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Republic of Macedonia
Република Македонија
Republika Makedonija
Flag Coat of arms
AnthemДенес над Македонија
(English: "Today over Macedonia")
Location of Macedonia (green), with Europe (green + dark grey)
(and largest city)
Coat of arms of Skopje.svg Skopje
42°0′N 21°26′E / 42°N 21.433°E / 42; 21.433
Official language(s) Macedonian[1]
Demonym Macedonian
Government Parliamentary republic
 -  President Gjorge Ivanov
 -  Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski
Independence from Yugoslavia 
 -  Independence declared 8 September 1991 
 -  Officially recognized 8 April 1993 
 -  Total 25,713 km2 (148th)
9,779 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.9%
 -  2009 estimate 2,114,550 (142nd)
 -  2002 census 2,022,547 
 -  Density 82,2/km2 (113th)
205/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $18.831 billion[2] (119th)
 -  Per capita $9,163[2] (81st)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $9.569 billion[2] (123rd)
 -  Per capita $4,656[2] (85th)
Gini (2004) 29.3 (low
HDI (2007) 0.817 (high) (72nd)
Currency Macedonian denar (MKD)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .mk
Calling code 389
1 Albanian is widely spoken in the west of the country. In some areas Turkish, Serbian, Romany and Aromanian are also spoken.

Coordinates: 41°36′11″N 21°42′54″E / 41.603°N 21.715°E / 41.603; 21.715 Macedonia (Macedonian: Македонија; English: /ˌmæsɨˈdoʊniə/  ( listen) mas-i-DOH-nee-ə), officially the Republic of Macedonia (Република Македонија, transliterated: Republika Makedonija [rɛˈpublika makɛˈdɔnija]  ( listen)), is a landlocked country located in the Vardar Macedonia region in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, 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,[3][4] sometimes abbreviated as FYROM.

A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia is bordered by Kosovo[a] to the northwest, Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south and Albania to the west.[5] The country's capital is Skopje, with 506,926 inhabitants according to a 2004 census. Other cities include Bitola, Kumanovo, Prilep, Tetovo, Ohrid, Veles, Štip, Kočani, Gostivar and Strumica. It has more than 50 lakes and sixteen mountains higher than 2,000 m (6,562 ft). 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,[6] but also parts of ancient Illyria[7][8] and Dardania,[9] inhabited by various Illyrian peoples,[10][11] and Lyncestis and Pelagonia populated by Molossian[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

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. Historical records document that in c.680 a group of Bulgars, Slavs and Byzantines led by a Bulgar called Kuber settled in the region of Keramisian plain, centred on the city of Bitola.[15] 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, Byzantine decline saw the region 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. Skopje 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.[16] With no major Balkan power left to defend Christianity, central Balkans fell to Turkish rule — and remained under it for five centuries.

The National Awakening

Map of the Bulgarian Exarchate (1870-1913).

Ottoman rule over the region was considered harsh. With the beginning of the Bulgarian National Revival in 18 c. many of the reformers were from this region, including Miladinov Brothers[17], Rajko Žinzifov, Joakim Krčovski[18], Kiril Pejčinoviḱ[19] and others. The bishoprics of Skopje, Debar, Bitola, Ohrid, Veles and Strumica voted to join the Bulgarian Exarchate after it was established in 1870[20].

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..."[21] The majority of its members however were Macedonian Bulgarians[22] 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

Boundaries on the Balkans after the First and Second Balkan War.

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 Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. The territory of the modern Macedonian state was then named Južna Srbija, "Southern Serbia". After the First World War, Serbia became part of the 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 known as the Vardar Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

The concept of a United Macedonia was used by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) in 1920-1934. its leaders - like Todor Alexandrov, Aleksandar Protogerov, Ivan Mihailov, promoted the idea with the aim to liberate the territories occupied by Serbia and Greece and to create an independent and united Macedonia for all Macedonians, regardless of religion and ethnicity. The Bulgarian government of Alexander Malinov in 1918 offered to give Pirin Macedonia for that purpose after World War One[23], but the Great Powers did not adopt this idea, because Serbia and Greece opposed. IMRO followed by starting an insurgent war in Vardar Banovina, together with MMTRO (Macedonian Youth Secret Revolutionary Organisation) which also conducted guerilla attacks against the Serbian administrative and army officials there. In 1923 in Stip a paramilitary organisation called Union against the Bulgarian bandits was formed by Serbian chetniks, IMRO renegades and MFO members to oppose IMRO and MMTRO[24].

Yugoslav Macedonia in World War II

History of the
Republic of Macedonia
Flag of the Republic of Macedonia
This article is part of a series
Ancient History
Medieval Period
Ottoman Macedonia
National awakening
Ilinden Uprising
Vardar Banovina
National Liberation War
Independent State of Macedonia
National Liberation Front
Exodus from Greece
Socialist Republic of Macedonia
1963 Skopje earthquake
Republic of Macedonia
2001 Macedonia conflict
Ohrid Agreement
Military history
History of the Macedonian people
Public Holidays
Naming Dispute

Republic of Macedonia Portal
 v • d • e 

During World War II, Yugoslavia was occupied by the Axis Powers from 1941 to 1945. The Vardar Banovina was divided between Bulgaria and Italian-occupied Albania. Bulgarian Action Committees were established and prepered the region for the new Bulgarian administration and army[25]. The Committees were mosltly formed by former members of IMRO, but some communists like Panko Brashnarov, Strahil Gogov and Metodi Shatorov also participated. Shatorov as leader of Vardar Macedonia communists switched from Yugoslav Communist Party to Bulgarian Communist Party[26][27] and refused to start military action against the Bulgarian army[28]. Bulgarian authorities, under German pressure[29], were responsible for the round-up and deportation of over 7,000 Jews in Skopje and Bitola.[30] Harsh rule by the occupying forces encouraged many Macedonians to support the Communist Partisan resistance movement of Josip Broz Tito after 1943[31], and the National Liberation War ensued, with German forces being driven out of Macedonia by the end of 1944. In Vardar Macedonia, after Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944 the Bulgarian troops, surrounded by German forces, fought their way back to the old borders of Bulgaria. Three Bulgarian armies (some 455,000 strong in total) entered Yugoslavia in September 1944 and moved from Sofia to Niš and Skopje with the strategic task of blocking the German forces withdrawing from Greece. Southern and eastern Serbia and Macedonia were liberated within a month[32]. Bulgarian government again in 1945 offered to give Pirin Macedonia to such a United Macedonia after World War Two[33].

Macedonia in Socialist Yugoslavia

In 1944 the Anti-Fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) 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 Macedonian alphabet was developed by linguists of ASNOM, who based their alphabet on the phonetic alphabet of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić and the pricipes of Krste Petkov - Misirkov. The new republic 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. During the civil war in Greece (1946–1949) Macedonian communist insurgents supported the Greek communists. Many refugees later came in Socialist Republic of Macedonia from there.

The state 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 (Macedonian: Ден на независноста, 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.[34]

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 NATO 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.


Republic of Macedonia.
Solunska glava peak on Jakupica mountain in spring.

Macedonia is has a total area of 25,713 km2 (9,928 sq mi). It has some 748 km (465 mi) of boundaries, shared with Serbia (62 km or 39 mi) to the North, Kosovo (159 km or 99 mi) to the northwest, Bulgaria (148 km or 92 mi) to the east, Greece (228 km or 142 mi) to the south, and Albania (151 km or 94 mi) 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 Greece known by the same name; and the Blagoevgrad province in southwestern Bulgaria.


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 Mountains and Osogovo, which frame the valley of the Vardar river. Three large lakes — Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Dojran Lake — 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.[35] 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 Mountains[36][37] that continues to the West Vardar/Pelagonia group of mountains (Baba Mountain, Nidže, Kozuf and Jakupica), also known as the Dinaric range. The second range is the OsogovoBelasica 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.

Panorama of Korab mountain, the highest mountain in the country.

The highest mountains in Macedonia are:

Rank Name Height (m) Height (ft)

Šar Mountains

Rank Name Height (m) Height (ft)
1 Mount Korab 2,764 9,396 7 Galičica 2,288 7,507
2 Šar Mountains 2,747 9,012 8 Stogovo 2,273 7,457
3 Baba Mountain 2,601 8,533 9 Jablanica 2,257 7,405
4 Jakupica 2,540 8,333 10 Osogovo 2,251 7,383
5 Nidže 2,521 8,271 11 Mount Bistra 2,163 7,096
6 Dešat 2,373 7,785 12 Plačkovica 1,754 5,754


The basin of Pena River in Tetovo

In the Republic of Macedonia there are 1,100 larger sources of water. The rivers flow into three different basins: the Aegean, the Adriatic and that Black Sea basin.[38]

The Aegean basin is the largest. It covers 87% of the territory of the Republic, which is 22,075 km. sq. Vardar, the largest river in this basin, drains 80% of the territory or 20,459 km. sq. Its valley plays an important part in the economy and the communication system of the country. The project named 'The Vardar Valley' is considered to be crucial for the strategic development of the country.

The river Black Drim) forms the Adriatic basin, which covers an area of about 3,320 km. sq., i. e. 13% of the territory. It receives water from Lakes Prespa and Ohrid.

The Black Sea basin is the smallest with only 37 km. sq. It covers the northern side of Mount Skopska Crna Gora. This is the source of the river Binachka Morava which, joining the Morava, and later, the Danube which flows into the Black Sea.

Even though it is a landlocked country, Macedonia has three artificial lakes and around fifty ponds. Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Lake Dojran are the three natural lakes of the country.

The Macedonian word for spa is бања, transliterated as banja. In the country there are 9 spa towns and resorts: Banište, Banja Bansko, Istibanja, Katlanovo, Kežovica, Kosovrasti, Banja Kočani, Kumanovski Banji and Negorci.


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 1,700 mm (66.9 in) in the western mountainous area to 500 mm (19.7 in) in the eastern area. There are three main climatic zones in the country: temperate Mediterranean, mountainous and mildly Continental. Along the valleys of the Vardar and Strumica rivers, in the regions of Gevgelija, Valandovo, Dojran, Strumica and Radoviš the climate is temperate Mediterranean. The warmest regions are Demir Kapija and Gevgelija, where the temperature in July and August frequently exceeds 40 °C (104 °F). 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.

National parks

The country has 3 national parks:

Name Established Size Map Picture
Mavrovo 1948 73.088 ha
Republic of Macedonia is located in Republic of Macedonia
Galičica 227 km²
Republic of Macedonia is located in Republic of Macedonia
Pelister 1948 12.500 ha
Republic of Macedonia is located in Republic of Macedonia
Mount Pelister MK.jpg


Pinus peuce, the Macedonian Pine or Molika, one of Macedonia's most recognizable trees.

The flora of Republic of Macedonia is represented with around 210 families, 920 genera, and around 3,700 plant species. The most abundant group are the flowering plants with around 3,200 species, which is followed by mosses (350 species) and ferns (42).

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, the territory of the Republic can be subdivided into four ecoregions: the Pindus Mountains mixed forests, Balkan mixed forests, Rhodopes mixed forests and Aegean sclerophyllous and mixed forests.

National Park of Pelister in Bitola is known for the presence of the endemic Macedonian Pine, as well as some 88 species of plants representing almost 30 percent of Macedonian dendroflora. The Macedonian Pine forests on Pelister are divided into two communities; pine forests with ferns and pine forests with junipers. The Macedonian Pine, as a specific conifer species, is a relic of tertiary flora and the five-needle pine Molika, was first noted on Pelister in 1893.

Macedonia's limited forest growth also includes Macedonian Oaks, the sycamore, weeping willows, white willows, alders, poplars, elms, and the common ash. Near the rich pastures on Šar Mountain and Bistra, Mavrovo, is another plant species characteristic of plant life in Macedonia—the poppy. The quality of thick poppy juice is measured worldwide by morphine units; while Chinese opium contains eight such units and is considered to be of high quality, Indian opium contains seven units, and Turkish opium only six, Macedonian opium contains a full 14 morphine units and is one of the best quality opium in the world.[39]


The fauna of Macedonian forests is abundant and includes bears, wild boars, wolves, foxes, squirrels, chamois and deer. The lynx is found, although very rarely, in the mountains of western Macedonia, while deer can be found in the region of Demir Kapija. Forest birds include the blackcap, the grouse, the black grouse, the imperial eagle and the forest owl.

The three artificial lakes of the country represent a separate fauna zone, an indication of long-lasting territorial and temporal isolation. The fauna of Lake Ohrid is a relic of an earlier era and the lake is widely known for its letnica trout, lake whitefish, gudgeon, roach, podust, and pior, as well as for certain species of snails of a genus older than 30 million years; similar species can only be found in Lake Baikal. Lake Ohrid is also noted in zoology texts for the European eel and its baffling reproductive cycle: it comes to Lake Ohrid from the distant Sargasso Sea, thousands of kilometres away, and lurks in the depths of the lake for 10 years. When sexually mature, the eel is driven by unexplained instincts in the autumn to set off back to its point of birth. There it spawns and dies, leaving its offspring to seek out Lake Ohrid to begin the cycle anew.

Domestic Animals

The shepherd dog of Šar Mountain is known worldwide as Šarplaninec (Yugoslav shepherd). It stands some 60 centimeters tall and is a brave and fierce fighter that may be called upon to fight bears or wolf packs in guarding and defending flocks. The Šarplaninec originates from the shepherd's dog of the ancient Epirotes, the molossus, but the Šarplaninec was recognized as its own species in 1939 under the name of "Illyrian shepherd" and since 1956 has been known as Šarplaninec.


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. 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:[40]

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 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.[41]

After the early parliamentary elections held in 2008, VMRO-DPMNE and Democratic Union for Integration formed a ruling coalition in Macedonia.[42]

In April 2009, presidential and local elections in the country were carried out peacefully, which was crucial for Macedonian aspirations to join the EU [43] 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 (Macedonian: Собрание) 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 Greece 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:[44]

  • 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:[45] IMF (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 Bucharest 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.[46] The USA had previously expressed support for an invitation,[47] 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 Parliament 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.[48]

Macedonia naming dispute

The flag of the Republic of Macedonia between 1992 and 1995 which incorporated the Vergina Sun.
Macedonian visa cancelled by Greek immigration authorities in 1993 to highlight the dispute over the name.

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.[49] In the south, the Republic of Macedonia borders the region of Greek Macedonia, 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" (Macedonian: Поранешна Југословенска Република Македонија) when the country was admitted to the organization in 1993.[50] Most international organizations, such as the European Union, the European Broadcasting Union, and the International Olympic Committee, adopted the same convention.[51][52][53][54][55] NATO also uses the reference in official documents but adds an explanation on which member countries recognize the constitutional name.[56] The same reference is also used in any discussion to which Greece is a party[57] 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 States,[58] Russia, United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China; several members of the European Union such as Bulgaria, Poland, and Slovenia; and over 100 other UN members.[59] 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",[60]; despite that Greece continued to object to the establishment of relations between the Community and the Republic under its constitutional name.[61]

In November 2008, Macedonia instituted proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Greece alleging violations of the 1995 Interim Accord that blocked its accession to NATO.[62] 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.[63]

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.[64] The government of Greece expressed support for the name ‘Republic of North Macedonia’ as the basis for resolving the name issue.[65]


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.[66]


