Novi Pazar, located in the Raška District of western Serbia, with the population of 66,527 inhabitants, bears the title of a city in its own right since 1461. The city was established by Ottoman general Isa-Beg Ishaković, the Bosnian governor of the district who also founded Sarajevo.
Lying in the valleys of Jošanica, Raška, Deževska, and Ljudska rivers and surrounded by the Golija and Rogozna mountains and the Pešter plateau to the west, Novi Pazar represents the cultural center of the Bosniaks in Serbia and the historical region of Sandžak. Due to the ethnical mixture of Muslims and Orthodox Christians, the multicultural aspect of the city is evident in numerous monuments of both religions, like the Altun-Alem Mosque and the Church of St. Apostles Peter and Paul. Accordingly, Turkish coffee, cuisine and customs are nothing short of (82% of the population are Muslim), while some idyllic and important Orthodox sights are in the vicinity, since Novi Pazar was the core of the Serbian medieval state back in its day.
Sopoćani Monastery, which is located only 15km from the center of Novi Pazar, is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Serbia. The monastery was built in 13th century (1243-1276), and its frescoes and icons which date from the same period are regarded as the most beautiful in the whole region and bear great historical significance among monasteries in Serbia and wider. Thanks to this historical and cultural richness, Sopoćani was listed under UNESCO's protected world cultural heritage site and is undergoing some minor restauration process at the moment. In vicinity of the monastery is the Stari Raš complex, which can be worth visiting for its different archeological excavations and remains of castles and city walls.
Church of St. Apostles Peter and Paul, lying silently on a hill and overlooking Novi Pazar, is the oldest example of ecclesiastic architecture in Serbia of its kind and leaves every visitor breathless with its architectural and cultural greatness, for which was included into the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage. While church is praised for its religious value, it is also a museum which exhibits many artefacts which date centuries ago. The graveyard in front of the Church itself may be very interesting to some, because of its unusual and pretty interesting graves.
Altun-alem mosque: While there may be many mosques in Novi Pazar, this one is one of the oldest and is the pearl of Islamic architecture not just in Serbia, but on the Balkans. The mosque is not famous just for its beauty, it also has great importance for Novi Pazar and the surrounding region, as it used to be a cultural and educational center for centuries. The beauty of the mosque did not decline over the years, on the contrary, it has been recently renovated, thus emphasizing its beauty even more.
Reaching Novi Pazar is rather easy, thanks to its bus station which offers connection with all major cities in the region, as well as international cities.