Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mitrovica, the divided city in Kosovo

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 Departure - early morning bus leaving Belgrade for Mitrovica, a city in northern Kosovo

The bus ride was about 6 hours and there was no passport control point all the way. It stopped at the northern side of the city and the driver kindly told me if I wished to continue my journey to Prishtina, I shall go to bus station in the south. I wasn't surprise at all, because the bus belonged to a Serbian bus company.

Mitrovica is "divided" by Ibar river, Serbs mainly stay in the north side and the Kosovo Albanians  remains in the south. The New Ibar Bridge becomes an ironic landmark of this divided city.

 Unplated cars can be easily found in the north, including some taxis on the main road....

May not be that politically correct by certain people's standard

 I don't understand the exact content but the "не" and "Бојкот" messages are pretty clear. I am missing the context only. I guessed these posters were related to the upcoming election in Kosovo.

New Ibar Bridge - Entrance from the northern side has been blocked for quite some time but a narrow side way for pedestrian is created recently (see the far right side of this picture)

The northern entrance becomes an open fruit market during the day

Serbian flag flying in the northern side and vehicles are used to block the northern entrance of the bridge

Crossing the bridge

 By seeing the KFOR patrol jeeps on the Bridge, I could really feel the tension.

 Abandoned UN office in the south

 An new sports centre, funded by EU, is on its way

Young men hanging out in group (but more like checking out who is on the street)

The Mos in the south, buses going to other major Kosovo cities can be found nearby

I stayed in Mitrovica for 2 days only and found the local were way too friendly than I expected. There was once a young police drove to me and wished to offer me a free ride on his police car. Well, I would never expect to have a free ride on a police car in any country and I rejected his kind offer.

And there was a time I went into an convenient store and was given a free bottle of water by the owner (and of course some photo times with his family). On the same day, I was even given free chocolate candies by a random teenage boy in restaurant. Sounds odd but these little cute things surely made my general impression of Mitrovica (both northern and southern sides) a very positive one.

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