At the foot of the gigantic Damned Mountains (Bjeshk't e Nemuna), on the river Bistrica (pronounced: Bis-tritza) and the entrance of the Rugova Gorge (Gryka e Rugov's), lies Peja (pronounced: Pey-ah), a town with around 85,000 inhabitants, the main economic and cultural center of northern Dukagjin (pronounced: Duke-ah-jin) region of Kosova. Because of its exceptional position in regards to communication, the natural attractiveness of the mountainous hinderland and richness in cultural and historical monuments, Peja is one of the best known tourist resorts of the region.
Hotel Korzo and a view of the surroundings of the town
During the medieval Serbian state, Peja was a cultural center because of the Patriarchate of Peja, which is in the immediate vincity of the town. With the arrival of the Ottoman Turks, Peja developed under the influence of oriental architecture, becoming a casbah with cobble stone streets, numerous brooks in courtyards, small shops, and mosques.
The Patriarchate of Peja, near the town.
The urban architecture of the Turkish period is interesting, with a large number of preserved houses of Albanian feudal lords, among which is the famous Tahir Bey's Palace, and Jashar Pasha's House. The Sheremet Tower, although built during the Turkish rule, in fact is a true type of an Albanian Dukagjin tower, a stone house with small windows resembling rifle loopholes. The ceilings of these types of houses are tall, usually in carved wood, with niches. The houses are surrounded by tall walls and have well kept gardens.
In the center of the town is the old ,arshia (shopping street), with shops of various craftsmen (coppersmiths, goldsmiths, slipper makers, leather tanners, saddle makers, tailors, etc.). The attractive Bajrakli mosque built in the 15th century ranks among the older structures of Islamic architecture.