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Priština (Приштина/Prishtinë)

Brief Details:

Name: Monument to Brotherhood & Unity (Permendorja Vllaznim-Bashkim/Споменик Револуције у Приштини)

Location: Priština/Prishtinë, Kosovo*

Year completed: 1961

Designer: Miodrag Živković (profile page)

Coordinates: N42°39'56.6", E21°09'52.4" (click for map)

Dimensions: ~20m tall monolith

Materials used: Poured concrete and rebar

Condition: Poor, neglected and degraded


Click on slideshow photos for description


This monument at the spomenik complex at Priština, Kosovo* is meant to commemorate not only the fallen Partisan soldiers of this region who perished during the People's Liberation Struggle (WWII).

World War II

Just two months after the Kingdom of Yugoslavia capitulated to Axis forces April of 1941, the city of Priština was absorbed into Mussolini's 'Greater Albania', which was a creation intended to woo nationalistic Albanians to the side of the Italian Axis forces. Italians set up a puppet-government in this 'Greater Albania' made up of many Albanians who were intent on seeking revenge against what it felt were injustices carried out on them during the Kingdom of Yugoslavia era, with ethnic-Serbs in Kosovo being used as the primary scape-goat. In June of 1942, the Prime Minister of this 'Greater Albania' Axis puppet-state, Mustafa Merlika-Kruja, made the following statement regarding ethnic-Serbs living within the region:

"We should endeavor to ensure that the Serb population of Kosovo should be removed as soon as possible... all indigenous Serbs who have been living here for centuries should be termed colonialists and as such, via the Albanian and Italian governments, should be sent to concentration camps in Albania. Serbian settlers should be killed."

Statements such as this, among others, resulted in the persecution, ethnic cleansing and killing of many ethnic-Serbs and Montenegrins who lived in not only Priština, but also across the entire region of Greater Albania (Photo 1). However, as the Italian occupation wore on, even the Albanian's growing nationalism pushed them to resist even this Italian presence.  After the Italian army capitulated at the Armistice of Cassibile in 1943, the area of Greater Albanian was taken over by German forces. This new occupation under the Germans subsequently resulted in the persecution of many Jewish people across Priština, something that had not happened to a significant degree under Italian control. In May of 1944, the 21st Waffen SS division (made up mostly of Albanian Muslims), arrested nearly 300 Jewish civilians across Priština, who were then handed over to the German forces and shipped to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, a fate which resulted in the deaths of scores of these Jewish prisoners. A year later, in May of 1945, German troops withdrew from Priština during their retreat northward from the pressure of Allied bombings. By the end of the war, the city of Priština's population had dropped to just under 10,000 citizens (down roughly 6,000 from its pre-war population of 16,000) due to mostly the expulsion, fleeing and genocide of Jews and Serbs. Meanwhile, it is estimated that somewhere between 10,000 and 250,000 ethnic-Serbs were forcefully deported from Kosovo during the war.

Photo 1: Axis-aligned Albanian troops executing ethnic-Serb civilian on streets of Priština, 1943


Photo 2: One of the conceptual sketches of the Živković monument

Spomenik Construction

The initial planning stage for a Priština monument began in 1959 when a design competition was held to decide on the shape that the memorial complex would take. The competition was won by the proposal submitted by famed Serbian designer Miodrag Živković (Photo 2). The complex was completed in 1961. The spot chosen to build the memorial complex was directly in the center of Priština, on the spot of a 19th century Ottoman bazaar called the 'carshia' which contained well over 100 shops and stalls, but had fallen into disrepair after WWII. The monument consisted of a ~20m tall obelisk made of three separate thin pillars which all connect at the top, set in the middle of a large tiled public square. In addition, a long fountain was originally included on the east side of the monument, but this was removed during 1970s redevelopment efforts and replaced with a footprint of grass. Each of the three pillars represents one of the three ethnicities of the region (Serb, Albanian and Montenegrin). In front of the obelisk is a statuary series representing eight Partisan soldiers. The unifying idea of this sculpture was that it would be a memorial for ALL fallen fighters and victims of the war, no matter what their ethnicity was. The monument, officially named 'Monument to Heroes of the National Liberation Movement' or "Monument to the Revolution", is often referred to in Albanian as “trekëndëshi” (the triangle) or 'tre rremëshi' (the three branches). Some consider this structure to have been the first modernist-styled creation in the city of Priština.

