Macedonia

Macedonia Destinations Travel Guide

 

Language: Macedonian
Currency: Macedonian denar (MKD)
Calling Code: 389

 

Description of the Republic of Macedonia

The Republic of Macedonia (in Macedonian: Република Македонија, romanization: Makedónija Republic) or Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is an independent landlocked country, located on the Balkan peninsula, in southeastern Europe. It limits to the north with Serbia and Kosovo, to the east with Bulgaria, to the south with Greece and to the west with Albania. Its capital is Skopje, with more than 700,000 inhabitants.

In 1991, the former Socialist Republic of Macedonia, one of the constituent parts of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, proclaimed its independence under the official name of the Republic of Macedonia.The use of the term "Macedonia" was rejected by Greece, with the emergence of a dispute over the denomination of this country that lasts today. The country is sometimes referred to simply as Macedonia, while the provisional reference Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Поранешна Југословенска Република Македонија, Poranešna Jugoslovenska Republika Makedonija in Macedonian) is used to designate that state in various international organizations, such as United Nations, following a compromise reached between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia in 1993. The definitive name continues in negotiation between both states. Currently Macedonia is an official candidate for access to the European Union.

 

Travel Destinations in Macedonia

Povardarie

Skopje (Скопје)
Demir Kapija (Демир Капија)
Kavadarci (Кавадарци)
Negotino (Неготино)
Veles (Велес)
Čaška (Чашка, Chashka)
Stobi (Стоби)

 

Western North Macedonia

Bitola (Битола)
Debar (Дебар)
Demir Hisar (Демир Хисар)
Gostivar (Гостивар)
Kičevo (Кичево, Kichevo)
Kruševo (Крушево, Krushevo)
Makedonski Brod (Македонски Брод)
Ohrid (Охрид)
Prilep (Прилеп)
Resen (Ресен)
Struga (Струга)
Tetovo (Тетово)
Vevčani (Вевчани, Vevchani)
Galičica National Park
Markovi Kuli
Monastery of Saint Naum
Saint Jovan Bigorski Monastery
Samuel's Fortress

 

Eastern North Macedonia

Strumica (Струмица)
Berovo (Берово)
Bogdanci (Богданци)
Delčevo (Делчево, Delchevo)
Dojran (Дојран)
Gevgelija (Гевгелија)
Kočani (Кочани, Kochani)
Kratovo (Кратово)
Kriva Palanka (Крива Паланка)
Kumanovo (Куманово)
Makedonska Kamenica (Македонска Каменица)
Pehčevo (Пехчево, Pehchevo)
Probištip (Пробиштип, Probishtip)
Radoviš (Радовиш, Radovish)
Sveti Nikole (Свети Николе)
Štip (Штип, Shtip)
Valandovo (Валандово)
Vinica (Виница)
Bosilovo (Босилово)
Novo Selo (Ново Село)
Osogovo Monastery
Strumica Fortress
Viničko Kale
Vardarski Rid

 

Territory and name

Previously, the country was called Macedonia, which led to ambiguities with the geographical region of Macedonia, the state of Ancient Macedonia, the historical province of Macedonia in neighboring Greece, and Pirin Macedonia in neighboring Bulgaria. North Macedonia occupies about 35.8% of the territory of the Macedonian vilayets of the Ottoman Empire until 1912 (52.4% is on the territory of modern Greece, and 9.6% is on the territory of Bulgaria), and its population is about 40.9% of the population of the latter.

The territory of the Republic of North Macedonia previously formed the southernmost part of Yugoslavia. Its modern borders were established shortly after the Second World War. In August 1947, President of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) Josip Tito and Bulgarian Prime Minister Georgi Dimitrov met in Bled and agreed that all of Macedonia (or at least part of Greek and all Bulgarian Macedonia) would eventually , will enter into an alliance with Yugoslav Macedonia, provided that Bulgaria becomes an integral part of the Federation of Balkan States. Thus, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia was formed as part of the SFRY - thereby the Macedonians were recognized as an independent people within the SFRY. After the deterioration of interstate relations between the USSR and the SFRY, Bulgaria annulled the agreements reached in Bled.

Title controversy
In 1991, during the breakup of Yugoslavia into separate states, the territory of North Macedonia did not change. At the same time, the emergence of this separate state led to political disputes with Greece over the use of the names "Macedonia" and "Macedonians".

