According to abbreviationfinder, Kosovo is located in the center of the Balkan Peninsula, with a roughly rhomboid shape and without direct access to the sea. It extends between longitudes 41 ° 50’58 ” and 43 ° 15’42 ” North and latitudes 20 ° 01’30 ” and 21 ° 48’02 ” East. Its territory covers an area of 10,887 km², an area similar to that of Jamaica or Qatar.
About 36% of the territory corresponds to plains with some karst mountain ranges that extend within them, such as the Goljak, Drenica and Crnoljeva. The latter marks the difference between the Kosovo basin sector to the east and Metohija(known in Albanian as Rrafshi i Dukagjinit, “Dukagjin plateau”) to the west. Several rivers cross the country: the Drin Blanco runs in the direction of the Adriatic Sea along Metohija, while the Sitnica runs in the eastern zone until it joins the Ibar river to the north, in the Kosovska Mitrovica sector. El Ibar, next to the South Morava River, is one of the tributaries belonging to the great basin of the Danube river. Some lakes exist in Kosovo, notably Lake Gazivoda, Radonjić, Batlava and Badovac.
Much of the territory of Kosovo is crossed by mountains, especially along its borders. On the northeastern border with Montenegro and part of Albania are the Prokletije Mountains, part of the whole of the Dinaric Alps. In this chain is the Đeravica, which with an altitude of 2,565 is the highest point in the Kosovar territory, and the Rugova canyon with a length of 25 kilometers. In the northwestern sector the Kopaonik are located along the border with Central Serbia and in the south are the Šar Mountains. Both mountain ranges are popular tourist destinations, especially due to their national park and ski resorts.
The Kosovar climate is predominantly continental, with temperate temperatures that can reach extremes of –10 ° C and 30 ° C, during the winter and summer months, respectively. Between October and December the highest precipitations are reached (averaging 600 mm per year in the flat sectors) and snow is common throughout the territory between November and March, although it is more important in the mountainous areas. The Metohija sector is more temperate due to the warm air masses coming from the Adriatic.
All these geographical characteristics make Kosovo a very fertile territory, with 69.1% of its surface available for agricultural activities (of which 31% are grasslands and 69% are arable land). However, due to industrial and mining activities, a significant number of hectares have been contaminated, preventing their agricultural development. 39% of the territory corresponds to forests, which are classified phytogeographically as part of the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. Within the Kosovar flora there are oak, pine, beech and birch trees, while in the wild fauna there are species of eagles, wolves, some deer and wild boar.
The population of Kosovo is approximately 1,733,832, it is made up mostly of Albanians. See population of Kosovo. An estimate of 2002 of the UN offers these population figures:
- 88% Albanians (1,996,000 – 2,072,000).
- 8% Serbs (60,000 – 90,000).
- 2% goranis (41,000 – 57,000).
- 5% Aruman (also Vlax or Macedo-Romanian) (34,000 – 38,000).
- 5% Turkish (17,000 – 19,000).
The distribution according to religion would be:
- 92% Muslim.
- 7% Christian-Orthodox.
- 1% Catholic.
After the establishment of the MINUK, the German mark was adopted as the official currency in Kosovo, being replaced in 2002 by the euro when the latter discontinued the mark in its home country. In the majority ethnic Serb enclaves, the Serbian dinar is widely used to this day. Kosovo is one of the members of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (under the mandate of the MINUK and not as an independent state), therefore it maintains free trade agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, Moldova and Montenegro. Besides Serbia, Macedonia is Kosovo’s main trading partner, followed by Germany and Turkey.
Kosovo’s economy is one of the poorest in Europe, with an estimated per capita income of 1,500 euros in 2006. Remittances from emigrants and foreign aid represent a very important part of their livelihood. The industrial sector is very weak and the electricity supply is unreliable. Unemployment is very high, with rates between 40 and 50% of the workforce.
There is a notable underground economy in the country, associated above all with the smuggling of gasoline, cigarettes and cement.. Corruption and the influence of organized crime gangs are of great international concern. The United Nationshas made the fight against corruption and organized crime a priority, promising “zero tolerance” in this regard. Against this background, in July 2010, EULEX carried out the arrest of the Governor of the Central Bank of Kosovo, accused of corruption, tax evasion and money laundering. This has led some media to describe Kosovo as a narco-state.
Due to its anomalous status, currently, Kosovo has been recognized and is part of two international sports organizations:
- International Handball Federation
- International Table Tennis Federation
- The Kosovo Football Federation (Federata e Futbollit e Kosovës in Albanian) has not been admitted to either UEFA or FIFA to date, and for this reason its national team cannot take part in competitions such as the Eurocup or the FIFA World Cup. Soccer. Similarly, it is not part of the International Olympic Committee.