense system for the fundamental political reason to prepare Kosovo’s independence after the death of his Titoslavia.[11] Therefore, Kosovo-Metochia in the Socialist Yugoslavia was just formally part of Serbia as the province was from political-administrative point of view an independent as all Yugoslav republics. A fully Albanian-governed Kosovo from 1974 to 1989 resulted in both destruction of the Christian (Serb) cultural monuments[12] and continuation of mass expulsion of the ethnic Serbs and Montenegrins from the province to such extent that according to some estimations there were around 200.000 Serbs and Montenegrins expelled from the province after the WWII up to the abolition of political autonomy of the province (i.e. independence) by Serbia’s authority in 1989 with the legal and legitimate verification by the Provincial Assembly of Kosovo-Metochia and the reintegration of Kosovo-Metochia into Serbia.[13] At the same period of time, there were around 300.000 Albanians who illegally came to live in Kosovo-Metochia from Albania. Consequently, in 1991 there were only 10 percent of the Serbs and Montenegrins who left to live in Kosovo-Metochia out of a total number of the inhabitants of the province.[14]

Fighting Kosovo’s Albanian political terrorism and territorial secession

The revocation of Kosovo’s political autonomy in 1989 by Serbia’s central Government was aimed primarily to stop further ethnic Albanian terror against the Serbs and Montenegrins and to prevent secession of the province from Serbia that will result in the recreation of the WWII Greater Albania with the legalization of the policy of Albanian ethnic cleansing of all non-Albanian population what practically happened in Kosovo after June 1999 when the NATO’s troops occupied the province and brought to the power a classical terrorist political-military organization – the Kosovo’s Liberation Army (the KLA). Nevertheless, the Western mainstream media as well academia presented Serbia’s fighting Kosovo’s Albanian political terrorism and territorial secession after 1989 as Belgrade policy of discrimination against the Albanian population which became deprived of political and economic rights and opportunities.[15] The fact was that such “discrimination” was primarily a result of the Albanian policy of boycotting Serbia’s state institutions and even job places offered to them in order to present their living conditions in Kosovo as the governmental-sponsored minority rights oppression.

Gazimestan 2

In the Western mainstream mass media and even in academic writings, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, a political leader of Kosovo’s Albanians in the 1990s, was described as a person who led a non-violent resistance movement against Miloshevic’s policy of ethnic discrimination of Kosovo’s Albanians. I. Rugova was even called as a “Balkan Gandhi”.[16] In the 1990s there were established in Kosovo the Albanian parallel and illegal social, educational and political structures and institutions as a state within the state. The Albanians under the leadership of Rugova even three times proclaimed the independence of Kosovo. However, these proclamations of independence were at that time totally ignored by the West and the rest of the world. Therefore, Rugova-led Kosovo’s Albanian national-political movement failed to promote and advance the Kosovo’s Albanian struggle for secession from Serbia and independence of the province with a very possibility to incorporate it into a Greater Albania. I. Rugova himself, coming from the Muslim Albanian Kosovo’s clan that originally migrated to Kosovo from Albania, was active in political writings on the “Kosovo Question” as a way to present the Albanian viewpoint on the problem to the Western audience and therefore, as a former French student, he published his crucial political writing in the French language in 1994.[17]

One of the crucial questions in regard to the Kosovo problem in the 1990s is why the Western “democracies” did not recognize self-proclaimed Kosovo’s independence? The fact was that the “Kosovo Question” was absolutely ignored by the US-designed Dayton Accords of 1995 which were dealing only with the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina.[18] A part to the answer is probably laying in the fact that Rugova-led Albanian secession movement was in essence illegal and even terroristic. It is known that Rugova himself was a sponsor of a terroristic party’s militia which was responsible for violent actions against Serbia’s authorities and non-Albanian ethnic groups in Kosovo.[19] For instance, in July 1988, from the graves of the village of Grace graveyard (between Prishtina and Vuchitrn) were excavated and taken to pieces the bodies of two Serbian babies of the Petrovic’s family.[20] Nevertheless, as a response to Rugova’s unsuccessful independence policy, it was established the notorious KLA which by 1997 openly advocated a full-scale of terror against everything what was Serbian in Kosovo.

The KLA had two main open political aims:

  • To get an independence for Kosovo from Serbia with possibility to include the province into a Greater Albania.
  • To ethnically clean the province from all non-Albanians especially from the Serbs and Montenegrins.

However, the hidden task of the KLA was to wage an Islamic Holy War (the Jihad) against the Christianity in Kosovo by committing the Islamic terror similarly to the case of the present-day Islamic State (the ISIS/ISIL) in the Middle East. Surely, the KLA was and is a part of the policy of radicalization of the Islam at the Balkans after 1991 following the pattern of the governmental (Islamic) Party of Democratic Action (the PDA) in Bosnia-Herzegovina.[21]

That the KLA was established as a terroristic organization is even confirmed by the Western scholars[22] and the US administration too. On the focal point of the Kosovo’s War in 1998−1999 we can read in the following sentence:

Aware that it lacked popular support, and was weak compared to the Serbian authorities, the KLA deliberately provoked Serbian police and Interior Ministry attacks on Albanian civilians, with the aim of garnering international support, specifically military intervention”.[23]


It was true that the KLA realized very well that the more Albanian civilians were killed as a matter of the KLA’s “hit-and-run” guerilla warfare strategy, the Western (the NATO’s) military intervention against the FRY was becoming a reality. In the other words, the KLA with his Commander-In-Chief Hashim Thaci were quite aware that any armed action against Serbia’s authorities and Serbian civilians would bring retaliation against the Kosovo Albanian civilians as the KLA was using them in fact as a “human shield”. That was in fact the price which the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo had to pay for their “independence” under the KLA’s governance after the war. That was the same strategy used by Croatia’s Government and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslim authorities in the process of divorce from Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, as violence in Kosovo escalated in 1998 the EU’s authorities and the US’s Government began to support diplomatically an Albanian course – a policy which brought Serbia’s Government and the leadership of the KLA to the ceasefire and withdrawal of certain Serbian police detachments and the Yugoslav military troops from Kosovo followed by the deployment of the “international” (the Western) monitors (the Kosovo Verification Mission, the KVM) under the formal authority of the OSCE. However, it was in fact informal deployment of the NATO’s troops in Kosovo. The KVM was authorized by the UN’s Security Council Resolution 1199 on September 23rd, 1998. That was the beginning of a real territorial-administrative secession of Kosovo-Metochia from Serbia sponsored by the West for the only and very reason that Serbia did not want to join the NATO and to sell her economic infrastructure to the Western companies according to the pattern of “transition” of the Central and South-East European countries after the Cold War. The punishment came in the face of the Western-sponsored KLA.

2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

Mykolas Romeris University

Institute of Political Sciences

Vilnius, Lithuania



[1] The FRY became renamed in February 2003 into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (the SCG) and finally the federation ended in June 2006 when both Serbia and Montenegro became independent states.

[2] On the “humanitarian” military interventions, see [J. L. Holzgrefe, R. O. Keohane (eds.), Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemmas, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003; T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007; D. Fassin, M. Pandolfi, Contemporary States of Emergency: The Politics of Military and Humanitarian Interventions, New York: Zone Books, 2010; A. Hehir, The Responsibility to Protect: Rhetoric, Reality and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention,  London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; G. Th. Weiss, Humanitarian Intervention, Cambridge, UK−Malden, MA, USA: 2012; A. Hehir, Humanitarian Intervention: An Introduction, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013; B. Simms, D. J. B. Trim (eds.), Humanitarian Intervention: A History, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013; D. E. Scheid (ed.), The Ethics of Armed Humanitarian Intervention, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014].

[3] H. Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009.

[4] On the First Prizren League, from the Albanian viewpoint, see [S. Pollo, S. Pulaha, (eds.), The Albanian League of Prizren, 1878−1881. Documents, Vol. I−II, Tirana, 1878].  

[5] In 1878 the Serbs were about 60 percent of Kosovo population and 70 percent of Prizren inhabitants.

[6] On the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo in 1690, see [С. Чакић, Велика сеоба Срба 1689/90 и патријарх Арсеније III Црнојевић, Нови Сад: Добра вест, 1990].

[7] On the Serbian Christian heritage of Kosovo-Metochia, see [M. Vasiljvec, The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija: The Historical and Spiritual Heartland of the Serbian People, Sebastian Press, 2015].

[8] On the Kosovo Battle of 1389 in the Serbian popular tradition, see [Р. Пековић (уредник), Косовска битка: Мит, легенда и стварност, Београд: Литера, 1987; R. Mihaljčić, The Battle of Kosovo in History and in Popular Tradition, Belgrade: BIGZ, 1989; Р. Михаљчић, Јунаци косовске легенде, Београд: БИГЗ, 1989]. The President of Serbia – Slobodan Miloshevic, started his patriotic policy of unification of the Republic of Serbia and promulgation of the human rights for the Kosovo Serbs exactly on the 600 years anniversary of the Kosovo Battle that was celebrated on June 28th, 1989 in Gazimestan near Prishtina as the place of the battle in 1389. However, this event was commonly seen by the Western academia and policy-makers as an expression of the Serb nationalism [R. W. Mansbach, K. L. Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, London−New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2012, 429] and even as the Serb proclamation of the war to the rest of Yugoslavia.

[9] Р. Самарџић et al, Косово и Метохија у српској историји, Београд: Друштво за чување споменика и неговање традиција ослободилачких ратова Србије до 1918. године у Београду−Српска књижевна задруга, 1989, 5; Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија: Историја и идеологија, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, 17−29.

[10] See, for instance, a Memorandum by Kosovo and Macedonian Serbs to the international peace conference in The Hague in 1899 [Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија у српско-арбанашким односима, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2006, 118−123].

[11] From Josip Broz Tito, however, the Serbs in Croatia or Bosnia-Herzegovina did not receive any kind of political-territorial autonomy as Kosovo Albanians or Vojvodina Hungarians enjoyed in Serbia. Nevertheless, for the matter of comparison with Kosovo Albanians in Serbia, the Kurds in Turkey are not even recognized as a separate ethno-linguistic group.

[12] For instance, the Muslim Albanians tried to set arson on the Serbian Patriarchate of Pec’s church in the West Kosovo (Metochia) in 1981, but just accidentally only the dormitory was burnt.

[13] J. Palmowski (ed.), A Dictionary of Contemporary World History From 1900 to the Present Day, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 428.

[14] On the history of Kosovo from the Western perspective, see [N. Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, New York: New York University, 1999; T. Judah, Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2008].

[15] T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, 79.

[16] Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869−1948) was an Indian national leader against the British colonial occupation of India. He became well-known as a leader who organized an Indian civil disobedience movement against the British colonial authorities which finally led to the independence of India. On his biography, see [J. Lelyveld, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his Struggle with India, New York: Knopf Borzoi Books, 2011].

[17] I. Rugova, La Question du Kosovo, Fayard, 1994. It has to be noticed that Rugova’s father and grandfather were shot to death by the Yugoslav Communist authorities at the very end of the WWII as the Nazi collaborators during the war.

[18] On the Dayton Accords, see [D. Chollet, The Road to the Dayton Accords: A Study of American Statecraft, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005].

[19] On this issue, see more in [В. Б. Сотировић, Огледи из Југославологије, Виљнус: приватно издање, 2013, 190−196].

[20] We cannot forget as well that the KLA-led “March Pogrom” of Serbs in Kosovo (March 17−19th, 2004) was executed when I. Rugova was a “President” of Kosovo. The pogrom was in fact “…a systematic ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs…together with destruction of houses, other property, cultural monuments and Orthodox Christian religious sites” [D. Kojadinović (ed.), The March Pogrom, Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia−Museum in Priština (displaced), 2004, 8].

[21] On the threat of radical Islam to the Balkans and Europe after 1991, see [Sh. Shay, Islamic Terror and the Balkans, Transaction Publishers, 2006; Ch. Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate: The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West, Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007].

[22] T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, 79.

[23] Ibid.

Serbs fighting ISIS







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ISIL International

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Kosovo: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy of Terror

Bagra Kosova

Kosovo is Clinton Country: a 10-foot-high statue of Bill overlooks “Bill Clinton Boulevard” in the capital city of Pristina. Hillary is also memorialized in what has become the crime capital of Europe: right off the street named for her husband is a store named “Hillary,” featuring women’s clothing modeled after the putative Democratic party nominee for President. Pantsuits figure prominently. As Vice puts it: “While former President Bill Clinton has had a boulevard named after him, it’s without a doubt that his wife’s the real star out here.” Why is that?

As Gail Sheehy pointed out in her biography of Hillary, it was Mrs. Clinton who hectored her husband into bowing to a chorus of neoconservative and liberal interventionist voices and finally giving the order to bomb the former Yugoslavia. Traveling to Kosovo when Serbs in the northern part of the country were demanding some form of local autonomy to stave off violent attacks by Kosovar ultra-nationalists, Mrs. Clinton reassured her hosts that the US would stand behind Pristina: “For me, my family and my fellow Americans this is more than a foreign policy issue, it is personal.” She then physically embraced Kosovo President and Mafia chieftain Hacim Thaci – who has since been credibly accused by the Council of Europe of stealing human organs from Serb victims and selling them on the black market.

Hillary owns Kosovo – she is not only personally responsible for its evolution from a province of the former Yugoslavia into a Mafia state, she is also the mother of the policy that made its very existence possible and which she carried into her years as Secretary of State under Barack Obama.

As the “Arab Spring” threatened to topple regimes throughout the Middle East, Mrs. Clinton decided to get on board the revolutionary choo-choo train and hitch her wagon to “moderate” Islamists who seemed like the wave of the future. She dumped Egyptian despot Hosni Mubarak, whom she had previously described as a friend of the family, and supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s bid for power. In Libya, she sided with Islamist rebels out to overthrow Moammar Ghaddafi, celebrating his gruesome death by declaring “We came, we saw, he died.” And in Syria, she plotted with Gen. David Petraeus to get around President Obama’s reluctance to step into the Syrian quagmire by arming Syrian rebels allied with al-Qaeda and other terrorist gangs.

The Clintonian legacy of enabling Islamist terrorists extends to present day Kosovo, where the New York Times has revealed an extensive network of ISIS-affiliated madrassas – indoctrination centers – funded by the Saudis, the Qataris, and the Kuwaitis. The Times reports:

“Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.”

“The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism” in the 17 years since the war ended with Kosovo’s independence, says the Times.

“Since then – much of that time under the watch of American officials – Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.”

Kosovo is jihadi heaven. The Times informs us that “Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars – including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children – who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe.”

The Wahabist ideology carried by radical imams is directly financed by the Saudis, the Qataris, the Kuwaitis, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. All of these countries, by the way, are major donors to the Clinton Foundation.

