Earth : Europe : Balkans : Kosovo : Mitrovica
Kosovska Mitrovica or Mitrovicë is a city in the north of the Republic of Kosovo although the northern part is controlled by Serbia.
The city of Mitrovica is divided into a North and South by the Ibar river.
The Northern section is mainly populated by Serbs, with some Albanian sole and mixed neighbourhoods along the banks of the Ibar. The southern section is mainly populated by Albanians, with few Serbians.
There are several bridges that connect the two sections. Much has been made of the main Mitrovica Bridge running from the Albanian side to the Serbian 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 35 euros, or there is a bus for much cheaper. When arriving from the Albanian side of the bridge, your taxi driver will often 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.
Mitrovica is an old industrial mining town (some creative theorists say NATO bombed Kosovo to capture the 'rich' mines of Mitrovica).
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 Trepca complex.
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.
Taxis are as cheap as they are anywhere in Kosovo, but once again don't count on taking a taxi across the bridge.
The train form Zvecan to Kosovo Polje has now stopped running.
On the north side one should visit the new Orthodox church. Sights on the south side include a market square with mosque, historic building (spared during 1990s fighting). People watching and relaxing along southern 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.
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.
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.
It will be extremely difficult to find accommodation in Mitrovica you have a huge number of motels and hotels in and around Mitrovica where to have accommodation where you can rest and sleep.