Republic of Macedonia

Republic of Macedonia

Overview
Macedonia officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 in Southeast Europe
Southeast Europe
Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe is a relatively recent political designation for the states of the Balkans. Writers such as Maria Todorova and Vesna Goldsworthy have suggested the use of the term Southeastern Europe to replace the word Balkans for the region, to minimize potential...

. It is one of the successor states
Succession of states
Succession of states is a theory and practice in international relations regarding the recognition and acceptance of a newly created sovereign state by other states, based on a perceived historical relationship the new state has with a prior state...

 of the former Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in 1993 but, as a result of a dispute with Greece
Macedonia naming dispute
A diplomatic dispute over the use of the name Macedonia has been an ongoing issue in the bilateral relations between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia since the latter became independent from former Yugoslavia in 1991...

 over its name, it was admitted under the provisional reference of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, sometimes abbreviated as FYROM.

A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia is bordered by Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

to the northwest, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 to the north, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 to the east, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 to the south and Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 to the west.
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Encyclopedia
Macedonia officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 in Southeast Europe
Southeast Europe
Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe is a relatively recent political designation for the states of the Balkans. Writers such as Maria Todorova and Vesna Goldsworthy have suggested the use of the term Southeastern Europe to replace the word Balkans for the region, to minimize potential...

. It is one of the successor states
Succession of states
Succession of states is a theory and practice in international relations regarding the recognition and acceptance of a newly created sovereign state by other states, based on a perceived historical relationship the new state has with a prior state...

 of the former Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in 1993 but, as a result of a dispute with Greece
Macedonia naming dispute
A diplomatic dispute over the use of the name Macedonia has been an ongoing issue in the bilateral relations between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia since the latter became independent from former Yugoslavia in 1991...

 over its name, it was admitted under the provisional reference of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, sometimes abbreviated as FYROM.

A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia is bordered by Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

to the northwest, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 to the north, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 to the east, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 to the south and Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 to the west. It constitutes approximately the northwestern half of the larger geographical region of Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

, which also comprises parts of Greece and Bulgaria. The country's capital is Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

, with 506,926 inhabitants according to a 2002 census. Other cities include Bitola
Bitola
Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba and Nidže mountains, 14 km north of the...

, Kumanovo
Kumanovo
Kumanovo is a city in the Republic of Macedonia and is the seat of Kumanovo Municipality which is the largest municipality in the country. Municipal institutions include a city council, mayor and other administrative bodies.-Name:...

, Prilep
Prilep
Prilep is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko's Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.-Name:...

, Tetovo
Tetovo
Tetovo is a city in the northwestern part of Macedonia, built on the foothills of Šar Mountain and divided by the Pena River.The city covers an area of at above sea level, with a population of 86,580 citizens in the municipality. Tetovo is home to the State University of Tetovo and South East...

, Ohrid
Ohrid
Ohrid is a city on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia. It has about 42,000 inhabitants, making it the seventh largest city in the country. The city is the seat of Ohrid Municipality. Ohrid is notable for having once had 365 churches, one for each day of the year and has...

, Veles
Veles (city)
Veles is a city in the center of the Republic of Macedonia on the Vardar river. The city of Veles is the seat of Veles Municipality.-Name:The city's name was Vylosa in Ancient Greek and before the Balkan Wars, it was a township with the name Köprülü in the Üsküp sandjak, Ottoman empire for 600...

, Štip
Štip
Štip is the largest urban agglomeration in the eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, serving as the economic, industrial, entertainment and educational focal point for the surrounding municipalities. As of the 2002 census, the Štip municipality alone had a population of about 47,796...

, Kočani
Kocani
Kočani is a town away from Skopje, situated in the Eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, with population of 28 330. The town of Kočani is the seat of Kočani Municipality.-Geography and population:...

, Gostivar
Gostivar
Gostivar , is a city in the Republic of Macedonia, located in the upper Polog valley region. It is one of the largest municipalities in the country with a population of 81,042, and the town also covers . Gostivar has good road and railway connections with the other cities in the region, such as...

 and Strumica
Strumica
Strumica is the largest city in eastern Macedonia, near the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing with Bulgaria. About 100,000 people live in the region surrounding the city. The city is named after the Strumica River which runs through it...

. It has more than 50 lakes and sixteen mountains higher than 2000 m (6,562 ft). Macedonia is a member of the UN and the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

. Since December 2005 it has also been a candidate for joining the European Union and has applied for NATO membership
Accession of Macedonia to NATO
The accession of Macedonia to NATO is currently pending as of 2009. NATO's invitation to the Republic of Macedonia was blocked by Greece at the 2008 Bucharest summit. NATO nations agreed that the country would receive an invitation upon resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute...

.

Etymology


The country's name derives from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 Μακεδονία (Makedonía), a kingdom
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

 (later, region
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

) named after the ancient Macedonians
Ancient Macedonians
The Macedonians originated from inhabitants of the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, in the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios...

. Their name, Μακεδόνες (Makedónes), derives ultimately from the ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 adjective μακεδνός
Makednos
Makedon, also Macedon or Makednos , was the eponymous mythological ancestor of the ancient Macedonians according to various ancient Greek fragmentary narratives...

 (makednós), meaning "tall, taper", which shares the same root as the noun μάκρος (mákros), meaning "length" in both ancient and modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

. The name is originally believed to have meant either "highlanders" or "the tall ones", possibly referring to the physical character of the ancient Macedonians and their mountainous land.

Ancient history of the territory


In antiquity, most of what is now the Republic of Macedonia was inhabited by Paeonians, a Thracian people
Thracians
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

, whilst the northwest was inhabited by the Dardani
Dardani
Dardania was the region of the Dardani .Located at the Thraco-Illyrian contact zone, their identification as either an Illyrian or Thracian tribe is uncertain. Their territory itself was not considered part of Illyria by Strabo. The term used for their territory was , while for other tribes had...

 and the southwest by tribes known historically as the Enchelae, Pelagones and Lyncestae
Lynkestis
Lynkestis or Lynchestia was a region of Upper Macedonia on the southern borders of Illyria which was ruled by kings, lords and independent or semi-independent chieftains till the later Argead rulers of Macedon neutralized their independence with dynastic alliances and the practice of bringing up...

; the latter two are generally regarded as Molossian
Molossians
The Molossians were an ancient Greek tribe that inhabited the region of Epirus since the Mycenaean era. On their northeast frontier they had the Chaonians and to their southern frontier the kingdom of the Thesprotians, to their north were the Illyrians. The Molossians were part of the League of...

 or Upper Macedonian
Upper Macedonia
Upper Macedonia is a geographical and tribal term to describe the regions that became part of the kingdom of Macedon in the early 4th century BC. From that date, its inhabitants were politically equal to Lower Macedonians...

 tribes, whilst the former two are considered Illyrian.

After the early victories of Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 in 356 BC, he absorbed the regions of Upper Macedonia
Upper Macedonia
Upper Macedonia is a geographical and tribal term to describe the regions that became part of the kingdom of Macedon in the early 4th century BC. From that date, its inhabitants were politically equal to Lower Macedonians...

 into the Kingdom of Macedon, including Lynkestis, Pelagonia, and the southern part of Paeonia (Deuriopus
Deuriopus
Deuriopus was a subdivision of Paionia, in what is today the Republic of Macedonia. Its exact limits are unclear, but it is known that it contained lands around the river Crna...

), which now lie within the Republic of Macedonia. Philip did not make the people of Upper Macedonia subject but instead made them equal to the Macedonians
Ancient Macedonians
The Macedonians originated from inhabitants of the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, in the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios...

 of Lower Macedonia
Lower Macedonia
Lower Macedonia or Macedonia proper or Emathia is a geographical term to the coastal plain, watered by the rivers Haliacmon, Axius on the west and bounded by Strymon on the east. Its districts are: Pieria, Bottiaea, Amphaxitis, Crestonia, Mygdonia, Anthemous, Crousis and Bisaltia...

. Philip's son Alexander the Great conquered the remainder of the region, reaching as far north as the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

, and incorporated it in his empire. The Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 established the Province of Macedonia
Macedonia (Roman province)
The Roman province of Macedonia was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last Ancient King of Macedon in 148 BC, and after the four client republics established by Rome in the region were dissolved...

 in 146 BC. By the time of Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

, the province had been subdivided between Macedonia Prima and Macedonia Salutaris; most of country's modern boundaries fell within the latter, with the city of Stobi
Stobi
Stobi was an ancient town of Paeonia, later conquered by Macedon, and later turned into the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia Salutaris . It is located on the main road that leads from the Danube to the Aegean Sea and is considered by many to be the most famous archaeological site in the...

 as the capital of Macedonia Salutaris. Cities to the extreme north such as Scupi
Scupi
Scupi is an archaeological site located between Zajčev Rid and the Vardar River, several kilometers from the center of Skopje, in the Republic of Macedonia. A Roman military camp was founded here in the second decade BC on the site of an older Dardanian settlement...

 fell within the Province of Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

. Whilst Greek remained the dominant language in the south, Latin made significant inroads in Macedonia.

Medieval period


During the 580s, Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 literature attests to the Slavs
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 raiding Byzantine territories in the region of Macedonia, aided by Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

 or Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

. Historical records document that in c.680 a group of Bulgars, Slavs and Byzantines led by a Bulgar called Kuber
Kuber
Khan Kuber was a Bulgar leader, brother of Khan Asparukh and member of the Dulo clan, who according to the Miracles of St Demetrius, in the 670s was the leader of a mixed Christian population of Bulgars, ‘Romans’, Slavs and Germanic people that had been transferred to the Syrmia region in Pannonia...

 settled in the region of Keramisian plain, centred on the city of Bitola
Bitola
Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba and Nidže mountains, 14 km north of the...

. Presian's
Presian I of Bulgaria
Presian was the Khan of Bulgaria from 836–852. He ruled during an extensive expansion in Macedonia.-Origin:The composite picture of the Byzantine sources indicates that Presian I was the son of Zvinica , who was a son of Omurtag...

 reign apparently coincides with the extension of Bulgarian control over the Slavic tribes in and around Macedonia. The Slavic peoples that settled in the region of Macedonia accepted Christianity as their own religion around the 9th century, during the reign of Tsar Boris I of Bulgaria
Boris I of Bulgaria
Boris I, also known as Boris-Mihail and Bogoris was the Knyaz of First Bulgarian Empire in 852–889. At the time of his baptism in 864, Boris was named Michael after his godfather, Emperor Michael III...

.

In 1014, Emperor Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

 finally defeated the armies of Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria and by 1018 the Byzantines restored control over Macedonia (and all of the Balkans) for the first time since the 7th century. However, by the late 12th century, Byzantine decline saw the region contested by various political entities, including a brief Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 occupation in the 1080s.

In the early 13th century, a revived Bulgarian Empire
Second Bulgarian Empire
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state which existed between 1185 and 1396 . A successor of the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th-early 15th century...

 gained control of the region. Plagued by political difficulties the empire did not last and the region came once again under Byzantine control in early 14th century. In the 14th century, it became part of the Serbian Empire
Serbian Empire
The Serbian Empire was a short-lived medieval empire in the Balkans that emerged from the Serbian Kingdom. Stephen Uroš IV Dušan was crowned Emperor of Serbs and Greeks on 16 April, 1346, a title signifying a successorship to the Eastern Roman Empire...

