Kosovo, officially the Republic of Kosovo, is a landlocked country in the central Balkan Peninsula. It declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008 and became the Republic of Kosovo. With these facts about Kosovo, let us learn more about the history, economy, people, culture and geography of this beautiful Balkan country.
1. Kosovo was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from mid 15th century to the early 20th century.
2. The name “Kosovo” derives from the name of a place in Serbia meaning “field of blackbirds”.
3. Kosovo unilaterally declared itself independent from Serbia on 17 February 2008. However, Serbia contested and claimed that the independence of Kosovo is “illegal”. On 22 July 2010, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided that the independence of Kosovo from Serbia is legal and it did not violate any applicable rule of international law.
4. More than 110 countries recognize Kosovo as an independent country. However, a bunch of countries including Serbia, Russia, and some EU countries still do not recognize Kosovo as an independent country for that matter.
5. Due to its geographical location, it serves as an important link between central and southern Europe, Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea.
6. It is one of the youngest countries in the world to have attained independence. The Newborn monument in downtown Prishtina is painted every year in different styles. South Sudan is the youngest of the lot after attaining independence in July 2011.
7. The majority of the country’s population is Albanian and most of the population lives under the poverty line.
Flag of Kosovo
9. Mount Gjeravica (Ðeravica), at 8,714 feet (2,656 metres), is the highest point in the country. And the lowest point is White Drin, 974 ft (297 m).
10. Limestone caves are abundant and are found in several parts of the country. The Marble Cave, a karst limestone cave in Kosovo, is a famous tourist destination in the country. The cave was found by a villager in 1966.
11. About 40% of the country is covered by forest. Majority of the trees in the forest are oak and pines. And most of the forests are located in southwestern Kosovo.
12. Serbian and Albanian are the official languages of Kosovo.
13. Majority of the people of the country are Muslims. More than half of the population lives in the rural areas.
14. More than half of the country’s land is agricultural.
15. In 2009, Kosovo joined the IMF and World Bank.
16. In 1874, the first railway line through Kosovo was opened.
17. The Kosovo War happened between 1998 and 1999 and it became the reason for the death of some 10,000 people. Kosovo, formerly a province of Serbia, had a majority of Muslim Albanians. However, the area was sacred to the Serbs, and the president of Serbia refused to recognize the rights of the majority, and instead wanted to replace the Albanian culture and language with Serbian institutions. This led to the war. Learn more facts about the Kosovo War.
Kosovo on Map (Where is Kosovo)
18. Moreover, by the end of 1999, some 1.5 million ethnic Albanians fled Kosovo in search of better living conditions elsewhere.
19. Bill Clinton, the former president of the United States visited Kosovo on November 23, 1999. Interestingly, there is a statue of Bill Clinton in Kosovo.
20. Tony Blair is a national hero in Kosovo. He helped save the suffering people during the war that took place between 1998 and 1999. To show gratitude towards this great leader, an Albanian couple has named their child “Tonybler” in his honor. There are a few more children in Kosovo that followed suit.
21. NATO helped stop the Kosovo War. This is one of the successful examples of western intervention in the history of the world. Peace in the region was achieved with the help of three months of military intervention by NATO beginning in March 1999.
22. More than 70% of the country’s population is under the age of 35, which makes it the youngest country in all of Europe.
23. The median age of the people of Kosovo is 29.1 years (est. 2017.)
24. Kosovo does not provide citizenship by birth. The child gets the citizenship of the country when at least one of their parent is a citizen of Kosovo.
25. After Moldova, the people of Kosovo are the second poorest in Europe. In 2016, their per capita GDP was $10,000.
26. Kosovo became both UEFA and FIFA member in 2016. The country scored their first goal in their first match played in Finland, that same year.
27. Mother Teresa when 18 lived in a small village of Letnica, Kosovo. It was here that in the Church of the Blessed Lady in Letnica that she decided to adopt a life of religious devotion. The Roman Catholic cathedral in Pristina, Kosovo, is named in her honor.
28. Kosovo while being a Muslim dominant country, is very secular. While some women dress modestly and wear hijab, others wear western clothes.
Kosovo – country at a glance
|Independence||17 February 2008 (from Serbia)|
|Total area||10,887 sq km|
|Population||1,895,250 (July 2017 est.)
|Official Language||Albanian, Serbian|
|Borders||Albania 112 km, Macedonia 160 km, Montenegro 76 km, Serbia 366 km|
|Currency||Euro (€)c (EUR)|
|Religion||Muslim 95.6%, Roman Catholic 2.2%, Orthodox 1.5%, other 0.07%, none 0.07%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)|
|Mean elevation||450 m|
|Life expectancy||78.3 years (2016)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
|Government type||parliamentary republic|
|Prime Minister||Ramush Haradinaj|
|National symbol||six, five-pointed, white stars|
|National colors||blue, gold, white|
|National holiday||Independence Day, 28 November (1912) also known as Flag Day|
|Natural resources||nickel, lead, zinc, magnesium, lignite, kaolin, chrome, bauxite|
|Suffrage||18 years of age; universal|
|Climate||influenced by continental air masses resulting in relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns; Mediterranean and alpine influences create regional variation; maximum rainfall between October and December|
|Terrain||flat fluvial basin at an elevation of 400-700 m above sea level surrounded by several high mountain ranges with elevations of 2,000 to 2,500 m|
|Sex ratio||1.06 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
|Birth rate||17.09 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Death rate||7 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Industries||mineral mining, construction materials, base metals, leather, machinery, appliances, foodstuffs and beverages, textiles|
|Exports||$428 million (2017 est.)
mining and processed metal products, scrap metals, leather products, machinery, appliances, prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco, vegetable products, textiles and apparel
|Imports||$3.223 billion (2017 est.)
foodstuffs, livestock, wood, petroleum, chemicals, machinery, minerals, textiles, stone, ceramic and glass products, electrical equipment
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$10,400 (2017 est.)|
|Time Zone||CET (UTC+1)
|Drives on the||Right|
|Data sources||CIA, Wikipedia|
|Table last updated||July 15, 2018|