The official designation used in 1993-2019 at the UN at the insistence of Greece is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The same name was used during this period within the IOC and at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On November 4, 2004, the United States officially recognized the country under its constitutional name - the Republic of Macedonia. Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has stated that it will continue to use its former name, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; The European Union also gave Greece guarantees that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia would be able to become a full member of this organization only after agreeing on a name.

In April 2011, the Republic of Macedonia filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The Republic of Macedonia has accused Greece of creating obstacles to its accession to the EU and NATO. On December 5, 2011, the International Court of Justice ruled that Greece does not have the right to block the membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the EU, NATO and other international organizations.

On June 12, 2018, the governments of Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, after a long dispute, came to a consensus on the name of the country (Prespa Treaty), as a result of which the Macedonian side decided to start the procedure for changing the name to the Republic of North Macedonia (Maced. Republic of North Macedonia) erga omnes (“according to towards all”: both in its legislation and in relations with all countries and organizations). At the same time, the names associated with the relevant Slavic ethnic group (Macedonians), language (Macedonian language) and culture, according to the agreement, are not subject to change.

On September 30 of the same year, a referendum was held in which citizens could express their attitude towards the agreement between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. 91.46% of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia who came to the polls supported the Prespa agreement with Greece, however, due to the fact that the turnout in the referendum did not reach 50%, these results were not recognized as valid. At the same time, since the referendum was of a consultative nature, it did not impose any legal restrictions on the continuation of the process of ratification of the Prespa Agreement.

On January 11, 2019, the decisive vote of the deputies of the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia on changing the name of the country took place. 81 deputies (with the minimum required 80) out of 120 supported the relevant amendments to the constitution. For the agreement to enter into force, it had to be ratified by a simple majority of the Greek Parliament. On January 25, the Greek Parliament ratified an agreement to change the name of the Republic of Macedonia, 153 deputies voted for such an agreement (with 151 necessary), and 146 deputies were against the agreement. On February 12, 2019, the agreement to rename the Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia officially came into force. On February 14, 2019, the UN officially changed its adopted name from "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" to "Republic of North Macedonia".

 

History

The territory of Northern Macedonia in various historical periods belonged to different states and empires - Peonia, Ancient Macedonia (whose name inherited the entire geographical region), Roman and Byzantine empires, the First and Second Bulgarian kingdoms, the Serbian kingdom, the Ottoman Empire. In 864, when the territory was part of the Bulgarian kingdom, Christianity was adopted by the state religion. Modern Macedonians are ethnically close to the Bulgarians. In the XIV century, these lands were conquered by the Ottoman Empire. In the XIX century, the national movement of the Bulgarians in Macedonia developed, which manifested itself in the form of a struggle for church and school independence of the Bulgarians, which was crowned with success in 1870 with the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate, which by the mid-1870s managed to include most of the ethnically Bulgarian lands of Macedonia in its diocese.

In 1878, as a result of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, Russia liberated Bulgaria and entered into the San Stefan world with Turkey, according to which the state of Bulgaria appeared, and parts of the territories of Ottoman Macedonia inhabited by southern Slavs entered the borders of Bulgaria. However, this was disadvantageous to the great forces in Europe, and the Treaty of San Stefano was followed by the Berlin Treaty, which cut Bulgaria into two parts - the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia. The territory of Macedonia with its South Slavic population again passed to the Turks.

In 1912, the First Balkan War began. Bulgarian and Allied Balkan Christian troops defeated Turkey. However, almost immediately, a war broke out between the allies - Bulgaria and the rest of the Balkan Christian peoples, as a result of which Bulgaria lost Macedonia.

As a result of the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the territory of Ottoman Macedonia was divided between Serbia under the name Јužna Srbiјa (“Southern Serbia”), Greece and Bulgaria (Pirin Territory). After World War I, Serbia entered the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1929, the kingdom received a new name - Yugoslavia and was divided into provinces - banovans. The territory of Northern Macedonia became the Vardarsky banovina (Vardarska banovina).

In 1941, Yugoslavia was captured by the Axis Countries. The territory of the Vardar banovina was divided between Bulgaria and Albania. Some of the Macedonian Slavs supported the resistance movement, which was led by Josip Broz Tito, who later became president of Yugoslavia. The Bulgarian occupation authorities formed the Independent State of Macedonia, which lasted several months in 1944.

At the end of World War II, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was formed from six republics, including the People's Republic of Macedonia. When the association was renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1963, Northern Macedonia was also renamed the Socialist Republic of Macedonia.

