Municipality of Klina

Today’s Klina (or Klinë) is a dynamic urban centre in the Peja district of northwestern Kosovo with a population of around 38,000. The municipality, which includes Klina City and 54 surrounding villages, is led by Mayor Sokol Bashota. Strategically located where the Klina River meets the White Drin River, Klina municipality has developed a growing private sector with around 930 registered businesses employing a total of around 4,000 people.

Long history dating back to Roman Empire

The municipality has a long history. It was known as Dersniku and part of the land called Dardinia when it was part of the Roman Empire, and Profirogoniti, in his ‘Notes for the People’ written between 948 and 952, referred to Dersniku as a densely populated city. Prized then as now for its location and natural resources, the area that is now Klina was successively ruled by Slavic civilisations as well as by Greece and Byzantium, and was known as Chinna when it was an Illyrian settlement. Adopting Christianity, the city became the site of many churches built in the Middle Ages, some of which still remain today. Klina is building on this rich heritage to develop its tourism sector.

Modern economy dominated by agriculture

Klina’s modern economy is dominated by agriculture, which benefits from the area’s favourable climate, fertile arable land, geographic position and trained human resources. Local agricultural enterprises produce both crops and livestock, and the government has singled out agriculture as Klina’s main socio-economic growth engine in years to come.

The municipality has a family-health centre and three family-health clinics, and its education system includes 15 primary schools, two secondary schools and two kindergartens. In an illustration of its tolerance and diversity, Klina has seven mosques, three Orthodox churches, a monastery and six Catholic churches.

Klina has a well-developed transport infrastructure which includes paved main roads connecting major villages with Klina City. Looking to the future, the municipal government has launched a number of infrastructure-development projects to support further economic growth, including initiatives to improve the municipality’s water system and electricity network. In addition to infrastructure, the municipality is making major investments in education, environmental protection, social services and agriculture.

Several infrastructure projects in the works

Key projects in the works in Klina municipality include improvements to the banks of the Klina river in a €550,000 effort led by BHK. The project covers the western portion of the river from Klina City’s old stone bridge towards the White Drin River. Mayor Sokol Bashota explains, “This project has been one of the priorities in my administration. We are creating pedestrian walkways along both sides of the river which are linked by a bridge to the city stadium. We are now completing the next phase of the project.”

The groundbreaking ceremony held on August 3 this year for the new Isa Boletini school in Drenovc, a village within the municipality, illustrates Klina’s commitment to upgrading its educational facilities. The new primary school, budgeted at €400,000, is being financed by the municipality, Kosovo’s Ministry of Education and the city of Bolzano, Italy. The first phase of the project was financed by the Ministry of Education (€80,000) and by the municipality (€72,000), while the second phase, to begin in 2013, will be financed with €80,000 from the municipality, €70,000 from the Ministry and €100,000 from Bolzano. The third phase, which will complete the project, will be financed by €100,000 from Bolzano, according to Naim Musliu, the school’s director.

One of Klina’s most important recent infrastructure projects is a new paved bridge over the White Drin River, which greatly improves transport for local residents. Inaugurated in June this year, the bridge was financed by the municipality in partnership with the European Commission. Mayor Sokol Bashota comments, “This bridge was a vital necessity, and now brings together the citizens of Lug Plants.”

In support of the agriculture sector, the project Directorate of Agriculture, headed by Rexhepi Recep, is building 29 new greenhouses financed 60% by the municipality and 40% by the farmers who will use the new facilities. Rexhepi Recep says, “These greenhouses will greatly benefit our local farmers, particularly concerning the cultivation of fruits.” Klina Municipality also provides support to residents in need. In February this year, following a heavy snowfall, Mayor Bashota Sokol distributed sacks of flour and food to 50 local families.

A new era began for the municipality when it inaugurated a new facility for municipal government offices last year. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, along with other top government officials, attended the inauguration ceremony, which marked Klina’s role as one of Kosovo’s leading economic centres and an important contributor to the country’s economic development and investment appeal.