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Република Македонија
Republic of Macedonia
Flag of the Republic of Macedonia Coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Today Over Macedonia ( Macedonian: Денес Над Македонија, Denes Nad Makedonija)
Location of the Republic of Macedonia
Capital Skopje
42°0′ N 21°26′ E
Largest city Skopje
Official language(s) Macedonian1
Prime Minister
Parliamentary republic
Branko Crvenkovski
Vlado Bučkovski
From Yugoslavia
September 8, 1991
• Total

• Water (%)

25,333 km² ( 146th)
{{{areami²}}} mi²

• 2005 est.
• [[As of |]] census

• Density

2,045,262 ( 140th)

80/km² ( 88th)
• Total
• Per capita
2004 estimate
.914 billion ( 121st)
,237 ( 82nd)
HDI ( 2003) 0.797 ( 59th) – medium
Currency Macedonian Denar ( MKD)
Time zone
• Summer ( DST)
CET ( UTC+1)
Internet TLD .mk
Calling code +389
1In communities where over 20% of the people speak another language, the language becomes a municipal official language. These include Albanian, Turkish, Serbian, and Romany
The Republic of Macedonia ( Macedonian: Република Македонија), or Macedonia*, is an independent state on the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. The country borders Serbia and Montenegro to the north, Albania to the west, Greece to the south, and Bulgaria to the east.The capital is Skopje with more than 600,000 inhabitants. It has a number of smaller cities, notably Bitola, Prilep, Tetovo, Kumanovo, Ohrid, Veles, Stip, and Strumica.The Republic of Macedonia is often called a land of lakes and mountains. There are more than 50 natural and artificial lakes and sixteen mountain ranges higher than 2000 metres above sea level.The country is member of the UN, Council of Europe, associate member of La Francophonie, World Trade Organization (WTO), Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, since December 2005 it is a candidate for joining the European Union, and is also expecting NATO membership.

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History - Contents

The lands governed by the Republic of Macedonia were previously the southernmost part of Yugoslavia. Its current borders were fixed shortly after World War II when the government of Yugoslavia established the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, recognizing the Macedonians as a separate nation within Yugoslavia.In the past, these lands came under a number of ancient states and former empires; Paionia, the kingdom of ancient Macedon (which gave its name to the whole Macedonian region), the Roman and Byzantine empires, and the medieval Bulgarian and Serbian states. In the 14th century the region was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.Following the two Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the wider region of Macedonia was divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. The territory of the present-day Republic of Macedonia was then known as Južna Srbija, "Southern Serbia", but had no separate or autonomous identity at the time. After the First World War Serbia joined the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1929, the kingdom was officially renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and divided into provinces called banovinas. Southern Serbia, including all of what is now the Republic of Macedonia, became a part of the Vardar Banovina.In 1941, Yugoslavia was occupied by the Axis Powers and the Vardar Banovina was divided between its neighbors, Bulgaria and Italian-occupied Albania. Harsh rule by the occupying forces encouraged many Macedonians to support the Communist Partisan resistance movement of Josip Broz Tito. After the end of the Second World War, when Tito became Yugoslavia's president, the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was established. The People's Republic of Macedonia became one of the six republics of the Yugoslav federation. Following the federation's renaming as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 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. A few very minor changes to its border with Serbia were agreed upon to resolve problems with the demarcation line between the two countries.The country officially celebrates 8 September 1991 as Independence day, with regard to the referendum by registered voters endorsing independence from Yugoslavia. The Republic of Macedonia remained at peace through the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s but was destabilized 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 the Republic. A short war was fought between government and ethnic Albanian rebels, mostly in the north and west of the country, in March-June 2001. This war ended with the intervention of a NATO ceasefire monitoring force and the government's promising to devolve greater political power and cultural recognition to the Albanian minority. In 2005, Macedonia was officially recognized as a European Union candidate nation.

Politics - Contents

The president is Branko Crvenkovski. The Republic of Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy with an executive government composed of a coalition of parties from the unicameral legislature (Собрание, Sobranie), 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 of Macedonia. The President is the commander-in-chief of the state armed forces and a president of the state Security Council. The President of the Republic is elected every five years and it can be elected twice at most.With the passage of a new law and elections held in 2005, local government functions are divided between 78 municipalities (општини, opštini; singular - општина, opština). The capital, Skopje, is governed as a group of ten municipalities collectively referred to as "the City of Skopje". Municipalities in the Republic of Macedonia are units of local self-government. There is a possibility to establish collaboration between neighbouring municipalities.Judiciary power is exercised by courts and the most important ones are: the Judicial Supreme Court, Constitutional Court and the Republican Judicial Council. The assembly appoints the judges.The country's main political divergence is between the largely ethnically-based political parties representing the country's 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, the Republic's parliament passed legislation redrawing local boundaries and giving greater local autonomy to ethnic Albanians in areas where they predominate.