The final element included with the original construction of the Brotherhood & Unity memorial complex which is important to mention is a long bronze sculpture series placed in front of the triple pillar tower 10m away to its east side. This set of reduced bronze figures (with angular cubist-like bodies and small heads with minimized features) is meant to be a stylized depiction of eight of Partisan fighters. The composition of the piece seems to be illustrating cooperation, unity and compassion, with the figures on the outside of the work standing guard while the inner-most ones are helping one another. While this element of the memorial complex seems completely different in terms of style and structure compared to the triple pillar tower, it is nevertheless also a sculpture work created by Miodrag Živković. While Živković is mostly known for his large concrete metal works, he also created many bronze cast figurative sculptures as well. A historic photo showing the sculpture's condition during the 1970s can be seen in Photo 3.

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Photo 3: The Živković sculpture of Partisan fighters, 1970s

During the Yugoslav-era, this monument complex was an extremely significant cultural site in Priština. It stood as not only a political symbol representing the Yugoslav principle of Brotherhood & Unity, it was also one of the central symbols of the city, being depicted on just about every single postcard for the region during the era. In addition, it acted as a meeting point for youth congregation as well as diverse groups of people from across the city.

Kosovo War

After the fall of Yugoslavia and the onset of the Yugoslav Wars in 1991, degradation and neglect of the monument began almost immediately. Then, as the Kosovo War began in 1998 (Photo 4), an attempt to destroy the monument with explosives was made by unknown persons, possibly because many in the city viewed the monument as a representation of Serbian dominance, which would have been an incendiary symbol during Kosovo's war against Serbia. However, this attempt did not bring the monument to the ground. Damage from this bombing attempt can still be seen at present at the base of the monument. Then, in the aftermath of the war around 2000, the local government changed the name of the square from 'Brotherhood and Unity Square' to 'Adem Jashari Square'. This was a very controversial move in some people's eyes, as using the name of Adem Jashari, a military leader of the Kosovo Albanian separatist movement, seemed to be a stark contrast to Tito's idea of 'unity and brotherhood' under which the memorial was established.

Photo 4: Destruction in Priština from bombings during the Kosovo War, 1999

Present Day

Over the last two decades, the monument and the square it resides in have sat in a very derelict and degraded state, covered in graffiti and withering with crumbled concrete. In the mid-2010s, many in the city's government were discussing the possibility of tearing down the monument to redevelop the space into a parking area. However, in 2018 the city of Priština initiated a restoration project and by the fall of that year, the square was completely restored and rehabilitated. The cost of the project was roughly 300,000 euros. One of the strongest voices in advocating for the restoration of the complex was the Kosovo* chapter of the Docomomo architectural conservation organization. However, despite these rehabbing efforts, the monument complex is still not officially protected on either the municipal level or by the national government.

Plaques, Engravings and Graffiti:

There are no plaques or engravings present at the spomenik complex here in Priština (at least before the 2018 restoration). While it seems like there may have been at one point in time, at this point, there is no longer any signs of them.

Up until 2018 the site had a considerable amount of graffiti covering most of the elements of this monument (Slide 1). Firstly, the base of the tri-pillar obelisk itself was covered with graffiti. This graffiti was cleaned off in the site's 2018 restoration. Then, the series of bronze statuary behind the monolith (Slide 2) was completely covered in spraypaint, which interestingly depicts a series of various world flags. This was done in 2008, immediately after Kosovo independence, meant to represent the countries who assisted Kosovo* during the Kosovo War. Interestingly, the 2018 restoration efforts at the site did not remove the graffiti from the bronze statues.



