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Macedonia ( , ), officially the Republic of Macedonia ( , transliterated: Republika Makedonija ), is a country in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslaviamarker, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations in 1993, but as a result of a dispute with Greece 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 Kosovomarker to the northwest, Serbiamarker to the northeast, Bulgariamarker to the east, Greecemarker to the south and Albaniamarker to the west. The country's capital is Skopjemarker, with 506,926 inhabitants according to a 2004 census. Other cities include Bitolamarker, Kumanovomarker, Prilepmarker, Tetovomarker, Ohridmarker, Velesmarker, Štipmarker, Kočanimarker, Gostivarmarker and Strumicamarker. It has more than 50 lakes and sixteen mountains higher than . Macedonia is a member of the UN and the Council of Europe. Since December 2005 it has also been a candidate for joining the European Union and has applied for NATO membership.


Ancient history of the territory

Map of the area in classical antiquity (situation of ca. the 5th century BC).
In antiquity, most of the territory that is now the Republic of Macedonia was included in the kingdom of Paeonia, which was populated by the Paeonians, a people of Thracian origins, but also parts of ancient Illyria and Dardani, inhabited by various Illyrian peoples, and Lyncestis and Pelagonia populated by Molossian tribes. None of these had fixed boundaries; they were sometimes subject to the Kings of Macedon, and sometimes broke away. In 336 BC Philip II of Macedon conquered Upper Macedonia, including its northern part and southern Paeonia, which both now lie within the Republic of Macedonia. Philip's son Alexander the Great conquered the remainder of the region, reaching as far north as the Danube, and incorporated it in his empire. The Romans included most of the area of the current Republic in their Province of Macedonia, but the northernmost parts lay in Moesia; by the time of Diocletian, they had been subdivided, and the area of the current Republic was split between Macedonia Salutaris and Moesia prima.

Medieval period

Sklaviniae in Medieval Macedonia c.
700 AD.

During the 580s, Byzantine literature attests to the Slavs raiding Byzantine territories in the region of Macedonia, aided by Avars or Bulgars. Presian's 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 prince Boris I of Bulgaria.

In 1014, Emperor Basil II 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 600s. However, by the late 12th century, inevitable Byzantine decline saw the region become contested by various political entities, including a brief Norman occupation in the 1080s. In the early 13th century, a revived Bulgarian Empire 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, who saw themselves as liberators of their Slavic kin from Byzantine despotism. Skopjemarker became the capital of Tsar Stefan Dusan's empire.

With Dusan's death, a weak successor and power struggles between nobles divided the Balkans once again. This coincided with the entry of the Ottoman Turks into Europe. The Kingdom of Prilep was one of the short lived states that emerged from the collapse of the Serbian Empire in the 14th century. With no major Balkan power left to defend Christianity, the entire Balkans fell to Turkish rule — which would remain so for five centuries.

The National Awakening

Ottoman rule over the region was considered harsh. Several movements whose goals were the establishment of autonomous Macedonia, encompassing the entire region of Macedonia, began to arise in the late 1800s; 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 the organization separated into the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) and the Internal Thracian Revolutionary Organisation (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 were however Slavic/Bulgarian-speakers. In 1903, IMRO organised the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising against the Ottomans, 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 of 1912 and 1913 and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, most of its European held territories were divided between Greecemarker, Bulgariamarker and Serbiamarker. The territory of the modern Macedonian state was then named , "Southern Serbia". After the First World War, Serbia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenesmarker. In 1929, the Kingdom was officially renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker and divided into provinces called banovinasmarker. Southern Serbia, including all of what is now the Republic of Macedonia, became known as the Vardar Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker.

Yugoslav Macedonia in World War II

During World War II, Yugoslavia was occupied by the Axis Powers from 1941 to 1945. The Vardar Banovina was divided between Bulgariamarker and Italianmarker-occupied Albaniamarker. Bulgarian authorities 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, and the National Liberation War ensued, with Axis forces being driven out of Macedonia by the end of 1944.

Macedonia in Socialist Yugoslavia

In 1944 the Anti-Fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia 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 new republic became one of the six republics of the Yugoslav federation. Following the federation's renaming as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslaviamarker in 1963, the People's Republic of Macedonia was likewise renamed, becoming the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. It dropped the "Socialist" from its name in 1991 when it peacefully seceded from Yugoslavia.

Declaration of independence

The country officially celebrates September 8, 1991 as Independence day ( , Den na nezavisnosta), 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 August 2 is also widely celebrated on an official level as the Day of the Republic.