International relations
The Republic of Macedonia is a member of a number of international organisations such as the United Nations, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Council of Europe, associate member of La Francophonie, World Trade Organization (WTO) etc. It is seeking to join NATO and the European Union, although its accession to either is unlikely to occur before 2008 and 2012, respectively. In December 2005, the leaders of the EU formally named it as a candidate country but did not set a date for starting entry talks.The United States Agency for International Development has underwritten a project called Macedonia Connects which has made the Republic of Macedonia the first all broadband wireless country its size or larger in the world. The Ministry of Education and Sciences reports that 461 schools (primary and secondary) are now connected to the internet. In addition, the Internet Service Provider named has created a MESH Network to provide WIFI services in the 11 largest cities/towns in Macedonia.

Naming dispute
The Republic of Macedonia's first flag, the subject of a dispute with Greece between 1991-1995
The Republic of Macedonia's first flag, the subject of a dispute with Greece between 1991-1995
The Republic of Macedonia is commonly referred to as 'Macedonia', but the name is also used to designate the wider geographical region of Macedonia. Due to a dispute between the governments of the Republic of Macedonia and Greece over the name, the United Nations agreed to refer to the country as "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) when it became a member state in 1993. ( Macedonian: Поранешна Југословенска Република Македонија (ПЈРМ)). Most international organizations adopted the same convention, including the European Union, the European Broadcasting Union, NATO, and the International Olympic Committee, among others. However, a majority of UN member states recognize the country as the "Republic of Macedonia", including three of the UN Security Council's five permanent members – the United States, Russia, and the People's Republic of China, as well as all neigbouring countries of the Republic of Macedonia except Greece. The two countries also engaged in a dispute over the republic's new flag, which incorporated the Vergina Sun symbol, claimed by Greece as representing the historical Greek province of Macedonia. This aspect of the dispute was resolved when the flag was changed by an act of parliament, in October 1995.Nonetheless, the name dispute has not prevented Greece and the Republic of Macedonia from engaging in military and security co-operation, cross-border investments, and cultural exchanges. The November 2005 European Commission report states that, "Relations with Greece have improved in the last few years. Greece is the most important investor in the country (57% of the total foreign investments) and trade has been constantly increasing."

European Union candidacy and membership
As part of ongoing efforts to expand its membership, the European Union (EU) granted Macedonia candidate status on 17 December 2005, but with no promise of when such negotiations could start. France had made a budget deal as a condition for granting Macedonia candidate status and Greece agreed not to veto the decision on the premise that the name dispute will be resolved. Thus the country became the second former Yugoslav republic, after Croatia, to get a green light to open negotiations with Brussels. Macedonia applied for full membership on 22 March 2004. Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Bučkovski hailed the decision as a "one-way ticket" to the EU for his country and stated: "Macedonia finally leaves the Balkan road paved with cobblestones and joins a highway that leads to Europe".According to the EU, namely in accordance with its Copenhagen criteria, the main obstacles towards eventual EU membership for Macedonia concern good relations with neighbouring countries and reforms to its judicial and police systems. Also, growth rate lags behind that of most EU members, unemployment is high, and foreign investment is relatively low. The decentralisation process imposed after the six-month conflict in 2001 still requires full implementation. However, the relatively low population and European characteristics of the country promise few strains on the EU budget.

Election irregularities
According to the OSCE/ODIHR report [1]on the March and April 2005 vote, "during all rounds, group voting and proxy voting remained quite widespread, in particular in western and northwestern areas of the country, where women were effectively disenfranchised. This trend disproportionately affected women in minority communities," The report emphasized that such voting practices "should be strongly discouraged". This problem [2] seems to prevail within the patriarchal family traditions in predominantly Muslim parts of the country. Another serious problem concerns the approximately 150,000 registered voters who live abroad. They are eligible to vote, but only if they come back to Macedonia to do so. In previous elections, the losing parties and candidates have routinely claimed the expatriate voting process is riddled with fraud.

Geography - Contents

Map of the Republic of Macedonia
Map of the Republic of Macedonia
Satellite view of Macedonia
Satellite view of Macedonia
A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia encompasses only a part of the wider geographical region of Macedonia in the Balkans. The remainder is divided between neighbouring Greece (with about half of the total), Bulgaria (with under a tenth), and Albania.Macedonia's terrain is mostly rugged, located between the Šar and Rhodope mountains around the valley of the Vardar river. Three large lakes - Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Dojran Lake - lie on the southern borders of the Republic, bisected by the frontiers with Albania and Greece. 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.The Republic of Macedonia also has scenic mountains. They are belong to two different ranges: Dinarska and Rodopska. The mountains belonging to the Dinarska range are older with subsequent erosion; the Rodopska range is younger offering rugged, alpine sceneries. Ten highest mountains in the Republic of Macedonia:
  • Mount Korab (2,764 m)
  • Sar Mountain (2,747 m)
  • Baba Mountain (2,601 m)
  • Jakupica (2,540 m)
  • Nidze (2,521 m)
  • Deshat (2,373 m)
  • Galichica (2,288 m)
  • Stogovo (2,273 m)
  • Jablanica (2,257 m)
  • Mount Bistra (2,163 m)
  • See also: Mountains of the Republic of Macedonia