Hillary Clinton’s Islamist-friendly foreign policy created a terrorist base in Kosovo, and her friends the Saudis are instrumental in setting up the conditions whereby ISIS has gained a foothold in the heart of Europe. At sprawling Camp Bondesteel, where US troops have been stationed since the “liberation,” radical imams recruited three Kosovar employees, including Lavdrim Muhaxheri, who is today a commander of the Islamic State: his claim to fame is that he was videotaped executing a Syrian by blowing him to bits with a rocket-propelled grenade. (“I did not do anything less or more than what KLA soldiers did during the war,” he declared in an interview with an Albanian newspaper.)

thaciclintonAfter ignoring the problem for years, the authorities are making a show of rounding up terrorist suspects: five were recently arrested and given long sentences, but there are hundreds more where that came from.

Kosovo today is a fulcrum of terrorism, violence, crime, and virulent nationalism. The Parliament is in chaos as Albanian ultra-nationalists demanding union with Albania shut down sessions with smoke bombs and mob action. This is the legacy of the Clintons in the Balkans: a terrorist state run by Mafia chieftains that has become the epicenter of radical Islamism in the midst of Europe.

This is “blowback” with a vengeance, and Hillary Clinton and husband Bill have their fingerprints all over this outrage: but of course the “mainstream” media isn’t holding them to account. The Times story on the rise of ISIS in Kosovo never mentions the dubious duo, and is vague when it reports on the three employees of Camp Bondesteel who wound up in Syria’s terrorist camps. Who are the other two besides Muhaxheri? Did  they receive any military training? This Reuters report confirms that NATO brought Muhaxheri to Iraq, where he worked for two years at a military base.

And there’s more where he came from. As Reuters informs us:

“Thousands of Kosovars have moved on from Bondsteel to work with U.S. contractors on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, earning the kind of money they can only dream of in Kosovo.”

The terrorist pipeline runs from Kosovo, to Iraq and Afghanistan, and then on to Syria – where they fill the ranks of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Could there be a more perfect illustration of how the principle of “blowback” works, and how we’re creating an army of Frankenstein monsters?

All this brings back memories  of Antiwar.com’s first days: this site was born as a protest against US intervention in the former Yugoslavia. Back then we warned again and again (and again!) about the specter of Islamist extremism as the energizing ideology of the Albanian separatists, both in Kosovo and Bosnia.

We were right on target.

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By Justin Raimondo

Author bio:

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].

Source: http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2016/05/24/kosovo-hillary-clintons-legacy-terror/



Kosovo history – Fifth part

Serbs fighting ISIS

The series of long-scale Christian national movements in the Balkans, triggered off by 1804 Serbian revolution, decided more than in the earlier centuries, the fate of Serbs and made ethnic Albanians (about 70% of whom were Muslims) the main guardians of Turkish order in the European provinces of Ottoman Empire. At a time when the Eastern question was again being raised, particularly in the final quarter of 19th and the first decade of 20th century, Islamic Albanians were the chief instrument of Turkey’s policy in crushing the liberation movements of other Balkan states. After the congress of Berlin (1878) an Albanian national movement flared up, and both the Sultan and Austria-Hungary, a power whose occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina heralded its further expansion deep into the Balkans, endeavored, with varying degrees of success, to instrumentalize this movement. While the Porte used the ethnic Albanians as Islam’s shock cutting edge against Christians in the frontier regions towards Serbia and Montenegro, particularly in Kosovo, Metohia and the nearby areas, Austria-Hungary’s design was to use the Albanians national movement against the liberatory aspirations of the two Serbian states that were impeding the German Drang nach Osten. In a rift between two only seemingly contrary strivings, Serbia and Montenegro, although independent since 1878, were powerless (at least until the Balkan wars 1912-1913) without the support of Russia or other Great Power to effect the position of their compatriots within the borders of Ottoman Empire.

karadjordjeDuring the Serbian revolution, which ended with the creation of the autonomous Principality of Serbia within the Ottoman empire (1830), Kosovo and Metohia acquired special political importance. The hereditary ethnic Albanian pashas, who had until then been mostly renegades from the central authorities in Constantinople, feared that the flames of rebellion might spread to regions they controlled thus they became champions for the defense the integrity of the Turkish Empire and leaders of many military campaigns against the Serbian insurgents, at the core of the Serbian revolution was the Kosovo covenant, embodied in the “revenge of Kosovo”, a fresh, decisive battle against the Turkish invaders in the field of Kosovo. In 1806 the insurgents were preparing, like Prince Lazar in his day, to come out in Kosovo and weigh their forces against the Turks, However, detachments of Serbian insurgents reached only the fringes of northern Kosovo. Metohia, Old Raska (Sandzak), Kosovo and northern Macedonia remained outside the borders of the Serbian principality. In order to highlight their importance in the national and political ideologies of the renewed Serbian state, they were given a new collective name. It was not by chance that Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic, the father of modern Serbian literacy, named the central lands of the Nemanjic state – Old Serbia.

Fearing the renewed Serbian state, Kosovo pashas engaged in ruthless persecution in an effort to reduce number of Serbs living in their spacious holdings. The French travel writer F.C.H.L Pouqueville was astounded by the utter anarchy and ferocity of the local pashas towards the Christians. Jashar-pasha Gjinolli of Prishtina was one of the worst, destroying several churches in Kosovo, seizing monastic lands and killing monks. In just a few years of sweeping terror, he evicted more than seventy Serbian villages between Vucitrn and Gnjilane, dividing up the seized land among the local Islamized population and mountain folk that had settled there from northern Albania. The fertile plains of Kosovo became desolate meadows as the Malisor highlanders, unused to farming knew not to cultivate.

The revolt of the ethnic Albanian pashas against the reforms introduced by the sultans and fierce clashes with regular Turkish troops in the thirties and forties of the 19th century, emphasized the anarchy in Kosovo and Metohia, causing fresh suffering among the Serbs and the further devastation of the ancient monasteries. Since neither Serbian nor Montenegro, two semi-independent Serbian states, were able to give any significant help to the gravely endangered people, Serbian leaders form the Pristina and Vucitrn regions turned to the Russian tsar in seeking protection from their oppressors. They set out that they were forced to choose between converting to Islam or fleeing for Serbia as the violence, especially killings, the persecution of monks, the raping of women and minors, had exceeded all bounds. Pogroms marked the decades to come, especially in period of the Crimean War (1853-1856) when anti-Slav sentiments reached their peak in the ottoman empire: ethnic Albanians and the Cherkeses, whom the Turks had resettled in Kosovo, joined the Ottoman troops in persecuting Orthodox Serbs.

The brotherhood of Decani and the Pec Patriarchate turned to the authorities of Serbia for protection. Pointing to the widespread violence and increasing banditry, and to more frequent and persisted attempts by Catholic missionaires to compel the impoverished and spiritually discouraged monk communities to concede to union. Prior Serafim Ristic of Decani loged complaints with both the sultan and Russian tsar and in his book Plac Stare Srbije (Zemun 1864) he penned hundreds of examples of violence perpetrated by the ethnic Albanians and Turks against the Serbs, naming the perpetrators, victims and type of crime. In Metohia alone he recorded over one hundred cases in which the Turkish authorities, police and judiciary tolerated and abetted robbery, bribery, murder, arson, the desecration of churches, the seizure of property and livestock, the rape of women and children, and the harassment of monks and priests. Both ethnic Albanians and Turks viewed assaults against Serbs as acts pleasing to Allah acts that punishing infidels for not believing in true God: kidnapping and Islamizing girls were a way for true Muslims to approach Allah. Ethnic Albanian outlaws (kayaks) became heroes among their fellow-tribesmen for fulfilling their religious obligations in the right way and spreading the militant glory of their clan and tribe.

Eloquent testimonies to the scope of the violence against the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia, ranging from blackmail and robbery to rape and murder, come from many foreign travel-writers, from A. F. Hilferding to G. M. McKenzie – A. P. Irby. The Russian consul in Prizren observed that ethnic Albanians were settling the Prizren district underhidered and were trying, with the Turks, to eradicate Christians from Kosovo and Metohia. Throughout the 19th century there was no public safety on the roads of Metohia and Kosovo. One could travel the roads which were controlled by tribal bands, only with strong armed escort. The Serbian peasant had no protection in the field where he could be assaulted and robbed by an outlaw or bandit, and if he tried to resist, he could be killed without the perpetrator having to face charges for the crime. Serbs, as non-Muslims, were not entitled to carry arms. Those who possessed and used arms in self-defence afterwards had to run for their life. Only the luckiest managed to reach the Serbian or Montenegrin border and find permanent refuge there. They were usually followed by large families called family cooperatives (zadruga), comprising as many as 30-50 members, which were unable to defend themselves against the numerous relatives of the ethnic Albanian seeking vengeance for his death in a conflict with an elder of their clan.

Economic pressure, especially the forced reducing of free peasants to serf, was fostered by ethnic Albanian feudal lords with a view to creating large land-holdings. In the upheavals of war (1859, 1863) the Turkish authorities tried to restrict enterprising Serbian merchants and craftsmen who flourished in Pristina, Pec and Prizren, setting ablaze entire quarters where they worked and had their shops. But it was the hardest in rural areas, because ethnic Albanians, bond together by tight communities of blood brotherhoods or in tribes, and relatively socially homogeneous, were able to support their fellow tribesman without too much effort, simply by terrorizing Serbs and seizing their property and livestock. Suppression in driving of the Serbian peasantry, space was made for their relatives from northern Albania to move in, whereby increased their own prestige among other tribes. Unused to life in the plains and to hard field-work, the settled ethnic Albanians preferred looting to farming.

Despite the hardships, the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia assembled in religious-school communes which financed the opening of schools and the education of children, collected donations for the restoration of churches and monasteries and, when possible, tried to improve relations with the Turkish authorities. In addition to monastic schools, the first Serbian secular schools started opening in Kosovo from mid-1830s, and in 1871 a Seminary (Bogoslovija) opened in Prizren. Unable to help politically, the Serbia systematically aided churches and schools from the 1840s onwards, sending teachers and encouraging the best students to continue with their studies. The Prizren seminary the hub of activity on national affairs, educated teachers and priests for all the Serbian lands under Turkish dominion, and unbeknownst to authorities, established contact on a regular basis with the government in Belgrade, wherefrom it received means and instructions for political action.

33. ZvecanEthnic circumstances in Kosovo and Metohia in the early 19th century can be reconstructed on the basis of data obtained from the books written by foreign travel writers and ethnographers who journeyed across European Turkey. Joseph Miller’s studies show that in late 1830s, 56,200 Christians and 80,150 Muslims lived in Metohia; 11,740 of the Muslims were Islamized Serbs, and 2,700 of the Christians were Catholic Albanians. However, clear picture of the ethnic structure during this period cannot be obtained until one takes into account the fact that from 1815 to 1837 some 320 families, numbering ten to 30 members each, fled Kosovo and Metohia ahead of ethnic Albanian violence. According to Hilferding’s figures, Pec numbered 4,000 Muslim and 800 Christian families, Pristina numbered 1,200 Muslim, 900 Orthodox and 100 Catholic families with a population of 12,000.3

Russian consul Yastrebov recorded (for a 1867-1874 period) the following figures for 226 villages in Metohia: 4,646 Muslim ethnic Albanian homes, 1,861 Orthodox and 3,740 Islamized Serbs and 142 homes of Catholic Albanians. Despite the massive departure of the population for Serbia, available data show that until Eastern crisis (1875-1878), Serbs formed the largest ethnic group in Kosovo and Metohia, largely owing to a high birth rate.

The biggest demographics upheaval in Kosovo and Metohia occurred during the Eastern crisis, especially during the 1876-1878 Serbo-Turkish wars, when the question of Old Serbia started being internationalized. The Ottoman empire lost a good deal of territory in its wars with Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the second war with the Turks, Serbian troops liberated parts of Kosovo: their advance guard reached Pristina via Gnjilane and at the Gracanica monastery held a memorial service for the medieval heroes of Kosovo battle… After Russia and Turkey called a truce, Serbian troops were forced to withdraw from Kosovo. Serbian delegations from Old Serbia sent petitions to the Serbian Prince, the Russian tsar and participants of the Congress of Berlin, requesting that these lands merge with Serbia. Approximately 30,000 ethnic Albanians retreated from the liberated areas (partly under duress), seeking refuge in Kosovo and in Metohia, while tens of thousands of Serbs fled Kosovo and Metohia for Serbia ahead of unleashed bashibozouks, irregular auxiliaries of Ottoman troops.4

On the eve of the Congress of Berlin in the summer of 1878, when the great powers were deciding on the fate of the Balkan nations, the Albanian League was formed in Prizren, on the periphery of ethnic Albanian living space. The League called for the preservation of Ottoman Empire in its entirety within the prewar boundaries and for the creation of autonomous Albanian vilayet out of the vilayets of Kosovo, Scutari, Janina and Monster (Bitolj), regions where ethnic Albanians accounted for 44% of overall population. The territorial aspirations of the Albanian movement as defined in 1878, became part of all subsequent national programs. The new sultan Abdulhamid II (1878-1909) supported the League’s pro-Ottoman and pro-Islamic attitude. Breaking with the reformatory policy of his predecessors, sultan adopted pan-Islamism as the ruling principle of his reign. Unsatisfied with the decisions taken at the Congress, the League put up an armed opposition to concession of regions of Plav and Gusinje to Montenegro, and its detachments committed countless acts of violence against the Serbs, whose very existence posed a permanent threat to Albanian national interests. In 1881, Turkey employed force to crush the League, whose radical wing was striving towards an independent Albanian state to show that it was capable of implementing the adopted reforms. Notwithstanding, under the system of Turkish rule in the Balkans, ethnic Albanians continued to occupy the most prominent seats in the decades to come.

Surrounded by his influential guard of ethnic Albanians, the Abdulhamid II became increasingly lenient toward Islamized Albanian tribes who used force in quelling Christian movements: they were exempt from providing recruits, paying the most of the regular taxes and allowed at times to refuse the orders of local authorities. This lenient policy towards the ethnic Albanians and tolerance for the violence committed against the Serbian population created a feeling of superiority in the lower strata of Albanian society. The knowledge that no matter what the offense they would not be held responsible, encouraged ethnic Albanians to ignore all the lesser authorities. Social stratification resulted on increasing number of renegades who lived solely off banditry or as outlaws. The policy of failing to punish ethnic Albanians led to total anarchy which, escaping all control, increasingly worried the authorities in Constantinople. Anarchy received fresh impetus at the end of the 19th century when Austria-Hungary, seeking a way to expand towards the Bay of Salonika, encouraged ethnic Albanians to clash with the Serbs and disobey the local authorities. Ruling circles in Vienna saw the ethnic Albanians as a permanent wedge between the two Serbian states and, with the collapse of the system of Turkish rule, a bridge enabling the Dual Monarchy to extend in the Vardar valley. Thus, Kosovo and Metohia became the hub of great power confrontation for supremacy in the Balkans.

