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Cultural Heritage of Prizren

Sinan Pasha Mosque, the most beautiful mosque in Kosovo

This mosque, which can also be called the pearl of the city because it constitutes a very important monument of religious heritage in Prizren, is the most beautiful mosque not only in Prizren but also in Kosovo. Sinan Pasha Mosque is located in the Historic District of the city of Prizren. With its dominant positioning, its dimensions, its shape, the ratio of the minaret to the dome, the construction techniques and materials, the rich decoration of the interior, the Sinan Pasha Mosque represents one of the most characteristic monuments of the ancient city of Prizren. Its construction began in 1607 and was completed in 1615. This monument is named after Sofu Sinan Pasha, who held an important position in the Ottoman administration.

The mosque has a square-shaped plan and the entrance to the mosque from the outside is provided by a carved stone staircase located towards the north. The minaret of the mosque is built of pumice stones (foam stone) with a square base and circular body. Before the entrance of the mosque, there is an open life, also made of stone. The so-called “Hayat” section is covered with three lead-covered domes resting on stone columns with circular bases. The mosque is covered by a large dome with a diameter of 42.5 meters. The interior is a unique space illuminated by tiered windows.

The paintings inside the dome were completed in three phases and are decorated with floral and Islamic motifs. The first and second phases were painted in the “al seco” technique and date back to the XVI-XVII centuries, while the third phase belongs to the XIX century and was painted in the baroque style with predominantly blue colors.

Due to the historically unfavorable conditions in Kosovo, this mosque was not able to serve religious needs without interruption.
Until 1912, it served the religious needs of the faithful, but during the Balkan Wars and the First World War, it was sufficiently damaged, especially the life section. In 1967, with the establishment of the Organization for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, the maintenance of the monuments began. In 1968-69, after a renovation, this mosque was transformed into the Museum of Oriental Manuscripts.

From 2007 to 2011, restoration works were carried out both inside and outside, and immediately after these restoration works, it was reopened as a mosque.

In addition to the arrangement of the courtyard on the south side, a traditional place was opened where residents can relax in front of the mosque’s beautiful view.

Finally, in 2016, the mosque was officially declared under permanent protection by the Kosovo Cultural Heritage Council.

The Stone Bridge

The Lumbardh River goes through Prizren city, thereby dividing the city in two almost identical parts. Over the Prizren Lumbardh, many bridges have been built in history, but undoubtedly the most special one, which also became a symbol of the city, is the Stone Bridge. The Stone Bridge is located in the centre of the old town. On the eastern side to it, there is the Arasta Bridge, while on the western side, there is a Nalet Bridge. The bridge connects the “Shatervan” square (on the left) and Saraçhane (on the right side of the river). Historical resources do not provide any information on the accurate time of its construction. Based on materials used, the style, technique of construction, it may be assumed that the bridge was built by the end of the 15th Century, or the early 16th century. The old bridge is built in quality carved stones, connected by lime plaster.

The old bridge used to have three arches, the middle one being the highest, and the side arches were smaller. The length of the former bridge used to be approx. 30 m, while the current bridge is 17 m long. The width of the major arch is 10 m, and 5 m in height. The length of side arches is 4 m, 3 m in height. The bridge also has an additional minor arch, 103 cm long and 160 cm height. The width of the bridge route is 4,20m, paved in stone cobble. The bridge also has a 40 cm high fencing, following on its level surface, and was used only for pedestrians. In history, the bridge has undergone major changes. It suffered serious structural damages during the construction of the Lumbardh riverbed in the 60-es. At this time, its left side arch was closed entirely. The right hand arch was damaged due to the construction of the road on the right side of the river in 1963.

Nevertheless, the bridge is mostly endangered by natural factors. The flooding on 17-18 November 1979 destroyed the whole bridge. Enamoured with the bridge, the Prizren population mobilized itself, and used a design made by Engineer M. Gojkovic, and started, on 5 June 1982 the works on its reconstruction. The restoration was lead by “Elan” Company, under the supervision of the Institute for Protection of Cultural monuments in Prizren. The reconstructed bridge was solemnly inaugurated on 17 November 1982. Hence, the bridge found its natural place again, and still continues to perform its function as a pedestrian bridge. Due to the values of heritage, the Stone Bridge was subject to state protection by Decision 2345, of 31 December 1948.