Peja (Pejë in Albanian) is a town at the foot of the “Cursed Mountains”. Sounds ominous, but fear not. Mountain people are nice people, so are the inhabitants of Peja. The city is home to our local guides. We stay in their hostel Bora, get fantastic meals and explore the nearby Rugova Canyon and Bogë valley. Be welcome!
In a nutshell
- Peja has 50,000 inhabitants.
- The municipality which is also called Peja consists out of 100 villages, which have about 100.000 inhabitants.
- Surface area: 602 km²
- Peja is home to numerous caves, caverns and canyons in the surrounding Rugova Canyon, one of the longest and deepest canyons in Europe.
- The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006.
More usefull information
Peja is centrally located in the Balkans: 250 km north of Tirana (Albania), 150 km north-west of Skopje (North Macedonia), 85 km west of the capital Pristina (Kosovo) and about 250 km east of Podgorica (Montenegro).
The history of Peja
Like so many places in Kosovo, Peja has an eventful history of invasions, conquests and reconquests. The city was probably built on Roman ruins, incorporated into the Serbian Kingdom around the 12th century. In this period the churches and monasteries sprang up like mushrooms. Later, because of its strategic location on the river Bistrica (Bistrica e Pejës or Lumbardhi i Pejës in Albanian), Peja was taken by the Ottomans (15th century), who left behind mosques and narrow cobbled streets.
The 20th century brought much suffering: the Balkan wars, two world wars, ethnic cleansing and atrocities, bombing and the struggle for independence. Although Kosovo still carries the consequences of all that violence, the peace has returned.
Europe’s newest country has a young, enterprising population, many of whom live in Peja. We wouldn’t (yet) call the city bustling, but we can’t deny the city’s bubbling atmosphere. Small businesses are popping up all over the city, old buildings are being restored and new ones are being built. The terraces along the river are full of people, art projects and festivals are being organized. Anibar, a summer animated film festival, is just one of many examples. Peja is a city to explore.