The only protection for the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia until the end of 1880s came from Russian diplomats, Russia being the traditional guardian of the Orthodox and Slav population in the Ottoman Empire Russia’s waning influence in the Balkans following the Congress of Berlin had an unfavorable impact on the Serbs in Turkey. Owing to Milan and Alexander Obrenovic’s Austrophile policy, Serbia lost valuable Russian support at the Porte in its efforts to protect Serbian population In Kosovo and Metohia, Serbs were regarded as a rebellious, treasonous element, every move they made was carefully watched and any signs of rebellion were ruthlessly punished. A military tribunal was established in Pristina in 1882 which in its five years of work sent hundreds of national leaders to prison.

The persistent efforts of Serbian officials to reach agreement with ethnic Albanian tribal chiefs in Kosovo and Metohia, and thus help curb the anarchy failed to stem the tide of violence. Belgrade officials did not get a true picture of the persecutions until a Serbian consulate was opened in Pristina in 1889, five centuries after a battle in Kosovo. The government was informed that ethnic Albanians were systematically mounting attacks on a isolated Serbian villages and driving people to eriction with treats and murders: “Go to Serbia -you can’t survive here!”. The assassination of the first Serbian Consul in the streets of Pristina revealed the depth of ethnic Albanian intolerance. Until 1905, not a single Serbian diplomat from Pristina could visit the town of Pec or tour Metohia, the hotbed of the anarchy. Consuls in Pristina (who included the well-known writers Branislav Nusic and Milan M. Rakic) wrote, aside to their regular reports, indepth descriptions of the situation in Kosovo and Metohia. Serbia’s sole diplomatic success was the election of a Serbian candidate as the Raska-Prizren Metropolitan in 1896, following a series of anti-Serbian orientated Greek Bishops who had been enthroned in Prizren since 1830.

Outright campaigns of terror were mounted after a Greaco-Turkish war in 1897, when it appeared that the Serbs would suffer the same fate as the Armenians in Asia Minor whom the Kurds had wiped out with blessing from the sultan. Serbian diplomats launched a campaign at the Porte for the protection of their compatriots, submitting extensive documentation on four hundred crimes of murder, blackmail, theft, rape, seizure of land, arson of churches. They demanded that energetic measures be taken against the perpetrators and that the investigation be carried out by a joint Serbo-Turkish committee. But, without the support of Russia, the whole effort came to naught. The prime minister of Serbia observed with resignation that 60,000 people had fled Old Serbia for Serbia in the period from 1880 to 1889. In Belgrade, a Blue Book was printed for the 1899 Peace Conference in the Hague, containing diplomatic correspondence on acts of violence committed by ethnic Albanians in Old Serbia, but Austria-Hungary prevented Serbian diplomats from raising the question before the international public. In the ensuing years the Serbian government attempted to secretly supply Serbs in Kosovo with arms. The first larger caches of guns were discovered, and 190l saw another pogrom in Ibarski Kolasin (northern Kosovo), which ended only when Russian diplomats intervened.

The widespread anarchy reached a critical point in 1902 when the Serbian government with the support of Montenegrin diplomacy again raised the issue of the protection of the Serbs in Turkey, demanding that the law be applied equally to all subjects of Empire, and that an end be put to the policy of indulging ethnic Albanians, that they be disarmed and that Turkish garrisons be reinforced in areas with a mixed Serbian-ethnic Albanian population. Russia, and then France, supported Serbia’s demands. The two most interested parties, Austria-Hungary and Russia, agreed in 1897 to maintain the status quo in the Balkans, although they initiated a reform plan to rearrange Turkey’s European provinces. Fearing for their privileges, ethnic Albanians launched a major uprising in 1903; it began with new assaults against Serbs and ended with the assassination of the newly appointed Russian consul in Mitrovica, accepted as a protector of the Serbs in Kosovo.

The 1903 restoration of democracy in Serbia under new King Petar I Karadjordjevic marked an end to Austrophile policy and the turning towards Russia. In response, Austria-Hungary stepped up its propaganda efforts among ethnic Albanians. At the request of the Dual Monarchy, Kosovo and Metohia were exempt from the Great Powers Reform action (1903-1908). A new wave of persecution ensued: in 1904,108 people fled for Serbia from Kosovo alone. Out of 146 different cases of violence, 46 ended in murder; a group of ethnic Albanians raped a seven-year-old girl. In 1905, out of 281 registrated cases of violence, 65 were murders, and at just one wedding, ethnic Albanians killed nine wedding guests.

The Young Turk revolution in 1908, which ended the “Age of Oppression” (as Turkish historiography refers to the reign of Abdulhamid II), brought no changes in relations between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. The Serbs’ first political organization was created under the auspices of the Young Turk regime, but the ethnic Albanian revolt against the new authorities’ pan-Turkish policy triggered off a fresh wave of violence. In the second half of 1911 alone, Old Serbia registrated 128 cases of theft, 35 acts of arson, 41 instances of banditry, 53 cases of extortion, 30 instances of blackmail, 19 cases of intimidation, 35 murders, 37 attempted murders, 58 armed attacks on property, 27 fights and cases of abuse, 13 attempts at Islamization, and 18 cases of the infliction of serious bodily injury. Approximately 400,000 people fled Old Serbia (Kosovo, Metohia, Raska, northern and northwest Macedonia) for Serbia ahead of ethnic Albanian and Turkish violence, and about 150,000 people fled Kosovo and Metohia, a third of the overall Serbian population in these parts. Despite the persecution and the steady outflow of people. Serbs still accounted for almost half the population in Kosovo and Metohia in 1912. According to Jovan Cvijic’s findings, published in 1911, there were 14,048 Serbian homes in Kosovo, 3, 826 in Pec and its environs, and 2,400 Serbian homes with roughly 200,000 inhabitants in the Prizren region. Comparing this statistics dating from the middle of the century, when there were approximately 400,000 Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohia, Cvijic’s estimate that by 1912 about 150,000 refugees had fled to Serbia seems quite acceptable.

The Serbian and Montenegrin governments aided the ethnic Albanian rebels against Young Turks up to a point: they took in refugees and gave them arms with a view to undermining Turkish rule in the Balkans, dispelling Austro-Hungarian influence on their leaders and curbing the violence against Serbs. But it was all in vain as intolerance for the Serbs ran deep in all Albanian national movements. Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece realized that the issue of Christian survival in Turkey had to be resolved by arms. Since Turkey refused to guarantee the Christians the same rights it had promised the ethnic Albanian insurgents, the Balkan allies declared war in the fall of 1912.

Source: http://nokosovounesco.com/the-age-of-oppression/

Gazimestan 2




Kosovo history – Fourth part


The Serbs stepped again onto the historical scene in the years of the European wars that swept the continent from the forests of Ireland to the walls of Constantinople in the late 17th century. The Turks finally withdrew from Hungary and Transylvania when their Ottoman hordes were routed outside Vienna in 1683. The disintegration of Ottoman rule in the southwest limbered up the Serbs, arousing in them hope that the moment was ripe for joint effort to break Turkish dominion in the Balkans. The neighboring Christian powers (Austria and Venice) were the only possible allies. The arrival of the Austrian army in Serbia after the fall of Belgrade in 1688 prompted the Serbs to join it. Thanks to the support of Serbian insurgents, the imperial troops penetrated deep into Serbia and in 1689 conquered Nis: a special Serbian militia was formed as a separate corps of the imperial troops.

After setting fire to Skoplje (Uskub), which was raging with plague, the commander of Austrian troops Ennea Silviae Piccolomini withdrew to Prizren where he was greeted by 20,000 Serbian insurgents, and with whom he reached an accord on fighting the Turks with joint forces. Shortly afterwards, Piccollomini died of the plague, and his successors failed to prevent their troops from marauding the surrounding regions. Disappointed by the conduct of the Christian troops from which they had expected decisive support, the Serbian insurgents abandoned the agreed alliance. Patriarch Arsenije III Crnojevic tried in vain to arrive at a new agreement with the Austrian generals. The restorer of the Ottoman Empire, Grand Vizier Mustafa-Pasha Koporilli, an Albanian by origin, took advantage of the lull in military operations, mustered Crimean Tatars and Islamized Albanians and mounted a major campaign. Despite assurances of help, Catholic Albanian tribes deserted the Austrian army on the eve of the decisive clash at Kacanik in Kosovo, on January 1690. The Serbian militia, resisting the Sultan’s superior hordes, retreated to the west and north of the country.

Turkish retaliation, in which the Serbian infidels were raided and viciously massacred lasted a three full months. The towns of Prizren, Pec, Pristina, Vucitrn and Mitrovica were hit the worst, and Serbs from Novo Brdo retreated from the Tatar saber. Fleeing from the brutal reprisal, the people of Kosovo and the neighboring areas moved northwards with Patriarch Arsenije III. The decision to end the massacre and declare an amnesty came belately as much of the population had already fled for safer areas, moving towards the Sava River and Belgrade. Other parts of Serbia were also targets of ghastly reprisals. In the Belgrade pashalik alone, the number of taxpayers dropped eightfold. Grand old monasteries were looted from Pec Patriarchate to Gracanica, and the Albanian tribe Gashi pillaged the Decani monastery, killing the prior and seizing the monastery’s best estates.

At the invitation of emperor Leopold I, Patriarch Arsenije III led part of the high clergy and a sizeable part of the refugees (tens of thousands of people) to the Habsburg Empire to the territory of southern Hungary, having received assurances that the Serbs would there be granted special political and religious status. Many Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia followed him. The new churches built along the Danube they named after those left in old homeland.

The Great 1690 Migration was a important turning point in the history of the Serbs. In Kosovo and Metohia alone, towns and some villages were abandoned to the last inhabitant. The population was also decimated by the plague, whatever remained after the Turkish troops. The physical extermination along with the mass exodus, the burning of grand monasteries and their rich treasuries and libraries, the death and murder of a large number of monks and clergy wreaked havoc in these regions. The position of the Pec Patriarchate was badly shaken; its highest clergy went with the people to Austria, and the confusion wrought by the Great Migration had a major influence on its abolition (1766).

The hardest consequence of the Great Migration was demographic upheaval it caused, because once the Serbs withdraw from Kosovo and Metohia, Islamized Albanian tribes from the northern highlands started settling the area in greater number, mostly by force, in the decade following the 1690 Great Migration of Serbs, ethnic Albanian tribes (given their incredible powers of reproduction) was posing a grave threat to the biological survival of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia. Colonies set up by the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Metohia and the neighboring areas provoked a fresh Serbian migration toward the north, encouraged the process of conversion and upset the centuries-old ethnic balance in those areas. Supported (depending on circumstances) by the Turks and the Roman Curia, ethnic Albanians, abyding by their tribal customs and hajduk insubordination to the law, in the coming centuries turned the entire region of Kosovo and Metohia into a bloody battleground, marked by tribal and feudal anarchy. The period following the Great Migration of Serbia marked the commencement of three centuries of ethnic Albanian genocide against Serbs in their native land.

The century after the Great Migration saw a fresh exodus of the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia, and a growing influence of ethnic Albanians on political circumstances. Ethnic Albanians used the support they received from the Turkish army in fighting Serbian insurgents to seize the ravaged land and abandoned mining centers in Kosovo and Metohia and to enter in large numbers the Ottoman administration and military. More and more Catholic ethnic-Albanians converted to Islam, thereby acquiring the right to retain the estates they had seized and to apply the might-is-right principle in their dealings with the non-Muslim Serbs. The authorities encouraged and assisted the settlement of the newly Islamized ethnic-Albanian tribes from the mountains to the fertile lands devastated by war. The dissipation of the Turkish administrative system encouraged the ethnic-Albanian colonisation of Kosovo and Metohia, since with the arrival of more of their fellow tribesmen and compatriots, the local pashas and beys (most of whom were ethnic Albanian) acquired strong tribal armies which in times of trouble helped them hold on to their position and illegally pass on their power to their descendents. The missionaries of the Roman Curia did not heed to preserve the small ethnic Albanian Catholic population, but endeavoured instead to inflict as much harm as possible on the Pec Patriarchate and its dignitaries, and, with the help of bribable pashas, to undermine the cohesive power of Serbian Orthodoxy in these areas.

The next war between Austria and Turkey (1716-1718) marked the beginning of a fresh persecution in Kosovo and Metohia. Austrian troops, backed by Serbian volunteers, reached the Western Morava River where they established a new frontier. Ethnic Albanians collectively guaranteed to the Porte the safety of the regions in the immediate vicinity of Austria, and were in return exempted from the heaviest taxes. Towards the end of the war (1717), a major Serbian uprising broke out in Vucitrn and its surroundings: it was brutally crushed and the troops sent to allay the rayah and launch an investigation, perpetrated fresh atrocities. Excessive dues, robbery and the threat of extermination put before the Kosovo Serbs the choices of either converting to Islam or finding a powerful master who would protect them if they accepted the status of serfs. Many opted for a third solution: they moved to surrounding regions where life was more tolerable.

The following war between Austria and Turkey (1737-1739) ended with the routing of the imperial troops from Serbian territory. The border was reestablished at the Sava and Danube rivers, and Serbs set out on another migration. Patriarch Arsenije IV Jovanovic, along with the religious and national leaders of Pec, drew up a plan for cooperation with the Austrian forces, and contacted their commanders. A large-scale uprisings broke out again in Kosovo and Metohia, engaging some 10.000 Serbs. They were joined by Montenegrin tribes, and Austrian envoys even stirred up the Kliments, a Catholic tribe from northern Albania. A Serbian militia was formed again, but the Austrian troops and insurgenta were forced to retreat in the face of superior Turkish power: reprisals ensued, bringing death to the insurgents and their families. Serbs withdrew from the mining settlements around Janjevo, Pristina, Novo Brdo and Kopaonik. In order to keep the remaining populace on the land, the Turks declared an amnesty. After the fall of Belgrade, Arsenije IV moved to Austria. The number of refugees from Serbia, including Kosovo and Metohia, along with some Kliments has yet to be accurately determined, as people were moving on all sides and the process lasted for several months. The considerably reduced number of taxpayers in Kosovo and Metohia and in other parts of Serbia points to a strong migratory wave.

siptarska devojcica i natpis u Djakovici smrtUnrest in the Ottoman empire helped spread anarchy in Kosovo and Metohia and rest of Serbia. Raids, murder, rape against the unarmed population was largely committed by ethnic Albanian outlaws, who were now numerically superior in many regions. Outlaw bands held controll over roads during Turkey’s war with Russia (1768-1774), when lawlessness reigned throughout Serbia. Ethnic Albanian outlaws looted and fleeced other regions as well, which sent local Muslims complaining to the Porte seeking protection.