Robert Badinter as a head of Arbitration Commission of the Peace Conference on the former Yugoslavia recommended EC recognition in January 1992.

Macedonia remained at peace through the Yugoslav wars 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 in 1999, when an estimated 360,000 ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo took refuge in the country. Although they departed shortly after the war, soon after, Albanian radicals 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 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 NATOmarker ceasefire monitoring force. Under the terms of the Ohrid Agreement, 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.



Macedonia is has a total area of . It has some of boundaries, shared with Serbiamarker ( ) to the North, Kosovo ( ) to the northwest, Bulgariamarker ( ) to the east, Greecemarker ( ) to the south, and Albaniamarker ( ) 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, which also includes a region of northern Greecemarker known by the same name; and the Blagoevgrad provincemarker in southwestern Bulgariamarker.


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 Mountainsmarker and Osogovomarker, which frame the valley of the Vardarmarker river. Three large lakes — Lake Ohridmarker, Lake Prespamarker and Dojran Lakemarker — 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 ranges: the first is the Šar Mountainsmarker that continues to the West Vardar/Pelagonia group of mountains (Baba Mountainmarker, Nidžemarker, Kozufmarker and Jakupicamarker), also known as the Dinaric range. The second range is the OsogovomarkerBelasicamarker mountain chain, also known as the Rhodope range. 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. The ten highest mountains in Macedonia are:
|align="center" | Name|| align="center" width="8" | Height (m) || align="center" width="8" | Height (ft)
|Mount Korabmarker || align="right"| 2,764 || align="right"| 9,396
|Šar Mountainsmarker || align="right"| 2,747 || align="right"| 9,012
Baba Mountainmarker 2,601 8,533
Jakupicamarker 2,540 8,333
Nidžemarker 2,521 8,271
Dešat 2,373 7,785
Galičicamarker 2,288 7,507
Stogovo 2,273 7,457
Jablanica 2,257 7,405
Osogovomarker 2,251 7,383
Mount Bistra 2,163 7,096
Plačkovicamarker 1,754 5,754


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 in the western mountainous area to in the eastern area. There are three main climatic zones in the country: temperate Mediterranean, mountainous and mildly Continental. Along the valleys of the Vardarmarker and Strumicamarker rivers, in the regions of Gevgelijamarker, Valandovomarker, Dojranmarker, Strumicamarker and Radoviš the climate is temperate Mediterranean. The warmest regions are Demir Kapijamarker and Gevgelijamarker, where the temperature in July and August frequently exceeds . 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 with warm and dry summers and relatively cold and wet winters. There are 30 main and regular weather stations in the country.


Phytogeographically, Macedonia belongs to the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the European Environment Agency, Macedonia's territory can be subdivided into four ecoregions: the Pindus Mountainsmarker mixed forests, Balkan mixed forests, Rhodopes mixed forests and Aegeanmarker sclerophyllous and mixed forests.

Administrative regions


Macedonian statistical regions

Macedonia's statistical regions exist solely for legal and statistical purposes. The regions are:

Municipalities and cities

In August 2004, Macedonia's local government was reorganised into 84 municipalities ( ; sing. ), 10 of which comprise Greater Skopjemarker. This is reduced from the previous 123 municipalities established in September 1996. Prior to this, local government was organised into 34 administrative districts.


Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy with an executive government composed of a coalition of parties from the unicameral legislature ( ) and an independent judicial branch 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 of the state armed forces and a president of the state Security Council. The President is elected every five years and he or she can be elected twice at most. The current President is Branko Crvenkovski. On the second run of the presidential elections held on 5 April 2009, 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 ( ; singular: ). The capital, Skopjemarker, 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 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. Gruevski's decision to include the Democratic Party of Albanians in the new government, instead of the Democratic Union for IntegrationParty for Democratic Prosperity 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 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 Building in Skopje
The Macedonian parliament or Sobranie ( ) is the country's legislative body. 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.


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.

Law and courts

Judiciary power is exercised by courts, with the court system being headed by the Judicial Supreme Court, Constitutional Court and the Republican Judicial Council. The assembly appoints the judges.

Foreign relations

Macedonia became a member state of the United Nations on April 8, 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 Greecemarker 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 regime for Macedonian nationals

  • Resolving the naming issue with Greece

Macedonia is member of the following international and regional organizations: IMFmarker (since 1992), WHO (since 1993), EBRD (since 1993), Central European Initiative (since 1993), Council of Europe (since 1995), OSCE (since 1995), SECI (since 1996), WTO (since 2003), CEFTA (since 2006), La Francophonie (since 2001).

