MACEDONIA – The Country

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The Republic of Macedonia, (Macedonian: Република Македониjа, Republika Makedonija) (accepted in the UN under the provisional reference the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) [3], is a landlocked country in the Balkans. It is bordered by Serbia and Kosovo to the north, Albania to the west, Bulgaria to the east, and Greece to the south. The constitutional name of the country is the Republic of Macedonia and it is usually called simply Macedonia, despite the disambiguation concerns of the neighboring Greeks in the Greek province Macedonia and the official provisional name the country has under UN.

While easily accessible from all points abroad, and boasting all the amenities of the Western world, the Republic of Macedonia remains one of Europe’s last undiscovered countries: a natural paradise of mountains, lakes and rivers, where life moves to a different rhythm, amidst the sprawling grandeur of rich historical ruins and idyllic villages that have remained practically unchanged for centuries. The majority population is ethnic Macedonian and Orthodox but there is also a significant Albanian Muslim minority. Therefore, one can expect a wonderful mix of architectural and ethnic hertitage. The country represents the Balkans in the truest sense, consisting of a fascinating mix of Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, and Mediterranean influences.

Understand

Macedonia is a country with many ethnic minorities. There is still some ethnic tension between Albanians (who form the majority in the northwest) and Macedonians, so this is a subject best avoided. It almost came to civil war a few years ago.

Climate

The road to Markovi Kuli fortress in Prilep
Macedonia has warm, dry summers and autumns, and relatively stable winters with warm temperatures.

Terrain

Macedonia is covered by mountainous territory marked by deep basins and valleys filled with fruity goodness. There are three large lakes, Ohrid lake, Prespa lake and Dojran lake, each divided by a frontier line, and the country bisected by the Vardar River.

Macedonia is blessed with outstanding natural beauty. Do not miss a trip to one of the large lakes, Pelister Mountains, Shar Planina in the West, and the fascinating rolling hills and mountains of the East with its rice fields.

History

The village of Galičnik

Macedonia is dotted with beautiful Orthodox churches, monasteries, and Ottoman mosques. The territory of the Republic of Macedonia has a proud history. Being under the Ottomans for 500 years caused legendary Macedonian revolutionaries such as Goce Delcev, Nikola Karev, and Pitu Guli to lead uprisings to free Macedonia. Macedonia has been part of many countries, but until its incorporation into Yugoslavia by Tito in 1945 it was never acknowledged as an administrative “state.” Macedonia prospered under Tito’s rule, especially when the capital Skopje was rebuilt after a severe earthquake in 1963 and the Yugoslav government invested heavily in the subsequent infrastructure rebuilding. This may explain why many Macedonians are somewhat nostalgic for Tito’s Yugoslavia.

International recognition of Macedonia’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 was delayed by Greece’s objection to the new state’s use of what Greece considered a “Hellenic name and symbols.” Greece finally lifted its trade blockade in 1995, and the two countries agreed to normalize relations, despite continued disagreement over the use of “Macedonia” in the name. Greece is now the largest investor in the Republic of Macedonia.

Macedonia’s large Albanian minority (about 25%), an ethnic Albanian armed insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia in 2001, and the status of neighboring Kosovo continue to be sources of ethnic tension. There were also tensions during the last parliamentary elections on the 2nd of June 2008, although they happened between supporters of the two biggest rival Albanian political parties.

Content on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. A list of contributors and more information is available at the original article on Wikitravel.




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