The city has a majority Albanian population, alongside other smaller communities. With a municipal population of around 200,000 inhabitants, Pristina is the second-largest Albanian-speaking city in the world (after Tirana in Albania). Geographically, it is located in the north-eastern part of Kosovo close to the Goljak mountains. The city is situated some 250 kilometres north-east of Tirana, 90 kilometres north of Skopje, 520 kilometres south of Belgrade and 300 kilometres east of Podgorica.
During the Paleolithic Age, what is now the area of Pristina was envolved by the Vinča culture. Pristina was home to several Illyrian and Roman people at the classical times. King Bardyllis brought various tribes together in the area of Pristina in the 4th century BC, establishing the Dardanian Kingdom. The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient city of Ulpiana, that was considered one of the most important Roman cities in the Balkan peninsula. In the Middle Ages, Pristina was an important town in Medieval Serbia and also the royal estate of Stefan Milutin, Stefan Uroš III, Stefan Dušan, Stefan Uroš V and Vuk Branković.
When the Ottomans conquered the Balkan peninsula, Pristina was an important mining and trading center due to its strategic position near the rich mining town of Novo Brdo. The city was known for its trade fairs and items, such as goatskin and goat hair as well as gunpowder. The first mosque in Pristina was built in the late 14th century while under Serbian rule. Tolerance and coexistence of religion and culture has been part of the society for centuries.
The capital city, Pristina is the heart of Kosovo due to its central location and its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education, service, research and healthcare. Almost all domestic and foreign companies, media and scientific institutions have headquarters in the city.
The name of the city could be derived from Proto-Slavic dialectal word *pryščina, meaning "spring (of water)", which is also attested in the Moravian dialects of Czech; it is derived from the verb *pryskati, meaning "to splash" or "to spray" (prskati in modern Serbian). The toponym Priština also appears as the name of a hamlet near Teslić in Bosnia and Herzegovina.