Europe's youngest capital, Pristina (also spelled in English as Prishtina) was established February 2008 as the capital of the newly independent Kosovo, a country that hopes to settle down following many tumultuous years of Albanian-Serbian conflict. Close to the Goljak and Sar mountains, the creation of green spaces has been a priority, and this has led to a dramatic betterment of air quality. Tourism, however, is in its infancy, and there is no dedicated tourism bureau, neither for Pristina nor Kosovo. Meeting venues in Pristina can range from Cold War hold-overs to the latest statements in luxury.
Newly privatized Pristina International Airport Adem Jashari (PRN), 10 miles southwest of the city center, is Kosovo's only international airport. There are no direct flights from the U.S., but airlines such as British Airways, Air Berlin and SAS make connections.
There are no convention venues in Pristina, except perhaps the Palace of Youth, often referred to as the Youth Center. Built during the Yugoslavian era and recently remodeled, it puts on conventions, expositions, concerts and sporting events.
Hotel venues in Pristina, include the 374-room
Grand Hotel, which still retains a Stalinist look and has meeting space for 550 persons; and the new, luxury, 72-room
Emerald, with meeting space for 750.
Pristina's two principal theaters, the National and the Dodona, have fallen victim over the last few decades to a lack of money and bickering over what language plays can be performed in. Finance remains tight, but both have space for groups, and the money is needed. Dodona also has a puppet theater, which was one of the few cultural institutions not be continually faced with closure during the Yugoslavian years. The Kosovo Museum, whose prize artifact is the 6,000-year-old Goddess on the Throne statue, unearthed only in 1960, now competes with the city's Kosova Art Gallery. Other spots for events include the Espace Cultural Francais inside Pristina University and the Teatri ODA, another theater; it organizes Pristina's annual jazz festival. The city is building an opera house. Just outside the city is the stunning Gracanica Monastery. Built in 1321, this Serbian monastery makes for a great day excursion.
Pristina's restaurants are improving, and good choices include Pjata; the eponymously named restaurant in the comfortable, 18-room Pinocchio Hotel, which has a private dining room with a long table; A&A; Tiffany's, and Chalet Denis. Excellent seafood is a strong point here.