Situation. The city is known by three names: Deçan (pronounce "det-cha-ne") in Albanian, Dečani/Dečani (pronounce "det-cha-ni") or Дечане/Dečani (pronounce "det-cha-nê") in Serbian. It has about 3,800 inhabitants and is the capital of the municipality of Deçan/Dečani (40,000 inhabitants, 99.5% Albanian) which belongs to the district of Peja/Peć (according to the Republic of Kosovo) or the district of Gjakova/Đakovica (according to the UN). The town is 14 km south of Peja/Peć, 21 km north-east of Gjakova/Đakovica, 95 km south-west of Pristina (via Peja/Peć).
Description. Situated at the foot of Mount Beleg (2,102 m above sea level) and crossed by the Dečani Bistrica (Lumbardhi i Deçanit), Deçan/Dečani is the access point for two of the country's major visiting sites: the southern part of the Cursed Mountains National Park (see the envies of Peja/Peć) and, above all, the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Dečani (or Visoki Dečani) which houses the most richly decorated medieval church in the world. In comparison, the city itself looks very sad. It suffered a lot during the Kosovo war (1998-1999): a major stronghold of the KLA, it was copiously targeted by the Yugoslav army and Serbian paramilitaries. The few kulas (fortified houses) and the elegant main mosque (xhamia e Deçanit), all dating from the 19th century, have been rebuilt. But the city has seen the departure of its Serbian and Montenegrin minorities (15% of the population in 1981). And the memory of the war is still very much with us. To get to the monastery and the national park, the road passes successively in front of the monuments to the Albanian "heroes" and "martyrs" of the last war, under the huge KLA flag planted on the main roundabout, then, a little further on, between the concrete blocks of a KFOR roadblock defended by a watchtower and an armoured vehicle. Atmosphere.
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