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Site Profiles: Interviewee Areas of Kosovo

Site Profiles: North & South Mitrovica/ The Camps | Gnjilane/ Gjilan | Bostan- Novo Brdo | Prizren


Prizren lies 62 KM southwest of Pristina.

Security & Transportation
After June of 1999, Albanians burned the Serb quarter of town. Prizrenís Serbs fled en masse in July of 1999. A considerable amount of violence was directed at Prizrenís Roma by the KLA; detention centers were created where minorities and Albanians considered to be collaborators were tortured, and often killed.

Prizren minorities now face the least amount of security and movement restrictions in Kosovo- with the exception of resident Serbs. All languages, including Serbian, are spoken freely in Prizrenís streets. Serbs who identify themselves as Bosniaks or Gorani can move freely, as long as they are not recognized. Prizrenís Roma, Turks, Gorani, and Bosniaks have freedom of movement within Prizren municipality, including usage of public transportation. Minorities also travel freely to Macedonia . This freedom of movement ends when one leaves Prizren municipality; minorities are wary of traveling further except with a private car.

Economy & Infrastructure
Prizren has a well-developed middle class; it is a city built on commerce. In Prizrenís Roma Mahalas, Roma own shops and cafes. This is a rare occurrence outside of Prizren. Many Roma work as blacksmiths; many also work as manual laborers. Some Roma children beg in the old townís center.

Roma attend Albanian primary and secondary schools in Prizren town and rural areas. Other Roma attend Bosniak or Turkish schools, not due to security, but to cultural affinity. Most Roma speak Albanian, Serbian, Romanes and Turkish; the cultured language of the town.

Prizrenís Roma identify as Roma; no one distinguishes between Roma, Ashkalija or Egyptian. In rural areas, however, some identify themselves as Egyptian or Ashkalija for security reasons.

The Ottoman Bridge

The Prizren Roma leader is Hadji Zulfa.

Demographic Information

Prizren's Terzi Mahala

Prizren has only lost 10% of its Roma population since June of 1999.

Roughly 5000 Roma live in Prizren Municipality . The majority- ~4500 Roma- live in the following Prizren town Mahalas:

Terzi Mahala; Durmish Aslanu; Jeta e Re; Cyrt Mahala; Bazhdarana; Ortakoll-Ulqinit; Arbana; 2 Koriki (with sub-areas Kurill and Zares); and Jeni Mahala.

~17 Roma IDP families from rural Prizren live in the town. Other Roma live outside of Mahalas, in mixed neighborhoods.

Roughly 500 Roma live in the following rural villages:  


Atmadja/ HatmaxhŽ; Grazdanik/ Grazhdanik; Landovica/ LandovicŽ; Mamusa/ MamushŽ; Medvece/ Medvec; Zojic/ Zojz; Pirane/ PiranŽ; Donja Srbica/ SerbicŽ e Poshtme; Gornje Srbica/ SerbicŽ e EpŽrme; Spinadija/ Shpinadi; Vlasnja/ Vlashnje; and Caparce/ Caparc. 

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Who We Were, Who We Are: Kosovo Roma Oral Histories
©Bobby Anderson 2003-2009. All rights reserved.

This project was made possible by the generous financial support of the Open Society Institute Roma Culture Initiative.

Additional thanks to all other
donors & implementers

This study may be freely distributed, in whole or part, so long as the source is cited:
Who We Were, Who We Are: Kosovo Roma Oral Histories © Bobby Anderson 2003-2009
Is there something you feel we're missing? Do you have any comments, suggestions, or need additional information? Please write Bobby Anderson at bobby@balkanproject.org