Pristina Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Kosovo

This bizarre, unfinished (and never likely to be finished) construction sits near the National Library of Kosovo it’s bare bricks on view to the world, windowless, roofless and unwanted by the local population. It was started in 1995 by Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbian government and was supposed to be finished by 1999. However, it was built as a political statement of Serbian intent to keep control of Priština and, with that quite clearly not happening, it has become an object of derision and even hatred.

In August 1999 the Cathedral was bombed just hours before Tony Blair was due to arrive in Priština to call for peace. Since this time the Cathedral has become the target for vandalism, graffiti and general neglect and was for some time used as a public toilet by the people of Priština. This came to an end when KFOR troops started to guard the Cathedral against further attacks.

Today the Cathedral is in a permanent state of limbo. Nothing can be done to it without the permission of the Serbian Orthodox Church who, quite legitimately, own the land. No one can worship there and nothing can be done to either complete or demolish the existing building.

And so it remains – a potent symbol of the divisions and conflicts of Priština and Kosovo.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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