To bring you all up to scratch on your Balkan history, here's the deal: Kosovo has been a disputed territory for hundreds of years, with a large ethnic Albanian population, a significant Serbian population, and other ethnic groups (Roma, Turks, Bosniaks). Up until the end of the war in 1999 Kosovo was a province of what we now call Serbia (but most recent incarnations have been as follows: Serbia, Serbia and Montenegro, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia, and The Kingdom of Slavs, Croats, and Slovenes.) From 10th June 1999 to 17th February 2008, Kosovo was under United Nations administration. On 17th February 2008, the Republic of Kosovo was declared as an independent nation. And so we get Independence Day!
We took a trip into Pristina to mark Independence Day with a prayer meeting at church. On the way to church we past this monument to independence, the NEWBORN structure. It's a great monument in my opinion, made particularly good by the grafitti which now covers it. I'm not sure if the plan was to allow the grafitti, but I think it adds something really special to an already very interesting structure. It makes it quite living, quite fluid, which I think is apt for a young nation finding its feet.
As is always appropriate, any birthday deserves a cake and so please check out the below. Yes, this is ALL cake. How to make me very happy! And that's Eileen's finger directing you all to Vushtrri, should anyone wish to visit.
Our Independence Day afternoon was spent, slightly randomly, at some Roman ruins. Now I bet most of you have visited some Roman ruins at some point, Lullingston Villa, Bath etc etc. I bet none of you have walked all over Roman ruins though. Well, you should visit Kosovo, where really no one is interested and you can do whatever you like with some ruins that you can find if you divert off the road and walk for about 5 minutes and there they are. As you do. And then you can walk and climb and clamber and fall off to your heart's content! And if you're really lucky you'll find a sarcophagus made of white marble: