Kosovska Mitrovica or Mitrovicë is a city in the north of the Republic of Kosovo although the northern part is controlled by Serbia.
KFOR troops are guarding near the New Bridge
The city of Mitrovica is divided into a North and South by the Ibar river.
The Northern section is mainly populated by Serbs and Albanians . The southern section is mainly populated by Albanians, with very few Serbians.
There are several bridges that connect the two sections. Much has been made of the main Mitrovica Bridge running from the South side to the North side. It has been the scene of violence in the past, notably in 1999. It is completely safe to cross by daylight but may be less safe at night, depending on the general political climate. There were no reported disturbances on the bridge on the evening of the Serbian general election in May 2012 - the type of event which would ordinarily spark trouble.
Taking a bus from Belgrade (or Southern Serbia) you will arrive at the North Mitrovica improvised bus station.
Coming from Priština you will arrive at the actual bus station in the south.
A taxi from Pristina should not cost more than around 25 euros, or there is a bus for much cheaper (1.50 euro ). When arriving from the any side of the bridge, your taxi driver might urge you not to cross the bridge for fear for your personal safety. While noble, this is a largely inaccurate impression and is largely created by the international media. Smile politely, tell him you know what you are doing and he will take you to Mitrovica bridge. The word for "bridge" in Albanian is "ura" and is pronounced the same as it is written. The Serbian word is pronounced "most".
The usual combi system applies in the south, in the North you can walk anywhere you need to get to. If you want to travel on further to towns to the north of Mitrovica such as Zvecan or Zubin Potok, you will have no trouble finding a cheap taxi service.
If you are coming from Belgrade to North Mitrovica and planning on going on to Priština you have two options.
- You can walk across the main bridge (about 400 meters to the south of where the bus dropped you off) and then find a combi to Priština for 1.50 EUR
- Get off the bus in Zvecan (before arriving in Mitrovica) where you can transfer onto UNMIK Railways. The trains run about every three hours. The train will take you to Kosovo Polje where you can then take a combi to Priština
Church of Saint Demetrius in North Mitrovica.
Mitrovica is an old industrial mining town. For those with an interest in ruined communist industrial architecture, there is a wealth of it on display in and around Mitrovica, particularly around the Trepča complex. The medieval fortress of Zvečan is located nearby. Although the city itself offers only a few interesting sights, the surrounding area of Ibarski Kolašin is very beautiful.
- Serbian Orthodox church of Saint Demetrius is located in the north Mitrovica. It is dedicated to the patron saint of the city, after whom it was named in the XIV century. The church was completed in 2005, and it is richly decorated with beautiful frescoes (mostly finished as of March 2013).
- Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Sava is located in the south Mitrovica. It was completed in 1912, and dedicated to the first Archbishop of the Serbian Orthodox church Saint Sava (1174-1236). It became abandoned during the Kosovo war, when the Serbian population has been expelled to the north of Ibar river, and was damaged and desecrated in 2004. It is undergoing some renovation, and sometimes visited by local church dignitaries and tourists from Serbia, but is closed to the public most of the time. As of 2015, there is again a parish priest serving this church, and he and his wife are the only Serbs that have, up to now, returned to the south part of Mitrovica.
- At the center of the south (Albanian) side, there are a number of cafes, pizzerias, restuarnts, and shops, as well as a mall. There is also outdoor, public market just south of the mall. Internet cafes abound in Mitrovica. If you take a walk around various parts of town, you can still see a part of town marked by destruction (toward the west on the Albanian side - the Gypsy quarter), craftsmen and artists, rolling hills, etc. Bread, pizza, and doners are available all over town for a good, inexpensive meal. Sights on the south side include a market square with mosque, historic building (spared during 1990s fighting). People watching and relaxing along the bank of Ibar River, near Mitrovica Bridge.
- Panoramic views from top of Miners' Hill, with its own iconic monument, is worth the walk in the north side.
- You can visit Isa Boletini Castle in Boletin Village .
- See the biggest Stadium in Kosovo , named Adem Jashari ..Its near Suhodoll-Tavnik district .
- Mountain such as Bajgora , Cerrnusha , Kovaqica , Stanterg
- Visit Museum of Stanterg
- You can see a lot of beautiful Albanian Culture
- You can Drink , Eat and sleep for very few money
Walking around the town on foot is the best way to explore it. Evenings are full of young people going up and down the main thoroughfares. So expect to meet the same faces many times around.
In North Mitrovica near the main bridge you can purchase post cards with a picture of an F-117 Stealth fighter with a target on it and the text 'Sorry, we didn't know it was invisible.' A wealth of such such memorabilia is available for purchase.
In South Mitrovica you will find American and Albanian flags for sale. Local crafts found in stalls and department stores. Also look out for local and national football (soccer) clothing.
- Ibri: This outdoor (and indoor) restaurant is located in South Mitrovica on the road to Zubin Potok. It serves fresh fish from a fish pond located in the restaurant complex itself and their speciality is open grilled or fried trout fish. Very pleasant in summer evenings. If you are with your family, it has lot of open space for kids to play around. Ample parking space as long as there are not too many cars!