, who saw themselves as liberators of their Slavic kin from Byzantine despotism
Despotism
Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power. That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group, as in an oligarchy...

. Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

 became the capital of Tsar Stefan Dusan's empire.

With Dusan's death, a weak successor appeared and power struggles between nobles divided the Balkans once again. This coincided with the entry of the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 into Europe. The Kingdom of Prilep
Kingdom of Prilep
The Lordship of Prilep was one of the provinces of the Serbian Empire, held by Vukašin Mrnjavčević, the co-ruler of Serbia alongside child-less Uroš the Weak . Emperor Uroš and Lord Vukašin died at the Battle of Maritsa, and Prilep was obtained by Marko Mrnjavčević, the son of Lord Vukašin...

 was one of the short lived states that emerged from the collapse of the Serbian Empire
Serbian Empire
The Serbian Empire was a short-lived medieval empire in the Balkans that emerged from the Serbian Kingdom. Stephen Uroš IV Dušan was crowned Emperor of Serbs and Greeks on 16 April, 1346, a title signifying a successorship to the Eastern Roman Empire...

 in the 14th century. With no major Balkan power left to defend Christianity, the central Balkans fell to Turkish rule — and remained under it for five centuries.

National awakening


Ottoman rule over the region was considered harsh. With the beginning of the Bulgarian National Revival
Bulgarian National Revival
The Bulgarian National Revival , sometimes called the Bulgarian Renaissance, was a period of socio-economic development and national integration among Bulgarian people under Ottoman rule...

 in 18 c. many of the reformers were from this region, including Miladinov Brothers
Miladinov Brothers
The Miladinov Brothers , Dimitar Miladinov and Konstantin Miladinov , were Bulgarian poets and folklorists from Macedonia, authors of an important collection of folk songs, Bulgarian Folk Songs...

, Rajko Žinzifov, Joakim Krčovski, Kiril Pejčinoviḱ
Kiril Peychinovich
Kiril Peychinovich or Kiril Pejčinoviḱ was a cleric, writer and enlightener, one of the first supporters of the use of modern Bulgarian in literature , and one of the early figures of the Bulgarian National Revival...

 and others. The bishoprics of Skopje, Debar, Bitola, Ohrid, Veles and Strumica voted to join the Bulgarian Exarchate
Bulgarian Exarchate
The Bulgarian Exarchate was the official name of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church before its autocephaly was recognized by the Ecumenical See in 1945 and the Bulgarian Patriarchate was restored in 1953....

 after it was established in 1870.

Several movements whose goals were the establishment of autonomous Macedonia, encompassing the entire region of Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

, began to arise in the late 19th century; the earliest of these was the Bulgarian Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Committees, later transformed to SMORO. In 1905 it was renamed as Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMARO) and after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 the organization separated into the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) and the Internal Thracian Revolutionary Organisation
Internal Thracian Revolutionary Organisation
The Internal Thracian Revolutionary Organisation , ITRO, was a Bulgarian revolutionary organisation active in Western Thrace and southern Bulgaria between 1920 and 1934.The reason for the establishment of ITRO was the deplorable situation of the Thracian Bulgarians in...

 (ITRO).

The early organization did not proclaim any ethnic identities; it was officially open to "...uniting all the disgruntled elements in Macedonia and the Adrianople region, regardless of their nationality..." The majority of its members however were Macedonian Bulgarians In 1903, IMRO organised the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising against the Ottomans
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

, which after some initial successes, including the forming of the "Krushevo Republic", was crushed with much loss of life. The uprising and the forming of the Krushevo Republic are considered the cornerstone and precursors to the eventual establishment of the Macedonian state.

Kingdoms of Serbia and Yugoslavia



Following the two Balkan wars
Balkan Wars
The Balkan Wars were two conflicts that took place in the Balkans in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913.By the early 20th century, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia, the countries of the Balkan League, had achieved their independence from the Ottoman Empire, but large parts of their ethnic...

 of 1912 and 1913 and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
The Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire included the watershed events of the Young Turk Revolution and the establishment of the Second Constitutional Era, and ended with the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by the victorious sides of World War I.- Establishment of the Second Constitutional Era, 24...

, most of its European held territories were divided between Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, Bulgaria and Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

. The territory of the modern Macedonian state was then named , "Southern Serbia
Macedonia (terminology)
The name Macedonia is used in a number of competing or overlapping meanings to describe geographical, political and historical areas, languages and peoples in a part of south-eastern Europe. It has been a major source of political controversy since the early 20th century...

". After the First World War, Serbia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

. In 1929, the Kingdom was officially renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

 and divided into provinces called banovinas. Southern Serbia, including all of what is now the Republic of Macedonia, became known as the Vardar Banovina
Vardar Banovina
The Vardar Banovina or Vardar Banate or Vardarska Banovina was a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1929 and 1941. It was located in the southernmost part of the country, encompassing the whole of today's Republic of Macedonia, southern parts of Central Serbia and southeastern parts of...

 of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

.

The concept of a United Macedonia
United Macedonia
United Macedonia is an irredentist concept among ethnic Macedonian nationalists that aims to unify the transnational region of Macedonia in southeastern Europe, which they claim as their homeland, and which they assert was wrongfully divided under the Treaty of Bucharest in 1913, into a single...

 was used by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) in the interbellum. Its leaders – like Todor Alexandrov, Aleksandar Protogerov
Aleksandar Protogerov
Alexandar Protogerov was a Bulgarian general, politician and revolutionary as well as a member of the revolutionary movement in Macedonia, Thrace and Pomoravlje. He was among the leaders of the Supreme Macedonian-Adrianople Committee and later joined the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary...

, Ivan Mihailov
Ivan Mihailov
Ivan Mihailov Gavrilov , was a Bulgarian revolutionary in Ottoman and interwar Macedonia, and leader of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization after 1924.-Early years:...

, promoted the idea with the aim to liberate the territories occupied by Serbia and Greece and to create an independent and united Macedonia for all Macedonians, regardless of religion and ethnicity. The Bulgarian government of Alexander Malinov in 1918 offered to give Pirin Macedonia for that purpose after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, but the Great Powers did not adopt this idea, because Serbia and Greece opposed.

IMRO followed by starting an insurgent war in Vardar Banovina, together with Macedonian Youth Secret Revolutionary Organization
Macedonian Youth Secret Revolutionary Organization
The Macedonian Youth Secret Revolutionary Organization or MYSRO; , was the name of a secret pro-Bulgarian political organization active across the most regions of Macedonia between 1922-1941. The statue of MYSRO was approved personally from the leaderof the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary...

, which also conducted guerilla attacks against the Serbian administrative and army officials there. In 1923 in Stip a paramilitary organisation called Union against the Bulgarian bandits was formed by Serbian chetniks, IMRO renegades and Macedonian Federative Organization
Macedonian Federative Organization
The Macedonian Federative Organization ' was established in Sofia in 1921 by former Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization left wing's activists.-Background:...

 (MFO) members to oppose IMRO and MMTRO.

Yugoslav Macedonia in World War II



During World War II, Yugoslavia was occupied by the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 from 1941 to 1945. The Vardar Banovina
Vardar Banovina
The Vardar Banovina or Vardar Banate or Vardarska Banovina was a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1929 and 1941. It was located in the southernmost part of the country, encompassing the whole of today's Republic of Macedonia, southern parts of Central Serbia and southeastern parts of...

 was divided between Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 and Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

-occupied Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

. Bulgarian Action Committees
Bulgarian Action Committees
The Bulgarian Action Committees in Macedonia were patriotic nationalist organizations of Bulgarians in Macedonia around 1941, emboldened by the invasion Yugoslavia by Nazi Germany, determined to end the Yugoslavian rule in the region, perceived as oppressive by Macedonian Bulgarians and by the...

 were established and prepared the region for the new Bulgarian administration and army. The Committees were mosltly formed by former members of IMRO, but some communists like Panko Brashnarov
Panko Brashnarov
Panko Brashnarov was a revolutionary and member of the left wing of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization . As with many other IMARO members of the time, historians from the Republic of Macedonia consider him an ethnic Macedonian, whereas historians in Bulgaria consider him...

, Strahil Gigov and Metodi Shatorov
Metodi Shatorov
Metodi Tasev Shatorov - Sharlo was a prominent Bulgarian political leader during the first half of 20th century and also temporary leader of the Macedonian communists in 1940-1941...

 also participated.

Shatorov as leader of Vardar Macedonia communists switched from Yugoslav Communist Party to Bulgarian Communist Party
Bulgarian Communist Party
The Bulgarian Communist Party was the communist and Marxist-Leninist ruling party of the People's Republic of Bulgaria from 1946 until 1990 when the country ceased to be a communist state...

 and refused to start military action against the Bulgarian army.
Bulgarian authorities, under German pressure, were responsible for the round-up and deportation of over 7,000 Jews in Skopje and Bitola. Harsh rule by the occupying forces encouraged many Macedonians to support the Communist Partisan resistance movement of Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

 after 1943, and the National Liberation War ensued, with German forces being driven out of Macedonia by the end of 1944.

In Vardar Macedonia, after Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944
Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944
The Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944, also known as the 9 September coup d'état and called in pre-1989 Bulgaria the National Uprising of 9 September or the Socialist Revolution of 9 September was a change in the Kingdom of Bulgaria's administration and government carried out on the eve of 9 September...

 the Bulgarian troops, surrounded by German forces, fought their way back to the old borders of Bulgaria. Under the leadership of the new Bulgarian pro-Soviet government, four armies, 455,000 strong in total, were mobilized and reorganized. Most of them reentered occupied Yugoslavia in the early October 1944 and moved from Sofia to Niš
Niš
Niš is the largest city of southern Serbia and third-largest city in Serbia . According to the data from 2011, the city of Niš has a population of 177,972 inhabitants, while the city municipality has a population of 257,867. The city covers an area of about 597 km2, including the urban area,...

, Skopje and Pristina
Pristina
Pristina, also spelled Prishtina and Priština is the capital and largest city of Kosovo. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous municipality and district....

 with the strategic task of blocking the German forces withdrawing from Greece. Compelled by the Soviet Union with a view towards the creation of a large South Slav Federation, Bulgarian government once again offered to give Pirin Macedonia to such a United Macedonia in 1945.

Socialist Yugoslavia


In 1944 the Anti-Fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) proclaimed the People's Republic of Macedonia as part of the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. ASNOM remained an acting government until the end of the war. The Macedonian alphabet was codified by linguists of ASNOM, who based their alphabet on the phonetic alphabet of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić and the principles of Krste Petkov – Misirkov
Krste Misirkov
Krste Petkov Misirkov was a philologist, slavist, historian, ethnographer, publicist author of the first book and scientific magazine in Macedonian, where he for the first time outlined the principles of the literary Macedonian language...

.

The new republic became one of the six republics of the Yugoslav federation. Following the federation's renaming as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

 in 1963, the People's Republic of Macedonia was likewise renamed, becoming the Socialist Republic of Macedonia
Socialist Republic of Macedonia
The Socialist Republic of Macedonia was a socialist state that was a constituent country of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia...

. During the civil war in Greece
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

 (1946–1949) Macedonian communist insurgents supported the Greek communists. Many refugees fled to the Socialist Republic of Macedonia from there. The state dropped the "Socialist" from its name in 1991 when it peacefully seceded from Yugoslavia.

