Kosova-o - Part 59

posted by julia on 2007/08/13 23:13

[ Kosova-o ]

This week-end I went on a hiking trip to Novo Brdo, which used to be one of the most important cities in South Eastern Europe in Medieval times. It was an important mining centre, already the Romans had been mining gold and silver there. In Medieval times, Novo Brdo was bigger than London, for example. Now it is a tiny rural municipality consisting of 10 villages where about 3900 people live (cf. the OSCE municipal profile/pdf). People live mostly on agriculture. The aluminium, zinc, and lead mines - which employed about 800 workers before 1991 - practically ceased working. Click on "more" to see photos from the Novo Brdo mine, the entrance to the pit, and the workers changing room. We saw a few workers, visited the pit (which seems in quite bad shape, part of it is flooded), and learned that working 15-20 years in this mine results in an invalidity degree of 80%. Miners currently earn 130 euro/month.
Here in some more detail the history of Novo Brdo (source: UNESCO report/pdf on cultural heritage in Kosovo, p. 11):
Situated in a mountainous region southeast of Pristina, the remains of the medieval town
occupies a hill top whose altitude is 1100 m above the sea level. Though there are
archaeological indications that the area may have been inhabited in antiquity, the present
visible remains are exclusively medieval. Novo Brdo was one of the most important late
medieval cities in the central Balkans. Its growth was predicated on the rich lead, silver and
gold mines in the vicinity whose extensive exploitation began in the first decades of the
fourteenth century. Miners, as well as inhabitants of Novo Brdo constituted a multi-ethnic
mix that included Serbs, Saxons, Albanians, Greeks, Jews, etc.
Citizens of Dubrovnik had
their privileged colony in Novo Brdo. Important registers that survive provide a clear idea of
the city’s urban profile. Historical sources and coins minted at Novo Brdo attest to the city’s
claim to fame in the 14th and 15th
centuries. According to Bertrandon de la Broquière in the
1440s, Serbian ruler Djuradj Brankovic collected an annual income of 200.000 gold coins
from the production related to the mines. Mining and minting of coins continued after the
Ottoman conquest of Novo Brdo in 1455, but gradually declined until everything ceased in
the 17th
century. The town of Novo Brdo consisted of a large unfortified settlement on the
eastern slope of the hill, a fortified upper town, and a heavily fortified citadel with six massive
towers at the apex of the hill.
The fortifications survive in a ruinous state, while the remains
of the residential and other buildings have been only partially studied through archaeological

"Miniera Artana - Me fat" above the mine entrance means "Artana mine - with luck", Artana being the Albanian name of Novo Brdo


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All photos by the Photo Arts Collective of Kosovo. First photo by Burim Myftiu (Swimming olympiade in Klina). Second photo by Mimoza. Third photo by Dashmir Izairi.
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