City in Kosovo
Europe > Balkans > Kosovo > Gjakova
Gjakova/Gjakovë (Albanian) Đakovica (Serbian) is a city in western Kosovo with about 101,000 inhabitants. Gjakova is a centre of culture and learning in Kosovo.
The Gjakova Grand Bazaar
It was established as a trading town, sporting the largest bazaar in the Balkans, called Çarshia e Madhe (the Grand Bazaar). The tradesmanship spirit and some of the trades practiced still remain in the city. The city is centrally located in the Dukagjin Valley of western Kosovo, equal distance between the cities of Prizren to the south and Peja to the north. It also has a historic link to the Gjakova Highlands, now across the border in northern Albania.
The townspeople pride themselves in their sense of town music practised, humour and sarcasm which distinguish it from the rest of Kosovo and enforce the local character. Gjakova has contributed several important leaders to the history of Kosovo, such as World War II partisan and post-war leader Fadil Hoxha and communist Yugoslav Presidency Chairman Mahmut Bakalli, as well as to the cultural scene.
Gjakova was badly hit by the Kosovo War of 1998–99, fought between Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas demanding the independence of Kosovo and Serbian forces. Around 75% of town's population was driven out by the Serb Army during the war, and many of the city's homes and important monuments were burnt down or otherwise destroyed. After the war, much of town's ethnic Albanian inhabitants returned (who make up to 98% of the population). Many of the stores in the old-town area, locally known as Çarshia e Madhe, were rebuilt.
While in Gjakova, make sure you talk to the locals, especially the young ones, since they are more proficient in English. And you will hear a story about every corner of the city.
The town has sizable diasporas in Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium. Especially during the summer months, you might see many expensive foreign cars from these countries circling around town. The foreign family members return here for vacation as well as for marriages because this way the whole family can join the wedding. The Çarshia e Madhe has many shops specialized in wedding attire.
Tourist information
Tourist Information Office (at the entrance of the Grand Bazaar). (updated Jun 2019)
Get in
By bus
The inter-city bus station is at the entrance of the town when coming from Pristina, with easy access to the town.
If you are in Pristina, a bus heads to Gjakova every half an hour (€4, 1.5 hours), also from Prizren (€2, 1 hour) and from Peja (€2, 40 minutes) every 15 minutes.
If you are in Tirana, there are buses available directly to Gjakova, which leave at 06:00 and 15:00, and costing around €15.
If you are in Shkodra, you can have an adventurous route via Lake Koman. Get a furgon (minivan) at 06:00 from Shkodra to Koman. There you can catch the passenger or car ferry to Fierze, then get a furgon to Bajram Curri and another furgon to Gjakova, arriving around mid-day in Gjakova.
If you are in Skopje, take the bus going either to Pristina or Prizren, then from there take another bus to Gjakova.
By plane
Pristina International Airport Adem Jashari (PRN IATA) is 65km away from Gjakova. There you can get a taxi to the roundabout in Fushë Kosovë on the outskirt of Pristina and wait there for the Gjakova bus passing by from Pristina.
By car
From Pristina, Gjakova is 90 km away on a partly highway road. The road from Montenegro will take you first to Peja, Gjakova is another 36 km to the south. If you come from Albania, the easiest way is through the highway Durres - Kukes - Prizren, then taking the Gjakova exit with another 25 km on the Prizren-Gjakova regional road.
Get around
Since the city is not that big, the best way to get to see it is by walking. Taxis are quite inexpensive: you can get around the city for €2-3 at most.
By bike
Gjakova is the bike capital of Kosovo, and itself is quite suitable for biking.
Map of Gjakova
Some monuments in Gjakova had to be repaired or rebuilt after their destruction during the war. Enjoy the walk through the scenic old town. There, you should visit the guesthouse/restaurant Hani i Haraqisë which sits on a small street with shops specialized in woodwork. The church and the main Hadum Mosque have also been rebuilt and can be visited (opening times change).
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar. It is one of the rarest of its kind. An architectural and cultural complex, with a length of 1 km, including a space of about 35,000 m2, it holds a large number of crafts-work shops. free. 
Some of the main handicrafts:
The Haraqia Inn
Hani i Haraçisë, Gjakova
Haraçia's Inn. Being situated in the southern part of the Bazaar (15-20 minutes on foot), the Haraçia Inn is one of the oldest objects in Gjakova. It has a characteristic wooden construction style, with a beautiful balcony or "çardak". Having two floors and a wonderful yard, it has almost saved the original shape, while nowadays it is exploited as a museum-restaurant, where people can be served with traditional foods. 
Religious monuments
Religious harmony in Gjakova
Hadum Mosque (Xhamia e Hadumit). daytime. Hadum Mosque (Xhamia e Hadumit) is one of the very first monuments which marks the history of the town of Gjakova. Built during 1594-95, it represents a cultural, educational and religious center of this area. After sustaining damage during the 1999 Kosovo War, it was reconstructed and is now open not only for religious and educational purposes, but also for touristic and cultural visits. 10 minutes on foot away from the centre of the city, on the road of the Old Bazaar of Gjakova (also known as the Grand Bazaar of Gjakova) (Albanian: Çarshia e Vjetër e Gjakovës or Çarshia e Madhe e Gjakovës). free.
(updated Jun 2017)
Hadum Mosque
Saint Paul and Saint Peter Church. Saint Paul and Saint Peter Church (Albanian: Kisha e Shën Palit dhe Shën Pjetrit) is one of the tallest monuments in Gjakova, which can be seen from different points of the town, and can be reached 25-30 minutes on foot (Just in front of the Saint Anton (Shna Ndou) Church). free. 
Historical monuments
Traditional houses
Etnographic Museum in Gjakova
The houses below are characterized by interesting and unique architecture, of mainly traditional and oriental style.
Natural places
Gjakova is surrounded by beautiful hikable mountain trails lush with greenery and water.
Metal handicrafts, utensils and engravings can be bought at various places around town, including at the Grand Bazaar. Plis, the white traditional Albanian hat, can also be bought starting at €5.
Making of the plis
Cuisine in Gjakova is not very diverse, but offers the traditional Kosovo cuisine in a modest setting and at reasonable prices.
Hani i Haraçisë, Qamil Bakalli st. (Off Ismail Qemali st.), ☏ +383 44 236 838, +383 44 344 719. 08-23. Han means roadhouse, a role it served for some 200 years, but this object has been turned into a restaurant for the last 50 years. Tradional qebaba (Balkan kebabs) is recommended. Next door Hani i Vjetër which is part of the complex has an even better atmosphere although the food is not as good. If visiting in the morning, ask for paqë (beef soup) here. €5-10. 
Tavë me tomël (Milk tava)
Several choices are available for sleeping. The costs of sleeping ranges from €20-50 per night.
Wireless Internet is widely available in cafés and restaurants throughout the city, although it's a good idea to ask if one is available before you sit down. Free public Wi-Fi is also available around the city through PTK (username: ptk, password: telekomi) and Fibrelink hotspots (no login). Internet cafés are also available at a cost of €0.60/hour with drinks served.
Several private phone calling shops with long-distance calling are available. You may also use the state telco company PTK main Gjakova branch downtown or several of its kiosks around the city to buy calling credit and use phone cabins.
Mobile telephony providers Vala and Ipko provide 3G and 4G internet telephony.
Go next
Mirusha Waterfalls
Decani monastery
Further away
This city travel guide to Gjakova is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.
Last edited on 31 July 2021, at 14:47
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