Declaration of independence


The country officially celebrates 8 September 1991 as Independence day
Independence Day (Republic of Macedonia)
The Independence Day in the Republic of Macedonia is celebrated on 8 September. It has been a national holiday since 1991, when a Referendum for Independence took place...

 , with regard to the referendum endorsing independence from Yugoslavia, albeit legalising participation in future union of the former states of Yugoslavia. The anniversary of the start of the Ilinden Uprising (St. Elijah's Day) on 2 August is also widely celebrated on an official level as the Day of the Republic
Republic Day (Republic of Macedonia)
Republic Day or the Day of the Republic is a major national holiday of the Republic of Macedonia. It is celebrated on the 2nd of August, which is also a major religious holiday – Ilinden , according to the Julian Calendar...

.

Robert Badinter
Robert Badinter
Robert Badinter is a high-profile French criminal lawyer, university professor and politician mainly known for his struggle against the death penalty, the abolition of which he successfully sponsored in Parliament in 1981...

 as a head of Arbitration Commission of the Peace Conference on the former Yugoslavia
Arbitration Commission of the Peace Conference on the former Yugoslavia
The Arbitration Commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia was a commission set up by the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Community on 27 August 1991 to provide the Conference on Yugoslavia with legal advice...

 recommended EC recognition in January 1992.

Macedonia remained at peace through the Yugoslav wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

 of the early 1990s. A few very minor changes to its border with Yugoslavia were agreed upon to resolve problems with the demarcation line between the two countries. However, it was seriously destabilised by the Kosovo War
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

 in 1999, when an estimated 360,000 ethnic Albanian
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

 refugees from Kosovo took refuge in the country. Although they departed shortly after the war, soon after, Albanian nationalists on both sides of the border took up arms in pursuit of autonomy or independence for the Albanian-populated areas of Macedonia.

Albanian insurgency



A civil war
Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia
The insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia was an armed conflict which began when the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army militant group attacked the security forces of the Republic of Macedonia at the beginning of January 2001...

 was fought between government and ethnic Albanian insurgents, mostly in the north and west of the country, between March and June 2001. The war ended with the intervention of a NATO ceasefire monitoring force. Under the terms of the Ohrid Agreement
Ohrid Agreement
The Ohrid Framework Agreement was the peace deal signed by the government of the Republic of Macedonia and ethnic Albanian representatives on August 13, 2001...

, the government agreed to devolve greater political power and cultural recognition to the Albanian minority. The Albanian side agreed to abandon separatist demands and to fully recognise all Macedonian institutions. In addition, according to this accord, the NLA were to disarm and hand over their weapons to a NATO force.

Geography


Macedonia has a total area of 25713 km² (9,928 sq mi). It lies between latitudes 40°
40th parallel north
The 40th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 40 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 43° N
43rd parallel north
The 43rd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 43 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and mostly between longitudes 20°
20th meridian east
The meridian 20° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic and Indian oceans, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 23° E
23rd meridian east
The meridian 23° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 (a small area lies east of 23°). Macedonia has some 748 km (465 mi) of boundaries, shared with Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 (62 km or 39 mi) to the North, Kosovo (159 km or 99 mi) to the northwest, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 (148 km or 92 mi) to the east, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 (228 km or 142 mi) to the south, and Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 (151 km or 94 mi) to the west. It is a transit way for shipment of goods from Greece, through the Balkans, towards Eastern, Western and Central Europe and through Bulgaria to the East. It is part of a larger region also known as Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

, which also includes a region of northern Greece
Macedonia (Greece)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of Greece in Southern Europe. Macedonia is the largest and second most populous Greek region...

 known by the same name; and the Blagoevgrad province
Blagoevgrad Province
Blagoevgrad Province , also known as Pirin Macedonia , is a province of southwestern Bulgaria. It borders four other Bulgarian provinces to the north and east, Greece to the south, and the Republic of Macedonia to the west. The province has 14 municipalities with 12 towns...

 in southwestern Bulgaria
Geography of Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a country situated in south-eastern Europe, bordering Romania, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Turkey and the Black Sea. Its northern border with Romania follows the Danube river until Silistra. The land area of Bulgaria is 110,550 square kilometers, slightly larger than that...

.

Topography


Macedonia is a landlocked country that is geographically clearly defined by a central valley formed by the Vardar river and framed along its borders by mountain ranges. The terrain is mostly rugged, located between the Šar Mountains and Osogovo
Osogovo
Osogovo or Osogovska Planina is a mountain and ski resort between southwestern Bulgaria and northeastern Republic of Macedonia,...

, which frame the valley of the Vardar
Vardar
The Vardar or Axios is the longest and major river in the Republic of Macedonia and also a major river of Greece. It is long, and drains an area of around . The maximum depth of river is ....

 river. Three large lakes — Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid straddles the mountainous border between the southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania. It is one of Europe's deepest and oldest lakes, preserving a unique aquatic ecosystem with more than 200 endemic species that is of worldwide importance...

, Lake Prespa
Lake Prespa
Prespa is the name of two freshwater lakes in southeast Europe, shared by Greece, Albania, and Macedonia. Of the total surface area, belongs to Macedonia, to Greece and to Albania...

 and Dojran Lake
Dojran Lake
Dojran Lake is a lake with an area of 43.1 km² shared between the Republic of Macedonia and West Macedonia within Greek Macedonia, Greece . To the west is the city of Nov Dojran , to the east the village of Mouries, to the north the mountain Belasica/Beles and to the south the Greek town of...

 — lie on the southern borders, bisected by the frontiers with Albania and Greece. Ohrid is considered to be one of the oldest lakes and biotopes in the world. The region is seismically active and has been the site of destructive earthquakes in the past, most recently in 1963 when Skopje was heavily damaged by a major earthquake, killing over 1,000.

Macedonia also has scenic mountains. They belong to two different mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

s: the first is the Šar Mountains that continues to the West Vardar/Pelagonia group of mountains (Baba Mountain, Nidže
Nidze
Nidže is a mountain in the southwest of the Republic of Macedonia. The mountain is characterised by almost untouched nature: rich pine forests, lomi, rivers and pastures over 2000 meters. The highest peak is Kajmakčalan at 2521 meters above sea level...

, Kozuf
Kožuf
Kožuf mountain is a mountain situated in the southern part of the Republic of Macedonia and partly in Greece. Its most western parts reach the river Blashnica, and the north-western side stretches in a line, from the Mrzhechko village via the village Konopishte, through the course of Boshava to...

 and Jakupica
Jakupica
Jakupica is a mountain range in the central part of the Republic of Macedonia. Its highest peak is Solunska Glava . Other significant peaks are: Karadzica , Popovo Brdo , Ostar Breg , Ubava , Ostar Vrv , and Dautica .The relief is criss-crossed by numerous clear and fast mountain rivers...

), also known as the Dinaric range
Dinaric Alps
The Dinaric Alps or Dinarides form a mountain chain in Southern Europe, spanning areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro....

. The second range is the Osogovo
Osogovo
Osogovo or Osogovska Planina is a mountain and ski resort between southwestern Bulgaria and northeastern Republic of Macedonia,...

Belasica
Belasica
Belasica is a mountain range in the region of Macedonia in Southeastern Europe, shared by northwestern Greece , southeastern Republic of Macedonia and southwestern Bulgaria...

 mountain chain, also known as the Rhodope range
Rhodope Mountains
The Rhodopes are a mountain range in Southeastern Europe, with over 83% of its area in southern Bulgaria and the remainder in Greece. Its highest peak, Golyam Perelik , is the seventh highest Bulgarian mountain...

. The mountains belonging to the Šar Mountains and the West Vardar/Pelagonia range are younger and higher than the older mountains that are part of the Osogovo-Belasica mountain group.

Hydrography



In the Republic of Macedonia there are 1,100 larger sources of water. The rivers flow into three different basins: the Aegean, the Adriatic
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

 and the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 basin.

The Aegean basin is the largest. It covers 87% of the territory of the Republic, which is 22,075 km. sq. Vardar
Vardar
The Vardar or Axios is the longest and major river in the Republic of Macedonia and also a major river of Greece. It is long, and drains an area of around . The maximum depth of river is ....

, the largest river in this basin, drains 80% of the territory or 20,459 km. sq. Its valley plays an important part in the economy and the communication system of the country. The project named 'The Vardar Valley' is considered to be crucial for the strategic development of the country.

The river Black Drin
Black Drin
The Black Drin is a river in Albania and the Republic of Macedonia. It flows out of Lake Ohrid in Struga, Macedonia. After approximately it crosses the border to Albania, west of Debar. It merges with the White Drin in Kukës to form the Drin, which flows into the Adriatic Sea...

 forms the Adriatic basin, which covers an area of about 3,320 km. sq., i. e. 13% of the territory. It receives water from Lakes Prespa and Ohrid.

The Black Sea basin is the smallest with only 37 km. sq. It covers the northern side of Mount Skopska Crna Gora
Skopska Crna Gora
Skopska Crna Gora , formerly called Kara-dagh also called simply Crna Gora, is a mountain range on the border between Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia, between the cities of Kačanik and Skopje.The Monastery of St...

. This is the source of the river Binachka Morava, which joins the Morava, and later, the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 which flows into the Black Sea.

Even though it is a landlocked country, Macedonia has three lakes and around fifty ponds. Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid straddles the mountainous border between the southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania. It is one of Europe's deepest and oldest lakes, preserving a unique aquatic ecosystem with more than 200 endemic species that is of worldwide importance...

, Lake Prespa
Lake Prespa
Prespa is the name of two freshwater lakes in southeast Europe, shared by Greece, Albania, and Macedonia. Of the total surface area, belongs to Macedonia, to Greece and to Albania...

 and Lake Dojran are the three natural lakes of the country.

The Macedonian word for spa
Spa
The term spa is associated with water treatment which is also known as balneotherapy. Spa towns or spa resorts typically offer various health treatments. The belief in the curative powers of mineral waters goes back to prehistoric times. Such practices have been popular worldwide, but are...

 is бања, transliterated as banja. In the country there are 9 spa towns and resorts: Banište, Banja Bansko, Istibanja, Katlanovo, Kežovica
Kežovica
The Kežovica mineral spa is situated near the southern Štip suburb of Novo Selo, just after the canyon that the river Bregalnica forms when exiting the city. The water temperature is 74°C at the source and is slightly radioactive, which is used for medicinal purposes...

, Kosovrasti, Banja Kočani, Kumanovski Banji and Negorci.

Climate


Macedonia has a transitional climate from Mediterranean to continental. The summers are hot and dry and the winters are moderately cold. Average annual precipitation varies from 1700 mm (66.9 in) in the western mountainous area to 500 mm (19.7 in) in the eastern area. There are three main climatic zones in the country: temperate Mediterranean, mountainous and mildly Continental. Along the valleys of the Vardar
Vardar
The Vardar or Axios is the longest and major river in the Republic of Macedonia and also a major river of Greece. It is long, and drains an area of around . The maximum depth of river is ....

 and Strumica
Strumica
Strumica is the largest city in eastern Macedonia, near the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing with Bulgaria. About 100,000 people live in the region surrounding the city. The city is named after the Strumica River which runs through it...

 rivers, in the regions of Gevgelija
Gevgelija
Gevgelija is a town with a population of 15,685 located in the very southeast of the Republic of Macedonia along the banks of the Vardar River, situated at the country's main border with Greece , the point which links the motorway from Skopje and three other former Yugoslav capitals with...