During the last Austro-Turkish war (1788-1791), a sweeping popular movement again took shape in northern Serbia. Because of the imperial forces swift retreat, the movement did not encompass the southern parts of Serbia: Kosovo, Metohia and present-day northern Macedonia. The peace treaty of Sistovo (1791) envisaged a general amnesty for the Serbs, but the ethnic Albanians, as outlaws or soldiers in the detachments of local pashas, continued unhindered to assault the unprotected Serbian population. The wave of religious intolerance towards Orthodox population, which acquired greater proportion owing to the hostilities with Russia at the end of 18th century, effected the forced conversion to Islam of a larger number of Serbian families. The abolition of the Pec Patriarchate (1766), whose see and rich estates were continually sought after by local ethnic Albanian pashas and beys, prompted the final wave of extensive Islamization in Kosovo and Metohia.

Those who suffered the most during these centuries of utter lawlessness were the Serbs, unreliable subjects who would rise every time the Turks would wage war against one of the neighboring Great Powers, and whose patriarchs led the people to enemy land. Although initially on a small scale, the Islamization of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia began before the penetration of ethnic Albanians. More widespread conversion to Islam took place in the 17th and the first half of 18th centuries, when ethnic Albanians began to wield more influence on political events in these regions. Many Serbs accepted Islamization as a necessary evil, waiting for the moment when they could revert to the faith of their ancestors, but most of them never lived to see that day. The first few generations of Islamized Serbs preserved their language and observed their old customs (especially slava – the family patron saint day, and the Easter holiday). But several generations later, owing to a strong ethnic Albanian environment, they gradually began adopting the Albanian dress to safety, and outside their narrow family circle they spoke the Albanian language. Thus came into being a special kind of social mimicry which enabled converts to survive. Albanization began only when Islamized Serbs, who were void of national feeling, married girls from ethnic Albanian tribal community. For a long time Orthodox Serbs called their Albanized compatriots Arnautasi, until the memory of their Serbian origin waned completely, though old customs and legends about their ancestors were passed on from one generation to the next.

For a long time the Arnautasi felt neither like Turks nor ethnic Albanians, because their customs and traditions set them apart, and yet they did not feel like Serbs either, who considered Orthodoxy to be their prime national trait. Many Arnautasi retained their old surnames until the turn of the last century. In Drenica the Arnautasi bore such surnames as Dokic, Velic, Marusic, Zonic, Racic, Gecic, which unquestionably indicated their Serbian origin. The situation was similar in Pec and its surroundings where many Islamized and Albanized Serbs carries typically Serbian surnames: Stepanovic, Bojkovic, Dekic, Lekic, Stojkovic, etc. The eastern parts of Kosovo and Metohia, with their compact Serbian settlements, were the last to undergo Islamization. The earliest Islamization in Upper Morava and Izmornik is pinpointed as taking place in the first decades of the 18th century, and the latest in 1870s. Toponyms in many ethnic Albanian villages in Kosovo show that Serbs had lived there the preceding centuries, and in some places Orthodox cemeteries were shielded against desecrators by ethnic Albanians themselves, because they knew that the graves of their own ancestors lay there.

In the late 18th century, all the people of Gora, the mountain region near Prizren were converted to Islam. However they succeeded in preserving their language and avoiding Albanization. There were also some cases of conversion of Serbs to Islam in the second half of 19th century, especially during the Crimean War, again to save their lives, honor and property, though far more pronounced at the time was the process of emigration, since families, sometimes even entire villages, fled to Serbia or Montenegro. Extensive anthropogeographic research indicates that about 30% of the present-day ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohia is of Serbian origin.

Source: http://nokosovounesco.com/the-age-of-migrations-serbs/



Donald Trump on Kosovo in 1999

Serbs fighting ISIS

When I saw the media in Serbia reporting about Donald Trump’s alleged condemnation of the 1999 NATO attack on then-Yugoslavia, also known as the Kosovo War, I shrugged it off as disinformation. Most of them, I’m sad to say, are almost entirely dedicated to gaslighting the general populace, and as likely to spread confusion and cognitive dissonance as actual news.

It turns out that Donald Trump did talk to Larry King about Kosovo – but everyone is leaving out that this took place in October 1999. That is sort of important, though: by that point, the Serbian province had been “liberated” by NATO occupation forces, and the ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians by the terrorist KLA had been going on since mid-June.

Here is the segment touching on Kosovo, from the official CNN transcript (with my emphasis):

KING: But, we don’t know the – for example, you and Kosovo. Would you have done what Clinton did?

TRUMP: Well, I would have done it a little bit differently. And I know this would sound terrible. But look at the havoc that they have wreaked in Kosovo. I mean, we could say we lost very few people. Of course, we had airplanes 75,000 feet up in the air dropping bombs. But, look at what we’ve done to that land and to those people and the deaths that we’ve caused.

Now, they haven’t been caused with us and the allies because we were way up in the air in planes. But, at some point, you had to put troops in so not everybody could go over the borders and everything else, and a lot of people agree with that.

Now, would people have been killed? Perhaps, perhaps more. But, at least ultimately, you would have had far fewer deaths. And you wouldn’t have had the havoc and the terror that you’ve got right now. So, you know, I don’t know if they consider that a success because I can’t consider it a success.

KING: You don’t.

TRUMP: They bombed the hell out of a country, out of a whole area, everyone is fleeing in every different way, and nobody knows what’s happening, and the deaths are going on by the thousands.

He could be referring to the KLA ethnic cleansing of Serbs, Roma, and other groups here. But true to himself, Trump is being very vague and it is impossible to pin the statements down. At the time, he was considering running for the presidency, but ultimately decided against it.

It would certainly be interesting if someone asked him the same question today, 17 years later, when he is actually running for president (and may be getting the nomination, too).


Source: Gray Falcon



Donald Trump: We created chaos, we should not have attacked Serbia!


Donald Trump, influential billionaire and a candidate for the president of United States, back in the 1999, as a guest of the famous host Larry King on CNN, spoke about that time ongoing topic of the bombing of Serbia.

Asked by Larry King, what does he think and what would he do if he was in Clinton’s place, Trump criticized the decision to bomb Serbia.

“So, I would do something different and I know it will sound ghastly to everybody. But, look at the chaos which we created in Kosovo. I think, we can say that we lost only few people. Of course, we were in the airplanes 75 hundreds of meters above the ground and we were throwing bombs. But, look what we did to that country, to those people and how much death and suffering we have caused” said Trump.

“We should have gone there with the troops. There would be killings probably even then, but less. We would not have that chaos which we have now” said the influential republican.

“I am not sure if that is considered as our success, but I would not call that successful” explains Trump, condemning the bombing of Serbia.

“People are being expelled from their land, from the whole territory, everyone is running away from there, and nobody knows what is happening. There are thousands of dead” said Donald Trump.

We remind, Trump is against most of the US military actions, he criticized bombing and aggression against Serbia on many occasions.

Donald Trump wants to change the course of foreign affairs of the US and highlights that he would be a friend with president Putin, which sparkled great attention by the American public.


Source: South Front



Kosovo: An evil little war (almost) all US candidates liked

NATO missiles and warplanes attacked military targets across Serbia including Kosovo ©



Donald Trump: It was a great mistake to bomb the Serbs who were our allies in both world wars


Donald Trump with Larry King on the occasion of the anniversary of the bombing of Serbia criticized Bill Clinton and criminal attack on Serbs, the ally of America in both wars.

“The Clintons have made a mess in the Balkans and Kosovo. Look what we did to Serbia in an aerial bombardment from a safe height. Those same Serbs rescued American pilots in World War II.

It is a mistake that we bombed a nation that has been our ally in two world wars. Clintons believe that was a success, and I find it shameful.

I extend an apology to all the Serbs for the error of American policy, primarily Clinton’s. We need allies in fight against Islamic terrorism who have combat experience fighting this evil – and that in Europe are the Russians and the Serbs.

If I become the head of America the foreign policy will change the course that has until now often been wrong”.


Source: Newswatch Report



Kosovo history – Third part

Gazimestan 2

For the Serbs as Christians, their loss of state independence and fall to the Ottoman Empire’s kind of theocratic state, was a terrible misfortune. With the advent of the Turks and establishment of their rule, the lands of Serbs were forcibly excluded from the circle of progressive European states wherein they occupied a prominent place precisely owing to the Byzantine civilization, which was enhanced by local qualities and strong influences of the neighboring Mediterranean states. Being Christians, the Serbs became second-class citizens in Islamic state. Apart from religious discrimination, which was evident in all spheres of everyday life, this status of rayah also implied social dependence, as most of the Serbs were landless peasants who paid the prescribed feudal taxes. Of the many dues paid in money, labor and kind, the hardest for the Serbs was having their children taken as tribute under a law that had the healthy boys, taken from their parents, converted to Islam and trained to serve in the janissary corps of the Turkish army.

An analysis of the earliest Turkish censuses, defters, shows that the ethnic picture of Kosovo and Metohia did not alter much during the 14th and 15th centuries. The small-in-number Turkish population consisted largely of people from the administration and military that were essential in maintaining order, whereas Christians continued to predominate in the rural areas. Kosovo and parts of Metohia were registrated in 1455 under the name Vilayeti Vlk, after Vuk Brankovic who once ruled over them. Some 75,000 inhabitants lived in 590 registered villages. An onomastic analysis of approximately 8,500 personal names shows that Slav and Christian names were heavily predominant.

Along with the Decani Charter, the register of the Brankovic region shows a clear division between old-Serbian and old-ethnic Albanian onomastics, allowing one to say, with some certainty which registrated settlement was Serbian, and which ethnically mixed. Ethnic designations (ethnic Albanian, Bulgarian, Armenian, Greek) appeared repeatedly next to the names of settlers in the region. More thorough onomastic research has shown that from the mid-14th to the 15th centuries, individual Albanian settlements appeared on the fringes of Metohia, in-between what had until then been a density of Serbian villages. This was probably due to the devastation wrought by Turks who destroyed the old landed estates, thus allowing for the mobile among the population, including ethnic Albanian cattlemen, to settle on the abandoned land and establish their settlements, which were neither big nor heavily populated.

A summary census of the houses and religious affiliations of inhabitants in the Vucitrn district (sanjak), which encompassed the one-time Brankovic lands, was drawn in 1487, showed that the ethnic situation had not altered much. Christian households predominated (totaling 16,729, out of which 412 were in Pristina and Vucitrn): there were 117 Muslim households (94 in Pristina and 83 in rural areas). A comprehensive census of the Scutari district offers the following picture: in Pec (Ipek) there were 33 Muslim and 121 Christian households, while in Suho Grlo, also in Metohia, Christians alone lived in 131 households. The number of Christians (6,124) versus Muslim (55) homes in the rural areas shows that 1% of the entire population bowed to the faith of the conqueror. An analysis of the names shows that those of Slav origin predominated among the Christians. In Pec, 68% of the population bore Slav names, in the Suho Grlo region 52%, in Donja Klina region 50% and around monastery of Decani 64%.

Ethnic Albanian settlements where people had characteristic names did not appear until one reached areas outside the borders of what is today Metohia, i.e. west of Djakovica. According to Turkish sources, in the period from 1520 to 1535 only 700 of the total number of 19,614 households in the Vucitrn district were Muslim (about 3,5%), and 359 (2%)in Prizren district.

In regions extending beyond the geographic borders of Kosovo and Metohia, in the Scutari and Dukagjin districts, Muslims accounted for 4,6% of the population. According to an analysis of the names in the Dukagjin district’s census, ethnic Albanian settlements did not predominate until one reached regions south of Djakovica, and the ethnic picture in the 16th century in Prizren and the neighboring areas remained basically unchanged.

A look at the religious affiliation of the urban population shows a rise in the Turkish and local Islamized population. In Prizren, Kosovo’s biggest city, Muslims accounted for 56% of the households, of which the Islamized population accounted for 21%. The ratio was similar in Pristina, where out of the 54% Muslim population 16% were converts. Pec also had a Muslim majority (90%), as did Vucitrn (72%). The Christians compromised the majority of the population in the mining centers of Novo Brdo (62%), Trepca (77%), Donja Trepca and Belasica (85%). Among the Christians was a smattering of Catholics. The Christian names were largely from the calendar, and to a lesser extent Slav (Voja, Dabiziv, Cvetko, Mladen, Stojko), and there were some that were typically ethnic Albanian (Prend, Don, Din, Zoti).

After the fall of Serbia in 1459, the Pec Patriarchate soon ceased to work and the Serbian eparchies came under the jurisdiction of the Hellenic Ochrid Archbishophoric. In the first decade following Turkish conquest, many large endowments and wealthier churches were pillaged and destroyed, while some turned into mosques. The Our Lady of Ljeviska Cathedral in Prizren was probably converted into a mosque right immediately following the conquest of the town; Banjska, one of the grandest monasteries dating from the age of King Milutin, suffered the same fate. The Church of the Holy Archangels near Prizren, Stefan Dusan’s chief endowment was turned into ruins. Most of the monasteries and churches were left unrenewed after being devastated, and many village churches were abandoned. Many were not restored until after the liberation of Kosovo and Metohia in 1912. Archeological findings have shown that some 1,300 monasteries, churches and other monuments existed in the Kosovo and Metohia area. The magnitude of the havoc wrought can be seen from the earliest Turkish censuses: In the 15th and 16th centuries there were ten to fourteen active places of Christian worship. At first the great monasteries like Decani and Gracanica, were exempt from destruction, but their wealthy estates were reduced to a handfull of surrounding villages. The privileges granted the monastic brotherhoods by the sultans obliged them to perform the service of falconry as well.

sokolovici-mehmed-pasa-i-makarije-713x454Two brothers of different faith and historical roles – Patriarch Makarije Sokolovic and his relative (a brother) Mehmed Pasha Sokollu (who was taken as a little child by Turks to be a yannisar)

The restoration of the Pec Patriarchate in 1557 (thanks to Mehmed-pasha Sokolovic, a Serb by origin, at the time the third vizier at the Porte) marked a major turn and helped revive the spiritual life of the Serbs, especially in Kosovo and Metohia. Mehmed-pasha Sokolovic (Turkish: Sokollu) enthroned his relative Makarije Sokolovic on the patriarchal throne. Like the great reform movements in 16th century Europe, the restoration of the Serbian Orthodox Church meant the rediscovery of lost spiritual strongholds. Thanks to the Patriarchate, Kosovo and Metohia were for the next two centuries again the spiritual and political center of the Serbs. On an area vaster than the Nemanjic empire, high-ranking ecclesiastical dignitaries revived old and created new eparchies endeavoring to reinforce the Orthodox faith which had been undermined by influences alien (particularly by Islamic Bekteshi order of dervishes) to its authentic teachings.

