Took myself on a walk outside of my town to check out a local village I’ve been doing some reading about, Hoçë e Madhe (Albanian) or Velika Hoča (Serbian). It’s an interesting village because it’s so close to my town yet virtually invisible to the road. Also according to the little bit I’ve been able to find out about it online it seems to have played a very part in the culture and history of this region, Metohija/Dukagjini. It’s just got one sign (shown below) indicating that a road turning off the little two-lane highway into the valley it’s cutting around leads to any sort of life. The village, according to Wikipedia, had about 700 inhabitants as of 2009 and is home to 13 buildings belonging to the Orthodox church. Mostly they seem to sustain themselves with wine-making.
It was surprisingly quiet for a mid-afternoon Saturday. I wish I had gotten myself moving earlier but as I set out around 1:30 PM and the sun is setting at about 4 PM (it took me about an hour to walk there) I didn’t have much time to explore. Hoping to go back with another Serbian-speaking volunteer sometime in the future as the pictures from this website make it seem like the other church buildings are really worth seeing.
According to another website, it seems the church I was looking at is that of Saint John. There’s more information about the interior that can be read there. Unfortunately it was locked when I was visiting.
I’m always hesitant to write about anything that relates to the very Balkan elephant in the room: the Albanians and Serbians living here in what seems to be to be a somewhat uneasy peace. But this is really a fascinating village and I hope to learn more about it in the future.