In 2005, the country was officially recognized as a European Union candidate state.

On the NATO summit held in Bucharestmarker 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 USAmarker 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 Parliamentmarker 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.

Macedonia 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 Macedoniamarker, which administratively is split into three peripheries (one of them comprising both Western Thrace 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 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 United Nations 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, the European Broadcasting Unionmarker, and the International Olympic Committeemarker, adopted the same convention. NATOmarker 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 United Nations 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 members—the United Statesmarker, Russiamarker, United Kingdommarker and the People's Republic of Chinamarker; several members of the European Union such as Bulgariamarker, Polandmarker, and Sloveniamarker; and over 100 other UN members. The UN has set up a negotiating process with a mediator, Matthew Nimetz, 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 "that the use of the name Macedonia cannot therefore imply any territorial claim against another State",; despite that 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 Justicemarker (ICJ) against Greecemarker 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 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.


The Macedonian Armed Forces comprise the army, air force and Special Forces. 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.


Recently ranked as the fourth 'best reformatory state' out of 178 countries ranked by the World Bank, Macedonia has undergone considerable economic reform since independence. The country has developed an open economy with trade accounting for more than 90% of GDP in recent years. Since 1996, Macedonia has witnessed steady, though slow, economic growth 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 of only 3% in 2006 and 2% in 2007 and has implemented policies focused on attracting foreign investment and promoting the development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The current government introduced a flat tax 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 was 37.2% and as of 2006 its poverty rate was 22%. Corruption and a relatively ineffective legal system also act as significant restraints on successful economic development. Macedonia still has one of the lowest per capita GDPs in Europe. Furthermore, the country's grey market 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 and a Human Development Index of 0.808, Macedonia is less developed and has a considerably smaller economy than most of the former Yugoslav states.

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

Infrastructure and e-Infrastructure

Macedonia, together with Montenegromarker, Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker and Kosovomarker, belonged to the less developed southern region of the former Yugoslavia. It suffered severe economic difficulties after independence, when the Yugoslav internal market collapsed and subsidies from Belgrade ended. In addition, it faced many of the same problems faced by other former socialist East European countries during the transition to a market economy. Its main land and rail exports route, through Serbiamarker, 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 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 on the Republic in 1994–95, the economy was also affected. Some relief was afforded by the end of the Bosnian war 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). Many Greek companies have bought former state companies in Macedonia, such as the oil refinery Okta, the baking company Zhito Luks, a marble mine in Prilepmarker, textile facilities in Bitolamarker etc, and employ 20,000 people. Other key partners are Germany, Italy, the United States, Slovenia, Austria and Turkey.


Tourism is an important part of the economy of the Republic of Macedonia. The country's large abundance of natural and cultural attractions make it an attractive destination of visitors. It receives about 700,000 tourists annually.


Macedonia has an estimated population of 2,061,315 citizens. The largest ethnic group in the country are the Slavic-speaking ethnic Macedonians. The second largest group are the Albanians who dominated much of the western part of the country. Some unofficial estimates indicate that in the Republic of Macedonia there are possibly up to 260,000 Roma. The largest Macedonian cities according to the 1994 census data (as the 2002 census datadoes not list both city populations and municipality populations):

Largest cities in Macedonia

Largest Macedonian cities and municipalities
City City


of arms


Skopjemarker 444,000 Greater Skopjemarker 506,926
Bitolamarker 80,000 Bitola municipality 95,385
Kumanovomarker 71,000 Kumanovo municipality 105,484
Prilepmarker 68,000 Prilep municipality 76,768
Tetovomarker 60,000 Tetovo municipality 86,580
Ohridmarker 51,000 Ohrid municipality 55,749
Velesmarker 48,000 Veles municipalitymarker 55,108
Gostivarmarker 46,000 Gostivar municipality 81,042
Štipmarker 42,000 Štip municipalitymarker 47,796
Strumicamarker 40,000 Strumica municipalitymarker 81,042
Kočanimarker 27,000 Kočani municipalitymarker 38,092
Radovišmarker 16,223 Radoviš municipalitymarker 28,244

Number %
TOTAL 2,022,547 100
Macedonians 1,297,981 64.18
Albanians 509,083 25.17
Turks 77,959 3.85
Romani people 53,879 2.66
Serbs 35,939 1.78
Vlachs 9,695 0.48
others 38,011 1.88