, Valandovo
Valandovo
Valandovo is a city in southeastern Republic of Macedonia.The city is the seat of Valandovo Municipality.-Ancient History:Evidence of life can be found beginning in the 10th-7th centuries B.C. There is a settlement known as Mal Konstantinopol dating from Roman times, and the life in the Middle...

, Dojran
Dojran
Dojran was a city located on the western shore of Dojran Lake in the south-eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia. Today, it is collective name for two villages that exist on the territory of the ruined city: Nov Dojran and Star Dojran, which contains both old ruins and recent construction,...

, Strumica
Strumica
Strumica is the largest city in eastern Macedonia, near the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing with Bulgaria. About 100,000 people live in the region surrounding the city. The city is named after the Strumica River which runs through it...

 and Radoviš
Radoviš
Radoviš is a city positioned in the southeastern part of the Republic of Macedonia. It is the second largest city in the southeastern region. The city is the seat of Radoviš Municipality, which is spread on the bottom of Plačkovica Mountain and the northern part of the Radoviš-Strumica valley. The...

 the climate is temperate Mediterranean. The warmest regions are Demir Kapija
Demir Kapija
Demir Kapija is a town in the Republic of Macedonia, located near the ominous limestone gates of the same name. It has 3,725 inhabitants. The town is the seat of Demir Kapija Municipality.-Etymology:...

 and Gevgelija
Gevgelija
Gevgelija is a town with a population of 15,685 located in the very southeast of the Republic of Macedonia along the banks of the Vardar River, situated at the country's main border with Greece , the point which links the motorway from Skopje and three other former Yugoslav capitals with...

, where the temperature in July and August frequently exceeds 40 °C (104 °F). The mountainous climate is present in the mountainous regions of the country and it is characterised by long and snowy winters and short and cold summers. The spring is colder than the fall. The majority of Macedonia has a moderate continental climate
Continental climate
Continental climate is a climate characterized by important annual variation in temperature due to the lack of significant bodies of water nearby...

 with warm and dry summers and relatively cold and wet winters. There are 30 main and regular weather stations in the country.

National parks


The country has 3 national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

s:

Name Established Size Map Picture
Mavrovo 1948 731 km²
Galičica 227 km²
Pelister 1948 125 km²


Flora



The flora
Flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 of Republic of Macedonia is represented with around 210 families
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

, 920 genera, and around 3,700 plant species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

. The most abundant group are the flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

s with around 3,200 species, which is followed by moss
Moss
Mosses are small, soft plants that are typically 1–10 cm tall, though some species are much larger. They commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds, and their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems...

es (350 species) and fern
Fern
A fern is any one of a group of about 12,000 species of plants belonging to the botanical group known as Pteridophyta. Unlike mosses, they have xylem and phloem . They have stems, leaves, and roots like other vascular plants...

s (42).

Phytogeographically
Phytogeography
Phytogeography , also called geobotany, is the branch of biogeography that is concerned with the geographic distribution of plant species...

, Macedonia belongs to the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region
Circumboreal Region
The Circumboreal Region is a floristic region within the Holarctic Kingdom in Eurasia and North America, as delineated by such geobotanists as Josias Braun-Blanquet and Armen Takhtajan....

 within the Boreal Kingdom
Boreal Kingdom
The Boreal Kingdom or Holarctic Kingdom is a floristic kingdom identified by botanist Ronald Good , which includes the temperate to Arctic portions of North America and Eurasia. Its flora is inherited from the ancient supercontinent of Laurasia...

. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

 (WWF) and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the European Environment Agency
European Environment Agency
European Environment Agency is an agency of the European Union. Its task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. It is a major information source for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public...

, the territory of the Republic can be subdivided into four ecoregion
Ecoregion
An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

s: the Pindus Mountains mixed forests, Balkan mixed forests, Rhodopes mixed forests and Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 sclerophyllous and mixed forests.

National Park of Pelister in Bitola is known for the presence of the endemic Macedonian Pine
Macedonian Pine
Pinus peuce is a species of pine native to the mountains of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, the extreme southwest of Serbia, and the extreme north of Greece, growing typically at 1,000-2,200 m altitude. It often reaches the alpine tree line in this area...

, as well as some 88 species of plants representing almost 30 percent of Macedonian dendroflora. The Macedonian Pine forests on Pelister are divided into two communities; pine forests with ferns and pine forests with junipers. The Macedonian Pine, as a specific conifer species, is a relict
Relict
A relict is a surviving remnant of a natural phenomenon.* In biology a relict is an organism that at an earlier time was abundant in a large area but now occurs at only one or a few small areas....

 of tertiary flora and the five-needle pine Molika
Macedonian Pine
Pinus peuce is a species of pine native to the mountains of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, the extreme southwest of Serbia, and the extreme north of Greece, growing typically at 1,000-2,200 m altitude. It often reaches the alpine tree line in this area...

, was first noted on Pelister in 1893.

Macedonia's limited forest growth also includes Macedonian Oak
Macedonian Oak
Quercus trojana, the Macedonian Oak is an oak in the turkey oak section Quercus sect. Cerris. It is native to southeast Europe and southwest Asia, from southern Italy east across the southern Balkans to western Turkey, growing at low to moderate altitudes , in dry...

s, the sycamore, weeping willows, white willows, alders, poplars, elms, and the common ash. Near the rich pastures on Šar Mountain and Bistra, Mavrovo, is another plant species characteristic of plant life in Macedonia—the poppy. The quality of thick poppy
Poppy
A poppy is one of a group of a flowering plants in the poppy family, many of which are grown in gardens for their colorful flowers. Poppies are sometimes used for symbolic reasons, such as in remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime....

 juice is measured worldwide by morphine units; while Chinese opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 contains eight such units and is considered to be of high quality, Indian opium contains seven units, and Turkish
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 only six, Macedonian opium contains a full 14 morphine units and is one of the best quality opium in the world.

Fauna


The fauna of Macedonian forests is abundant and includes bears, wild boars, wolves, foxes, squirrels, chamois and deer. The lynx is found, although very rarely, in the mountains of western Macedonia, while deer can be found in the region of Demir Kapija. Forest birds include the blackcap, the grouse, the black grouse, the imperial eagle and the forest owl.

The three artificial lakes of the country represent a separate fauna zone, an indication of long-lasting territorial and temporal isolation. The fauna of Lake Ohrid is a relict of an earlier era and the lake is widely known for its letnica trout, lake whitefish
Lake whitefish
The lake whitefish , also called the Sault whitefish or gizzard fish, is a species of freshwater whitefish from North America. Lake whitefish are found throughout much of Canada and parts of the northern United States, including all of the Great Lakes. A valuable commercial fish, they are also...

, gudgeon
Gudgeon
A gudgeon is a circular fitting, often made of metal, which is affixed to a surface. It allows for the pivoting of another fixture. It is generally used with a pintle, which is a pin which pivots in the hole in the gudgeon. As such, a gudgeon is a simple bearing.-Winged gudgeons:A winged gudgeon...

, roach
Rutilus
Rutilus is a genus of fishes in the family Cyprinidae, commonly called roaches. Locally, the name "roach" without any further qualifiers is also used for particular species, particularly the Common Roach Rutilus (Latin for "shining, red, golden, auburn") is a genus of fishes in the family...

, podust, and pior, as well as for certain species of snails of a genus older than 30 million years; similar species can only be found in Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

. Lake Ohrid is also noted in zoology texts for the European eel
European eel
The European eel, Anguilla anguilla, is a species of eel, a snake-like, catadromous fish. They can reach in exceptional cases a length of 1½ m, but are normally much smaller, about 60–80 cm, and rarely more than 1 m....

 and its baffling reproductive cycle: it comes to Lake Ohrid from the distant Sargasso Sea
Sargasso Sea
The Sargasso Sea is a region in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ocean currents. It is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream; on the north, by the North Atlantic Current; on the east, by the Canary Current; and on the south, by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current. This...

, thousands of kilometres away, and lurks in the depths of the lake for 10 years. When sexually mature, the eel is driven by unexplained instincts in the autumn to set off back to its point of birth. There it spawns and dies, leaving its offspring to seek out Lake Ohrid to begin the cycle anew.

Domestic animals


The shepherd dog of Šar Mountain is known worldwide as Šarplaninec
Šarplaninac
The Šarplaninac or Šarplaninec , also known as Sharplaninac/Sharplaninec, Illyrian Shepherd Dog or Yugoslav Shepherd Dog-Šarplanina is a dog breed of the livestock guardian type originally from Serbia and Macedonia.- Appearance :The...

 (Yugoslav shepherd). It stands some 60 centimeters tall and is a brave and fierce fighter that may be called upon to fight bears or wolf packs in guarding and defending flocks. The Šarplaninec originates from the shepherd's dog of the ancient Epirotes, the molossus, but the Šarplaninec was recognized as its own species in 1939 under the name of "Illyrian shepherd" and since 1956 has been known as Šarplaninec.

Politics



Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 with an executive government
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 composed of a coalition of parties from the unicameral legislature
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

  and an independent judicial branch
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 with a constitutional court. The Assembly is made up of 120 seats and the members are elected every four years. The role of the President of the Republic is mostly ceremonial, with the real power resting in the hands of the President of the Government. The President is the commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the state armed forces and a president of the state Security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 Council. The President is elected every five years and he or she can be elected twice at most. On the second run of the presidential elections held on 5 April 2009
Macedonian presidential election, 2009
A presidential election was held in the Republic of Macedonia on 22 March 2009, at the same time as local elections; a run-off round was held on 5 April 2009. Gjorge Ivanov , the candidate of the center-right VMRO–DPMNE party, won the election in the second round...

, Gjorge Ivanov was elected as new Macedonian president.

With the passage of a new law and elections held in 2005, local government functions are divided between 78 municipalities ' onMouseout='HidePop("50902")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Grammatical_number">singular
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

: ). The capital, Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

, is governed as a group of ten municipalities collectively referred to as the "City of Skopje". Municipalities in Macedonia are units of local self-government. Neighbouring municipalities may establish co-operative arrangements.

The country's main political divergence is between the largely ethnically based political parties representing the country's ethnic Macedonian majority and Albanian minority. The issue of the power balance between the two communities led to a brief war in 2001, following which a power-sharing agreement was reached. In August 2004, Macedonia's parliament passed legislation redrawing local boundaries and giving greater local autonomy to ethnic Albanians in areas where they predominate.

After a troublesome pre-election campaign, Macedonia saw a relatively calm and democratic change of government
Macedonian parliamentary election, 2006
Parliamentary elections were in the Republic of Macedonia on 5 July 2006. The winner was the coalition led by the centre-right VMRO-DPMNE.- Campaign :...

 in the elections held on 5 July 2006. The elections were marked by a decisive victory of the centre-right party VMRO-DPMNE led by Nikola Gruevski
Nikola Gruevski
Nikola Gruevski has been Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia since 27 August 2006. He has led VMRO-DPMNE since May 2003. He was Minister of Finance in the VMRO-DPMNE government led by Ljubčo Georgievski until September 2002.- Personal life :...

. Gruevski's decision to include the Democratic Party of Albanians
Democratic Party of Albanians
The Democratic Party of Albanians or DPA is a political party of the ethnic Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia. The DPA is a merger of the Party for Democratic Prosperity of Albanians and the People's Democratic Party which took place in June 1997...

 in the new government, instead of the Democratic Union for Integration
Democratic Union for Integration
The Democratic Union for Integration is the largest Albanian political party in the Republic of Macedonia, and the third largest political party in all of Macedonia...

