A Prishtina guide to celebrating Kosovo’s independence

From Friday – Sunday, Kosovo’s capital will host a variety of celebrations to mark the holiday, including a headline act by pop star Rita Ora.

Jubilees exist as a reminder to give a little boost to the intensity of our usual celebrations. Kosovo’s independence day, possibly the ultimate fête of the year in the country, is coming around for the tenth time since its icy debut in 2008.

Back then, the grand migration of people from their homes to every nook and cranny of city centers around the country was hardly planned. After witnessing the unanimous show of hands in support of independence at the Assembly from TV screens, Prishtina’s frosty streets were overrun with droves of happily disoriented people with no port of call.

Years go by and memories lose their grip, but fortunately it takes little to fall back into the solace of shared happiness. Ten years later, celebrations oftentimes take place within a larger context of disappointment, but they never fail to at least take the edge off a tough week’s burnout.  

This year, besides the predictable boozy haze that will befall the town, there will be many things to do to commemorate the day.

The government of Kosovo will organize an array of events all around the country, but most of them will take place in Prishtina.

Alije Vokshi, the first Kosovo Albanian woman to get a painting degree, will display her early work through an exhibition hosted at the Gallery of the Ministry of Culture located at Qafa near the city stadium. Titled “Retrospective,” her exhibition will open on Friday at 7:00 pm. Vokshi’s art is also displayed at the National Gallery of Kosovo among the works of 20 other local artists in “Drawing Now,” a group exhibition marking the independence anniversary.

The Cinematographic Center of Kosovo has been screening award-winning Kosovo-made films free of charge at Kino ABC since February 8. The final two, which will be shown on Friday and Saturday, are, respectively, Dren Zherka’s Eho and Visar Morina’s Babai, both showing at 6:00 pm.

A talk about democracy and identity in Kosovo organized by the social center Termokiss and NGO Levizja Fol will be held on Friday at 4:30 pm. The organizers will later display the results of the discussion, called “Democracy Wall,” in the Kosovo Future Exhibition at the Kosovo Museum in Prishtina.

Organized by the French Embassy in Prishtina, Croatia-based Kosovo guitarist Petrit Ceku and violinist Klaidi Sahatciu from Albania will have a joint concert at the at the Swiss Diamond Hotel at 7:00 pm on Friday.

Prishtina Insight’s playlist for celebrating independence 

On Saturday, the Shota Dance Ensemble will perform at noon on the Mother Teresa Boulevard, followed by  an aerial parade with parachutists. 

The climactic point is scheduled to start at 8:00 pm on Saturday at Skenderbeu square: multiple local singers and DJs will build up for the 10:00 pm much-awaited headliner Rita Ora, the Prishtina-born UK pop star, who agreed to perform for free to celebrate Independence Day. Last time she performed in her home town was 2012 while shooting the music video for her single “Shine Ya Light.”

At 8:00 pm on Saturday, Tartine Deli on Fehmi Agani will be organizing a food and wine tasting with selected wines from the vineyards of Rahovec. Prior booking is required.

Florent Abrashi, who won the Voice of Albania in 2013, and Funky Guru will be headlining at Hamam Bar at 8:00 pm (the entry fee is two euros), whereas BB Poqi and the Armadillo Band will bring some old-school Kosovo rock and funk tunes at Rockuzine at 9:00 pm.

Kejsi Tola, who represented Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow in 2009, will be performing with her band at Apartment 196 at 9:00 pm, and the ‘90s Kosovo rock band Troja will be performing at Zanzi Jazz Bar at 11:00 pm (tickets only, sold for 10 euros each at Zanzi, Miqt Pub and Dit’ e Nat’).

ODA, one of the most renowned DJs in town, will reverberate around the quiet neighborhood around M Club starting at 10:00 pm.

Further into the night, Serbian DJ duo Trips and Tics from Vrnjacka Banja will alight at BASStore to energize party-goers, and Bahnhof Prishtina will bring DJs Likatek and Altin Boshnjaku for the last men standing.

On Sunday, Kosovo Police and Security forces will perform a celebratory march from Mother Teresa Boulevard to Zahir Pajaziti Square starting at 11:00 am.

If one thing is certain, any place you end up  on Saturday night will be teeming with people who are out for the same reason. The narrow street at Kafet e Rakise will smell of fruity spirits, the Mother Teresa Boulevard will be practically impassable for the better part of the day, and various flags will be flapping amid the crisp breeze. Also, probably nobody would bat an eye if you uncork and sip from a bottle of wine while strolling around. Urime!

Featured image: Facebook, Rita Ora. 

This article was updated at 5:30 pm to reflect changes to the official schedule. 


16 February 2018 - 15:39

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