ERSTE Stiftung Books

A future for Prishtina’s past

The photo brochure A Future for Prishtina’s Past was distributed to Prishtina’s inhabitants in the three local languages of the city (Albanian, Serbian and Turkish). It contains brief descriptions of all the 21 protected monuments of the capital of Kosovo. The second ERSTE Stiftung study in cooperation with the European Stability Initiative highlights this brochure and, in addition, contains a discussion paper.


“Prishtina is a wonderful modern city featuring remnants of antique cultures such as Illyrians, Byzantine and Ottoman. Once discovered, Prishtina divulges its charm and beauty, and you are already in love – with beautiful Prishtina.” The story of old Prishtina since 1945 is a story of destruction and wasted opportunities. In the early Communist era, this destruction of the past was the result of deliberate policy. The slogan of “urban development” in the 1950s was: “Destroy the old, build the new.” As one book from 1959 noted proudly: “Until the end of World War II, Prishtina was a typical Oriental town. After the Liberation following the Second World War, Prishtina experienced rapid development in every respect, and it is now day by day developing into a modern town. Old shop fronts and other shaky old structures are quickly disappearing to make room for fine, tall, modern-style buildings.”

For many months, IKS (Kosovar Stability Initiative), a non profit research institute established in 2004 by three Kosovar analysts, and ESI, a Berlin-based independent policy institute focusing on European integration and the future of South Eastern Europe, have been doing research of the socio-economic fabric of Prishtina, working in partnership with ERSTE Stiftung as part of the wider “New Economic Geography of the Balkan” project. For this IKS and ESI analysts have met with policymakers, businessmen, civil society and municipal officials to explore development trends and look at issues ranging from Prishtina’s cultural heritage to economic development and urban planning.