Sometimes a trip is more about the people you meet than the places you see. That was true for me today. My sister and I went with two of her friends to meet with the Director of the Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Artifacts. Their offices are located in the oldest building in Prishtina, pictured below.
The building houses the cultural heritage library. The library is only there today because right after the Americans liberated Kosovo in the war the current librarian, who was a solider in the war, went and guarded the building for 2 months against looters. This is important because during the conflict the Serbians burned over 100,000 books on Albanian culture, trying to eradicate it from existence.
The other interesting part about this visit was the realization of the lack of funding for preserving artifacts. Since there is no funding, artifacts and archeological finds such as the ones pictured below are left out in the open, propped up against walls since there is nowhere to put them. In fact, the man we spoke to built a shed by himself so that he could get some of the artifacts out of the elements.
And, one of my favorite parts, they have a massive blackberry tree next to the house. We stood around the tree after our visit and ate fresh blackberries off of the tree. The people of Kosovo are so warm and inviting – it is a great place to meet locals and learn about the history of the country because so many are willing to discuss it.