My final goal is to hike the mountains in the far south of Kosovo, and I end up staying in Dragash, south of Prizren, in a very pleasant room, and a hotel with a supermarket on the ground floor. I stock up on supplies, and am out very early in the morning. The drive from Dragash is spectacular, with views of valleys below and small villages hidden between the green, and slender white minarets sticking up into the sky. I stop several times to take in the views. My plan is to visit Brod on my way up, but when I drive the narrow streets, I decide it is a better idea to leave Brod for later, so I continue my way up. After a long and beautiful climb up the mountains, I am back in the late afternoon, drive to the football field on the outskirts of town, park, and explore.
Like the villages I have seen in the morning, Brod lies in a fold of the green mountains surrounding it. I walk the narrow streets on both sides of the river Brod, enjoying the small things: a painting on a wall, kids playing and asking to have their picture taken, an old man with his cane walking slowly and giving me a smile when i greet him. These are the Goranci, a people with their own take on Slavonic language, with around 50.000 left. The people have traditionally been shepherds and peasants, but many left for the bigger cities, or abroad. Brod feels like a quite remote mountain village, without any signs of souvenir shops or fancy bars. In fact, the one product that gave Brod some fame, shoes made to measure, are no longer available as the shoemaker passed away.
There are shacks which have a basement of stone, and an upper floor of wood. There are bigger buildings, newer ones, but also old houses. And of course, there are two mosques: this is a purely muslim area - one in Gorno Maalo (upper Brod), and one in Douno Maalo (lower Brod). Right in the middle of town, there are cafes where the local men congregate for a chat, but soon after you walk towards the outskirts, things are quiet. Higher up, you get good views over the mountains surrounding this charming valley. I cautiously drive out of the village with its narrow streets and sharp turns, and head down to Dragash. Apart from stopping again for the views, I also pick one of the many water sources to top up my water supply: this mountain water is addictive!
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Brod (Kosovo). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Brod. Read more about this site.