- Srpska Soba, . The restaurant running in the same building with NorthCity Hotel. If you want something to eat, but not fast food, this is a good option. Here you can find soups, meat courses etc.
Dolce Vita (north side of bridge): Once a smoke filled cafetaria that played music of the Serbian nationalist variety, it is now a fairly upmarket cocktail bar.
In the south side you hace much more choices , Playoff , BaraBar , Snap Bar , Riverside , and a lot of other Bars .
In the south side the life is much more organized and have more things to do
You have a large number of motels and hotels in and around Mitrovica where you can rest and sleep.
- NorthCity Hotel, Čika Jovina 3, ([email protected]), . Price includes the breakfast. Twin room: 37e/night. (North Mitrovica)
- Hotel Palace: Popular with international organizations for holding their conferences.
- Hotel Mitrovica
- Hotel Adriatik
- Motel Seadi-Petrol
- Hotel Genti, (South Mitrovica). 10 euros per night if you book after 6pm ; Before 6pm : 15 euros.
- Vučitrn (Alb. Vushtrri) is a small town some 15 km south of Mitrovica, located on the main road to Prishtina. The town can be reached by most buses from Mitrovica to Prishtina (except the express lines which don't make stops along the way). In the centre of town you can see two beautiful medieval monuments: remains of a fortress and a stone bridge. Vučitrn fortress, colloquially called Vojinović Tower, was built in the XIV century, and for a time it was the seat of the despot of Serbia, Đurađ Branković (1377-1456); today only this one tower still remains. Vojinović Bridge is located nearby, it was erected in the XIV century by Serbian feudal lords of the house of Vojinović, and it was an important part of the caravan route from Dubrovnik to Skopje; in medieval times it spanned the Sitnica River, which has since changed course, so the bridge now stands on dry ground; it is, unfortunately, in poor state, but its grandeur can still be comprehended. It is the biggest medieval stone bridge in the region. Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Elijah the Prophet is located in the south-eastern part of town, near the main park. It was erected in 1834, while Kosovo was still under Ottoman rule, and that is why its nave is lower than ground level - Turks never allowed the church to be higher than other buildings, especially mosques, so Christians were forced to build them like this. The church was burned and desecrated in 1999 and again in 2004, but has since been renovated. The parish priest and his wife are the only Serbs who have returned to the town, and they live there in isolation.
There are many monasteries and scenic spots around the area of Ibarski Kolašin (north Kosovo). Some of the most important are:
- Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Saint Stephen the Archdeacon (also known as Banjska Monastery) is located in the village of Banjska, north of Mitrovica. The monastery was comissioned by the Serbian king Milutin, and was completed in 1317. Having suffered destruction for many times, it was converted in a mosque in the XIX century, and later abandoned. It was renovated in the XX century, and reopened as an active male monastery in 2004. Entrance is free. It can be reached by local buses from north Mitrovica, or by taxi.
- Sokolica Monastery, dedicated to the Protection of the Holy Virgin Mary, is located in the village of Boletin, some 10 kilometres northeast from Mitrovica. It was founded in the XIV century. The monastery houses a wonder-working statue of Virgin Mary from the XIV century. The abbess of the monastery, Mother Macaria, is one of the most respected nuns in the Serbian Orthodox Church and is an accomplished painter of frescoes. Entrance to the monastery is free. It can only be reached by taxi, since there is no public transportation going in that direction.
- Medieval Fortress of Zvečan is located on the top of a volcanic hill above the eponymous village, just north of Mitrovica. It was first built in 1093, and it was later one of the royal castles of the Serbian Nemanjić dynasty. There is a need for complete reconstruction of the fortress in order to prevent it from further ruining. Stone path leading to the fortress was rebuilt in 2014 and it is now quite easy to reach the fortress. While in Zvečan, you can visit the newly-built Orthodox church dedicated to Saint George in the centre of the village.
- Devina voda Monastery is located on a hill above the road that connects Mitrovica/Zvečan with Zubin Potok. It is one of the newest and smallest monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church, founded in 2009 and dedicated to the Holy and Wonder-working Icon of the Virgin Mary Trojeručica (Tricherousa). There is a wonder-working spring in the monastery. It is also worth visiting because of the wonderful scenery. Entrance is free. It can be reached by bus from Mitrovica/Zvečan to Zubin Potok (you have to ask the driver to stop near the monastery), or by taxi.
- Duboki potok Monastery is located in the village of Zubin Potok, west of Mitrovica. It is dedicated to the Presentation of Virgin Mary, and was built in the XIV century. The monastery houses one hand of Saint Nicetas the Martyr, and a nice (although small) collection of Serbian medieval handwritten books and incunabules. Entrance is free. The village of Zubin Potok can be reached by bus from Mitrovica or Novi Pazar, or by taxi.
- Gazivode Lake is located west of the Zubin Potok village. It is one of the largest artifical lakes in the region.
- Sočanica Monastery is located in the eponymous village, north of Mitrovica. It is dedicated to the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. The monastery was founded in the Middle Ages, but the current church building was built in 1862 on the foundations of an earlier church building. You can reach the Sočanica village by any bus that goes from Mitrovica to Leposavić and Central Serbia, and then walk to the monastery, or take a taxi.