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Introducing Kosovo

Everyone loves a newborn, and since 2008, when Kosovo declared independence, large letters spelling ‘NEWBORN’ have graced a section of pavement in Pristina. The location, between the secure offices of the UN and a shopping mall featuring ubiquitous European clothing stores and a skyclawing crumbling concrete monument, tells it all. Kosovo is finding its feet. Staff from international organisations glam up Pristina’s restaurants, cafes and bars, as do talented Kosovars who are taking their seats for the ride forward.

Barbs of its past are impossible to miss: roads are dotted with memorials featuring etchings of those killed in 1999. Kosovo’s modern architectural standouts may stand out for all the wrong reasons, but what the rebuilt country lacks in style, it makes up for with its mountain-backed towns, hiking opportunities and 13th-century Serbian monasteries, all no more than a couple of hours’ drive from its capital.