MUNICIPALITY OF ISTOG
The municipality of Istog/Istok is located in northwestern Kosovo near the border area with Montenegro, and linked by mountain range rising over 2,000 metres above sea level. The municipality includes the town of Istog/Istok and 51 villages. The population is estimated at 56,000 inhabitants, of which the majority is Kosovo Albanians with more than 2,200 Egyptians and 1,600 Bosniaks. Kosovo Serbs number around 800 inhabitants, mainly residing in 7 villages (Cërkolez/Crkolez, Osojan/Osojane and Llukavci i Thatë /Suvi Lukavac, Muzhevinë/ Muževine and Zallq/Žač). The name of the town and the municipality comes from the archaic version of the old Serbian word istok which means “well” or “water source”, and refers to the springs of the Istog/Istok River, a tributary of the Drini Bardhë/Beli Drim River. This natural characteristic of the area is expressed through the many of water springs, and gives the municipality of Istog/Istok a great opportunity for development of eco- and rural tourism. The Istog/Istok spring, DriniBardhë/Beli Drim spring, Vrella/Vrelo spring, as well as the Istog/Istok River are the most attractive sites for water sports. The healing thermal waters of Banjë/Banja are also considered an important asset for the development of spa tourism. The rich water landscape of the area has throughout time presented many opportunities and endowed it with a unique character. This is expressed through the many bridges and mills which still exist as cultural monuments, including the Stone Bridge in Zallq/ Žač (17th century) and the Qelë Bicaj Mill in Vrellë/Vrelo village (19th– 20th century). The area also has kullas, as characteristic stone tower residential buildings, such as the Kulla of Qerim Rugova in the Llukavc/Lukavac village which was built in 1900. The traditional rural life of communities in Istog/Istok are represented by the organisation of common events such as the Lama’s Dinner, which celebrates a successful season and harvest in livestock and agriculture across the region.