The intention of this spomenik's creator, Miodrag Živković, was that each of the obelisk's three pillars would a symbolic representation of a member of the 'brotherhood of Yugoslavia' that lived within the region of Priština... the Serbs, Albanians and Montenegrins. All three pillars combining to make one unified structure clearly represents all three of these ethnic groups working and living together in harmony and peace. As such, the central intention of this monument was to stand as a testament to the Yugoslav concept of 'Brotherhood and Unity', an idea which was of particular importance to the Yugoslav President Josip Tito (who was a central figure behind the monument's creation), as calming ethnic tensions between the region's various ethnic groups was one of Tito's central tenants of his unified Yugoslav state. This concern was very much rooted in reality, as tensions between various ethnic, religious and nationalist groups in Priština (and the Kosovo region) had caused great conflicts during not only WWII, but also continued to create issues during the Yugoslav post-war era as well... while instigating tensions that have persisted even up until present-day.

Status and Condition:

The overall status of this spomenik over the last few decades has been quite poor, however, the situation has dramatically improved since the late 2010s. For many years, the entire plaza/square on which it lays, Adem Jashari Square (formerly the Square of Brotherhood and Unity), was falling apart, everything from the tiles to the stairways. Grass was overgrown and poking up through cracks across the entire plaza as well. As for the monument itself, it was in a very bad condition. It is said to have experienced an explosives attack at some point in the late 1990s. As a result, the base was falling apart in chunks while rebar and metal are seen to be sticking out. Many comments were made that it was likely that the whole obelisk was probably structurally unsound. In addition, not only was the obelisk itself covered in spray paint, so was the bronze sculpture set installed in front of the obelisk.


Photo 5: A view of the renovated monument site, August 2018

No signs or promotional materials draw attention to the monument, while there are no engravings or placards anywhere indicating to the public what the sculpture's historical or cultural significance. While the square is often quite busy and bustling with people, as it is in the center of Priština, it does not appear as though any locals are interested in the monument, as far as paying homage to it or honoring it. No known annual commemorative or remembrance ceremonies are known to take place here, and furthermore, I found no honorific candles, wreaths or flowers left anywhere at the site. While some plans were put forward in 2015 for renovation and repair for the monument, other plans have also been discussed by politicians, since early 2010, to tear down the entire monument to redevelop the square into a new plaza and underground parking garage, as some feel the location in the center of the city near government buildings would be an ideal location for a public parking facility. Interestingly, even the head of the Institute for the Protection of Monuments in Priština, Haxhi Mehmetja, had stated that the monument is not wanted by the people of Priština any longer. Yet, despite these initiatives for redevelopment and demolition of the monument site, a full renovation project was ultimately carried out at the site in August of 2018 which integrated into the new complex both the obelisk monument as well as the Partisan statuary set (Photo 5). However, while the obelisk was cleaned of graffiti, the flags painted onto the Partisan statuary were left intact.

In July of 2022, efforts began to take shape for the Brotherhood & Unity Monument to be enwrapped in bright pink and purple reflective aluminum foil as part of an exhibition art piece by famous world-renowned New York-based Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, as part of the Manifesta 14 art biennale. The work was completed in time for the July 22nd opening of the biennale (Photo 6). The installation was given the lengthy name of "Not a word not a thought not a need not a grief not a joy not a girl not a boy not a doubt not a trust not a lust not a hope not a fear not a smile not a tear not a name not a face not a time not a place not a thing". In explanation of this art installation, the official Manifest 14 profile for the work described it in the following terms: "At a time when monuments in many parts of the world are being troubled – and frequently toppled – for their entanglement with ideologies, Ugo Rondinone’s temporary transformation of the grey monument into a brightly coloured one brings into sharp relief both the remarkable structure of the sculpture and the critical debate for which it stands. At the same time, the intervention brings forth an object of ‘beauty and contemplation’.  Wrapping monuments in various colours of the rainbow – an age-old symbol of hope, joy and new beginnings – is a recurring element of Rondinone’s practice". Local news reports on the matter indicate that local sentiments towards the installation were mixed. The colored foil as removed several weeks later.


