In the center of the Balkans, a ski adventure Serbia and Kosovo awaits you. A crazy journey to two regions that have a love-hate relationship with each other. The trip begins in Skopje, the capital of northern Macedonia. In Serbia, we ski at the large Kopaonik ski resort.
Discover Peaks of the Balkans, the cross-border route through Kosovo, Montenegro, and Albania, on touring skis or a splitboard! Originally designed as a hiking trail to promote local tourism and bring regions closer together, all across national borders. Majestic mountains, deep powder, and delightful Balkan hospitality make this journey an unforgettable experience.
Peja(Pejë in Albanian, Пећ in Serbian) is a town at the foot of the “Cursed Mountains.” Sounds ominous, but fear not. Mountain people are nice people, so are the people of Peja. The city is home to our local guides. We stay at their hostel Bora, are served fantastic meals and explore the nearby Rugova Canyon and Bogë Valley. Be welcome!
- Peja has 50,000 inhabitants
- Similarly named municipality consisting of about a hundred villages has about 100,000
- Surface area: 602 km²
- Peć, as the city is called in Serbian, means cave and probably refers to the numerous caves, caverns and caverns in the surrounding Rugova Canyon, one of the longest and deepest canyons in Europe.
- The Patriarchate Monastery has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006.
Peja is fairly central in the Balkans: a 250 km north of Tirana (Albania), 150 km north-west of Skopje (northern Macedonia), 85 km west of the capital Pristina(Kosovo) and just under 250 km east of Podgorica (Montenegro).
Like so many places in Kosovo, Peja has an eventful history of invasions, conquests and reconquests. The city was probably built on Roman ruins, populated by Slavic tribes from the North in the 6th E and then incorporated into the Serbian Kingdom around the 12th E. During this period, churches and monasteries sprung up like mushrooms. Later, because of its strategic location on the river Peć Bistrica(Bistrica e Pejës or Lumbardhi i Pejës in Albanian), Peja was taken in by the Ottomans (15th E), who left behind mosques and narrow cobblestone streets.
The 20th century brought much suffering: the Balkan Wars, two world wars, ethnic cleansing, bombings and the struggle for independence. Although Kosovo still carries the effects of all that violence, peace seems to have returned to some extent.
Europe’s newest country has a young, entrepreneurial population, much of which lives in Peja. Bustling we wouldn’t call the city (yet), but no one can deny that all sorts of things are bubbling up here. Small businesses are popping up all over town, old buildings are being restored and new ones erected. Riverfront terraces fill up, art projects and festivals are organized. Anibar, a summer animated film festival, is just one of many examples. Don’t say we didn’t mention it, Peja is a city to keep an eye on.