Languages: Albanian, Serbian
Religion: Muslim, Serbian Orthodox, Roman Catholic & other Christian groups
Climate: Very cold and snowy winters and very hot and humid summers.
Time Zone: GMT +1
Map of Balkan countries
The central part of Kosovo is a basin surrounded by beautiful mountains. It is located in what was the south-east of the state union of Serbia. The ethnic cleansing of Kosovo by the Serbs in 1999 resulted in over one million refugees – almost half the population – becoming internally displaced persons, leaving over 300,000 people homeless and an estimated 10,000 dead. Since that time, the Kosovars, UNMIK, NATO and the international community have endeavored to rebuild the country, restore its economy, and establish democracy and self-government. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on February 17th, 2008.
Where is Kosovo?
The Albanian population in Kosovo shares the ethnic background of the population of neighboring Albania. They speak the Albanian language and are largely Muslim. The horror of the conflict in Kosovo has long since disappeared from television screens, but many widows and their children are still living in appalling conditions, as they have lost their men folk and cannot afford to repair their homes. Around 11% of houses still have considerable damage and about 40% of houses in rural areas are still without mains water or flush toilets. The unemployment rate is approximately 60% with two thirds of job-seekers being unqualified. One third of the population is under 14 years old. Illiteracy rates among women are high, especially in rural areas. 60% of household income is spent on food. Primary healthcare has not been given priority and is beyond the means of the poor people and there is little provision for the many disabled people in Kosovo. An indirect effect of the war has been high levels of pollution which, together with stress, has led to an increase in rates of cancer. Also dental health among children is particularly poor.