Photo 6: A view of the foil wrapped monument in August 2022 [source]

Additional Sites in the Priština area:

In addition to the Monument to Brotherhood & Unity in Priština, this section will explore additional sites across the city that would be of interest to those who are investigating the region's Yugoslav-era heritage of historical monuments, art and architecture. We will explore here the following sites: the Monument to Boro & Ramiz, as well as the site formerly known as the "Boro & Ramiz" Stadium, the Grmija Shopping Center and the Grand Hotel.

Monument to Boro & Ramiz:

At the south end of the City Park of Priština, there is a modest concrete memorial wall that had originally as its centerpiece a set of bronze sculptural busts of two Partisans (Photo 7), one of Montenegrin-born fighter Boro Vukmirović (1912-1943) and the other of Albanian-born fighter Ramiz Sadiku (1915-1943). These two fighters were both close friends during WWII, but were subsequently captured together and sentenced to death by the Balli Kombëtar. They were such good friends that they refused to be executed separately and, thus, were shot together while embraced at a remote location near the village of Landovica near Prizren [more info HERE]. Their strong inter-ethnic friendship became a strong symbol during and embodiment the Yugoslav-era of Tito's philosophy of Brotherhood & Unity. A famous poem was written about Boro and Ramiz by poet Adem Gajtani that was known and memorized by nearly every child of Yugoslavia. This double-bust memorial complex was erected within the park in 1961 and was created by a sculptor whose identity I have not yet established (not being listed in the typical sources).


Photo 7: A recent image of the remains of the Monument to Boro & Ramiz at the City Park in Prishtina. Photo credit: ForumZFD

Sadly, despite the prominence and importance of this monument during the era it was created, I was not able to find any images of this site in its original condition from the Yugoslav-era. In 1999, part of the memorial was destroyed when the bust of Boro (the ethnic-Montenegrin friend) was forcibly removed from its setting by unknown persons, leaving a ruined jagged hole in the place of the Boro bust was and leaving only the sculpture of Ramiz remaining. In addition, the concrete facade of the monument was covered in graffiti and spray paint, which persists to the present day. Furthermore, the above-mentioned monument to Boro & Ramiz at Landovica was also destroyed and built over during this same time period. As of 2016, there have been some discussions in Priština about restoring the memorial. A recent YouTube video examining the monument can be seen at THIS link. The exact coordinates for this monument at City Park are N42°39'39.3", E21°10'06.8".

"Boro & Ramiz" Stadium:

In the center of the city of Priština is the region’s largest indoor sports arena (and the largest public works project ever undertaken in the city) (Photo 8), positioned directly next to the famous 1950’s-era Priština City Football Stadium. This 34,000 sq m complex was completed in 1977 and was designed by famous stadium architect Živorad Janković (along with Halid Muhasilović & Sretko Ešpek). The facility was originally given the name “Boro & Ramiz” Stadium, named as a tribute to the WWII Partisan folk hero friends Boro Vukmirović and Ramiz Sadiku [more info on them HERE], with one being an ethnic-Montenegrin and the other being an ethnic-Albanian. As this pair were seen as symbols of the Yugoslav concept of “Brotherhood & Unity”, this stadium stood as a monument to this noble ideal. Comprised of two separate indoor arenas (one with 8,000 seats and the other with 3,000 seats), the stadium itself largely stands out as a result of its distinct architecture. Crafted in a highly modern style, it is characterized by a central spine of tall cathedral-esque concrete pylons, down from which cascades a dramatic brown metal roof with a playful asymmetrical angularity.