Economy - Contents

Today the Republic of Macedonia is considered a country with an intermediary-developed industry, with continuing growth of the industrial production. The process of transition in the country economy was triggered in 1995. The Republic of Macedonia has arrangements with the IMF ( International Monetary Fund) and World Bank. The Republic of Macedonia has an open economy, highly integrated into international trade, with a total trade-to-GDP ratio of 79.5%. The most important sectors are agriculture and industry. The service sector also grew in the past few years. Work force education and skills are competitive, but without adequate jobs. The country economic policy is to attract foreign investments and to increase employment rate. One of the biggest features of the country economy is the fiscal discipline which maintained stable course of the currency for a long period. The country also makes effort to develop Small and Medium-Size Enterprise sector.Looking back, the country together with Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina and Kosovo belonged to the less developed regions in 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.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. Matters worsened when Greece imposed a trade embargo on the Republic between 1994-1995. 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 destabilization.The Macedonian economy has since made a sluggish recovery, though the extent of unemployment, the grey market, corruption and a relatively feeble legal system continue to cause significant problems and a low growth rate. The Republic still has one of the lowest per capita GDPs in Europe.Since the end of the Greek embargo, Greece has become the most important business partner of the Republic of Macedonia. Many Greek companies have bought former state companies in the country, such as the oil refinery Okta, the baking company Zhito Luks, marble mine in Prilep, textile facilities in Bitola etc.Growth barely recovered in 2002 to 0.9%, then rose by 3.4% in 2003, 2.9% in 2004, and about 4% in 2005. The past few years saw a significant rise in the economy and with the recent candidacy for the EU, the country should be making rapid progress.

Demographics - Contents

The Republic of Macedonia has a population of approximately 2 070 000 citizens, according to the last population census in 2002. In the urban areas are inhabited 58% of the population.The Republic's biggest city by far is Skopje, the capital, with an estimated 600,000 inhabitants, followed by:
  • Bitola (85 000)
  • Kumanovo (70 000)
  • Prilep (70 000)
  • Tetovo (60 000)
  • Veles (47 000)
  • Ohrid (43 000)
  • See also: List of cities in the Republic of Macedonia

The Republic of Macedonia is an ethnically diverse country. The largest ethnic group in the country are the Macedonians. In the last population census, approximately 1 300 000 inhabitants declared themselves to be Macedonians, which represents 64% of the total population. Approximately 500 000 inhabitants are declared as Albanians, representing 25% of the population. They are concentrated mostly in the western and north-western part of the country. Smaller minorities include Turks (78,000 or 3.9%), Roma (54,000 or 2.7%) and Serbs (36,000 or 1.8%). Several other minorities also exist, including Aromanians, Bosniaks, Croats, Egyptians, Greeks, Bulgarians and several others, they account for less than 2.5% of the population of the country. The Macedonian national census records all these ethnic groups, but the smaller ones are not enumerated separately in the final report of the census.
  • See also: Macedonians
  • See also: Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia

A wide variety of languages are spoken in the Republic of Macedonia, reflecting its ethnic diversity. The official and most widely spoken language is Macedonian, which belongs to the South Slavic language group.Structurally, it is closer to Bulgarian than to other Slavonic langages, though it contains many words of Greek origin. Its current form was codified after WWII and has accumulated a thriving literary tradition.Other languages – including Albanian, Turkish, Serbian, Aromanian, Greek, Romany and Megleno-Romanian – are spoken roughly in proportion with their associated ethnic groups.Although Macedonian is the country's official national language, in municipalities where at least 20% of the population is from other ethnic minorities their individual languages are used for official purposes in local government. The languages of the minorities, for example the Albanian language, can also be used in the national parliament and other national level institutions.

The majority of the population belongs to the Macedonian Orthodox Church (66%). Muslims comprise 29% of the population and other Christian denominations comprise 0.2%. The remainder is recorded as "unspecified" in the 2002 national census. Most of the native Albanians, Turks and Bosniaks are Muslims, as are a minority of the country's ethnic Slavic Macedonian population, known as Macedonian Muslims. 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.
  • See also: Macedonian Orthodox Church

Culture - Contents

The Republic of 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 is among the countries with the most beautiful preserved Byzantine fresco painting, 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.In Macedonia the past meets the present. Its age-old architecture and monasteries and churches of exquisite beauty make an interesting contrast to the super modern new architecture. Most of the Macedonian monasteries, built in various periods, and particularly those built between the 11th and 15th -16th centuries, have been completely preserved until today. The Macedonian collection of icons, and in particular the Ohrid one, is among the most valuable collections in the world today. After the Sinai and the Moscow collection of icons, it is third in importance in Orthodoxy. From a Byzantological aspect, it is unique.The most important cultural events in the country are the Ohrid Summer festival of classical music and drama, the Struga Poetry evenings which gather poets from more than 50 countries in the world, Skopje May Opera Evenings, International Camera Festival in Bitola, Open Youth Theatre and Jazz festivals in Skopje etc.
  • A list of famous Macedonians
  • Music of the Republic of Macedonia
  • Macedonian language
  • Public holidays in the Republic of Macedonia.

Gallery - Contents

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