Macedonia (FYROM)

Useful informations
Full nameThe Republic of Macedonia
LocationBalkan Peninsula, in south-eastern Europe
NeighborhoodGreece, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia
Area25,713 km2
Density80 persons/km2
Capital citySkopje
CurrencyMacedonian denar (MKD)

The Republic of Macedonia ( Република Македонија ) or simply Macedonia is a country located in the Balkan Peninsula, in south-eastern Europe. It is bordered by Greece to the south, Bulgaria to the east, Albania to the west and Serbia ( Kosovo Region ) to the north. Macedonia, alongside Serbia are the only countries in the Balkan Peninsula that don’t have acces to a sea or ocean.

Macedonia covers an area of 25,713 km2 ( 148th in the world ) and has a density of 80 persons/km2 ( 122nd in the world ). The capital city is Skopje which hosts about 506,926 people out of the 2,069,162 total population. The country’s anthem is called Denes nad Makidonija ( Денес над Македонија ) which means “Today over Macedonia” and it was composed by Todor Skalovski, the lyrics being writen by Vlado Maleski in 1941. The Republic of Macedonia is organised as a parliamentary republic. 64,2% of the total population is ethnic macedonian, while other ethnicities include albanians ( 25,2% ), turks ( 3,9% ), gypsies ( 2,7% ), serbs (1,8%) aromanians, bulgarians and others unspecified. Other important macedonian populations across the Balkans can be found in the countries of former Yugoslavia ( up to 65.000 ) and Greece ( between 10.000 and 30.000 ). The official currency in Macedonia is the Macedonian Denar ( MKD ).

Macedonia is currently member of the following organizations: UN, Council of Europe, associated member of the International Organization of Francophony, World Trade Organization and OSCE. The country will adhere in a few years to NATO and it is also a candidate for membership in the European Union but has to solve the country’s name dispute with Greece first. The country’s independence day is celebrated on 8 September 1991 when Macedonia splited peacefully from Yugoslavia after a Referendum for Independence took place.

The first states that were formed on nowadays Macedonian territory were the Kingdom of Paeonia on the northern and eastern regions of the valley of Vardar river and the Kingdom of Macedonia on the Lyncestae, Enchelae and Pelagones regions. The Paeonians were thracian people and on their territory there were some illyrians and dardanians aswell. Philip II of Macedon took control of the southern regions of Paeonia in 336 BC and founded the city Heraclea Lynkestis ( today Bitola ). Philip’s son, Alexander the Great conquered the rest of Paeonia, enclosing the region to his empire.

Later, the territory was conquered by the Roman Empire and the region became part of 2 roman provinces: Macedonia Salutaris ( the bigger part ) and Moesia Superior. The macedonian part of Moesia Superior was inhabited by dardanians and illyrians back then. By the year 400 BC the paeonians have already lost their true identity and the term Paeonia was only used to describe a geographical place in the region of Macedonia.

At the ending of the 6th century AD, the byzantine writings were spoking about the slavic raids in the region. The slavic population that chose to settle in Macedonia have assimilated with the local population and embraced christianity in the 9th century. In the same period, Tsar Boris I of Bulgaria enclosed most of the region to the Bulgarian Empire. In 1014, emperor Basil II managed to defeat the army of Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria and as a consequence, by 1018 the byzantines took control over Macedonia and most of the Balkans for the first time since the 600’s. However, by the end of the 12th century, the decline of the Byzantine Empire made it be coveted by the other political entities, including the normands. By the end of the 13th century, Macedonia was conquered by the Vlacho-Bulgarian Empire ( also known as the  2nd Bulgarian Empire ).

Macedonia is a landlocked country. This means that the country is geographically 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, which frame the valley of the Vardar river. Three large lakes: Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Lake Dojran 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.

The Republic of Macedonia has a transitional climate, from mediterranean to continental. The summers are hot and dry while the winters are moderate. The annual rainfall differs from 1.400 mm in the mountainous regions from the west to 500 mm in the eastern regions. The country has 3 main climatic areas: mediterranean, mountainous and continental. Throughout the Vardar and Strumica rivers, in the regions of Gevgelija, Valandovo, Dojran, Strumica and Radoviš the climate is mainly mediterranean. The warmest areas are Demir Kapija and Gevgelija where temperatures are often reaching up to 40°C in the months of July and August.

Macedonia is a country with vast, unspoiled natural landscapes and has a rich animal and plant life. Approximately one third of the country is covered with mixed forests, which have a high proportion of beeches, oaks and chestnuts. In the fertile valley levels of Macedonia, the vegetation is mainly maquis (evergreen, densely overgrown shrubbery), due to the prevailing Mediterranean climate and it is also covered by rich pastures, which are used for agriculture and cattle breeding. Around the larger lakes thrive cypress, walnut and fig trees. In the higher regions, from 1.300 m above the sea level, there are growing conifers such as dwarf pine and fir. From an altitude of about 2.000 m, junipers and other undemanding plants that can thrive despite the harsh mountain climate can be seen.

Macedonian fauna is abundant and the most common wild animals found in this country are: bears, foxes, wolves, wild boars, squirrels, deers and chamois. The lynx still exists in Macedonia but it can be rarely seen in the mountainous regions, while deers can be seen in the Demir Kapija region. As of domestic animals, the  Šarplaninec – shepherd dog of mountain Šar is an unique type of dog known to fight against bears and wolves in order to defend the flock.