1991 - declaration of sovereignty and a referendum on the independence of the Republic of Macedonia, which led to a bloodless withdrawal from Yugoslavia. The first president of the Republic of Macedonia was a native of the local nomenclature, Kiro Gligorov (1991-1999).
1991 - Bulgaria - the first state in the world to recognize the independence of the Republic of Macedonia.
1992 - the withdrawal of units of the Yugoslav army after the signing of the Treaty on the withdrawal of UNA troops on February 21 by the president of the new state, Kiro Gligorov, and the high command of the Yugoslav army.
1993 - Republic of Macedonia admitted to the UN as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
1995 - after the assassination attempt on Kiro Gligorov, Stoyan Andov was the acting head of state for a short period.
As a result of the war in Kosovo in 1999, some 360,000 Kosovo Albanians fled to the territory of the Republic of Macedonia. Refugees soon left the country, but a little later, local Albanians, following their example, put forward a demand for autonomy for regions of the republic with a predominantly Albanian population.
1999 - Joint Declaration, fixing the principles of good neighborly relations between Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia; confirmed by a joint memorandum in 2008 /
1999-2004 - President Boris Traykovsky.
2001, March-August - the Albanian National Liberation Army (leader Ali Akhmeti) launched a guerrilla action against the regular army of the Republic of Macedonia in the north and west of the country (especially in the Tetovo region). Only NATO intervention ended the confrontation, as a result of which the Ohrid Agreement was signed with the Albanian separatists, providing limited legal and cultural autonomy (official status of the Albanian language, amnesty of the rebels, Albanian police in the Albanian areas).
2002 - sporadic recurrences of the Albanian-Macedonian inter-ethnic conflict.
2020 - North Macedonia becomes the 30th member of NATO

 

State structure

North Macedonia is a parliamentary republic, with great powers vested in the Legislative Assembly.

Political parties
Rally for Macedonia - Nationalist
Internal Macedonian revolutionary organization - Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity - conservative
Internal Macedonian revolutionary organization - People's Party - conservative
Liberal Democratic Party - liberal
Social Democratic Union of Macedonia - socialist

Administrative division
The territory of the Republic of North Macedonia is divided into the city of Skopje (Grad Skopje) and communities (Opshtini), the city of Skopje itself is also divided into several communities.

The representative body of the city of Skopje and the community is the council, the executive body is the mayor.

The largest cities of the state
Skopje 467 257
Bitola 80 550
Kumanovo 70 842
Prilep 66 246
Ohrid 55 749
Tetovo 52 915

 

Armed forces

The main goals of the armed forces are the protection of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state, as well as participation in operations under the auspices of the EU, NATO and the UN. On March 27, 2020, North Macedonia officially became the 30th member of NATO. In the same month, it adopted a new defense strategy with a focus on capacity development and improved planning based, among other things, on NATO and EU standards. The 2019-2028 Defense Capabilities Development Plan set out long-term development goals aimed at developing collective defense, joint security and crisis management capabilities. Currently, work is underway to restructure the Ministry of Defense. The armed forces are fully professional and the country strives to train all units, especially those that can be deployed, to NATO standards. A number of units are intended to participate in NATO-led operations, and in November 2020 troops were deployed as part of KFOR. The armed forces have increased their participation in joint NATO exercises since joining the Alliance. Participation in international peacekeeping missions expanded the possibilities of logistical support. The country has a modest naval and air force and relies on weapons and military equipment (WME) from the Soviet era. Acquisition priorities include indirect fire support, light armored vehicles, cyber defense and multi-role helicopters. The domestic defense industry has practically no capacity for the design and production of modern equipment.

 

Geography

The geographical region of Macedonia is located on the territory of three countries - its southern and most part - Aegean Macedonia, is part of Greece; the eastern lands - Pirin Macedonia - are part of Bulgaria, and North Macedonia is located in the north and west, in the valley of the Vardara River.

Most of the territory is occupied by the ridges of the medium-high mountain systems Skopska-Crna-Gora, Pind (the highest point is Mount Korab (2753 m) and Pirin, separated by vast intermountain basins. The mountain ranges separate the valleys of the Vardar and Strumitsa rivers, which flow through the whole country) from each other In the south-west are the large lakes Ohrid and Prespa, partly belonging to North Macedonia, and in the south-east, the large Doiran lake, the lowest point being the river Vardar (50 m).

