Part of the former Yugoslavia, the landlocked Republic of Kosovo only gained independence three years ago. This matter is still unrecognized by many nations, and especially controversial with neighbouring Serbia. After centuries of surviving Ottoman rule, Nazi occupation, and Soviet law, Kosovo may be stacked with foreign influence, but its people remain proudly Kosovar.

Go café-hopping on Bill Clinton Boulevard in the capital of Pristina. Check out a wealth of stark Soviet architecture in northern Mitrovice, or the stunning Islamic buildings in Prizren. Visit the Dečani monastery, a UNESCO site, for its stunning frescoes and unique East-meets-West style. At night, visit Pristina’s independence monument, lit-up and modern. It’s comprised of one word: “newborn.”

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