The nation known as the Republic of Kosovo is connected with the borders of Serbia to the north and east, Macedonia to the south, Montenegro to the northwest and Albania to the west. The country is very small, covering a territory that totals just over 4,000 square miles, but has a booming population of 1.8 million people. Its capital, Pristina, is its largest city with over 600,000 citizens living there. Kosovo got its name from a phrase that, in the Serbian dialect, means ‘field of blackbirds’. Since it is the key link between not only the Adriatic and Black Seas, as well as northern and central Europe, Kosovo wields a considerable level of influence in its region, despite its small size. 

The history of Kosovo as a territory begins long before the first year AD, when the Dardani people first arose here. Until the Roman empire arrived in 160 BC, they were the primary inhabitants, but later the Slavic peoples would move into the area and after this, a progression of empires including the Bulgarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire would bring this territory under their control. As a result, as with most of the Balkan region, Kosovo has a vast diversity of cultural influences that have helped it to develop its own quite distinct presence. Today, the majority of the people here are of Albanian descent, but there are those with Serbian heritage, as well. This is why the two official languages are Albanian and Serbian.

Warm summers and cold, snowy winters are typical of the continental climate in this country. Due to its positioning, most of the land in Kosovo is rugged mountain terrain with the tallest mountain being Deravica, which towers at more than 8,700 feet above sea level. The primary waterways of the country are the Ibar, South Morava, Sitnica White Drin and Erenik rivers, but there are a number of large lakes, too. Forests cover just under 40% of the territory, leaving slightly over half of it suitable for some form of agriculture. 

There is an International Airport in the capital city of Pristina and the primary highway into Kosovo comes from Skopje, Macedonia, acting as the central motorway for incoming visitors. Other cities of size are Kosovska Mitrovica, Pec, Bakovica and Prizren. Thanks to a great deal of foreign investment over the past few years and such eco tourism friendly pursuits as ski resorts in the mountains, Kosovo is increasingly a more attractive place for visitors to vacation and do business, as well.

Filed Under: The Balkans

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