When one lives and works in Prishtina, it's most likely that one forgets what happens outside the city. Even though Kosovo is a tiny country that you can ovelook almost in its entirety from the mountains of Germia, Prishtina's buildings and dusty streets tend to blur our vision towards the outside. If you're not careful you might get used to the idea that Kosovo in fact, is Prishtina. It's the disease of every capital, resulting in the habitual opinion that whatever happens in your city is the only thing happening in your country. Prishtina, even though it is quite the cultural hub considering its size, can at times be a bit boring.
This is why the move of Prishtina's entire small bourgeois community from Prishtina to Prizren seems a good healing moment. It is hilarious to observe how during Dokufest the cajtore behind the big mosque in Prizren is occupied by bearded Prishtinali, dressed lessez faire, like characters in old Gouloises commercials. Prishtinali look better in Prizren, more relaxed, loosened from the grip of Prishtina's everyday city life. For nine days they get to watch films, go to concerts and parties, wash their hot heads at the Chadervan fountain, and drink Turkish tea for only 20 cents. What a relief!
Of course it helps that Dokufest provides a daily input of great cinema, debates, trainings, exhibitions and music. Apart from Skena Up in the fall, Dokufest is one of the few moments when intellectual Prishtinali get to feed their cravings for new insights and aesthetic well-being to an extent that there is more available than one can consume.
Another therapeutic effect of Prishtina's temporary move down south, is the fact that one experiences that Prizren is a city with a soul of its own. It has its own establishment, with fancy Turkish speaking citizens. And it has its young subculture, with its own way of celebrating its identity. When I visited the NGOM Festival last week, I observed crowds of young Prizrenali, ecstatically resonating all of Bim Bimma's rhymes, from which I could only conclude that these kids are quite fanatic fans of local underground hip hop. Prizren’s youth thus are proving themselves as enthusiastic consumers and potential producers of urban youth culture.
The fact that Prishtina’s artists and organizers are seizing this opportunity to engage in organizing and participating in festivals and events more and more, proves that the duality of both cities has a great role in catalyzing the process of the development of urban culture in Kosovo. Or, in other more simple words: it’s nice to see some new and different faces, mixed with the ones that you know, while walking Prizren’s clean and dust-free cobblestone streets. A change of scene wakes us up, and if that won’t help, the Turkish tea will for sure.
The article was originally written in English.
Photo credit: Majlinda Hoxha
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