Back Pristina - Next 

City without traffic - Pristina 1966


When the American Mary Motes, the first foreign English teacher ever admitted to the local faculty, arrived in Pristina in 1966 she found a city without traffic:

"[A]bout once a day a lone car might be seen to slow down behind a truck which was being reduced to a crawl by a bullock cart. An authentic traffic jam, it was the signal for some youth to raise the ironic cry: Oh look! London. "

On market days, she saw horse-drawn carts and men in traditional costume but no Albanian women. By 1970, however, cars had begun to arrive in Kosovo in larger numbers. With state-subsidised credits families bought the "Fico", the small Fiat made in Serbia. The traffic statistics noted a sudden increase in car accidents. In 1970 Kosovo's first traffic light was installed in Prizren, even before Pristina.

Mary Motes lived in a faculty building in the centre of town, where there was "more livestock round the Faculty then students", including two water buffalo. The older houses in the city centre of Pristina still lacked running water. Cholera had broken out in the summer and tuberculosis was still a problem, with people generally blaming the water. The only other foreigners living in Pristina "were a small group of East European engineers on loan to the local power station".

Motes left Pristina in 1971. At that time, Pristina town had a population of 65,000, living in 14,800 households. When she returned in 1974, the city had grown in size and had changed in character:

"Pristina was so bright at night; so many street lights everywhere […] a strange new university library […] Bankos, Kosovoinvest, Agrokos […] cars parked everywhere […] most impressive of all, so many Albanian girl students […] everywhere there was the sound of Albanian […] Pristina now had a big new store with an elevator […]"

Kosova-Kosovo: Prelude to War 1966-1999. Mary Motes. 1999.
[ / Redland Pr Inc]

November 2006
Tim Judah

 Back Pristina - Next 
  1. Istanbul: Pamuk's City
  2. Istanbul: Swimming across the Bosphorus
  3. Salonika and the Jews
  4. Salonica: Slaves and Trade
  5. Thessalonika: 1923
  6. Ohrid: Rise and Fall
  7. Tornado of Dust - 1944
  8. Awake Romania - 1989
  9. Novi Sad: Nest of the Serbian nation
  10. Nis: War Capital, 1915
  11. Belgrade and the Selenites
  12. 1996: Serbia Calling
  13. Belgrade Train Station - 1964
  14. Srebrenica: Vengeance
  15. Srebrenica: Blood
  16. Srebrenica: July 1995
  17. Mealtime - Interwar years in Travnik
  18. Dayton: The Napkin Shuttle
  19. London Buses in Sarajevo
  20. The Museum and Bosnian Identity
  21. Foča: The Bosniak
  22. Kosovo: The Swiss Front
  23. Mitrovica: 1908
  24. Pristina: Kosovo like Namibia?
  25. City without traffic - Pristina 1966
  26. Durham in Pristina - 1908
  27. Tirana: 1962
  28. Zog's Tirana
  29. The Kotor - Constantinople Express
  30. Kotor and the Montenegrins
  31. The Rabbi of Stolac
  32. Dubrovnik: England, Wine and Wool
  33. Cetinje: Nikola Under the Elm
  34. Cetinje: 1858
  35. Dalmatia: Ships & Grapes
  36. Prophet of Yugoslavism
  37. The head of the world
  38. 1919: Mushrooms and Lies
  39. Sofia: Bulgaria's Jews during WWII
  40. Zamfirovo: Rural livelihoods in the mid-1990s
  41. Kosovo
  42. Romania: 1914
  43. Istanbul: Food and the frugal Turks
  44. Micklagard: Surprising, cosmopolitan Constantinople
  45. Sukhumi: The history of the region became ashes
  46. Black Sea: The coming of steam and rail
  47. Mestrovic: Motherhood and the Victor
  48. Rizvanovici, Bosnia: Gnashing
  49. Down the Danube with Magris: Ruse
  50. From Pristina to Tskhinvali
  51. Serbia, Historians and Hitler's War
  52. Balkan Strongmen: Bulgaria's Zhivkov
  53. Sarajevo: The Siege Within
  54. Turkey: Osman's Dream
  55. Durres 1961: Beijing on Sea
  56. Cetinje: Eggs for the Ladies
  57. Bosnia: Land of Immigrants
  58. Ottoman Croatia
  59. Harem: All the Sultan's Women
  60. Sibiu: Regime Change, European Style
  61. 1929: The Balkans and the Great Crash
  62. Rumeli and how the Balkans became the Balkans
  63. 1948: Stalin, Kosovo and Swallowing Albania
  64. Transforming Turkey: the 1950s
  65. McMafia and the Balkans
  66. 1916: Serbia in Corfu
  67. Princes Amongst Men
  68. Limp Shevardnadze
  69. Knin: War and Suburbia
  70. In the Mountains of Poetry