 

Tourism

On the territory of the republic there are a number of resorts (ski and balneological): Popova-Shapka, Ponikva, Negorski-Bani, Lagadin, Mavrovo, Kezhovitsa, Banya-Bansko, Debarski-Bagni, etc.

 

Climate

In North Macedonia, the climate changes from temperate to subtropical. The average temperature in January is 11–12 °C, in July +21–23 °C. The annual rainfall is 500-700 mm in the north.

 

Economy

The poorest of the former Yugoslav republics, one of the poorest countries in Europe. Due to sanctions and embargoes by Greece in the mid-1990s, there were large losses in the trade balance. Due to the trade embargo and the closure of ports, Greece had to look for other, more expensive transport hubs (for example, through Romania). Dependence on imports of oil, gas and engineering products.

In 1999, with the escalation of the conflict in Kosovo, a huge number of refugees fled to the Republic of Macedonia. By 2001, a crisis began in the country associated with ethnic conflicts among the population. The events of 1999-2001 caused great damage to the economy. First of all, the environment suffered, and the level of foreign investment in the development of the Republic of Macedonia also fell sharply.

Economic development is weak. Chromites, copper, lead-zinc and iron ores, manganese are mined here. There are enterprises of ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, machine-building, chemical-pharmaceutical, light and food industries.

The main foreign trade partner of the Republic of Macedonia as of 2014 was the European Union. The volume of foreign trade for 2014 is 12211 million dollars. Geographic distribution of foreign trade of the Republic of Macedonia (for 2014):
EU countries - 69.0% (8404 million dollars).
Russia - 1.5% ($182 million)
China - 4.3% ($525 million)
Turkey - 3.6% ($442 million)
Americas - 3.3% ($405 million)
Africa - 0.7% ($84 million)

According to the 2019 Doing Business Report published on October 31, 2018, the Republic of Macedonia was ranked 10th, making it the highest ranked country in the Europe and Central Asia region after Georgia (6th).

 

Population

The total population of the country as of December 31, 2016 was 2,073,702. According to the 2002 census, the total population in the Republic of Macedonia was 2,022,547 inhabitants, among which:

Macedonians - 1,297,981 (64.18%)
Albanians - 509,083 (25.17%)
Turks - 77,959 (3.85%)
gypsies - 53,879 (2.66%)
Serbs - 35,939 (1.78%)
Bosnians - 17,018 (0.84%)
aromans - 9695 (0.48%)
others - 20,993 (1.04%)

 

Languages

The official state and most widely spoken languages ​​of North Macedonia are Macedonian and Albanian. In addition, Turkish, Romani, Serbian, Bosnian and Aromanian have the status of minority languages. The official sign language is Macedonian Sign Language.

On January 15, 2019, a law came into force in North Macedonia, according to which the Albanian language became the second state language.

According to the 2002 census, there were 2,022,547 people living in North Macedonia. 1,344,815 Macedonian citizens reported Macedonian as their native language, 507,989 Albanian, 71,757 Turkish, 38,528 Romani, 6,884 Aromanian, 24,773 Serbian, 8,560 Bosnian, 19,241 other languages.

 

Religious composition

Most of the inhabitants of the country (about 67%) belong to the Macedonian Orthodox Church. In 1967, the church declared its independence from the Serbian Orthodox Church, but its autocephaly is not recognized by other Orthodox churches to this day. Muslims make up 30% of the total population, and adherents of other faiths - 3%. In total, there are 1,200 Orthodox churches and monasteries and 425 mosques in the Republic of Macedonia.

 

Humanitarian organizations

The Red Cross Society of the Republic of Macedonia was founded on March 17, 1945. Operates independently since May 21, 1992.

On November 1, 1995, the Red Cross of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross and on November 27, 1995 became a full member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

 

EU membership

For a number of years the country has been trying to join the European Union. After the renaming of Macedonia, the main objections of Greece were removed, and these attempts were resumed with renewed vigor. However, not all EU member states support this option. So, in early November 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron opposed the admission of the country to the European Union. Bulgaria, in turn, demands that the multi-ethnic North Macedonia include the Bulgarians in the part of the constitution that lists the nations living in the country. 84% of Bulgarians are against supporting the entry of North Macedonia into the European Union, 45% of those surveyed are against recognizing the existence of the Macedonian language - according to the official position of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the language of North Macedonia is the Macedonian literary norm (Bulgarian).