(Republic of Macedonia, Republika Makedonija, Република Македонија)
- Location: Southern Europe
- Capital: Skopje
- Language: English, Macedonian
- Population: 2,042,484
- Surface Area: 25,710 km2
- Currency: Denar
Like all ex-Yugoslavian countries, Macedonia has gone through years of conflict and are only now on their way to a full recovery. Many predict that it will take Macedonia a long time and claim Macedonia is the most backward country of the Balkans with huge tensions between the Albanian and Slavic populations. The problem the Greeks have with them using the name Macedonia should then, in theory, be nothing, but in 93, and in order for them to agree for Macedonia to join the UN, the Greeks insisted they changed their name from Macedonia to the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia- Macedonia is also the name of a Greek historical region. They did as the Greeks requested but the problem still occasionally rears its ugly head. One hope it’s not serious enough to start a war.
66.6 % of the Macedonian population is Slavic and 22.7 is Albanian. And there are huge tensions between the two sides. It is normal, for example, for schools to avoid problems by splitting the school day into two, one-half for the Albanians and other for the Slavs. One hopes the relations will improve, particularly as the number of Albanians in the country is growing rapidly- in thirty years, it is predicted there will be as many Albanians in the country as Slavs.
Lake Matka is one of those undiscovered places that only the natives visit. During the week, it tends to be deserted. You feel you have a whole island to yourself with caves, cliffs and monasteries to explore. If you are lucky the boating hut will be open and you can row onto the river. One added attraction is the 11km hike from Vodno to the Matka dam, which includes a stunning view of the lake, 600 meters below.
Macedonia has the perfect climate for wine growing and great potential to become a world leader in the industry. It is stuck in its socialist ways and has yet to join Bulgaria as one of the industries new leading lights. However, there are signs it will happen and they are certainly proud of what they already have. While the western world is celebrating Valentine’s Day, for example, the Macedonians celebrate St. Trufun, the patron saint of winemaking.
Skopje Jazz Festival
Macedonia may be the last place you expect to see a jazz festival, but the capital has held a jazz festival every October since 1982. Not only that but the performers are often household names. Both Herbie Hancock and Ray Charles have performed there.
Story By: World By Shotglass
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