Photo 8: An image of the sports complex formerly known as "Boro & Ramiz" in Prishtina.

From this roof, an elegant glass curtain drapes down all the way to ground level. Combined with the stadium is a whole shopping and entertainment complex (akin to the French idea of ‘Grandes Ensembles”), including restaurants, a cinema, community centers, cafes, and much more. One of the most notable and beloved shops in the complex is “Elida”, which is a candy and ice cream shop that has been operating within the complex since the Yugoslav-era. The primary large arena in the facility suffered a fire in 2000, which has resulted in, according to numerous sources, being closed up to the present day. However, the smaller second arena still operates (primarily used by the KB Priština basketball club. Today, the stadium goes by the name “Youth & Sports Palace”, with the famous “Newborn” monument positioned on the large plaza in front of the complex. The exact coordinates for this location are N42°39'41.1", E21°09'25.0". For a more extensive examination of the history of the Boro & Ramiz Stadium, please check out the paper by Sara Sylejmani at THIS link [PDF].

The National & University Library of Kosovo*:

Situated just south of the city center of Priština is the extraordinary visual landmark of the National & University Library of Kosovo* (Photo 9). Unveiled in 1982 and designed by Croatian architect Andrija Mutnjaković, this vast institution consists of over 70 domes (though some sources say 99 domes) sitting atop an array of connected and stacked concrete box-like structures wrapped in a web of metal netting. The complex contains numerous reading rooms and presentation halls, as well as the capacity to hold over 2 million books. In addition, the library contains a number of rooms with huge artistic installations (mosaics, murals, tile works, etc), most of which were created by local Priština artist Simon Shiroka. The library is so monumental in scope and scale that it stands as one of the most enduring symbols of the city. According to the architect, the form of this structure, with its many domes and concrete boxes, is meant to be a unifying fusion of Byzantine and Islamic design motifs.


Photo 9: A vintage image of the National University Library located in Prishtina.

Some sources recount that the domes are meant to be a synthesis of two quintessential Kosovo*-region domes: the one at the Turkish Baths at Prizren and those at the Patriarchate of Peć Monastery. Some also compare the library's domes to the famous geodesic domes of American architect Buckminster Fuller, which were made famous during the 1976 World Expo in Montreal.


While this building was unquestionably iconic immediately upon its unveiling, it was also very controversial as well, even during the Yugoslav-era, with there being much debate over the symbolic nature of its design and iconography. Even outside of the region, the building has drawn negativity, with news sources dubbing it one of the ugliest buildings in the world. While it survived the conflicts of the Kosovo War, it was utilized as both a site for refugees and as a military outpost. Today, the building continues to operate as the region's top library and serves the students of the local university. The building is a pivotal example of late Yugoslav modernism and is one of the most important buildings in the city, as well as being one of the top tourist attractions in Priština. The library's official website can be found at THIS link, while its exact coordinates are N42°39'26.7", E21°09'44.1". For more info about the library, an excellent journal article about its history by Llazar Kumaraku & Dasara Pula can be found at THIS link [PDF].

Gërmia/Grmija Department Store:

Within the city center of Priština at what is today known as "Skanderbeg Square" (called "Republic Square" during the Yugoslav-era) is the spot of the former department store "Gërmia/Grmija" (Photo 10). Built between 1970 and 1972 and created by Maceondian architect Lilijana Raševski, this shopping complex was among the first "modern" buildings created in the city, as well as being the first major civic project in Priština helmed by a female architect. Spanning a space of over 8,000 sq m, the building is composed of a cube-shaped pavilion which sits upon a glass curtain ground-level and two upper levels that are covered in a decorative metal lattice. Within the building's interior, Raševski laid out a series of mushroom-shaped columns that offered a wide-open free-flowing floorspace for traded goods (a first for the city). In addition to its distinct architecture, it was also the first building in the city to be equipped with moving electric escalators (a true novelty that was an attraction in itself). After the demolition of Priština's traditional bazaar during the 1950s (near which this building was constructed), the Grmija complex became the epicenter for what was considered "contemporary" commerce and consumption in the city. It became such a beloved landmark that it was even featured on many of Priština's Yugoslav-era postcards.