Macedonian Language

The official and most spoken language in the Republic of Macedonia is of course macedonian which is part of the south slavic languages. However, macedonian sounds incredibly similar to bulgarian, some saying that macedonian is kind of a bulgarian dialect. In the municipalities where ethnic groups are over 20% of the total population, their language becomes co-official. Alongside macedonian, albanian is widely spoken in western Macedonia as lots of ethnic albanians are living in that area. Other spoken languages include: turkish, aromanian, serbian, bulgarian, bosniak, roma and others.

The official religion of the Republic of Macedonia is Orthodoxy with about 64,7% of the population belonging to the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Muslims have an important percentage of the total population ( 33% ). The albanians, turks and romani living on Macedonian territory belong to the Mahommedan faith. There about 1.842 churches and 580 mosques around the country. 10 bishops and 350 priests are representing the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

On UNESCO’s list there can be found only 1 cultural objective in Macedonia: Lake Ohrid and the City of Ohrid

According to 2014 estimation, in the Republic of Macedonia are living nowadays 2,069,162 persons of whom 64,18% are macedonians, 25,17% are albanians, 3,85% turks, 2,66% romani, 1,78% serbs and the rest are bosniaks, aromanians and others. Some unofficial estimates claim that in the country there are possibly up to 260,000 Romani.

Since gaining its independence, the Republic of Macedonia has went through several reforms and managed to develop an open economy. The government managed to fight against inflation and had a series of successes, then started to adopt policies focused on attracting foreign investment. The flat tax rate was lowered to 10% in 2008 in order to attract furthermore investments. However, Macedonia’s unemployment rate still suffered with a 37,2% rate in 2005 and with a 22% rate of poverty in 2006. Thanks to a series of measures adopted by the state which resulted in the establishment of several local subsidiaries of world leading manufacturing companies, the unemployment rate dropped to 27,3% in 2015.

An ineffective legal system and corruption caused quite a failure in economic development, 72% of the citizens complaining about their incomes. Mining and construction sectors are making up to 21,4% of the GDP, while trade, transportation and accomodation are making up to 18,2% and the agriculture represents 9,6% of the total GDP. The grey market of the country is estimated to be at 20% of the GDP.

In terms of foreign trade, Macedonia’s largest sector contributing to the country’s export is “chemicals and related products” – 21,4%, followed by “machinery and transport equipment” – 21,2%, while the main import sectors are “manufactured goods classified chiefly by material” – 34,2%, followed by “mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials”. The European Union is Macedonia’s biggest trading partner. Greece is also a very importand business partner because of the many greek companies that established in Macedonia after the end of the Greek embargo. Other importand trade partners include: Germany, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Turkey and the United States of America.

Transportation in Macedonia

The roads are the main transport network in the Republic of Macedonia. The most common route used is E-75 which crosses across the country. In total there are 4 E-road networks in Macedonia. There are also 7 motorways across the country and many of them are connecting the most important cities with popular tourist areas or with the neighbouring countries, the first one, Kumanovo-Petrovec being open in 1979. However, many of them are still under construction nowadays. In total there are over 300 km of motorways. The buses from Macedonia are operating to and from: Sofia, Belgrade, Zagreb, Pula, Ljubljana, Thessaloniki, Münich, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Bern, Essen, Vienna, Zürich, Malmö, Gothenburg.

The railway network is a wide mesh and the trains run irregularly. By contrast, the tracks run along mountain slopes and canyons that you otherwise might never reach and the train travels so slowly that it is readily possible to take pictures from a train window.

People

Discover some of the most popular persons who live / lived in Macedonia (FYROM).

Katarina Ivanovska

She began her modeling career in 2004, appearing at the Milan Fashion Week after winning the Look Models International model search in Macedonia. In December 2004, she appeared in a pictorial for Elle magazine and has also appeared in Citizen K, Stiletto and the Italian and Russian Vogue. She has been featured on the covers […]

Pero Antić

Currently plays for Fenerbahçe in the Turkish Basketball League (TBL). He was also a member and captain of the Macedonian national basketball team. Standing at 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m), he primarily plays the power forward position, although he can play at the center position. Antić’s best offensive attributes are his body strength, jump […]

Goran Pandev

Plays for Genoa as a forward. He is a key player for the Macedonian national team, being the country’s all-time top scorer with 26 goals. After establishing himself at Lazio, Pandev moved to Inter Milan in early 2010. While playing for the Nerazzurri, Pandev collected a host of honours including winning the 2009–10 Serie A, […]

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Culinary

Discover some of the traditional receips from Macedonia (FYROM).

Zlaten Dab

The pride and joy of the Prilep Brewery, a valley in southern Macedonia, is Zlaten Dab, a high quality European lager with a golden yellow color. Hence the name Zlaten Dab or Golden Oak. Zlaten Dab is a unique lager offering a pleasant  bitterness and pure taste with of 11% malt and a content of […]

Sutlijaš

Ingredients: 200 grams of rice 1 liter of milk 1 tablespoon sugar vanilla 150gr sugar Lemon Zest Cinnamon powder   Steps: Put the rice in a pot, cover it with water and put the pot on fire. When the water boils, reduce the heat and simmer. Add a little water until cooked. It is important […]

Ravanija

Ingredients: For the dough: 10 eggs 10 tablespoons sugar 10 tablespoons flour 10 tablespoons semolina 1piece baking powder 1 piece of vanilla sugar   For the syrup: 800ml water 800gr sugar 1 Lemon (sliced) 1 piece of vanilla sugar Cinnamon   Steps: For the Syrup – Place the sugar and water over low heat until […]

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