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A short history of Kosovo

How has the fate of a wretched patch of land come to determine the future of the Balkans, Nato and the world order? It is the place of an infernal cycle of revenge-ancient and modern

By Tim Judah   May 1999

I used to like visiting the Decani monastery in Kosovo because the Serbian monks who lived there were young and urbane: they talked about reconciliation and seemed to represent the best of Serbia. In one corner of the monastery is a tomb containing the bones of knights who fell at a fateful battle in 1389, the Battle of Kosovo Field. In another, a fresco shows a curious flaming sun. In better times, UFO enthusiasts used to visit the monastery, believing that the fresco depicted an alien spacecraft over medieval Serbia. The monks used to laugh.

The last time I was…

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