The above table shows ethnic affiliation of the population according to the 2002 census:


Christians are a majority in the Republic of Macedonia, with 64.7% of the population belonging to the Macedonian branch of Eastern Orthodoxy, while various Christian denominations occupy 0.37% of the population. Muslims comprise 33.3% of the population, this being the fourth largest Muslim population in Europe by percentage after Kosovomarker (90%), Albaniamarker (70%), and Bosnia-Herzegovinamarker (48%). Most Muslims are Albanian, Turkish, or Roma, although some are Macedonian 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 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 Churches which arose from the former's separation and self-declared autocephaly 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. 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 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 and is in communion with the Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its liturgical worship is performed in Macedonian.
Catholic church on the main street in Bitola

There is a small Protestant community. The most famous Protestant in the country is the late president Boris Trajkovski. He was from the Methodist community, which is the largest and oldest Protestant Church in the Republic, dating back to the late nineteenth century. Since the 1980s the small Protestant community has grown, partly through new confidence and partly with outside missionary help.

The Macedonian Jewish community, which numbered some 7,200 people on the eve of World War II, was almost entirely destroyed during the War, with only 2% of Macedonian Jews surviving the Holocaust. After their liberation and the end of the War, most opted to emigrate to Israelmarker. Today, the country's Jewish community numbers approximately 200 persons, almost all of whom live in Skopje. Most Macedonian Jews are Sephardic – the descendants of 15th century refugees who had fled the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions.


The official and most widely spoken language is Macedonian, which belongs to the Eastern branch of the South Slavic language group. Macedonian is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Standard Bulgarian. It also has some similarities with standard Serbian and the intermediate Torlakian and Shop dialects spoken mostly in southern Serbia and western Bulgaria (and by speakers in the north and east of Macedonia). The standard language was codified in the period following World War II and has accumulated a thriving literary tradition. Although it is the only language explicitly designated as an official national language in the constitution, in municipalities where at least 20% of the population is part of another ethnic minority, those individual languages are used for official purposes in local government, alongside Macedonian.

A wide variety of languages are spoken in Macedonia, reflecting its ethnic diversity. Besides the official national language Macedonian, minority languages with substantial numbers of speakers are: Albanian, Romani, Turkish (including Balkan Gagauz), Serbian/Bosnian and Aromanian (including Megleno-Romanian). There are also smaller minorities of Adyghe and Greek speakers.



The Macedonian education system consists of:

The higher levels of education can be obtained at one of the four state universities: Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, St. Clement of Ohrid University of Bitola, State University of Tetovo and Goce Delčev University of Štip. There are a number of private university institutions, such as the European University, Slavic University in Sveti Nikolemarker, the South East European University and others.

The United States Agency for International Development 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 (, has created a MESH Network to provide WIFI services in the 11 largest cities/towns in the country.


Cinema and media

Cover of the magazine Tea Moderna, January 2008
The history of film 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 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 festivals 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 missionary in Ottoman Macedonia. It was released in 1958. The highest grossing feature film in the Republic of Macedonia was Bal-Can-Can, 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, Vreme, Večer, Tea Moderna, Makedonsko Sonce and etc. Public channel is Macedonian Radio-Television founded in 1993 by the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia. A1 TV is the first private television channel in the country. Other popular private TV's also are: Sitel, Kanal 5, Naša TV, MTV Adria and etc.

In 1994 Milco Manchevski's film "Before the Rain" was nominated as Best Foreign Film. Manchevski continues to be the most prominent modern filmmaker in the country having subsequently written and directed "Dust" and "Shadows."


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 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 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 Ohridmarker Summer festival of classical music and drama, the Struga Poetry Evenings which gather poets from more than 50 countries in the world, International Camera Festival in Bitolamarker, Open Youth Theatre and Skopje Jazz Festival in Skopje etc.The Macedonian Opera opened in 1947 with a performance of the Cavalleria rusticana 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's Tsar Samuil in May 1972.