 – Party for Democratic Prosperity
Party for Democratic Prosperity
The Party for Democratic Prosperity or PDP is an ethnic Albanian political party in the Republic of Macedonia. The party was formed in April 1990 and is currently led by Abdyladi Vejseli....

 coalition which won the majority of the Albanian votes, triggered protests throughout the parts of the country with a respective number of Albanian population. However, recently a dialogue was established between the Democratic Union for Integration and the ruling VMRO-DMPNE party as an effort to talk about the disputes between the two parties and to support European and NATO aspirations of the country.

After the early parliamentary elections held in 2008, VMRO-DPMNE and Democratic Union for Integration
Democratic Union for Integration
The Democratic Union for Integration is the largest Albanian political party in the Republic of Macedonia, and the third largest political party in all of Macedonia...

 formed a ruling coalition in Macedonia.

In April 2009, presidential and local elections in the country were carried out peacefully, which was crucial for Macedonian aspirations to join the EU The ruling conservative VMRO-DPMNE party won a victory in the local elections and the candidate supported by the party, Gjorgi Ivanov, was elected as the new Macedonian president.

Parliament


The Macedonian parliament or Sobranie is the country's legislative body
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

. It makes, proposes and adopts laws. The 120 members are elected for a mandate of four years through a general election. Each Macedonian citizen that is above 18 years can vote for one of the Macedonian political parties. The current president of the Macedonian Parliament is Trajko Veljanovski
Trajko Veljanovski
Trajko Veljanovski is a Macedonian politician and the current Speaker of the Macedonian Parliament.Veljanovski was born on 2 November 1962. He graduated from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University and worked as a lawyer until 1999.- Politics :...

.

Government


Executive power in Macedonia is exercised by the Government, whose prime minister is the most politically powerful person in the country. The members of the government are chosen by the Prime Minister and there are ministers for each branch of the society. There are ministers for economy, finance, information technology, society, internal affairs, foreign affairs and other areas. The members of the Government are elected for a mandate of four years. The current Prime Minister is Nikola Gruevski
Nikola Gruevski
Nikola Gruevski has been Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia since 27 August 2006. He has led VMRO-DPMNE since May 2003. He was Minister of Finance in the VMRO-DPMNE government led by Ljubčo Georgievski until September 2002.- Personal life :...

 who is serving his third consecutive term in office.

Law and courts


Judiciary power is exercised by courts, with the court system being headed by the Judicial Supreme Court
Supreme court
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, high court, or apex court...

, Constitutional Court and the Republican Judicial Council. The assembly appoints the judges.

Foreign relations



Macedonia became a member state of the UN on 8 April 1993, eighteen months after its independence from Yugoslavia. It is referred to within the UN as "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", pending a resolution of the long-running dispute with Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 about the country's name.

The major interest of the country is a full integration in the European and the Trans-Atlantic integration processes. Five foreign policy priorities are:
  • NATO membership

  • Commencing negotiations for full-fledged membership in the European Union

  • Lifting the visa
    Visa (document)
    A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport...

     regime for Macedonian nationals

  • Resolving the naming issue with Greece

  • Strengthening the economic and public diplomacy
    Public diplomacy
    In international relations, public diplomacy or people's diplomacy, broadly speaking, is the communication with foreign publics to establish a dialogue designed to inform and influence. There is no one definition of Public Diplomacy, and may be easier described than easily defined as definitions...


Macedonia is member of the following international and regional organizations: IMF
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (since 1992), WHO
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (since 1993), EBRD
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their...

 (since 1993), Central European Initiative
Central European Initiative
The Central European Initiative is a forum of regional cooperation in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, counting 18 member states. It was formed in Budapest in 1989.-History:...

 (since 1993), Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 (since 1995), OSCE
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

 (since 1995), SECI
Southeast European Cooperative Initiative
The Southeast European Cooperative Initiative, or the SECI, has been an initiative that, under the auspices of men like Erhard Busek and Richard Schifter, has been successful in providing stability in an unstable region and has found support in international organizations and countries...

 (since 1996), WTO
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 (since 2003), CEFTA
Central European Free Trade Agreement
The Central European Free Trade Agreement is a trade agreement between non-EU countries in Southeast Europe.-Members:As of 1 May 2007, the parties of the CEFTA agreement are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and UNMIK on behalf of Kosovo.Former...

 (since 2006), La Francophonie (since 2001).

In 2005, the country was officially recognized as a European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 candidate state.

On the NATO summit held in Bucharest
Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at , and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River....

 in April 2008, Macedonia failed to gain an invitation to join the organisation because Greece vetoed the move after the dispute over the name issue. The USA had previously expressed support for an invitation, but the summit then decided to extend an offer only on condition of a prior resolution of the conflict with Greece.

In March 2009 the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 expressed support for Macedonia's EU candidacy and asked the EU Commission to grant the country a date for the start of accession talks by the end of 2009. The parliament also recommended a speedy lifting of the visa regime for Macedonian citizens.

Naming dispute



After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, the name of Macedonia became the object of a dispute between Greece and the newly independent Republic of Macedonia. In the south, the Republic of Macedonia borders the region of Greek Macedonia
Macedonia (Greece)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of Greece in Southern Europe. Macedonia is the largest and second most populous Greek region...

, which administratively is split into three peripheries
Peripheries of Greece
The current official regional administrative divisions of Greece were instituted in 1987. Although best translated into English as "regions", the transcription peripheries is sometimes used, perhaps to distinguish them from the traditional regions which they replaced. The English word 'periphery'...

 (one of them comprising both Western Thrace
Western Thrace
Western Thrace or simply Thrace is a geographic and historical region of Greece, located between the Nestos and Evros rivers in the northeast of the country. Together with the regions of Macedonia and Epirus, it is often referred to informally as northern Greece...

 and a part of Greek Macedonia). Because of that, Greece raised the issue of possible territorial aspirations and also historical concerns regarding the association of the country with the history of the Greek region.

From 1992 to 1995, the two countries also engaged in a dispute over the Macedonian state's first flag, which incorporated the Vergina Sun
Vergina Sun
The Vergina Sun — also known as the Star of Vergina, Macedonian star, or Argead Star — is the name given to a symbol of a stylised star or sun with sixteen rays. It was unearthed in 1977 during excavations in Vergina, in the northern Greek region of Macedonia, by archaeologist Manolis Andronikos...

 symbol, a symbol associated with the ancient Kingdom of Macedon. Its adoption by Macedonia, on 3 July 1992, was seen as a reaction by Skopje to Athens' pressure to change the name. This aspect of the dispute was resolved when the flag was changed under the terms of an interim accord agreed between the two states in October 1995.

The UN adopted the provisional reference "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" when the country was admitted to the organization in 1993. Most international organizations, such as the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, the European Broadcasting Union
European Broadcasting Union
The European Broadcasting Union is a confederation of 74 broadcasting organisations from 56 countries, and 49 associate broadcasters from a further 25...

, and the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

, adopted the same convention. NATO also uses the reference in official documents but adds an explanation on which member countries recognize the constitutional name. The same reference is also used in any discussion to which Greece is a party

However, most UN member countries have abandoned the provisional reference and have recognised the country as the Republic of Macedonia instead. These include four of the five permanent UN Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 members—the United States, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China; several members of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 such as Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Poland, and Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

; and over 100 other UN members. The UN has set up a negotiating process with a mediator, Matthew Nimetz
Matthew Nimetz
Matthew Nimetz is an American diplomat.He is the United Nations Special Representative for the naming dispute between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia....

, and the two disputed parties, Macedonia and Greece, to try to mediate the dispute. Negotiations continue between the two sides but have yet to reach any settlement of the dispute.

Initially the European Community-nominated Arbitration Commission's opinion was that "the use of the name 'Macedonia' cannot therefore imply any territorial claim against another State"; despite the commission's opinion, Greece continued to object to the establishment of relations between the Community and the Republic under its constitutional name.

In November 2008, Macedonia instituted proceedings before the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 (ICJ) against Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 alleging violations of the 1995 Interim Accord that blocked its accession to NATO. The ICJ is requested to order Greece to observe its obligations within the Accord, which is legally binding for both countries. The Macedonian side asserts that Article 11 of the 1995 accord obliges Greece not to object to Macedonia's application to join NATO and other international organizations, except if the country is going to be referred to in such organization with a name different than the provisional reference.

In April 2009, the President-elect Gjorge Ivanov and opposition leader Zaev held a meeting about the name issue. Ivanov called for a state strategy regarding the negotiations with Greece on the name issue and also called for a reasonable compromise that will not bring harm to Macedonia's interests. The SDSM
Social Democratic Union of Macedonia
The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia is a centre-left political party in the Macedonia.It is the successor of the League of Communists of Macedonia, the ruling party during the communist regime which ruled SR Macedonia as a constituent republic of SFR Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1990. The current...

 accepts a name with a geographic determinant that will replace the reference FYROM in the organizations where it is currently used and guarantee the country's constitutional name, national identity and language. The government of Greece expressed support for the name ‘Republic of North Macedonia’ as the basis for resolving the name issue.

In 2010, the Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) have launched a campaign placing advertisements in newspapers and billboards across Macedonia "demanding an end to all negotiations with Greece over its name".

Human rights


The Republic of Macedonia is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights
European Convention on Human Rights
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

 and the U.N. Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is an international convention that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. The Convention also sets out which people do not...

 and Convention against Torture
United Nations Convention Against Torture
The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is an international human rights instrument, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture around the world....

, and the Macedonian Constitution guarantees basic human rights to all Macedonian citizens.

There do however continue to be problems with human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

. According to human rights organisations, in 2003 there were suspected extrajudicial executions, threats and intimidation against human rights activists and opposition journalists and allegations of torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 by the police.

The country has problems with the human rights of its ethnic minorities. Although Albanians have recently been allowed to study in the Albanian language
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

, before graduating from university they are required to pass a test of their comprehension and use of the Macedonian language
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

.

Military




The Macedonian Armed Forces comprise the army, air force
Macedonian Air Force
The Macedonian Air Force is the air arm of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia.-History:The development of the Macedonian Air Force and Air Defence Forces started from scratch in 1992, because the former Yugoslav Peoples Army took all the weapons and equipment which Macedonia had accumulated,...

 and Special Forces
Wolves (military)
The Wolves are a special forces branch of the military of the Republic of Macedonia. The Wolves were the primary military force which engaged Albanian militias in the 2001 insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia. The "Wolves" also contributed to coalition forces serving during Operation Iraqi...

. The government's national defence policy aims to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land area and airspace and its constitutional order. Its main goals remain the development and maintenance of a credible capability to defend the nation's vital interests and development of the Armed Forces in a way that ensures their interoperability with the armed forces of NATO and the European Union member states and their capability to participate in the full range of NATO missions.

The Ministry of Defence develops the defence strategy and works out the assessment of the possible threats and risks. The MOD is also responsible for the defence system, training, readiness of the Armed Forces, the equipment and the development and it proposes the defence budget.

