Kosovo (; Albanian: Kosova, [kɔˈsɔva] or Kosovë; Serbian Cyrillic: Косово, [kôsoʋo]) is a partially recognised state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe that declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 as the Republic of Kosovo (Albanian: Republika e Kosovës; Serbian: Република Косово / Republika Kosovo). Kosovo is landlocked in the central Balkan Peninsula. With its strategic position in the Balkans, it serves as an important link in the connection between central and southern Europe, the Adriatic Sea, and Black Sea. Its capital and largest city is Pristina, and other major urban areas include Prizren, Peć and Ferizaj. It is bordered by Albania to the southwest, the Republic of Macedonia to the southeast, Montenegro to the west and the uncontested territory of Serbia to the north and east. While Serbia recognises administration of the territory by Kosovo's elected government, it continues to claim it as its own Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. Kosovo's history dates back to the Paleolithic age, represented by the Vinča and Starčevo cultures. During the Classical period, it was inhabited by the Illyrian-Dardanian and Celtic people. In 168 BC, the area was annexed by the Romans. In the Middle Ages, it was conquered by the Byzantine, Bulgarian and Serbian Empires.
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