Based on the tradition of the medieval Serbian state, the Pec Patriarchate revived old and established new cults of the holy rulers, archbishops, martyrs and warriors, lending life to the Nemanjic heritage. The feeling of religious and ethnic solidarity was enhanced by joint deliberation at church assemblies attended by the higher and lower clergy, village chiefs and hajduk leaders, and by stepping up a morale on the traditions of Saint Sava but suited to the new conditions and strong patriarchal customs renewed after the Turkish conquest in the village communities.

The spiritual rebirth was reflected in the restoration of deserted churches and monasteries: some twenty new churches were built in Kosovo and Metohia alone, inclusive of printing houses (the most important one was at Gracanica): many old and abandoned churches were redecorated with frescoes.6

Serbian patriarchs and bishops gradually took over the role of the one-time rulers, endeavoring with assistance from the neighboring Christian states of Habsburg Empire and the Venetian Republic, to incite the people to rebel. Plans for overthrowing the Turks and re-establishing an independent Serbian state sprang throughout the lands from the Adriatic to the Danube. The patriarchs of Pec, often learned men and able politicians, were usually the ones who initiated and coordinated efforts at launching popular uprisings when the right moment came. Patriarch Jovan failed to instigate a major rebellion against the Turks, seeking the alliance of the European Christian powers assembled around Pope Clement VII. Patriarch Jovan was assassinated in Constantinople in 1614. Patriarch Gavrilo Rajic lived the same fate in 1659 after going to Russia to seek help in instigating a revolt.

The least auspicious conditions for an uprising were actually in Kosovo and Metohia itself. In the fertile plains, the non-Muslim masses labored under the yoke of the local Turkish administrators, continually threatened by marauding tribes from the Albanian highlands. The crisis that overcome the Ottoman Empire in the late 16th century further aggrovated the position of the Serbs in Kosovo, Metohia and neighboring regions. Rebellions fomented by cattle-raising tribes in Albania and Montenegro, and the punitive expeditions sent to deal with them turned Kosovo and Metohia into a bloody terrain where Albanian tribes, kept clashing with detachments of the local authorities, plundered Christian villages along the way. Hardened by constant clashes with the Turks, Montenegro gradually picked up the torch of defending Serbian Orthodoxy; meanwhile, in northern Albania, particularly in Malesia, a reverse process was under way. Under steady pressure from the Turkish authorities, the Islamization of ethnic Albanian tribes became more widespread and the process assumed broader proportions when antagonistic strivings grew within the Ottoman Empire in the late 17th and early 18th century.

Novo_Brdo_Serbia1The ruins of the Ancient Novo Brdo Basilica – Novo Brdo was one of the major medieval cities in Kosovo. In the 14th century the population of Novo Brdo was greater than London

It is not until the end of the 17th century that the colonization of Albanian tribes in Kosovo and Metohia can be established. Reports by contemporary Catholic visitators show that the ethnic border between the Serbs and Albanians still followed the old dividing lines of the Black and White Drim rivers. All reports on Kosovo and Metohia regard them as being in Serbia: for the Catholic visitors, Prizren was still its capital city. In Albania, the first wave of Islamization swept the feudal strata and urban population. Special tax and political alleviations encouraged the rural population to convert to Islam in larger number. Instead of being part of the oppressed non-Muslim masses, the converts became a privileged class of Ottoman society, with free access to the highest positions in the state. In Kosovo and Metohia, where they moved to avoid heavy taxes, Catholic tribes of Malesia converted to Islam. Conversion to Islam in a strongly Orthodox environment rendered them the desired privileges (the property of Orthodox and of the Catholics) and saved them from melting with Serbian Orthodox population. It was only with the process of Islamization that the ethnic Albanian colonisation of lands inhabited by Serbs became expansive.

The ethnic picture of Kosovo did not radically change in the first centuries of Ottoman rule. Islamization encompassed part of a Serbian population, although the first generations at least, converted as a mere formality, to avoid heavy financial burdens and constant political pressure. Conversion constituted the basis of Ottoman policy in the Balkans but it was les successfull in Kosovo and Metohia, regions with the strongest religious traditions, than in other Christian areas. The Turks’ strong reaction to rebellions throughout the Serbian lands and to the revival of Orthodoxy, embodied in the cult of Saint Sava, the founder of the independent Serbian church, ended in setting fire to the Mileseva monastery the burial place of the first Serbian saint. The Turks burned his wonder working relics in Belgrade in 1594, during a great uprising of Serbs in southern Banat. This triggered off fresh waves of Islamization accompanied by severe reprisals and the thwarting of any sign of rebellion.

Apart from Islamization, Kosovo and Metohia became the target of proselytizing Catholic missionaries at the end of 17th century, especially after the creation of the Sacra Congregazione de Propaganda Fide (1622). The ultimate aim of the Roman Catholic propaganda was to converts the Orthodox to Graeco-Catholicism as the initial phase in completely converting them to the Catholic faith. The appeals of patriarchs of Pec to the Roman popes to help the liberatory aspirations of the Serbs were met with the condition that they renounce the Orthodox faith. In spreading the Catholicism, the missionaries of the Roman Curia had the support of local Turkish authorities; a considerable number of the missionaries were of Albanian origin. Consequently, the propagators of Catholic proselytism persisted in inciting Catholic and Muslim Albanians against the Serbs, whose loyalty to Orthodoxy and their medieval traditions was the main obstacle to the spreading of the Catholic faith in the central and southern regions of the Balkans.9

Catholic propaganda attempts at separating the high clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the people prompted the Pec Patriarchate to revive old and create a new cults with even greater vigor. In 1642 Patriarch Pajsije, who was born in Janjevo, Kosovo, wrote The Service and The Life of the last Nemanjic, the Holy Tsar Uros, imbuing old literary forms with new content reflecting the contemporary moment. By introducing popular legends (which gradually took shape),into classical hagiography Patriarch Pajsije strove to establish a new cult of saints which would have a beneficial impact on his compatriots in preserving their faith.

Parallel with the Orthodox Church national policy in traditionally patriarchal societies, popular tales gradually matured into oral epic chronicles. Nurtured through epic poetry, which was sung to the accompaniment of the gusle, epic tales glorified national heroes and ruler, cultivating the spirit of non-subjugation and cherishing the hope in liberation from the Turkish yoke. Folk poems about the battle of Kosovo and its heroes, about the tragic fate of the last Nemanjices, the heroism of Prince Lazar and his knight Milos Obilic, and, especially, about Kraljevic Marko (King Marko Mrnjavcevic) as the faultless and dauntless legendary knight who was always defeating Turks and saving Serbs, were an expression not only of the tragic sense of life in which Turkish rule was a synonymous to evil, but a particular moral code that in time crystalized into a common attitude towards life, defined in the first centuries of Ottoman rule. The Serbian nation’s Kosovo covenant is embodied in the choice which, according to legend, was made by Prince Lazar on the eve of the battle of Kosovo. The choice of freedom in the kingdom of heaven instead of humiliation in the kingdom of earth constituted the Serbian nation’s spiritual stronghold. Prince Lazar’s refusal to resign to injustice and slavery, raised to the level of biblical drama, determined his unquenchable thirst for freedom. Together with the cult of Saint Sava, which grew into a common civilisational framework in everyday life, the Kosovo idea which, in time, gained universal meaning. With its wise policy the Patriarchate of Pec carefully built epic legend into the hagiography of old and new Serbian saints, glorifying their works in frescoes and icons.

Source: No Kosovo Unesco



Why Kosovo is ineligible for membership in UNESCO?

9 Samodreza

Because the request for its membership is a serious breach of the international law, the Constitution of UNESCO, the legally binding UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and the Charter of the UN whose Article 25 says that „The Members of the UN agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter”.

Because according to the UN Security Council resolution 1244, which reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Kosovo and Metohija is an integral part of the Republic of Serbia, under the administration of the UN. Since Kosovo cannot be considered a State, it does not fulfill the basic requirement for membership set out by the UNESCO Constitution.

Because unilateral attempts such as this one seriously harm and disrupt the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, under the auspices of the European Union in which mutually acceptable solutions for many complex issues have been devised so far. The issue of the Serbian cultural heritage and the property of the Serbia Orthodox Church has not yet been discussed within the dialogue where it belongs.

Because this is an unacceptable politicization of UNESCO which should not overtake the competences of the UN Security Council as the highest authority for the preservation of the international peace and security. UNESCO should not serve as an instrument for the affirmation of an illegal and unilaterally declared independence of a part of the territory of one UN member state. The primary goal of UNESCO is to promote universal values of humanity through education, science and culture not to make political decisions with regard to the statehood.

Because this would be a dangerous precedent, harmful for many states. This would open the door for other entities to follow the same path thus threatening territorial integrity and sovereignty of other member states.

Because this issue is polarizing the membership of UNESCO.

Because, besides not being a state, Pristina does not have moral credibility for membership. Anyone aspiring to UNESCO membership must prove not only in words but as well in deeds its commitment to the goals of the UNESCO Constitution, which certainly is incompatible with deliberate, systematic, vandal demolition of Serbian cultural and historic monuments with the aim to remove the traces of centuries-long existence of Serbs in this area as well as the impunity of the perpetrators of such barbaric acts unworthy of the 21st century. These acts are comparable only to the acts of destruction of cultural heritage by terrorist groups in the Middle East and elsewhere that the world is witnessing and UNESCO is strongly condemning.

Because four Serbian orthodox monasteries are inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in danger although the armed conflict in Kosovo is over for many years now. In danger from whom?

Because the inclusion of this item in the provisional agenda of the 197th session of the UNESCO Executive board raises serious concerns about the compliance with procedure and the respect of the established UNESCO rules. Just to mention that that even publishing of the document on the unacceptability of Kosovo’s application for UNESCO membership from the standpoint of the international law, prepared by Serbian Delegation to UNESCO, as an official document, as we requested, was refused. And the only intention was the voice of Serbia also to be heard.

Because we all would have to live with the negative consequences of such an irresponsible decision from the lesioning of the international law up to the fate of the Serbian cultural heritage in the province of Kosovo and Metohija which not only belongs to the Serbian people but also represents a part of the historical and civilizational heritage of modern Europe and the world.

Source: No Kosovo Unesco



Kosovo history – First part

Monah na rusevinama crkve

In the thousand year long-history of Serbs, Kosovo and Metohia were for many centuries the state center and chief religious stronghold, the heartland of their culture and springwell of its historical traditions. For a people who lived longer under foreign rule than in their own state, Kosovo and Metohia are the foundations on which national and state identity were preserved in times of tribulation and founded in times of freedom.

The Serbian national ideology which emerged out of Kosovo’s tribulations and Kosovo’s suffering (wherein the 1389 St. Vitus Day Battle in Kosovo Polje occupies the central place), are the pillars of that grand edifice that constitutes the Serbian national pantheon. When it is said that without Kosovo there can be no Serbia or Serbian nation, it’s not only the revived 19th century national romanticism: that implies more than just the territory which is covered with telling monuments of its culture and civilization, more than just a feeling of hard won national and state independence: Kosovo and Metohia are considered the key to the identity of the Serbs. It is no wonder, then, that the many turning-points in Serbian history took place in the and around Kosovo and Metohia. When the Serbs on other Balkan lands fought to preserve their religious freedoms and national rights, their banners bore as their beacon the Kosovo idea embodied in the Kosovo covenant which was woven into folk legend and upheld in uprisings against alien domination. The Kosovo covenant – the choice of freedom in the celestial empire instead of humiliation and slavery in the temporal world – although irrational as a collective consciousness, is still the one permanent connective tissue that imbues the Serbs with the feeling of national entity and lends meaning to its join efforts.

car dusan

The Age of Ascent

Kosovo and Metohia, land lying in the heart of the Balkans where virutal trade routes had crossed since ancient times, was settled by Slav tribes between the 7th and 10th centuries. The Serbian medieval state, which under the Nemanjic dynasty (12th to 14th century) grew into a major power in the Balkan peninsula, developed in the nearby mountain regions, in Raska (with Bosnia) and in Duklja (later Zeta and then Montenegro). The center of the Nemanjic slate moved to Kosovo and Metohia after the fall of Constantinople (1204). At its peak, in the early the 14th century, these lands were the richest and the most densely populated areas, as well as state and its cultural and administrative centers.

In his wars with Byzantium, Stefan Nemanja conquered various parts of what is today Kosovo, and his successors, Stefan the First Crown (became king in 1217), expanded his state by including Prizren. The entire Kosovo and Metohia region became a permanent part of the Serbian state by the beginning of the 13th century. Soon after becoming autocephalous (1219), the Serbian Orthodox Church moved its seat to Metohia. The heirs of the first archbishop Saint Sava (prince Rastko Nemanjic) built several additional temples around the Church of the Holy Apostles, lying the ground for what was to become the Patriarchate of Pec. The founding of a separate bishopric (1220) near Pec was indicative of the region’s political importance growing along with religious influence. With the proclamation of the empire, the patriarchal throne was permanently established at the Pec monastery in 1346. Serbia’s rulers allotted the fertile valleys between Pec, Prizren, Mitrovica and Pristina and nearby areas to churches and monasteries, and the whole region eventually acquired the name Metohia, from the Greek metoch which mean an estate owned by the church.

Studded with more churches and monasteries than any other Serbian land, Kosovo and Metohia became the spiritual nucleus of Serbs. Lying at the crossroads of the main Balkan routes connecting the surrounding Serbian lands of Raska, Bosnia, Zeta and the Scutari littoral with the Macedonia and the Morava region, Kosovo and Metohia were, geographically speaking, the ideal place for a state and cultural center. Girfled by mountain gorges and comparatively safe from outside attacks, Kosovo and Metohia were not chosen by chance as the site for building religious centers, church mausoleums and palaces. The rich holdings of Decant monastery provided and economic underpinning for the wealth of spiritual activities in the area. Learned monks and religious dignitaries assembled in large monastic communities (which were well provided for by the rich feudal holdings), strongly influenced the spiritual shaping of the nation, especially in strengthening local cults and fostering the Orthodox doctrine.

In the monasteries of Metohia and Kosovo, old theological and literary writings were transcribed and new ones penned, including the lives of local saints, from ordinary monks and priors to the archbishops and rulers of the house of Nemanjic. The libraries and scriptorias were stocked with the best liturgical and theoretical writings from all over Byzantine commonwealth, especially with various codes from the monasteries of Mounth Athos with which close ties were established. The architecture of the churches and monasteries developed and the artistic value of their frescoes increased as Serbian medieval culture flourished, and by the end of the 13th century new ideas applied in architecture and in the technique of fresco painting surpassed the traditional Byzantine models. With time, especially in centuries to come, the people came to believe that Kosovo was the center of Serbian Orthodoxy and the most resistant stronghold of the Serbian nation.