Economy



Recently ranked as the fourth 'best reformatory state' out of 178 countries ranked by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, Macedonia has undergone considerable economic reform since independence. The country has developed an open economy
Open economy
An open economy is an economy in which there are economic activities between domestic community and outside, e.g. people, including businesses, can trade in goods and services with other people and businesses in the international community, and flow of funds as investment across the border...

 with trade accounting for more than 90% of GDP in recent years. Since 1996, Macedonia has witnessed steady, though slow, economic growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 with GDP growing by 3.1% in 2005. This figure was projected to rise to an average of 5.2% in the 2006–2010 period. The government has proven successful in its efforts to combat inflation, with an inflation rate
Inflation rate
In economics, the inflation rate is a measure of inflation, the rate of increase of a price index . It is the percentage rate of change in price level over time. The rate of decrease in the purchasing power of money is approximately equal.The inflation rate is used to calculate the real interest...

 of only 3% in 2006 and 2% in 2007 and has implemented policies focused on attracting foreign investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

 and promoting the development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The current government introduced a flat tax
Flat tax
A flat tax is a tax system with a constant marginal tax rate. Typically the term flat tax is applied in the context of an individual or corporate income that will be taxed at one marginal rate...

 system with the intention of making the country more attractive to foreign investment. The flat tax rate was 12% in 2007 and was further lowered to 10% in 2008.

Despite these reforms, as of 2005 Macedonia's unemployment rate
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 was 37.2% and as of 2006 its poverty rate
Poverty threshold
The poverty threshold, or poverty line, is the minimum level of income deemed necessary to achieve an adequate standard of living in a given country...

 was 22%. Macedonia has one of the highest shares of people struggling financially, with 72% of its citizens stating that they could only manage on their household’s income ‘with difficulty’ or ‘with great difficulty', though Macedonia, along with Croatia, was the only country in the Western Balkans to not report an increase in this statistic. Corruption and a relatively ineffective legal system also act as significant restraints on successful economic development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

. Macedonia still has one of the lowest per capita GDPs in Europe. Furthermore, the country's grey market
Grey market
A grey market or gray market also known as parallel market is the trade of a commodity through distribution channels which, while legal, are unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended by the original manufacturer...

 is estimated at close to 20% of GDP.

In terms of structure, as of 2005 the service sector constituted by far the largest part of GDP at 57.1%, up from 54.2% in 2000. The industrial sector represents 29.3% of GDP, down from 33.7% in 2000 while agriculture represents only 12.9%, up from 12%. Textiles represent the most significant sector for trade, accounting for more than half of total exports. Other important exports include iron, steel, wine and vegetables.

With a GDP per capita of $9,157 at purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 and a Human Development Index of 0.701, Macedonia is less developed and has a considerably smaller economy than most of the former Yugoslav states.

According to Eurostat
Eurostat
Eurostat is a Directorate-General of the European Commission located in Luxembourg. Its main responsibilities are to provide the European Union with statistical information at European level and to promote the integration of statistical methods across the Member States of the European Union,...

 data, Macedonian PPS GDP per capita stood at 32 per cent of the EU average in 2008.

Infrastructure and e-infrastructure


Macedonia, together with Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

, belonged to the less developed southern region of the former Yugoslavia. It suffered severe economic difficulties after independence, when the Yugoslav internal market
Internal market
An internal market operates inside an organization or set of organizations which have decoupled internal components. Each component trades its services and interfaces with the others. Often a set of government or government-funded set of organizations will operate an internal market...

 collapsed and subsidies from Belgrade ended. In addition, it faced many of the same problems faced by other former socialist East European
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 countries during the transition to a market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

. Its main land and rail exports route, through Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, remains unreliable with high transit costs, thereby affecting the export of its formerly highly profitable, early vegetables market to Germany. Macedonia's IT market increased 63.8% year on year in 2007, which is the Fastest Growing in the Adriatic Region.

Trade and investment


The outbreak of the Yugoslav wars and the imposition of sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro was a country in southeastern Europe, formed from two former republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia : Serbia and Montenegro. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, it was established in 1992 as a federation called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia...

 caused great damage to the Republic's economy, with Serbia constituting 60% of its markets prior to the disintegration of Yugoslavia. When Greece imposed a trade embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

 on the Republic in 1994–95, the economy was also affected. Some relief was afforded by the end of the Bosnian war
Bosnian War
The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The war involved several sides...

 in November 1995 and the lifting of the Greek embargo, but the Kosovo War of 1999 and the 2001 Albanian crisis caused further destabilisation. Since the end of the Greek embargo, Greece has become the country's most important business partner. (See also: Greek investments in the Republic of Macedonia
Greek investments in the Republic of Macedonia
The Republic of Macedonia generally has good relations with Greece and enjoys substantial inward investment from Greece. However, the naming dispute has inhibited the establishment of full diplomatic relations so far but has not prevented both countries from engaging in military and security...

). Many Greek companies have bought former state companies in Macedonia, such as the oil refinery
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

 Okta, the baking company Zhito Luks, a marble mine in Prilep
Prilep
Prilep is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko's Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.-Name:...

, textile facilities in Bitola
Bitola
Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba and Nidže mountains, 14 km north of the...

 etc., and employ 20,000 people. However, local cross-border trade between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia sees thousands of Greek shoppers crossing the border to purchase cheaper domestic products. Other key partners are Germany, Italy, the United States, Slovenia, Austria and Turkey.

Tourism



Tourism is an important part of the economy of the Republic of Macedonia
Economy of the Republic of Macedonia
The breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991 deprived the Economy of the Republic of Macedonia, then its poorest republic , of its key protected markets and large transfer payments from the center...

. The country's large abundance of natural and cultural attractions make it an attractive destination of visitors. It receives about 700,000 tourists annually.

Administrative regions



Macedonia's statistical regions exist solely for legal and statistical purposes. The regions are:
  • Skopje
    Skopje statistical region
    The Skopje Statistical Region is one of eight arbitrary statistical regions in the Republic of Macedonia. Skopje, located in northern Macedonia, borders Kosovo to the north...

  • Pelagonia
    Pelagonia statistical region
    The Pelagonia Statistical Region is one of eight arbitrary statistical regions in the Republic of Macedonia. It is located in southwestern part of the country along the eponymous plain. It borders Greece and Albania...

  • Polog
    Polog statistical region
    The Polog Statistical Region is one of eight arbitrary statistical regions in the Republic of Macedonia. Polog, located in the northwestern part of the country, borders Albania and Kosovo...

  • Eastern
    Eastern statistical region
    The Eastern Statistical Region is one of eight arbitrary statistical regions in the Republic of Macedonia. Eastern, located in the eastern part of the country, borders Bulgaria...

  • Southeastern
    Southeastern statistical region
    The Southeastern Statistical Region is one of eight arbitrary statistical regions in the Republic of Macedonia. Southeastern, located in the southeastern part of the country, borders Greece and Bulgaria...

  • Northeastern
    Northeastern statistical region
    The Northeastern Statistical Region is one of eight arbitrary statistical regions in the Republic of Macedonia. Northeastern, located in the northeastern part of the country, borders Serbia and Bulgaria...

  • Southwestern
    Southwestern statistical region
    The Southwestern Statistical Region is one of eight arbitrary statistical regions in the Republic of Macedonia. Southwestern, located in the west and southwestern part of the country, borders Albania to the west...

  • Vardar
    Vardar statistical region
    The Vardar Statistical Region is one of eight arbitrary statistical regions in the Republic of Macedonia. Vardar, located in the central part of Macedonia, borders Greece to the south. Internally, it borders the Pelagonia, Southwestern, Skopje, Southeastern, and Eastern...


Municipalities


In August 2004, the Republic of Macedonia was reorganised into 84 municipalities (; sing. ); 10 of the municipalities constitute the City of Skopje, a distinct unit of local self-government and the country's capital.

Most of the current municipalities were unaltered or merely amalgamated from the previous 123 municipalities established in September 1996; others were consolidated and their borders changed. Prior to this, local government was organised into 34 administrative districts, communes, or counties (also opštini).

Demographics



The last census data from 2002 shows a population of 2,022,547 inhabitants.
The last official estimate from 2009, without significant change, gives a figure of 2,050,671. According to the last census data the largest ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 in the country are the Macedonians
Macedonians (ethnic group)
The Macedonians also referred to as Macedonian Slavs: "... the term Slavomacedonian was introduced and was accepted by the community itself, which at the time had a much more widespread non-Greek Macedonian ethnic consciousness...

. The second largest group are the Albanians
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

 who dominated much of the northwestern part of the country. Some unofficial estimates indicate that in the Republic of Macedonia there are possibly up to 260,000 Roma
Roma in the Republic of Macedonia
The Roma constitute an ethnic group in the Republic of Macedonia. According to the last census from 2002, there were 53,879 persons counted as Roma, or 2.66% of the population. Another 3,843 persons have been counted as "Egyptians"...

.

Cities


Religion






Orthodox Christianity is the majority faith of the Republic of Macedonia making up 64.7% of the population, the vast majority of which belong to the Macedonian Orthodox Church
Macedonian Orthodox Church
The Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric or just Macedonian Orthodox Church is the body of Christians who are united under the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, exercising jurisdiction over Macedonian Orthodox Christians in the Republic of Macedonia and in exarchates in the Macedonian...

. Various other Christian denomination
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

s account for 0.37% of the population. Muslims comprise 33.3% of the population; Macedonia has the fourth-highest proportion of Muslims in Europe, after those of Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 (90%), Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 (80%), and Bosnia-Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

 (48%). Most Muslims are Albanians
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

, Turks, or Roma, although some are Macedonian Muslims
Macedonian Muslims
The Macedonian Muslims , also known as Muslim Macedonians, Torbeš, ; , in older sources Pomaks are a minority religious group within the community of ethnic Macedonians who are Muslims...

. The remaining 1.63% is recorded as "unspecified" in the 2002 national census.

Altogether, there are more than 1200 churches and 400 mosques in the country. The Orthodox and Islamic religious communities have secondary religion schools in Skopje. There is an Orthodox theological college
Seminary
A seminary, theological college, or divinity school is an institution of secondary or post-secondary education for educating students in theology, generally to prepare them for ordination as clergy or for other ministry...

 in the capital. The Macedonian Orthodox Church has jurisdiction over 10 provinces (seven in the country and three abroad), has 10 bishops and about 350 priests. A total of 30,000 people are baptised in all the provinces every year.

There is a tension between the Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Orthodox Christian churches, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia...

es which arose from the former's separation and self-declared autocephaly
Autocephaly
Autocephaly , in hierarchical Christian churches and especially Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, is the status of a hierarchical church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop...

 in 1967. However, the Archbishop's Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church, with Decision No. 06/1959, has recognised the autonomy (self-dependence) of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. After the negotiations between the two churches were suspended, the Serbian Orthodox Church recognised a group led by Zoran Vraniškovski (also known as Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, a former Macedonian church bishop, as the Archbishop of Ohrid
Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric
The Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is an autonomous Eastern Orthodox archdiocese in the Republic of Macedonia...

.

The reaction of the Macedonian Orthodox Church was to cut off all relations with the new Ohrid Archbishopric and to prevent bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church from entering Macedonia. Bishop Jovan was jailed for 18 months for "defaming the Macedonian Orthodox church and harming the religious feelings of local citizens" by distributing Serbian Orthodox church calendars and pamphlets.