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Photo 10: A vintage image of the "Gërmia/Grmija" shopping center on Skederbeg Square in Prishtina.

The complex closed during the turmoil of the 1990s and the Kosovo War, while, afterward, the disused building fell under the durisdiction of the Privatization Agency. In turn, the building was handed over for use by the national Tax Administration agency. Since there were no official provisions protecting the facade of this building, the former Grmija complex was drastically altered. giving it a more subdued appearance. Many groups who evaluate the architecture of the city see these changes as a significant loss to the city's modernist heritage. Furthermore, international architectural groups such as DoCoMoMo have launched initiatives to save and protect the building and to protect it as a national monument. Such efforts have afforded it temporary protections, but its future is still unclear, as there are local government desires to tear down the building to build a new concert hall. The exact coordinates for this building are N42°39'49.1", E21°09'47.4".

Grand Hotel Prishtina:

Within the city center of Priština at the corner of what is today George Bush and Girabali Strees is an exclusive accommodation known as the "Grand Hotel" (Photo 11). Unveiled in 1978 and created by the architect Bashkim Fehmiu (the first ethnic-Albanian architect in Kosovo*), along with Belgrade architects Dragan Kovačević), the hotel consisted of three towers in the International Style spread across 32,000 sq m, the tallest being 13 levels (52m tall), containing over 350 guest rooms and 600 beds. The first such towering hotel in Priština, this enormous hotel stood as a symbol of progress in the city and its trajectory towards modern development. Standing as the only "A-level" five-star classified hotel in all of Kosovo*, the Grand Hotel operated as not only a center of high-class social life in Priština, but it was also a destination for communist politicians (with Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito even keeping a private suite on the hotel's 4th floor). Furthermore, the hotel became a center of Priština's cultural events, exhibitions, conferences and many other city social functions. This vast complex also operated as a repository of innumerable works of modern art and innovative interior design installations (curated by artist Matej Rodiqi), highlighting its place as a premier cultural institution.


Photo 11: A vintage image of the Grand Hotel Prishtina located at Republic Square.


Photo 12: A recent image of the interior of the Grand Hotel Prishtina. [source]

After the Kosovo War, the facility was used as a military base and suffered extensive damage, with sources recounting that the notorious warlord Arkan commandeered Tito's suite for himself. During the course of the war, the hotel was occupied first by Serbian forces, then by the KLA, and then KFOR/UN troops. Having formerly been owned by the Yugoslav government, after the war, the hotel was privatized and sold for just 8 million euros, however, the sale was later canceled (as were also subsequent sales) as a result of the buyers failing to meet the terms of the sales. Meanwhile, a 2000s-era incomplete renovation left the hotel's south tower with an incongruous contemporary cladding. Today, its ownership is still in limbo and the local government continues to look for a promising investor. Some see the massive hulking concrete hotel towers as an eyesore, considering their less-than-optimal state, and, as the New York Times points out, the hotel is routinely excoriated by those who stay there in online reviews for its service and condition.

As quoted in that article, when Kosovo* president Hashim Thaci was asked his thoughts on the hotel, he said: "I don’t think it is the worst hotel in the world, but that is because the world is very big". Yet, many still see the Grand Hotel as a piece of the city's architectural and cultural heritage and continue to advocate on its behalf. The hotel has seen minimal renovations, which, on one hand, give it somewhat of a shabby look, but, on the other hand, leaves it as a very well-preserved time capsule of Yugoslav-era interior design (Photo 12), artistic furnishing and modernist architecture (still even holding on to its reception lobby bedecked in black Hungarian marble). In 2022, the Grand Hotel was chosen as one of the exhibition venues for the Manifesta 14 art symposium. More info about the Grand Hotel can be read at THIS link. The exact coordinates of the hotel are N42°39'35.5", E21°09'36.2".