The most important buildings to be endowed by the last Nemanjices were erected in Kosovo and Metohia, where their courts which became their capitals were situated. From King Milutin to emperor Uros, court life evolved in the royal residences in southern Kosovo and Prizren. There rulers summoned the landed gentry, received foreign legates and issued charters. The court of Svrcin stood on the banks of Lake Sazlia, and it was there that Stefan Dusan was crowned king in 1331. On the opposite side was the palace in Pauni, where King Milutin often dwelled. The court in Nerodimlje was the favourite residence of King Stefan Decanski, and it was at the palace in Stimlje that emperor Uros issued his charters. Oral tradition, especially epic poems, usually mention Prizren as emperor Dusan’s capital, for he frequently sojourned there when he was still king.

Among dozens of churches and monasteries erected in medieval Kosovo and Metohia by rulers, ecclesiastical dignitaries and the local nobility, Decani outside of Pec, built by Stefan Uros III Decanski, stands out for its monumental size and artistic beauty. King Milutin left behind the largest number of endowments in Kosovo, one of the finest of which is Gracanica monastery (1321) near Pristina, certainly the most beautiful medieval monument in the Balkans. The monasteries of Banjska dear Zvecan (early 14th century) and Our Lady of Ljeviska in Prizren (1307), although devastated during Ottoman rule, are eloquent examples of the wealth and power of the Serbian state at the start of the 14th century. Also of artistic importance is the complex of churches in Juxtaposition to the Patriarchate of Pec. The biggest of the royal endowments, the Church of the Holy Archangels near Prizren, erected by Tsar Stefan Dusan in the Bistrica River Canyon, was destroyed in the 16th century.

Founding chapter whereby Serbian rulers granted large estates to monasteries offer a reliable demographic picture of the area. Fertile plains were largely owned by the large monasteries, from Chilandar in Mount Athos to Decant in Metohia. The data given in the charters show that during the period of the political rise of Serbian state, the population gradually moved from the mountain plateau in the west and north southward to the fertile valleys of Metohia and Kosovo. The census of monastic estates evince both a rise in the population and appreciable economic progress. The estates of the Banjska monastery numbered 83 villages, and those of the Holy Archangels numbered.

Milutin i Dusan

Especially noteworthy is the 1330 Decani Charter, with its detailed list of households and of chartered villages. The Decant estate was an extensive area which encompassed parts of what is today northwestern Albania. Historical analysis and onomastic research reveal that only three of the 89 settlements were mentioned as being Albanian. Out of the 2,166 farming homesteads and 2,666 houses in cattle-grazing land, 44 were registrated as Albanian (1,8%). More recent research indicates that apart from the Slav, i.e. Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohia, the remaining population of non-Slav origin did not account for more than 2% of the total population in the 14th century.

The growing political power, territorial expansion and economic wealth of the Serbian state had a major impact on ethnic processes. Northern Albania up to the Mati River was a part of the Serbian Kingdom, but it was not until the conquest of Tsar Dusan that the entire Albania (with the exception of Durazzo) entered the Serbian Empire. Fourteenth century records mention mobile Albanian mobile cattle sheds on mountain slopes in the imminent vicinity of Metohia, and sources in the first half of the 15th century note their presence (albeit in smaller number) in the flatland farming settlements.

Stefan Dusan’s Empire stretched from the Danube to the Peloponnese and from Bulgaria to the Albanian littoral. After his death it began to disintegrate into areas controlled by powerful regional lords. Kosovo and parts of Metohia came under the rule of King Vukasin Mrnjavcevic, the co-ruler of the last Nemanjic, Tsar Uros. The earliest clashes with the Turks, who edged their way into Europe at the start of the 14th century, were noted during the reign of Stefan Dusan. The 1371 battle of the Marica, near Crnomen in which Turkish troops rode rougshod over the huge army of the Mrnjavcevic brothers, the feudal lords of Macedonia, Kosovo and neighboring regions, heralded the decisive Turkish invasion of Serbian lands. King Vukasin’s successor King Marko (the legendary hero of folk poems, Kralyevich Marko) recognized the supreme authority of the sultan and as vasal took part in his campaigns against neighboring Christian states. The Turkish onslaught is remembered as the apocalypse of the Serbian people, and this tradition was cherished during the long period of Ottoman rule. During the Battle of the Marica, a monk wrote that “the worst of all times” had come, when “the living envied the dead”.

Unaware of the danger that were looming over their lands, the regional lords tried to take advantage of the new situation and enlarge their holdings. On the eve of the battle of Kosovo, the northern parts of Kosovo where in possession of Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic, and parts of Metohia belonged to his brother-in-law Vuk Brankovic. By quelling the resistance of the local landed gentry, Prince Lazar eventually emerged as the most powerful regional lord and came to dominate the lands of Moravian Serbia. Tvrtko I Kotromanic, King of Bosnia, Prince Lazar’s closest ally, aspired to the political legacy of the saintly dynasty as descendant of the Nemanjices and by being crowned with the “dual crown” of Bosnia and Serbia over St. Sava grave in monastery Mileseva.

The expected clash with the Turks took place in Kosovo Polje, outside of Pristina, on St. Vitus day, June 15 (28), 1389. The troops of Prince Lazar, Vuk Brankovic and King Tvrtko I, confronted the army of Emir Murad I, which included his Christian vassals. Both Prince Lazar and emir Murad were killed in the head-on collision between the two armies (approximately 30,000 troops on both sides). Contemporaries were especially impressed by the tidings that twelve Serbian knights (most probably led by legendary hero Milos Obilic) broke through the tight Turkish ranks and killed the emir in his tent.

car lazar

Military-wise no real victor emerged from the battle. Tvrtko’s emissaries told the courts of Europe that the Christian army had defeated the infidels, although Prince Lazar’s successors, exhausted by their heavy losses, immediately sought peace and conceded to became vassals to the new sultan. Vuk Brankovic, unjustly remembered in epic tradition as a traitor who slipped away from the battle field, resisted them until 1392, when he was forced to become their vassal. The Turks took Brankovic’s lands and gave them to a more loyal vassal, Prince Stefan Lazarevic, son of Prince Lazar thereby creating a rift between their heirs. After the battle of Angora in 1402, Prince Stefan took advantage of the chaos in the Ottoman state. In Constantinople he received the title of despot, and upon returning home, having defeated Brankovic’s relatives he took control over the lands of his father. Despite frequent internal conflicts and his vassal obligations to the Turks and Hungarians, despot Stefan revived and economically consolidated the Serbian state, the center of which was gradually moving northward. Under his rule Novo Brdo in Kosovo became the economic center of Serbia where in he issued a Law of Mines in 1412.

Stefan appointed as his successor his nephew despot Djuradj Brankovic, whose rule was marked by fresh conflicts and finally the fall of Kosovo and Metohia to the Turks. The campaign of the Christian army led by Hungarian nobleman Janos Hunyadi ended in 1448 in heavy defeat in a clash with Murad II’s forces, again in Kosovo Polje. This was the last concertive attempt in the Middle Ages to rout the Turks out of this part of Europe

After the Fall of Constantinople (1453), Mehmed II the Conqueror advanced onto Despotate of Serbia. For some time voivode Nikola Skobaljic offered valiant resistance in Kosovo, but after a series of consecutive campaigns and lengthy sieges in 1455, the economic center of Serbia, Novo Brdo fell. The Turks then proceeded to conquer other towns in Kosovo and Metohia four years before the entire Serbian Despotate collapsed with the fall of new capital Smederevo. Turkish onslaught, marked by frequent military raids, the plunder and devastation of entire regions, the destruction of monasteries and churches, gradually narrowed down Serbian state territories, triggering off a large-scale migration northwards, to regions beyond reach to the conquerors. The biggest migration took place from 1480-1481, when a large part of the population of northern Serbia moved to Hungary and Transylvania, to bordering region along the Sava and Danube rivers, where the descendants of the fleeing despots of Smederevo resisted the Turks for several decades to come.

Source: No Kosovo Unesco



German intelligence service had mafia dossier on Kosovan President since 2005


The leak of a secret BND dossier on Hachim Thaci which reports that the newly-elected Kosovan President had links to a contract killer and was involved in the trafficking of people, arms and drugs is more confirmation that Western politicians have chosen to support Thaci in the knowledge of his criminal past.

Wikileaks has leaked a secret German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) dossier on Hachim Thaci that dates back to 2005, after the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leader had served the first of his two terms in office as Kosovan Prime Minister.

The dossier reports that Thaci, who has recently been elected president of Kosovo, was one of the leaders of organized crime in Kosovo, and part of an international criminal network with involvement in contract killings and the trafficking of people, arms and drugs.

“Kosovo is a center of organized crime that supervises criminal activity across Europe,” the BDN reports.

“Kosovo is divided into three zones of interest of organized crime – Drenica, Dukagjini (Metohija) and the north-eastern part of Kosovo around the river Lab, which are controlled by former KLA leaders. They are closely linked with the local government and Albanian politicians who also have influence in southern areas of Serbia and Macedonia.”

“The Drenica region is controlled by the so-called Drenica group organized around Thaci Hashim, Haliti Xhavit and Selimi Rexhep. This group works closely with organized crime structures in Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic,” the BND wrote.

The dossier reports that Hashim’s Drenica group of criminals established their own security forces, with the direct support of the Czech and Albanian mafia in the Czech Republic.

Tachi and Merkel

Kosovo’s National Intelligence Service (SHIK) also engages in criminal activity, the BND wrote.

“SHIK came into being in its current form in the second half of 1999 in Pristina at the initiative of Thaci … the service engages in spying, intimidation and elimination of democratic forces (via professional killers), particularly the opponents of organized crime. There are well-organized SHIK branches in the Albanian diaspora,” the BND writes, and goes on to name the leaders of the SHIK network in Germany.

The BND reveals that the Kosovan President-elect is suspected to have given orders to a contract killer called Bekimi, and has links to money laundering, fuel and cigarette smuggling through the Salbatring company in Pristina.

According to the agency’s intelligence from 2003, he was involved with wide-scale arms and drugs smuggling through a criminal network in Hamburg.

“One of the biggest financiers of Thaci and the KLA during the war in Kosovo in 1999 and the war in Macedonia was a group of organized criminals centered around Mehmeti Nazar, who lives in Dallas, Texas,” the BND wrote.

Another of Thaci’s backers is Ekrem Lluka, who is a “known smuggler of all kinds of goods: weapons, cigarettes, fuel, trucks and appliances” and suspected of involvement in the financing of Islamic terrorist groups.

​The existence of the decade-old BND dossier on Thaci is further evidence that western governments have supported Thaci’s government of Kosovo, in which he has twice served as Prime Minister, in full knowledge of his links to organized crime.

Thaci, who is currently Kosovo’s Foreign Minister, is due to be inaugurated as president of Kosovo on April 7 after a majority of Kosovo’s parliament voted for his election. Among those who congratulated him on the election were the German ambassador Angelika Viets, and her counterparts from the US, UK, France and Italy.




How politicians, the media, and scholars lied about Milosevic’s 1989 Kosovo speech

Milosevic on NATO

A couple of months ago I chanced upon the Emperor’s Clothes Website.

I noticed their startling claim that we have been systematically lied to about Yugoslavia, including Slobodan Milosevic. As they told it, he was not guilty of racist incitement and genocide; rather he advocated multiethnic peace. Since their views sharply contradicted my own, I started systematically checking their references by obtaining the relevant original documents. I have yet to find a single claim in error.

This was particularly surprising regarding the famous speech that Slobodan Milosevic delivered at Kosovo Field in 1989 at the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. According to what I had read, this was an ultranationalist diatribe in which Milosevic manipulated memories of a famous defeat to stir mob hatred of Muslims, especially Albanians.

Emperor’s Clothes posted what they claimed was the official U.S. government translation of that speech, which they attributed to the National Technical Information Service, a dependency of the Commerce Department.

The posted speech was certainly not hateful.

But was this the real speech? The text contradicted everything I had been led to expect from Slobodan Milosevic and everything I had read about this speech.

Through my university library, I obtained a copy of the microfilm of the BBC’s translation (which is a translation of the live relay of the speech). I compared this text to the one posted at Emperor’s Clothes.

Except for a few words that the BBC translator was not able to hear, they match almost exactly.

The speech is not devoid of a certain poetry and, given what I had been led to believe about Milosevic, I was amazed to find that it was explicitly tolerant. In other words, the entire point, structure, message, and moral of the speech — in all its details — was to promote understanding and tolerance between peoples, and to affirm the unity of all those who live in Serbia, regardless of their national origin or religious affiliation.

But if a speech such as this had been falsely reported as a viciously hateful speech, then what about the rest of my information about Yugoslavia? After all, it came from the same sources which had misrepresented this speech…

I began to read voraciously, to see how academics, politicians and the media had reported what happened in Yugoslavia. I have found an enormous amount of misinformation, and it is hard to dispel the impression that much of this is deliberate. This is quite important for my field because students of ethnic conflict, like myself, need to know what it is that we are supposed to explain. Our case data often comes from historians and journalists who describe ethnic conflicts for us. Until recently, I was assuming that those who wrote about Yugoslavia could at least be trusted to try to report things accurately.

I have changed my mind. What I now know suggests that the problem is not merely that reporters and academics are misinformed. I have observed that a source may report the facts accurately and then, in another place, usually later, the same source will report them completely inaccurately. How can one explain this as a result of ignorance? It suggests a conscious effort to misinform.

That obviously raises the question: why?

Battle of Kosovo, by Adam Stefanović (1870)

Many articles on Historical and Investigative Research explore that question. Here I am primarily concerned with showing that Slobodan Milosevic was, in fact, systematically and willfully misrepresented. As an example of what has been done, I have assembled excerpts from various sources regarding Milosevic’s famous 1989 speech at Gazimestan (the location is often referred to as Kosovo Polje or Kosovo Field). I compare these excerpts to Milosevic’s words so that you can see what was done.

I have scanned the microfilm of the BBC translation so my readers can compare the US government and the BBC versions for themselves. To see the pdfs of the BBC microfilm visit these pages.

An easy-to-read text version of the BBC translation.

Compare this to the US government translation.

Finally, you may look at further instructions I provide in the footnote for those who may wish to track down this text on their own.[1]

As you read the compilation (certainly not complete) of misquotations, misrepresentations, misattributions, and mischaracterizations of Milosevic’s speech in the media and by academics, it is important to keep something in mind.

