MUNICIPALITY OF DECAN
The municipality of Deçan/Dečane is located at the crossroads of Gjakovë/ Đakovica, Junik and Pejë/Peć municipalities, running along the Strellc/Streoc Mountains on the borders with Albania and Montenegro. There are a total of 36 villages within the municipality, with an estimated population of around 40,000 inhabitants. The majority of the population is Kosovo Albanian, with minority groups of Bosnian (0.14%) and Egyptians and Roma (0.5%). The characteristic mountainous landscape of Deçan/Dečane is shaped by the Prejlep/Prilep Mountain, Kozhnjer/ Kožnjer reserve and the “Pines” Forest Park, and is an area well known for its rich biodiversity and rare species of fl ora. Located within the municipality is the famous medieval Orthodox monastery complex of Visoki Dečani. Founded in the 14th century, the monastery plays an important role for Kosovo Serbs as well as for the Orthodox communities of the wider region as a pilgrimage site. In 2006 it was included in UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. A number of stone tower residential buildings are also characteristic to the region (kullas), and have been preserved in a few villages of Deçan/Dečane municipality. The most representative of these, and those which are still inhabited, are the kullas of the Mazrekaj family in the village of Drenoc/ Drenovac, the Demukaj family in Deçan/ Dečane, and of the Kuklec and Osdautaj families in Isniq/Istinić. These hold valuable potential for rural tourism development. There are also two well-preserved mills - the Tahir Sadrias’ water mill in Isniq/Istinić, which is still in working order, and the Shabanaj mill in Deçan/Dečane which is occupied by the women’s association NGO Jeta and is used for selling traditional artisan handcrafts. Weaving textiles on a loom is still one of the traditions practised by women in Deçan/Dečane municipality. The handmade handkerchiefs and scarves of silk and cotton could become a “brand” and attractive souvenir for visiting tourists.