The Macedonian Byzantine Catholic Church
Macedonian Greek Catholic Church
The Macedonian Catholic Church, called the Macedonian Byzantine Catholic Church, is a Byzantine Rite sui juris Eastern Catholic Church in full union with the Roman Catholic Church which uses the Macedonian language in the liturgy.- History :...

 has approximately 11,000 adherents in Macedonia. The Church was established in 1918, and is made up mostly of converts to Catholicism and their descendants. The Church is of the Byzantine Rite
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

 and is in communion with the Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its liturgical worship is performed in Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

.

There is a small Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 community. The most famous Protestant in the country is the late president Boris Trajkovski
Boris Trajkovski
Trajkovski died on 26 February 2004 in a plane crash en route to an economic conference in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aircraft crashed in thick fog and heavy rain on a mountainside in southeastern Herzegovina, near the villages of Huskovici and Rotimlja some eight miles south-south-east...

. He was from the Methodist
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 community, which is the largest and oldest Protestant church in the Republic, dating back to the late 19th century. Since the 1980s the Protestant community has grown, partly through new confidence and partly with outside missionary help.

The Macedonian Jewish community
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, which numbered some 7,200 people on the eve of World War II, was almost entirely destroyed during the war: only 2% of Macedonian Jews survived
Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia
The Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia is a memorial to the holocaust of the 7,148 Jews from Macedonia and the history of the Jews in the Balkans, located in...

 the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. After their liberation and the end of the War, most opted to emigrate to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Today, the country's Jewish community numbers approximately 200 persons, almost all of whom live in Skopje. Most Macedonian Jews are Sephardic
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 – the descendants of 15th century refugees who had fled the Spanish
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

 and Portuguese Inquisition
Portuguese Inquisition
The Portuguese Inquisition was formally established in Portugal in 1536 at the request of the King of Portugal, João III. Manuel I had asked for the installation of the Inquisition in 1515 to fulfill the commitment of marriage with Maria of Aragon, but it was only after his death that the Pope...

s.

According to the 2002 Census, 46.5% of the children aged 0–4 were Muslim.

Languages


The official and most widely spoken language is Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

, which belongs to the Eastern branch of the South Slavic
South Slavic languages
The South Slavic languages comprise one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches by a belt of German, Hungarian and Romanian speakers...

 language group. Macedonian is closely related to and mutually intelligible
Mutual intelligibility
In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is recognized as a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related languages can readily understand each other without intentional study or extraordinary effort...

 with Standard Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

. It also has some similarities with standard Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

 and the intermediate Torlakian and Shop
Shopi
Shopi is a regional term referring to people that speak a transitional dialect group of South Slavic, self-identifying as Bulgarians, Macedonians and Serbs. The areas traditionally inhabited by the Shopi is called Shopluk Shopi (scientific transliteration of Bulgarian, Macedonian, ; Serbian latin...

 dialects spoken mostly in southern Serbia and western Bulgaria (and by speakers in the north and east of Macedonia). The standard language
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

 was codified
Codification (linguistics)
In linguistics, codification is the process of standardizing and developing a norm for a language.Codifying a language can vary from case to case and depends on the stage of standardization that already exists...

 in the period following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and has accumulated a thriving literary tradition. Although it is the only language explicitly designated as an official national language
National language
A national language is a language which has some connection—de facto or de jure—with a people and perhaps by extension the territory they occupy. The term is used variously. A national language may for instance represent the national identity of a nation or country...

 in the constitution, in municipalities where at least 20% of the population is part of another ethnic minority
Minority group
A minority is a sociological group within a demographic. The demographic could be based on many factors from ethnicity, gender, wealth, power, etc. The term extends to numerous situations, and civilizations within history, despite the misnomer of minorities associated with a numerical statistic...

, those individual languages are used for official purposes in local government, alongside Macedonian.

According to the last census, 1,344,815 Macedonian citizens declared that speak Macedonian, 507,989 citizens spoke Albanian, 71,757 citizens spoke Turkish, 38,528 citizens spoke Roma, 6,884 citizens spoke Aromanian, 24,773 citizens spoke Serbian, 8.560 citizens spoke Bosnian and 19,241 citizens spoke on other languages.

A wide variety of languages are spoken in Macedonia, reflecting its ethnic diversity. Besides the official national language Macedonian, minority language
Minority language
A minority language is a language spoken by a minority of the population of a territory. Such people are termed linguistic minorities or language minorities.-International politics:...

s with substantial numbers of speakers are: Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

, Romani
Romani language
Romani or Romany, Gypsy or Gipsy is any of several languages of the Romani people. They are Indic, sometimes classified in the "Central" or "Northwestern" zone, and sometimes treated as a branch of their own....

, Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 (including Balkan Gagauz
Balkan Gagauz Turkish language
Balkan Gagauz Turkish is a Turkic language spoken in European Turkey, Greece, and in the Kumanovo and Bitola areas of the Republic of Macedonia. Dialects include Gajal, Gerlovo Turk, Karamanli, Kyzylbash, Surguch, Tozluk Turk, Yuruk, and Macedonian Gagauz. This is a different language from Gagauz...

), Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

/Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

 and Aromanian
Aromanian language
Aromanian , also known as Macedo-Romanian, Arumanian or Vlach is an Eastern Romance language spoken in Southeastern Europe...

 (including Megleno-Romanian
Megleno-Romanian language
Megleno-Romanian is a Romance language, similar to Aromanian and Romanian, or a dialect of the Romanian language...

). There are a few villages of Adyghe
Adyghe language
Adyghe language , also known as West Circassian , is one of the two official languages of the Republic of Adygea in the Russian Federation, the other being Russian. It is spoken by various tribes of the Adyghe people: Abzekh, Adamey, Bzhedugh; Hatukuay, Kemirgoy, Makhosh; Natekuay, Shapsigh; Zhane,...

 speakers and an immigrant Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 community.

Education



The Macedonian education system
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 consists of:
  • pre-school education
    Kindergarten
    A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

  • primary
  • secondary
  • higher


The higher levels of education can be obtained at one of the five state universities: Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, St. Clement of Ohrid University of Bitola, Goce Delčev University of Štip
Goce Delcev University of Štip
The Goce Delčev University of Štip is a state university in Macedonia. It was founded on 27 March 2007 by the Assembly of Macedonia as the fourth state university. Its headquarters are in Štip...

, State University of Tetovo and University for Information Science and Technology "St. Paul The Apostle" in Ohrid
University for Information Science and Technology
The University for Information Science and Technology "St. Paul The Apostole" , is a state university located in Ohrid, Macedonia. Founded in 2009, the university is organized in 5 Faculties...

. There are a number of private university institutions, such as the European University, Slavic University in Sveti Nikole
Sveti Nikole
Sveti Nikole is a town in the Republic of Macedonia. It is the seat of Sveti Nikole Municipality and a center of a plain called Ovče Pole , famous for sheep farming, lamb meat, and dairy products of all kinds. According to legend, the town was named after the church of Sveti Nikola, built in the...

, the South East European University
South East European University
South East European University , is a university located in Tetovo, Republic of Macedonia with a branch campus in Skopje. It is the first private-public not for profit university in Macedonia. It was founded in October 2001 and is a member of the Balkan Universities Network and an associate member...

 and others.

The United States Agency for International Development
United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas...

 has underwritten a project called "Macedonia Connects" which has made Macedonia the first all-broadband wireless country in the world. The Ministry of Education and Sciences reports that 461 schools (primary and secondary) are now connected to the internet. In addition, an Internet Service Provider
Internet service provider
An Internet service provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. Access ISPs directly connect customers to the Internet using copper wires, wireless or fiber-optic connections. Hosting ISPs lease server space for smaller businesses and host other people servers...

 (On.net), has created a MESH Network to provide WIFI services in the 11 largest cities/towns in the country.

Cinema and media



The history of film
History of film
The history of film is the historical development of the medium known variously as cinema, motion pictures, film, or the movies.The history of film spans over 100 years, from the latter part of the 19th century to the present day...

 making in the republic dates back over 110 years. The first film to be produced on the territory of the present-day the country was made in 1895 by Janaki and Milton Manaki
Manakis brothers
The brothers Ianachia and Milton Manachia were pioneering photographers and filmmakers in the Balkans. In 1905 they filmed the first motion pictures in the Balkans in Ottoman Monastir...

 in Bitola. Throughout the past century, the medium of film has depicted the history, culture and everyday life of the Macedonian people. Over the years many Macedonian films have been presented at film festival
Film festival
A film festival is an organised, extended presentation of films in one or more movie theaters or screening venues, usually in a single locality. More and more often film festivals show part of their films to the public by adding outdoor movie screenings...

s around the world and several of these films have won prestigious awards. The first Macedonian feature film was "Frosina", released in 1952. The first feature film in colour was "Miss Stone", a movie about a Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 missionary in Ottoman Macedonia. It was released in 1958. The highest grossing feature film in the Republic of Macedonia was Bal-Can-Can
Bal-Can-Can
Bal-Can-Can is a 2005 Macedonian–Italian joint production film about a deserter who travels throughout the Balkans as a political immigrant in search of his dead mother-in-law who is wrapped in a carpet.-Cast:-Reception:...

, having been seen by over 500,000 people in its first year alone.

The oldest newspaper in the country is Nova Makedonija from 1944. Other well known newspaper and magazines are: Utrinski Vesnik, Dnevnik
Dnevnik (Skopje)
Dnevnik is a daily newspaper in the Republic of Macedonia. The founders of Dnevnik were Mile Jovanovski, Branislav Gjeroski and Aleksandar Damovski. It is published every day except Sunday. The first issue of Dnevnik was published on March 20, 1996...

, Vest, Vreme
Vreme
Vreme is a weekly newsmagazine based in Belgrade, Serbia.After being prepared for seven months throughout 1990 by liberal Serbian intellectuals dissatisfied with the regime's control of the media, its first issue came out on October 29, 1990. Most of its original staff were journalists from...

, Špic, Večer, Tea Moderna
Tea Moderna (magazine)
Tea Moderna is a Macedonian weekly magazine for women....

, Makedonsko Sonce
Makedonsko Sonce
Makedonsko Sonce is a weekly magazine published in the Republic of Macedonia. Its name means "Macedonian Sun", referring to the Vergina Sun, which is used in the logo of the magazine. It was established by Gjorgija Atanasoski and the first edition was published on June 24, 1994...

, and Koha. Public channel is Macedonian Radio-Television
Macedonian Radio-Television
Macedonian Radio Television is the public broadcasting organization of the Republic of Macedonia. It was founded in 1993 by the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia...

 founded in 1993 by the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia
Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia
The Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, the Assembly , has 123 members, elected for a four year term, by proportional representation from 6 electoral districts, each contributing 20 MPs.- Result :...

. TEKO TV
TEKO TV
The first private television in Republic of Macedonia was founded in Štip by Mr. Mile Kokotov in 1989. It was "TV TEKO", which is not operational any more....

 (1989) from Štip
Štip
Štip is the largest urban agglomeration in the eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, serving as the economic, industrial, entertainment and educational focal point for the surrounding municipalities. As of the 2002 census, the Štip municipality alone had a population of about 47,796...

 is the first private television channel
Television channel
A television channel is a physical or virtual channel over which a television station or television network is distributed. For example, in North America, "channel 2" refers to the broadcast or cable band of 54 to 60 MHz, with carrier frequencies of 55.25 MHz for NTSC analog video and...

 in the country. Other popular private TV's also are: A1 TV, Sitel
Sitel (TV channel)
Sitel Television is the second private television channel in the Republic of Macedonia.-Programmes:...

