Sunday, August 23, 2015

Visiting My Happy Place

So this weekend I got to take a road trip.

Not my first, because I am a PD officer, so we get out more than your average Service Officer.

But this one was for fun.

The CLO (Community Liaison Officer) organized a trip to the Gracanica Monastery and Ulpiana.

We started off at the monastery, a Serbian orthodox monastery established in 1321 on the ruins of a 6th century church.

Gracinica Monastery

The monastery is really beautiful and has some absolutely amazing frescoes inside. You aren't allowed to take pictures inside in order to protest the frescoes, but I did take some shots from outside.

After the monastery, we grabbed some lunch...
Ribs and creme with pitalka...yum!
And then headed to Ulpiana, a Roman city located about 30 minutes outside of Pristina that was established in 169 AD and reached its peak of development in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD.

We were given a tour by the head archaeologist, who also is an alum of one of our programs. They are doing amazing work there despite the challenges they face (like that the country can't afford to buy the land and so they lease it for 3 years at a time and have no security in being able to keep it. Plus the land is divided up into tons of parcels, most owned by Serbian farmers who distrust the Kosovo government, so they have been able to excavate only a tiny fraction of the site. Even so, they have uncovered a massive basilica, a smaller basilica with a baptisterium, a Roman bath, and several cemeteries.
Basilica 1

Basilica 2 with Baptisterium
Roman bath

Definitely need to go back. Archaeology is clearly my happy place!

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