If Milosevic really was a hate-monger, the evidence would not be hard to find. As Jared Israel wrote in his introduction to the speech:

“It is impossible for a society to engage in genocide unless the population is won to hate the target group. This has to be done in a systematic way. That is, political leaders must support hate in deeds but also in words.”

Incitement to hatred, after all, is a public behavior. One cannot become an ultra-nationalist populist politician without making ultra-nationalist speeches — the masses cannot be incited in secret. Thus, if Milosevic really was the man portrayed in the media, nobody would have to slander an explicitly tolerant speech in order to make the case. They could just use a genuinely hateful public statement, written document, radio interview, letter — anything. It would make zero sense for the media to fabricate all sorts of things about a tolerant speech if anything hateful by Milosevic really existed.

In the first part of my analysis below I report the misrepresentations of the speech. Following that, I quote reports in the media made on or immediately after June 28, 1989, the day Milosevic spoke. These accounts, published immediately after his speech, were accurate, and this demonstrates that the truth was easily available if someone had wanted to report it later on. Not only that, I go further to demonstrate that the same media services which reported the speech accurately in 1989, then went on to lie about the speech eight years later, when NATO needed to demonize Slobodan Milosevic, in preparation for the bombing of Yugoslavia and takeover of Kosovo.

Most of my examples deal with media coverage of the Milosevic speech but government officials are also on record lying about it. For example, on June 28, 1999, Robin Cook, then the Foreign Minister of the UK, said the following about the speech:

Milosevic used this important anniversary not to give a message of hope and reform. Instead, he threatened force to deal with Yugoslavia’s internal political difficulties. Doing so thereby launched his personal agenda of power and ethnic hatred under the cloak of nationalism. All the peoples of the region have suffered grievously ever since.” [1b]

As the excerpts from Milosevic’s speech which I have quoted below demonstrate, Robin Cook was lying. This powerfully suggests that the Western media and the highest officials worked together in a campaign to sell the public a falsified version of this speech, in order to justify war.

The evidence

1. The Independent

An important British newspaper, The Independent, included this in what it presented as a chronology of events:

“June 1989, on the stump at Kosovo Polje

Serbia’s leader sets out his agenda at a rally of more than a million Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo 600th anniversary celebrations, as he openly threatens force to hold the six-republic federation together.”[4]

But no such threat appears in the text of the speech. This allusion to an “open threat” sounds like the Independent is using Dr. Vladimir Zerjavic as source. They don’t sound like they could have seen the text of the speech.

2. The Irish Times

Consider this by The Irish Times:

“It was at Kosovo Polje in 1389 that Serbs fought their most historic battle, losing to a Turkish army and later enduring 500 years of Ottoman rule. From here they fled again nearly three centuries later, led by their Orthodox patriarch, after a failed rebellion. And here, 10 years ago this month, the Yugoslav President, Mr Slobodan Milosevic, made his name telling a crowd of 500,000 Serbs, ‘Serbia will never abandon Kosovo.'”[5]

The Irish Times does not borrow the quote from Dr. Vladimir Zerjavic, but they do borrow the boldness. They have put quotation marks around a phrase that appears nowhere in the text.

3. The heavyweights: the Economist, TIME, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and National Public Radio

Let us now look at what the biggest media heavyweights said. We shall begin with The Economist, perhaps the most prestigious and influential news magazine in the world:

“But it is primitive nationalism, egged on by the self-deluding myth of Serbs as perennial victims, that has become both Mr Milosevic’s rescuer (when communism collapsed with the Soviet Union) and his nemesis. It was a stirringly virulent nationalist speech he made in Kosovo, in 1989, harking back to the Serb Prince Lazar’s suicidally brave battle against the Turks a mere six centuries ago, that saved his leadership when the Serbian old guard looked in danger of ejection. Now he may have become a victim of his own propaganda.”[9]

The passages from Milosevic’s speech quoted above already make it clear that this was not a “stirringly virulent nationalist speech.” The Economist would have you believe that Milosevic was literally foaming at the mouth, and wanted to use the memories of Prince Lazar and the defeat at Kosovo Polje as a catalyst for arousing ultra-nationalistic feelings. This is how Milosevic actually introduced his remarks about that historical event:

Today, it is difficult to say what is the historical truth about the Battle of Kosovo and what is legend. Today this is no longer important. Oppressed by pain and filled with hope, the people used to remember and to forget, as, after all, all people in the world do, and it was ashamed of treachery and glorified heroism. Therefore it is difficult to say today whether the Battle of Kosovo was a defeat or a victory for the Serbian people, whether thanks to it we fell into slavery or we survived in this slavery. The answers to those questions will be constantly sought by science and the people. What has been certain through all the centuries until our time today is that disharmony struck Kosovo 600 years ago. If we lost the battle, then this was not only the result of social superiority and the armed advantage of the Ottoman Empire but also of the tragic disunity in the leadership of the Serbian state at that time. In that distant 1389, the Ottoman Empire was not only stronger than that of the Serbs but it was also more fortunate than the Serbian kingdom.

Is this a virulent nationalist speaking? Milosevic sounds positively professorial. He sounds like an academic, showing a grandfatherly understanding for the human frailties that lead people to conveniently forget things in order to make legends out of history in a romantic and nationalistic manner.

And he is talking about the famous battle at Kosovo Polje, in the very place where that battle was fought!

The truth of what happened, he says, is for scientists to establish. Is this a nationalist using a myth of the people to rouse their passions? Does he sound ‘injured’ and ‘insecure’?

TIME Magazine, perhaps the most widely-read news magazine in the world, had a similar slant:

“It was St. Vitus’ Day, a date steeped in Serbian history, myth and eerie coincidence: on June 28, 1389, Ottoman invaders defeated the Serbs at the battle of Kosovo; 525 years later, a young Serbian nationalist assassinated Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, lighting the fuse for World War I. And it was on St. Vitus’ Day, 1989, that Milosevic whipped a million Serbs into a nationalist frenzy in the speech that capped his ascent to power.”[10]

And the same goes for The New York Times:

“In 1989 the Serbian strongman, Slobodan Milosevic, swooped down in a helicopter onto the field where 600 years earlier the Turks had defeated the Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo. In a fervent speech before a million Serbs, he galvanized the nationalist passions that two years later fueled the Balkan conflict.”[11]

And the Washington Post:

A military band and a dozen chanting monks from the Serbian Orthodox Church struggled unsuccessfully this morning to lift the dour mood hanging over a small crowd of Serbs marking the 609th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo here at the most revered site in Serbia’s nationalist mythology. […]

Nine years ago today, Milosevic’s fiery speech here to a million angry Serbs was a rallying cry for nationalism and boosted his popularity enough to make him the country’s uncontested leader.[12]

And here is what National Public Radio (NPR) said about this speech, through the lips of Chuck Sudetic:

Mr. SUDETIC: . . .the people were whipped up into a kind of hysteria. You have to understand that the Serbs in Kosovo suffered a kind of repression, a mild kind of repression, but repression nonetheless – from 1974 until the mid to late 1980s at the hands of Albanian mafia – an Albanian Communist mafia that was in control of Kosovo. They saw their friends and neighbors depart to find better lives in Belgrade. And the people who were left behind felt themselves to be endangered by Albanians. Milosevic comes along, whips it up into a hysteria of fear. . .He made his speech at the Kosovo battlefield, the site of the famous battle from 1389 in 1989, on June 28th.[12a]

First of all, I apologize to loyal fans of NPR if this shatters their illusions about a favorite institution, but the above is no aberration for NPR. In fact, NPR’s president is a CIA man.[12b]

Beyond this, there is the larger question of this piece: does Milosevic sound like his purpose is “whipping a million Serbs into a nationalist frenzy” with his remembrance of the events of 1389? Is this a “fervent speech” meant to “galvanize the nationalist passions“? Is it a “rallying cry for nationalism“? Could “people [be] whipped up into a kind of hysteria” with Milosevic’s words?

I can’t see how.

4. T.W. Carr

The following excerpt is from T.W. Carr, who used to be Assistant Publisher for Defense & Foreign Affairs Publications, London. It is relatively long but worth reading because of the juxtaposition of Slobodan Milosevic (the Serbian leader) with Franjo Tudjman (the Croatian leader) and Alija Izetbegovic (leader of one of the Bosnian Muslim factions).

Three leaders emerged within the collapsing Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia. Each used the emotive appeal of patriotism (nationalism), history and religious heritage in their bid for political control of one of the three nation “nation states”, Orthodox Christian Serbia, Roman Catholic Christian Croatia and Islamic Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Slobodan Milosevic

On June 28, 1989, Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic marked the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo against the “Ottoman Islamist Empire” at Gazimestan by addressing more than one million Serbs, recounting the heroism of the Serbian nation and their Christian Orthodox faith in resisting the spread of Islam into Europe. He reassured his audience, that the Autonomous Province of Kosovo would remain an integral part of Serbia and Yugoslavia, despite the then current and often violent, problems of separatism demanded by the Muslim Albanian majority living in Kosovo.

In the Serbian presidential election of November 12, 1989, Mr. Milosevic won 65.3 percent of the vote, his nearest rival, Mr. Vuk Draskovic, polled only 16.4 of the votes cast.

Alija Izetbegovic[13a]

At the same time, Alija Izetbegovic, who had been released early from jail in 1988 (serving only six years of a 14 year sentence for pro-Islamic anti-state activities), visited Islamic fundamentalist states in the Middle East, returning to Bosnia-Herzegovina to found the SDA (Muslim Party of Democratic Action). His 1970 manifesto, “Islamic Declaration”, advocating the spread of radical pan-Islamism-politicised Islam-throughout the world, by force if necessary, was reissued in Sarajevo at this time. His Islamic Declaration is imbued with intolerance towards Western religion, culture and economic systems. This is also the theme projected in his book, Islam between East and West, first published in the US in 1984, and in Serbo-Croat in 1988, shortly after he was released from prison in the former Yugoslavia. In his writings he states that Islam cannot co-exist with other religions in the same nation other than a short-term expediency measure. In the longer term, as and when Muslims become strong enough in any country, then they must seize power and form a truly Islamic state.

In the multi-party elections held in Bosnia-Herzegovina on November 18, 1990, the population voted almost exclusively along communal lines. The Muslim Democratic Action Party secured 86 seats, the Serbian Democratic Party 72, and the Croatian Democratic Union (ie: union with Croatia) Party 44 seats. As the leader of the largest political party, Mr. Izetbegovic, became the first President of Bosnia- Herzegovina, albeit for just one year, for under the new constitution of B-H, the presidency was to revolve each year between the three parties, each of which represented one ethnic community.

Under constitutional law, in January 1992, Mr. Izetbegovic should have handed over the Presidency to Mr. Radovan Karadzic, the Serbian Democratic leader. He failed to honor the constitution and being true to his writings, he seized power, acting undemocratically and illegally. Therefore, at no time since January 1992 should Mr. Izetbegovic have been acknowledged by the international community as the legal President of B-H.

Franjo Tudjman

Towards the end of World War II, while still a young man, Franjo Tudjman took the pragmatic option and joined the communist Partisans. He had probably realized that Germany could not win the war and that Tito and his Partisans would gain control of Yugoslavia, with the full support of both Soviets and the British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.

Some time after the end of World War II, Tudjman joined the communist Yugoslav Army as a regular officer and rose to the rank of Major-General during the early part of President Tito´s period in office.

During the late 1960´s and in 1979, ultra right fascism began to re-surface in Croatia, showing the same World War II fascist face of nationalism and the requirement that a nation state must be racially pure. This was the first attempt anywhere in Europe to resurrect German National Socialism following the fall of the Third Reich in 1944. Hitler created Croatia when his forces over-ran Yugoslavia in 1941, installing as Fuher, Ante Pavelic, leader of the fascist Croatian Ustashi movement. Pavelic had spent the previous 10 years in exile in Italy as head of a Croatian terrorist group, shielded by the Vatican and the Italian Fascist party.

Mr. Tudjman was deeply involved in the attempted revival of fascism, allowing his national socialism ethos to come to the fore with the publication of his treatise, The Wastelands. In it he attempted to re-write major sections of the history of World War II, downplaying the Holocaust, and with it the more than one million Jews, Serbs and Gypsies murdered by the Croatian ultra-nationalist Ustashi, which included priests of the Holy Roman Church, at the Croatian Ustashi concentration camp of Jasenovac and other locations within Yugoslavia.

For his nationalistic, anti-state activities at this time, Mr. Tudjman went to jail for three years. After being released from jail, Mr. Tudjman went politically low-key for a few years, but re-emerged on the scene when President Tito died in 1980, gradually building a power-base among the Croatian right wing and creating the HDZ Party.

In the multy-party elections held in Croatia in May 1990, Mr. Tudjman´s HDZ Party won control of the Sabor (Croatian Parliament) and Mr. Tudjman became President of Croatia when it was still part of the Yugoslav Federation.[13]

Contrary to Carr’s claim, Milosevic did not speak about the status of Kosovo in the 1989 speech.

It is known from other sources, of course, that he certainly did not want Kosovo to be split from Yugoslavia, for good reasons having to do with the security of Serbs, Roma, Slavic Muslims, Jews, Albanians and everyone else in Kosovo, and his conviction that Kosovo was legitimately part of the country he was after all helping lead. How many leaders want their countries broken up? But that does not mean that in his 1989 speech he said, “that the Autonomous Province of Kosovo would remain an integral part of Serbia and Yugoslavia, despite the then current and often violent, problems of separatism demanded by the Muslim Albanian majority living in Kosovo.” So this is false.

Moreover, Milosevic never referred to the Ottoman Empire as “Islamist.” On the contrary, Milosevic’s remarks in his speech concerning the Ottoman Empire showed no real animosity. He even acknowledged certain strengths: “In that distant 1389, the Ottoman Empire was not only stronger than that of the Serbs but it was also more fortunate than the Serbian kingdom.” (Milosevic’s 1989 Speech at Kosovo Field)

More importantly, however, notice that Carr pairs the three leaders, Milosevic, Izetbegovic, and Tudjman, and prefaces his remarks by saying all three rose to prominence by manipulating nationalism. But does Milosevic belong in this company? Whereas a good and effortless case can be made for Izetbegovic and Tudjman being ultra-nationalists (see above), all we get as evidence for Milosevic’s “ultra-nationalism” is a false allusion to a declaration he never made in the Kosovo Polje speech about the fact that he did not want Serbia to be partitioned, which in itself would not even be evidence of intolerant ultra-nationalism anyway. Moreover, the speech Carr refers us to is the antithesis of an ultra-nationalistic speech.

Milosevic at his alleged worst, then, sounds not unlike Ghandi or Martin Luther King.