, Kanal 5
Kanal 5 (Macedonia)
Kanal 5 is a national, privately owned, television channel in the Republic of Macedonia. It was founded in its current form in 1998. The network's main office is in Skopje, and also has smaller studios in other bigger cities all around the Republic of Macedonia.The network began broadcasting to...

, Telma
Telma (TV channel)
Telma TV is a private national and satellite television channel in Macedonia, formed in September, 1996....

, Alfa TV, Naša TV
Naša TV
Naša TV is a private national and satellite television channel in Macedonia.-External links:**...

, Alsat-M, MTV Adria
MTV Adria
MTV Adria is a localized version of the music and entertainment channel MTV Europe, customized for the Balkan countries that used to be constituent parts of Yugoslavia...

and etc.

In 1994 Milco Manchevski's film "Before the Rain" was nominated as Best Foreign Film
World cinema
World cinema is a term used primarily in English language speaking countries to refer to the films and film industries of non-English speaking countries. It is therefore often used interchangeably with the term foreign film...

. Manchevski continues to be the most prominent modern filmmaker in the country having subsequently written and directed "Dust" and "Shadows."

Culture



Macedonia has a rich cultural heritage in art, architecture, poetry, and music. It has many ancient, protected religious sites. Poetry, cinema, and music festivals are held annually. Macedonian music
Music of the Republic of Macedonia
Music of the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonians has many things in common with the music of neighbouring Balkan countries, but maintains its own distinctive sound.-Folk music:...

 styles developed under the strong influence of Byzantine church music. Macedonia has a significant number of preserved Byzantine fresco paintings, mainly from the period between the 11th and 16th centuries. There are several thousands square metres of fresco painting
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 preserved, the major part of which is in very good condition and represent masterworks of the Macedonian School of ecclesiastical painting.

The most important cultural events in the country are the Ohrid
Ohrid
Ohrid is a city on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia. It has about 42,000 inhabitants, making it the seventh largest city in the country. The city is the seat of Ohrid Municipality. Ohrid is notable for having once had 365 churches, one for each day of the year and has...

 Summer festival of classical music and drama, the Struga Poetry Evenings
Struga Poetry Evenings
Struga Poetry Evenings is an international poetry festival held annually in Struga, Republic of Macedonia. During the several decades of its existence, the Festival has awarded its most prestigious award, the Golden Wreath, to some of the most notable international poets, including: Mahmoud...

 which gather poets from more than 50 countries in the world, International Camera Festival in Bitola
Bitola
Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba and Nidže mountains, 14 km north of the...

, Open Youth Theatre and Skopje Jazz Festival
Skopje Jazz Festival
The Skopje Jazz Festival is a jazz festival held in Skopje since 1982.It is an institution which had consistent growth in the 1980s, 1990s and continues to grow every year...

 in Skopje etc.
The Macedonian Opera opened in 1947 with a performance of Cavalleria rusticana
Cavalleria rusticana
Cavalleria rusticana is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from a play written by Giovanni Verga based on his short story. Considered one of the classic verismo operas, it premiered on May 17, 1890 at the Teatro...

under the direction of Branko Pomorisac. Every year, the May Opera Evenings are held in Skopje for around 20 nights. The first May Opera performance was that of Kiril Makedonski
Kiril Makedonski
Kiril Makedonski was a Macedonian composer. Born in Bitola, Macedonia, Makedonski studied music composition at the Zagreb Conservatory in Croatia. He is best known today for composing Goce , the first opera in the Macedonian language, which was commissioned for the inaugural performance of the...

's Tsar Samuil in May 1972.

Public holidays


The main public holidays in the Republic of Macedonia are:
Date English name Macedonian name Remarks
1–2 January New Year Нова Година, Nova Godina  
7 January Christmas Day (Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

)
Прв ден Божик, Prv den Božik  
March/April Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

 (Orthodox)
Велики Петок, Veliki Petok Ortodox Easter and other Easter dates do not match; see: Date of Easter
March/April Easter Sunday (Orthodox) Прв ден Велигден, Prv den Veligden -"-
March/april Easter Monday
Easter Monday
Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is celebrated as a holiday in some largely Christian cultures, especially Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox cultures...

 (Orthodox)
Втор ден Велигден, Vtor den Veligden -"-
1 May Labour Day Ден на трудот, Den na trudot  
24 May Saints Cyril and Methodius Day  Св. Кирил и Методиј, Ден на сèсловенските просветители; Sv. Kiril i Metodij, Den na sèslovenskite prosvetiteli  
2 August Day of the Republic  Ден на Републиката, Den na Republikata Day when the Republic was established in 1944, also Ilinden uprising in 1903 and victory in Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC.
8 September Independence Day  Ден на независноста, Den na nezavisnosta Day of independence from Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

11 October Revolution Day  Ден на востанието, Den na vostanieto Beginning of Anti-fascist war during WWII in 1941
23 October Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle Ден на македонската револуционерна борба,Den na makedonskata revolucionarna borba Day when the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was established in 1893.
1 Shawwal Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

 
Рамазан Бајрам, Ramazan Bajram moveable, see: Islamic Calendar
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

8 December Saint Clement of Ohrid
Clement of Ohrid
Saint Clement of Ohrid was a medieval Bulgarian saint, scholar, writer and enlightener of the Slavs. He was the most prominent disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius and is often associated with the creation of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets, especially their popularisation among...

 Day
Св. Климент Охридски, Sv. Kliment Ohridski  


Besides these, there are several major religious & minorities holidays. (See:Public holidays in the Republic of Macedonia
Public holidays in the Republic of Macedonia
Public holidays are observed in the Republic of Macedonia for a number of reasons, including for religious religious and national significance. They are generally accompanied by celebrations....

)

Cuisine


Macedonian cuisine is a representative of the cuisine of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

—reflecting Mediterranean (Greek and Turkish
Turkish cuisine
Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighbouring cuisines, including that of western Europe...

) and Middle Eastern
Middle Eastern cuisine
Middle-Eastern cuisine, West Asian cuisine, or in some place in the United States, Persian-Mediterranean cuisine is the cuisine of the various countries and peoples of the Middle East . The cuisine of the region is diverse while having a degree of homogeneity...

 influences, and to a lesser extent Italian
Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab cuisines...

, German
German cuisine
German cuisine is a style of cooking derived from the nation of Germany. It has evolved as a national cuisine through centuries of social and political change with variations from region to region. The southern regions of Germany, including Bavaria and neighbouring Swabia, share many dishes....

 and Eastern European (especially Hungarian) ones. The relatively warm climate in Macedonia provides excellent growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits. Thus, Macedonian cuisine is particularly diverse.

Famous for its rich Šopska salad, an appetizer and side dish which accompanies almost every meal, Macedonian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of its dairy products, wines, and local alcoholic beverages, such as rakija. Tavče Gravče and mastika
Mastika
Mastika , mastícha; is a liquor seasoned with mastic, a resin gathered from the mastic tree, a small evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean region...

 are considered the national dish and drink of the Republic of Macedonia, respectively.

Sport



Football is the most popular sport in Macedonia. Macedonia national football team is the national football team of Macedonia and is controlled by the Football Federation of Macedonia
Football Federation of Macedonia
The Football Federation of Macedonia is the governing body of football in the Republic of Macedonia. It organizes the First Macedonian Football League, the Macedonian Cup and the Republic of Macedonia national football team. It is based in Skopje....

. The home stadium of the National team is the Philip II Arena. The most popular Macedonian footballer is Goran Pandev
Goran Pandev
Goran Pandev , is a Macedonian footballer who plays as a forward for Italian Serie A club Napoli on loan from Internazionale. He is also considered a key player for the Macedonian national team.-Early career:...

, which currently plays for Internazionale
F.C. Internazionale Milano
Football Club Internazionale Milano, often referred to as Internazionale or simply Inter, is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Italy. Outside Italy, the club is often called Inter Milan. They are the reigning FIFA Club World champions and Coppa Italia holders.Inter have always...

. Apart from football, handball
Team handball
Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team...

 is the most important team sport in the country. 2002 Kometal Skopje won the European Cup EHF Women's Champions League
EHF Champions League
The EHF Champions League is the most important professional club handball competition in Europe . The competition was started in the 1956–57 season, and is administered by the European Handball Federation.The most successful teams are from Germany and Spain...

. The European Women's Handball Championship
European Women's Handball Championship
The European Women's Handball Championship is the official competition for senior women's national handball teams of Europe, and takes place every two years. In addition to crowning the European champions, the tournament also serves as a qualifying tournament for the World Championship...

 took place in 2008 in Macedonia. The venues in which the tournament took place were located in Skopje and Ohrid. The Macedonian women's national handball team arrived here a seventh place. The Macedonian national basketball team represents the Republic of Macedonia in international basketball. The Macedonian national basketball team is run by the Basketball Federation of Macedonia, the governing body of basketball in Macedonia which was created in 1992 and joined FIBA in 1993. Macedonia has participated in three Eurobasket
Eurobasket
The EuroBasket, also referred to as the FIBA European Basketball Championship, is the main basketball competition contested biennially by the men's national teams governed by FIBA Europe, the European zone within the International Basketball Federation. The championship was first held in 1935 and...

s since then with its best finish at 4th place in 2011
Eurobasket 2011
EuroBasket 2011 was the 37th men's European Basketball Championship, held by FIBA Europe. The competition was hosted by Lithuania. This was the second time Eurobasket had been held in Lithuania, the country having also hosted the 1939 championship. FIBA Europe asserted that Lithuania managed to...

. It plays its home games at the Boris Trajkovski Arena in Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

. In the summer months The Ohrid Swimming Marathon
Ohrid Swimming Marathon
The Ohrid Swimming Marathon is an international Open water swimming competition, established in always taking place in the waters of the Ohrid Lake, Republic of Macedonia...

 is an annual event on Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid straddles the mountainous border between the southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania. It is one of Europe's deepest and oldest lakes, preserving a unique aquatic ecosystem with more than 200 endemic species that is of worldwide importance...

 and during the winter months there is skiing in Macedonia's winter sports centres. Macedonia also takes part in the Olympic Games. Participation in the Games is organized by the Macedonian Olympic Committee.

International rankings

Organization Survey Ranking
Institute for Economics and Peace
Institute for Economics and Peace
The Institute for Economics and Peace , chaired by entrepreneur Steve Killelea, is a global non-profit research organization headquartered in Sydney, Australia with a branch in New York...

Global Peace Index
Global Peace Index
The Global Peace Index is an attempt to measure the relative position of nations' and regions' peacefulness. It is the product of Institute for Economics and Peace and developed in consultation with an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and think tanks with data collected...

88 out of 144
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2009 34 out of 175
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

/The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

Index of Economic Freedom 2010 56 out of 179
Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 71 out of 180
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

Human Development Index 2009 72 out of 182

See also


  • Symbols of the Republic of Macedonia
    Symbols of the Republic of Macedonia
    After the independence of the Republic of Macedonia from Yugoslavia, the country made some changes in the national symbols. The flag was changed two times and today's flag includes an eight ray sun on a red background, while the coat of arms from the SR Macedonia stayed the same except the red star...

  • Telecommunications in the Republic of Macedonia
  • Transport in the Republic of Macedonia
    Transport in the Republic of Macedonia
    -Railways:total:standard gauge: 1.435-m gauge note:...



External links