Serbs in Kosovo


August 11, 2022

Kosovo Serbs (Serb. Srbi na Kosova and Metohija, Alb. Serbët në Kosovë) are Serbs inhabiting the historical region of Kosovo, considered by Serbia as an autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija, and by the Republic of Kosovo as the territory of their partially recognized state. Serbs are currently the largest ethnic minority in Kosovo. Most Kosovo Serbs live compactly in northern Kosovo in three Serb-majority communities and northern Mitrovica. The rest inhabit the Serbian enclaves in Kosovo - territories and individual settlements with a Serb majority, surrounded by lands with a predominantly Albanian population. Kosovo Serbs are still referred to by the obsolete term Kosovo (Serbian loanword Kosovci), in contrast to Kosovo Albanians and other citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, who are referred to as Kosovars (Serbian Kosovari). Formally, these terms are synonymous in Russian.


The Slavic population appeared on the territory of Kosovo in the 6th-7th centuries. By the 9th century, the Slavic population had adopted Christianity. From the 9th to the 12th centuries, for the possession of the territory of Kosovo, there was a constant struggle between neighboring states: Byzantium, Bulgaria and two Serbian principalities: Raska (north of Kosovo) and Dukla (seaside regions). At the end of the 12th century, under Stefan Neman, there was a sharp strengthening of Raska, which, in particular, resulted in the annexation of Kosovo and the formation of a strong Serbian state in the Balkans. In the 13th century, the independence of the Serbian kingdom was recognized, and the city of Pec in northern Kosovo became the residence of the Metropolitan of Serbia. Gradually, Kosovo became the religious, political and cultural center of Serbia. Many monasteries and churches were founded here, and the palaces of Serbian kings were located in the cities of Prizren and Pristina. The economic and cultural heyday of Kosovo fell on the reign of Stefan Dusan (1331-1355). In 1336, the Metropolitan of Pec received the status of patriarch. However, after the death of Stephen, his state quickly disintegrated. On the territory of Kosovo, several unstable state formations of local feudal lords were formed. At the same time, intensive expansion began.