Finally, I must observe that Carr is arguing that the US and Germany are carving zones of interest in Europe and that this is the central reason for the troubles in Yugoslavia. In other words, he is not sympathetic to the official propaganda about the causes of the wars in Yugoslavia. Yet even he seems blithely to assume that Milosevic is a virulent nationalist, though he provides no evidence. On the other hand, Izetbegovic and Tudjman, both US allies, certainly do sound like bad guys.

The propaganda against Milosevic has been so successful that even a critic like Carr believes it, though he can only give us one short paragraph to support his belief, and that paragraph refers to a consummately tolerant speech.

Is this the worst one can say about Milosevic?

5. International Crisis Group

Here is what the International Crisis Group said about Milosevic’s Speech:

“On this date in 1948, Tito’s Yugoslavia was expelled at Stalin’s behest from the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform). It was also on this day in 1989 that Slobodan Milosevic addressed up to one million Serbs at Gazimestan in Kosovo to commemorate the sixhundredth anniversary of the Kosovo Battle. That speech contained the first open threat of violent conflict by a Socialist Yugoslav leader: ‘Six centuries later, again, we are in battles and quarrels. They are not armed battles, although such things cannot be excluded.'”[14]

This quotation does appear in the speech.

Any observer of Yugoslavia at this time knew that it was possible that armed battles could break out. Why should the observation of such an obvious fact be interpreted as a threat?

One could just as well interpret it as a worry.

Any state trying to contain irredentist terrorists may find itself in the position of having to deploy its army to protect its citizens — Milosevic was just stating the obvious. It is really necessary to omit reference to any other part of the speech, and to ignore the facts of Yugoslavia at this time, for the quote — completely out of context — to appear as a threat. Even then it does not look very threatening (you have to be told that it is supposedly a threat, for otherwise how could you reliably infer it?).

But it pays to see this quote in its minimal context: the paragraph in which it appears:

Six centuries later, now, we are being again engaged in battles and are facing battles. They are not armed battles, although such things cannot be excluded yet. However, regardless of what kind of battles they are, they cannot be won without resolve, bravery, and sacrifice, without the noble qualities that were present here in the field of Kosovo in the days past. Our chief battle now concerns implementing the economic, political, cultural, and general social prosperity, finding a quicker and more successful approach to a civilization in which people will live in the 21st century. For this battle, we certainly need heroism, of course of a somewhat different kind, but that courage without which nothing serious and great can be achieved remains unchanged and remains urgently necessary.

This minimal context is already quite informative. The “chief battle” has nothing to do with armed conflict. And it requires “heroism, of course of a somewhat different kind.” If one further puts this paragraph into the larger context of the speech it is obvious that Milosevic is hardly making threats. For example, elsewhere in the speech Milosevic says:

For as long as multinational communities have existed, their weak point has always been the relations between different nations. The threat is that the question of one nation being endangered by the others can be posed one day — and this can then start a wave of suspicions, accusations, and intolerance, a wave that invariably grows and is difficult to stop. This threat has been hanging like a sword over our heads all the time. Internal and external enemies of multi-national communities are aware of this and therefore they organize their activity against multinational societies mostly by fomenting national conflicts. At this moment, we in Yugoslavia are behaving as if we have never had such an experience and as if in our recent and distant past we have never experienced the worst tragedy of national conflicts that a society can experience and still survive.

Milosevic was warning that nationalism was being used by “internal and external enemies of multi-national communities” to destroy Yugoslavia. He was worrying out loud that people would listen to fear-mongers and that waves of suspicion between national communities would get started and then become “difficult to stop.” He was chiding his fellow Yugoslavs for failing to remember World War II and other catastrophes during which the Balkans “experienced the worst tragedy of national conflicts that a society can experience and still survive.” Does this sound like a man whipping up the population to go to war against other ethnic groups?

6. The Times

Here is what the London Times had to say:

“Vidovdan, the feast of St Vitus, is one of the most sacred in the Orthodox church, but it is also the day on which Mr Milosevic began his political career. Twelve years before, in a dusty and sweltering field at Kosovo Polje, he had whipped up Serb nationalism among a ferocious and frustrated crowd. “No one will ever beat you!” he had shouted, commemorating the defeat of the Serbs by the Turks at Kosovo Polje in 1389. Yesterday Mr Milosevic was a beaten man on suicide watch in Scheveningen prison in The Netherlands. Prison officials, who will interview the former Yugoslav President to check that he is not worried about being threatened by other inmates, are also believed to be paying particular attention to the threat he made earlier this year, to shoot himself rather than submit to international justice.”[15]

This one comically gets it wrong. Milosevic probably never said, “No one will ever beat you!” He more likely said something like “No one will be allowed to beat you like that!” In any event, he did not say it at the commemoration of the battle at Kosovo Polje (the speech we have been discussing here). Those words were uttered at Kosovo Polje, but two years earlier, in 1987. At that time, Milosevic met with Serbs and Montenegrins, mostly peasants, who had serious grievances: they said they were being mistreated by prejudiced Albanian authorities in Kosovo and violently harassed by radical Albanian terrorists. They wanted to speak directly with Milosevic but he was only meeting with a relatively small group in the hall.

Here is an account of this:

“When members of the throng outside the hall again tried to break through police lines and into the building, they were brutally clubbed and beaten back by the police (composed mainly of Albanian officers, but including some Serbs). Informed of what was taking place outside, Milosevic exited the building and approached the still highly volatile crowd. According to eyewitness reports at the time, the Serbian leader was visibly upset, physically shaken, and trembling. When a dialogue ensued between the demonstrators and Milosevic, they implored him to protect them from the police violence. Acting on a journalist’s suggestion, Milosevic re-entered the hall, and proceeded to a second floor window. From that vantage point he nervously addressed the frenzied demonstrators, and uttered his soon-to-be legendary remarks: “No one will be allowed to beat you! No one will be allowed to beat you!” Milosevic also invited the demonstrators to send a delegation into the hall to discuss their grievances.”[16]

Milosevic said, “No one will be allowed to beat you!”

Is this nationalistic incitement?

Or is he reassuring a nervous crowd that their civil rights will be respected? After all, he is an official with responsibilities to citizens who were being beaten by police before his very eyes.

But in the London Times article the context of the peasant Serbs getting beaten is no longer evident. The utterance has been transformed into, “No one will ever beat you” which has an eternal, mythical overtone, and which therefore fits well with the new and excellent location that the Times has found for this utterance: the speech to commemorate the battle of Kosovo Polje.

Two different events have been fused into one, and Serbian mythology has been joined to an injured cry, providing a total impression of a syndrome of victimization that lashes out as a reborn and vicious nationalism. “No one will be allowed to beat you” is supposed to mean, “We will beat them.”

I want to emphasize that Cohen’s book “Serpent in the bosom,” which I quoted above, is an attack on Milosevic. If Cohen’s description has a bias it is to suggest that Milosevic is a virulent nationalist. For example, although Cohen has Albanian policemen beating peasant Serbs brutally, this is not described as ethnic animosity (the remark that some of these policemen are Serbs seems to have been inserted in order to dispel any such impression). But Milosevic’s attempt to reassure a crowd whose basic human rights are being trampled right in front of his eyes that is nationalism, as Cohen goes on to explain in what remains of the chapter.

Everybody else has done the same. The 1987 events are supposed to mark a turning point on Milosevic’s road to becoming a supposed virulent nationalist (Cohen calls it “the epiphanal moment”).

However, notice that despite these attempts, it is difficult not to see Milosevic’s behavior as perfectly natural, indeed laudable. Why not reassure a crowd of your constituents, who are being bludgeoned by policemen, that this will not be allowed to happen? What else should he have morally done? By what stretch of the imagination is this utterance transformed into a nationalistic call to arms? Well, it helps to omit the context in which the utterance was made, and it also helps to insert it into a speech commemorating the defeat of the Serbs at Kosovo Polje, as the Times has done.

7. Newsday

And here is what Newsday said:

Picture this: Milosevic (pronounced mee-LOH-sheh-vitch) was sent to Kosovo Polje, the small village near the sacred site of the Serbs defeat by the Turks in 1389. His orders were to speak to disgruntled Serbian and Montenegrin activists who claimed they were being badly mistreated by the majority ethnic Albanians who lived there.

Serbs: A Frightened Minority

While Milosevic was speaking in the town’s cultural center, a huge crowd of angry Serbs gathered outside the building, chanting in support of the party activists inside. They were attacked by local police, most of them Albanians, who began beating the Serbs with their clubs.

Breaking off his meeting, Milosevic hurried out onto a balcony. With national television cameras recording everything, he invoked the memory of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo at the nearby Field of Blackbirds.

“No one should dare to beat you!” Milosevic shouted, and the crowd went into a frenzy, beginning to chant, “Slo-bo! Slo-bo! Slo-bo!” The Serbian masses had found a hero, and Milosevic had found a nickname.

“With a skill which he had never displayed before, Milosevic made an eloquent extempore speech in defense of the sacred rights of the Serbs,” wrote Noel Malcolm in his recent book, “Kosovo: A Short History.” “From that day, his nature as a politician changed; it was as if a powerful new drug had entered his veins.”[16a]

Notice what has happened here. First, for Newsday, apparently, it is enough that Noel Malcolm said something. The same can probably also be said for The Times of London, which paper, as we saw above, parroted a similar line to the one we see here: utterances to the effect that “nobody will beat you” are supposed to allude to the defeat of the Serbs at Kosovo Polje in 1389.

This is a fusion of the events of 1987 and 1989 and, since this connection does not seem to appear prior to 1999 (which is the year Noel Malcolm’s book appeared), it is at least a reasonable guess that:

a) Malcolm is the originator of this confusion and

b) ever since, newspapers like The Times of London and Newsday have been fusing remarks that Milosevic made in two different years and in two very different contexts (neither of them even remotely damning).

This is worth a pause and a reflection.

Academics typically get their facts about what happened in a particular time and place from journalists. But here we have newspapers getting their facts from an academic. It would be fine for the newspaper to report the interpretation or theory of an academic, but isn’t the world turned upside down when a newspaper gets the basic facts of what happened from some bookish professor who wasn’t there?

The second observation is that what Milosevic actually said, “no one will be allowed to beat you!” has been changed to “no one should dare to beat you!” With this change the utterance dovetails nicely with Malcolm’s reference to Milosevic’s supposed lyricism concerning the “sacred rights of the Serbs.” So not only is this fusing of the events of 1987 and 1989 apparently an innovation of Malcolm’s, it is one he seems to work hard at, modifying other facts as well, to give the fusion plausibility.

In any case, it should be obvious that it is quite a stretch of interpretation to say that one is invoking a moment in history by making assurances to peasant Serbs that no one should beat them, when those peasant Serbs are at that very moment being “attacked by local police, most of them Albanians.” How about the hypothesis that rather than making “an eloquent extempore speech in defense of the sacred rights of the Serbs,” Milosevic was saying that the Albanian policemen right below him should not be beating the peasant Serbs?

8. Norman Cigar

Here is what another ‘academic’ said:

“. . .in an emotionally charged speech at Gazimestan on June 28, 1989, on the sixth hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, Milosevic had signaled his government’s intention to extend the nationalist agenda beyond Serbia’s borders. When coupled with active measures being undertaken in neighboring republics, his emphasis that the “Serbs have always liberated themselves and, when they had a chance, also helped others to liberate themselves” seemed to commit Serbia to a forcible redrawing of Yugoslavia’s long-established internal borders in pursuit of “liberating” the Serbs outside of Serbia. . .”[17]

The quote from Milosevic’s speech is accurate, but it is difficult to do justice to the distortions in this paragraph with the appropriate superlatives. Cigar is, in second-order Orwellian fashion, claiming that Milosevic’s speech is Orwellian. When Milosevic contrasts Serbs to “others,” this means (according to Cigar) other Serbs! That is a very interesting code. And when Milosevic talks about liberation, he really means that Serbs should oppress non-Serbs!

But just a tiny little bit of history suggests a different hypothesis.

In World War I, the Serbs were the only Balkan people to side with the allies. This means they simultaneously fought for their independence against two empires (Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian), while the Croats, Muslims, Albanians, etc. fought on the side of the empires. The Serbs won, but instead of creating a ‘Greater Serbia’, as many a victor might have, they spearheaded the creation of a joint kingdom, and they even shared the name (the Kingdom of Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia, which later got an even more inclusive name when it was renamed Yugoslavia — land of the Southern Slavs).

Thus, they had liberated these other peoples from the clutches of the empires, and did not create an empire themselves.

Contrast this with the treatment that Germany got from the victorious allies.

Then, in World War II, the Croats, Slovenes, Yugoslav Muslims, and the Albanians, for the most part betrayed Yugoslavia and allied themselves with the invading Nazis. The Hungarians, Bulgarians, and Romanians also either allied themselves outright or reached an understanding with the Nazis. The Serbs were surrounded but fought the invaders anyway, even though they were practically alone. Tito’s Partisans, who had dogmatic ideology of ethnic tolerance, and who won the war in Yugoslavia, were mostly Serbs. Once again, the result was not a ‘Greater Serbia,’ but a magnanimous recreation of Yugoslavia (and this, despite the fact that Serbs had suffered a Holocaust during the war very much like that of the Jews).

Could it be that when Milosevic said the Serbs had always fought for their liberation, and that of others when possible, he was merely saying what he meant?

9. The BBC

The examples of how this speech has been maligned could be multiplied. But we gain a valuable perspective by taking a look at how the speech was reported the very moment it happened:

“The events in Kosovo to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the battle on 28th June were relayed live by Belgrade radio. At the Gracanica monastery over 100,000 people attended a liturgical service conducted by Patriarch German, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and at Gazimestan around 1,500,000 people gathered at a central ceremony in the presence of SFRY President Janez Drnovsek and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. The radio noted that more people were expected to arrive at Gazimestan. Addressing the crowd, Milosevic said that whenever they were able to the Serbs had helped others to liberate themselves, and they had never used the advantage of their being a large nation against others or for themselves, Tanjug reported. He added that Yugoslavia was a multi-national community which could survive providing there was full equality for all the nations living in it.”[18]

It does not appear that the BBC reporter had the impression Milosevic’s speech produced a nationalist incitement. On the contrary, the reporter has explicitly highlighted the tolerance of the speech.

The British newspaper The Independent, which had reporters covering the speech, had a similar impression:

“On the poppy-flecked Kosovo Polje, the Field of Blackbirds, looking out over a sea of a million people, Slobodan Milosevic yesterday assumed the mantle of a statesman and Yugoslavia’s natural leader.

The climax of the two years of Serbian national awakening he has led – the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo Polje – brought an unexpectedly conciliatory [Milosevic]. [T]he Serbian President made not one aggressive reference to ‘Albanian counter-revolutionaries’ in Kosovo province. Instead, he talked of mutual tolerance, ‘building a rich and democratic society’ and ending the discord which