File:Sveti jovan kaneo.jpg|Church of St. John at KaneoFile:Bogorodica.jpg|Saint Bogorodica Prečista Monastery near KičevomarkerFile:Mount Pelister MK.jpg|National park PelistermarkerFile:BitolaWinter.jpg|The city of BitolamarkerFile:Panair Korab.jpg|Mount Korabmarker – The highest mountain in the countryFile:MountShara.jpg|Šar mountainmarkerFile:Meister von Nerezi 001.jpg|St. Panteleimon church near SkopjemarkerFile:Bitola center MK.jpg|The city of BitolamarkerFile:Wild beach-selo Ljubanista Ohrid.jpg|Beach near LjubanistaFile:OhridCity.jpg|The city of Ohridmarker located on the shores of Lake OhridmarkerFile:Morodvis.jpg| Morodvis (Crkvište — Morobisdon) archaeological site near KočanimarkerFile:Sv trojca.jpg| Holy Trinity Orthodox church in RadovišmarkerFile: St.Bogoroditsa_Eleusa.JPG| Monastery of The Holy Mother of God Eleusa in StrumicamarkerFile: Copy of 13.S8003572.JPG| The Dojran Lakemarker in the town of DojranmarkerFile: Shtip-Alexander.jpg| Statue of Alexander The Great in ŠtipmarkerFile: Kuklica pillars.jpg| The Stone town of Kuklica

See also

Notes and references

  1. UN Resolutions #817 of April 7 and #845 of June 18 of 1993, see UN resolutions made on 1993
  2. "By resolution A/RES/47/225 of 8 April 1993, the General Assembly decided to admit as a Member of the United Nations the State being provisionally referred to for all purposes within the United Nations as "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" pending settlement of the difference that had arisen over its name."
  3. The Republic of Macedonia - BASIC FACTS, Republic of Macedonia, Ministry of foreign affairs
  4. Bauer, Susan Wise: The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome (2007),ISBN 039305974X, page 518: "... Italy); to the north, Thracian tribes known collectively as the Paeonians."
  5. Wilkes, John: The Illyrians, Wiley-Blackwell, 1996, ISBN 0631198075, p. 49.
  6. Sealey, Raphael, A history of the Greek city states, ca. 700-338 B.C., University of California Press, 1976 ISBN 0520031776, p. 442.
  7. Evans, Thammy, Macedonia, Bradt Travel Guides, 2007, ISBN 1841621862, p. 13
  8. Borza, Eugene N., In the shadow of Olympus: the emergence of Macedon, Princeton University Press, 1992, ISBN 0691008809, pp. 74-75.
  9. Lewis, D.M. et al. (ed.), The Cambridge ancient history: The fourth century B.C., Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN 0521233488, pp. 723-724.
  10. The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 3, Part 3: The Expansion of the Greek World, Eighth to Sixth Centuries BC by John Boardman and N. G. L. Hammond,1982,ISBN 0521234476,page 284
  11. Poulton, Hugh, Who are the Macedonians? C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2000, ISBN 1850655340, p. 14.
  12. Encyclopaedia Britannica — Scopje
  13. The last centuries of Byzantium, (1261-1453) by Donald MacGillivray Nicol
  14. M. Glenny, "The Balkans"
  15. Mark Cohen, The Holocaust in Macedonia: Deportation of Monastir Jewry, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  16. Recognition of States: Annex 3
  17. Macedonian Ministry of Environment
  18. Britannica's article about Sar Mountains
  19. Sar Mountains on the Euratlas map of the Europe's most significant mountain ranges
  20. BalkanInsight:Ivanov Elected New Macedonian President
  21. SeTimes:VMRO-DPMNE and DUI form ruling coalition in Macedonia
  22. Irish Times:Macedonia elections pass off peacefully
  23. Floudas, Demetrius Andreas;
  24. United Nations Resolution 225 (1993)
  25. EC report
  26. Bid to settle Macedonia name row, BBC
  27. " Naming the solution", Kathimerini English edition, 16 September 2005
  28. European Journal of International Law
  29. Floudas, Demetrius Andreas;
  30. Macedonian Information Agency President-elect Ivanov meets SDSM acting leader
  31. H.E. Amb. Al. Mallias: Greece backs “Republic of Northern Macedonia”. Emportal, 15 April 2009.
  32. National Command Management
  33. World Bank development data
  34. Government of the Republic of Macedonia
  35. Macedonia's Flat Tax
  36. Macedonian unemployment rate
  37. The 2006 CIA Factbook CIA Factbook Macedonia
  38. Welcome to World Bank Group
  39. Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  40. Investment in Government, Finance, and Telecom Sectors Makes Macedonia's IT Market the Fastest Growing in the Adriatic Region, Says IDCIDC -global provider of market intelligence
  41. 101 facts about Macedonia
  42. CIA World Factbook
  43. UNDP's Regional Bureau for Europe
  44. CIA World Factbook
  45. » Blog Archives » Macedonia's Jewish Community Commemorates the Holocaust, and Embraces the Future
  46. OIC


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