Heritage train to unite Kosovo communities

26/09/2013

Kosovo celebrates European Heritage days organising train tours to promote its cultural and religious heritage.

By Safet Kabashaj for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 26/09/13

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About 120 people took part in the first trip of the Kosovo heritage train on September 14th to visit Peja patriarchate, Bajrakli mosque and the Ethnologic Museum. [Safet Kabashaj/SETimes]

Kosovo heritage tours will help people to understand more about their culture and improve tolerance, project organisers said.

Every Saturday and Sunday, until September 29th, a yellow and red train takes tourists and local citizens from Pristina to the western Kosovo cities of Peja and Decan to visit popular sites such as the Decani monastery, the city Hamam and the Old Bazaar.

Ian Cliff, UK ambassador in Kosovo, said the project is an opportunity for people to see what Kosovo possesses in terms of cultural and spiritual heritage.

"Our aim today is to show there is a lot of cultural heritage that everyone can enjoy whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic, and much of this cultural heritage is in the same place," Cliff told SETimes. "That’s why we are going to Peja/Pec because there you have the patriarchate, which is the place where the Serbian Orthodox patriarchate has been in for centuries, but you could see also some beautiful Ottoman mosques and Muslim sites."

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The heritage train project is a joint effort of Kosovo's Ministry of Culture, the Council of Europe and some foreign embassies.

"European Heritage Days are celebrated across Europe and this is our attempt to encourage people to see, enjoy and learn more about their cultural heritage," Tim Cartwright, the head of Council of Europe office in Kosovo, told SETimes.

Hajdin Abazi, deputy minister of culture, said that the protection and promotion of cultural heritage is a priority for the ministry.

"In this way we are in the position to protect our cultural and religious heritage because we consider that it should not be something that divides us, but instead something that unites us and increases tolerance and understanding," Abazi told SETimes.

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