When Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008 a large sculpture spelling out the word NEWBORN was unveiled in Pristina. The sculpture was featured on the cover of the New York Times and has become one of the city's best-known sights. The letters of the sculpture, which has won several awards, are painted in the colours of the flags of the countries that have recognised Kosovo's independence.
Pristina, the capital of the country with a predominantly Albanian population, also boasts a statue of the Albanian national hero Skenderbeg, who in the fifteenth century halted the Ottoman expansion and to whom Vivaldi dedicated the opera Scanderbeg. In the Middle Ages Pristina was a seat of the Serbian kingdom, but it later passed into the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Sadly most of the architecture from the Ottoman period was destroyed after the Second World War.
One of the surviving buildings today houses the Emin Gjiku Museum, which is well worth a visit, while Pristina's Great Hamam, the former Turkish baths complex, is being restored to its original appearance. Kosovo's National Museum is housed in a building inspired by Austro-Hungarian architecture, while other sites worth seeing are the renovated Jewish cemetery and the remains of the Roman city of Ulpiana.
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