And Additional Sites of Interest:

  • The Bankkos Building: Located across from the Grand Hotel along what is today called George Bush Street in the center of Priština is the former Bankkos Building (with "Bankkos" abbreviation for the "Bank of Kosovo") (Photo 13). Unveiled in 1970 and created by the architect team of Shefqet Mullafazliu and Svetomir Popović, the complex was meant to operate as a street-level branch for the public, as well as offices for Bankkos personnel. The building was laid out in what is described as a "butterfly" configuration, a form that offered occupants maximal views of the city. The facade was streamlined in its appearance, with centralized horizontal banks of orange window frames flanked by smooth planes of smooth unadorned granite panels (all locally sourced). The bank continued to operate up until 1999, after which point it sat vacant for many years. In 2016, it was converted into retail space for the Turish clothing chain LC Waikiki. The exact coordinates for this location are N42°39'32.3", E21°09'38.9".


Photo 13: A vintage postcard of the Bankkos Building in Prishtina. Credit: Archive of Labinot Konushevci

  • The Yugoslav-era Skyscrapers of Priština: Before the Yugoslav-era, there were no skyscrapers whatsoever to speak of in Priština. However, after just a few decades, massive towers began to form a new modern skyline for the city. The most significant of these high-rises to mention are the Radio-Television Building, the Rilindija Tower, the Bankkos Tower, and the Elektro Kosova. The very first skyscraper to be built in Priština was the Radio Television (RTV) Tower (Photo 14), unveiled in 1965 and created by Slovene architect Oton Gaspari (author of the famous Cultural Center in Velenje). It was positioned towards the north end of Marshal Tito Boulevard (today called George Bush Boulevard). The tower was designed in the International Style within a triangle footprint [location]. Atop the tower was affixed a tall transmitting antenna. Adjacent to the tower is a horizontal extension of the complex that was meant to house TV studios and broadcasting stations. The building continues to operate as the region's primary broadcasting and radio transmission hub and maintains much of its original appearance. The next major high-rise project in Pristina was the Bankkos Tower (Photo 15), which was unveiled in 1978 and was created by the architect team of Milan Tomić, Svetla Putić and Milan Pavlović. Its 13 floors of the tower rose high above the center of the city and looked down upon Republic Square [location]. Designed in a highly modernist style that mimicked Western-style bank towers, it featured horizontal yellow window clusters and a daringly thin profile, all while the north end of the tower adapted a gradual stair-step-like diagonal structure. The tower's stairs were extended outside the tower's body within a glass casing. After being severely damaged during the Kosovo War, the tower was renovated in the 1990s (completely changing its external appearance) to become the house of several government ministries and offices.

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Photo 14: A vintage photo of the RTV Building.


Photo 15: A vintage image of the Bankkos Tower.

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Photo 16: A vintage image of the Rilindja Tower.


Photo 17: A vintage image of the Elektro Kosova Tower.

