Church of the Holy Emperor Uroš and Madhe Mosque – Ferizaj, Kosovo - Atlas Obscura

Church of the Holy Emperor Uroš and Madhe Mosque

Ferizaj, Kosovo

Christianity and Islam have clashed, yet here a Serbian Orthodox church and a mosque stand together. 

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The Balkans have seen their share of conflict and turmoil. There, for centuries, Orthodox Christians have been at odds with Muslims, and these religious identities have turned into national identities, as Serbians are predominantly Christian while Albanians, which are the majority of Kosovars, are Muslim.

Yet in the small southern Kosovo municipality of Ferizaj (Albanian) or Urosevac (Serbian), one plot of land holds temples to both religions. A mosque, known as Madhe Mosque, was originally built in the 1890s, during the time of the Ottoman Empire, though is was destroyed by German bombers during World War II.  The current mosque was completedin 1943 and upgrades, including the second minaret, were completed as recently as 2013. 

In the late 1920s, it was decided that a Serbian Orthodox church was to be built in the same courtyard as the mosque. Later named the Church of the Holy Emperor Uroš, dedicated to Serbian emperor Uroš V. Over the years, strife and conflict took their toll on the church, including looting and fires after the beginning of the Kosovo War in 1999. Graffiti is commonly found on its walls to this day. Generally, though, the courtyard holding two seemingly conflicting ideologies goes on in peace.