New street signs appeared in Kosovo ahead of this week's visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden marking a 35-kilometer southeastern highway that the Balkan country renamed after his late son, Beau.
Joseph "Beau" Biden was a former attorney general and Army officer who helped train local prosecutors and judges in Kosovo on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) after the war ended in 1999. He died last year of brain cancer at age 46.
But Kosovar affinity for U.S. officials extends beyond the Biden clan.
Many of Pristina’s streets pay tribute to former U.S. presidents and military commanders, owing in large part to NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign in the former Yugoslavia to end violence against ethnic Albanians by Yugoslav troops and ushering in the end of the Kosovo War. Washington was also a key early supporter of Kosovo’s independence after it unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Bill Clinton Statue
The 3.5-meter bronze statue was inaugurated in Pristina in 2009. The former U.S. president is widely regarded as a hero in Kosovo (and a villain in Serbia) for pressing for NATO’s aerial bombing campaign to drive Yugoslav Army troops from the Serbian province in 1999.
The statue shows Clinton with his left arm raised while holding documents bearing 24 March 1999, the day NATO began its air strikes.
There are other cities besides Pristina, including Prizren, with streets named after former U.S. presidents, including Woodrow Wilson.
The Clinton statue is located on bustling Bill Clinton Boulevard in the capital, where visitors can still see old residential buildings adorned with large posters of the ex-president.
Hillary Clothing Shop
On the boulevard, there is a glittering shop in stars and stripes named after the former U.S. first lady and current Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. The shop, called Hillary, sells reproductions of some of her best-known outfits.
George W. Bush Street
The central street in Pristina is named after the former U.S. president in appreciation of his support for Kosovar independence. The street was previously named after Mother Teresa, the ethnic Albanian Catholic nun and missionary. A statue of Mother Teresa is still located on the busy street, which is flanked by cafes, bars, and shops.
This monument was inaugurated on February 17, 2008, the day Kosovo declared independence. Adorned with messages and graffiti and attracting crowds of locals and tourists, the colorful stylized sculpture is located near the U.S. Embassy in Pristina. American flags are emblazoned on buildings throughout the city center.
The hotel, located near a main highway in Pristina, is crowned with a replica of the Statue of Liberty. There are several other hotels and large buildings with symbols of the United States, including the bald eagle.