Also built the same year as the Bankkos Tower, 1978, was the Rilindja Tower (Photo 16). This building was conceived in the late 1960s to be the new headquarters and printing facility for Yugoslavia's first Albanian-language newspaper 'Rilindja' [location]. Famous Macedonian architect Georgi Konstantinovski (who had studied under American architect Paul Rudolph and Chinese architect IM Pei) was commissioned to create this new headquarters complex. Standing at 89m tall with 19 floors, the architectural style of the complex is described by multiple sources as being very brutalist in its style, with Konstantinovski no doubt being influenced by Paul Rudolph (one of the leaders of the brutalism architecture movement in America). In addition to housing the primary offices of the Rilindja newspaper, it also housed some offices of the Turkish-language newspaper 'Tan' and the Serbian-language newspaper 'Jedinstvo', making it a highly multicultural working environment. However, in 2008, the newspapers within the Rilindja complex ceased operation (with some sources citing 'political pressure' as a cause) and the building began to shift its operations to accommodating government ministries. The early 1980s brought the creation of several skyscraper projects in Priština, such as the immense Post Office Tower (PTK) [Halid Muhasilović, 1983] and the futuristic Ljubljana Bank Tower [Zoran Zakić, 1984], but the most impressive of this era was the Elektro Kosova Tower (Photo 17), which operated as the offices for the regional electric provider [location]. Unveiled in 1984 and created by the architect team of Zoran Zakić and Dragan Kovačević, this tower takes on a much more post-modern styling, highlighting bubble window elements and a sleek slanted pedestal. It was given the nickname "Lepa Brena", after the famous and beautiful Yugoslav folk singer. The tower still serves as the main office for the region's electric provider.

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Photo 18: A vintage postcard image of the Hotel "Kosovski Božur" in Prishtina.

  • Hotel Kosovski Božur: The first major modern hotel constructed in Priština as part of the new general development plan for the city was an accommodation called "Kosovski Božur", named after a beautiful flower of the region (Photo 18). Unveiled in 1958 and designed by Russian engineer Boris Pozdnyakov and architect G. Nečajev, the creation of this hotel marked the start of the contemporary architectural era for the city. Positioned on Republic Square, the structure originally stood as a modest five-level tower clad in smooth white stone, giving off a strong impression of Bauhaus early modernism. Its only adornment was three large tile mosaics of horsemen on its west side facing the street. Because of its central location and progressive appearance, it became a center for social life and activity within Priština. After the Kosovo War, the name of the Hotel was changed to "Illyria", but then again chained to "Swiss Diamond" after being privatized in 2006, at which point it underwent an extreme renovation (leaving it unrecognizable today from its original form). Its exact coordinates are N42°39'46.2", E21°09'49.3".

  • Old Center & Bazaar: One thing that must be understood in examining and understanding the early Yugoslav-era modernization of Priština is that it was created at the significant loss of the city's architectural heritage, namely the Old Town Center and the Old Bazaar. The area in question that was demolished was concentrated around the location of Republic Square, Hotel "Kosovski Božur" and the Grmija Department Store. In addition to the Old Bazaar (which was a narrow maze of Ottoman-style 2-story buildings containing small merchants, artisan workshops and craftsmen), was a 16th-century mosque and a Catholic church, among other religious structures (Photo 19). Yugoslav authorities had no qualms about the demolition of the former architectural heritage (religious sites in particular), especially if they saw it as standing in the way of "progress" and "modernity". Such an old-style city center/bazaar complex was seen as disorganized and too "organic" in nature. As part of the new modernist tendencies of the mid-20th century, all city center development must be structured within well-ordered "master plans", not left to the whims of spontaneous construction.


Photo 19: A vintage photo showing the old city center of Priština before its demolition.


This spomenik is right in the city centre area of Pristina, located just south of the Pristina Townhall (large white building). Parking can be made anywhere you can find it, however, be aware that traffic in this city is amazingly congested and heavy, and parking can be extremely difficult to find (I do not suggest driving into the city). Even city centre parking garages can often be found to be completely full and useless, with streetside parking near impossible to find at times. Not only that, but the city is a maze of confusing and clogged streets which Google Maps or any SatNav/GPS more than likely won't help you much with.  Do proper and adequate research before travelling here. Read updated travel warnings for the city HERE, as protests and demonstrations are not uncommon.

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* Note on the Question of Status:

All mentions of the designation "Kosovo" on this page are made without prejudice to the position on status, and is in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and the International Court of Justice's Opinion of the Kosovo Declaration of Independence. For more information, see this Wikipedia article on the topic.

Historical Images:



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