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.[67] 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.[68] The government has proven successful in its efforts to combat inflation, with an inflation rate of only 3% in 2006 and 2% in 2007[67] 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.[69][70]

Despite these reforms, as of 2005 Macedonia's unemployment rate was 37.2%[71] and as of 2006 its poverty rate was 22%.[68] 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.[72]

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%.[73] Textiles represent the most significant sector for trade, accounting for more than half of total exports.[74] Other important exports include iron, steel, wine and vegetables.[75]

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.[76]

Some attractions of the country: Black Drim river (top) ; the village of Galičnik (middle) ;mosaic at Heraclea Lyncestis (bottom) .

Infrastructure and e-Infrastructure

Macedonia, together with Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, 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 Serbia, 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.[77]

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,[78] such as the oil refinery Okta, the baking company Zhito Luks, a marble mine in Prilep, textile facilities in Bitola 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.[79]

Administrative regions


Macedonian statistical regions

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


In August 2004, the Republic of Macedonia was reorganised into 84 municipalities (opštini; sing. opština); 10 of the municipalities constitute the City of Skopje, a distinct unit of local self-government and the country's capital.

Most of the current municipalities were unaltered or merely amalgamated from the previous 123 municipalities established in September 1996; others were consolidated and their borders changed. Prior to this, local government was organised into 34 administrative districts, communes, or counties (also opštini).


Macedonia has an estimated population of 2,061,315[80] 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.[81] The largest Macedonian cities according to the 1994 census data (as the 2002 census data[82] does not list both city populations and municipality populations):

Ethnic groups


Largest cities in Macedonia
Rank Core City Municipality Pop.


Rank Core City Municipality Pop.
1 Skopje Greater Skopje 444,000 11 Kavadarci Kavadarci Municipality 38,741
2 Bitola Bitola Municipality 80,000 12 Struga Struga Municipality 33,376
3 Kumanovo Kumanovo Municipality 71,000 13 Kičevo Kičevo Municipality 30,138
4 Prilep Prilep Municipality 68,000 14 Kočani Kočani Municipality 27,000
5 Tetovo Tetovo Municipality 60,000 15 Kriva Palanka Kriva Palanka Municipality 20,828
6 Ohrid Ohrid Municipality 51,000 16 Debar Debar Municipality 19,542
7 Veles Veles Municipality 48,000 17 Negotino Negotino Municipality 19,212
8 Gostivar Gostivar Municipality 46,000 18 Sveti Nikole Sveti Nikole Municipality 18,497
9 Štip Štip Municipality 42,000 19 Radoviš Radoviš Municipality 16,000
10 Strumica Strumica Municipality 40,000 20 Gevgelija Gevgelija Municipality 15,685
The above table shows ethnic affiliation of the population according to the 2002 census:[82]


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 Kosovo (90%), Albania (70%), and Bosnia-Herzegovina (48%).[83] 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.[84]

Holy Trinity Orthodox church in Radoviš.

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.[85]

Monastery of St. Panteleimon in Ohrid at night.

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.[86]

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.[87] After their liberation and the end of the War, most opted to emigrate to Israel. 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:[88][89][90][91][92][93] Albanian, Romani, Turkish (including Balkan Gagauz[94]), Serbian/Bosnian and Aromanian (including Megleno-Romanian). There are also smaller minorities of Adyghe and Greek speakers.[95]



The state university Ss. Cyril and Methodius in the capital Skopje.

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,[96] Slavic University in Sveti Nikole, 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.[97] 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, Koha and etc. Public channel is Macedonian Radio-Television founded in 1993 by the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia. TEKO TV (1989) from Stip is the first private television channel in the country . Other popular private TV's also are: A1 TV, Sitel, Kanal 5, Naša TV, Alsat-M, 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."


Traditional Macedonian female oro (folk dance)

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 Ohrid 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 Bitola, 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.[98]


Tavče Gravče, the national dish of the Republic of Macedonia.

Macedonian cuisine is a representative of the cuisine of the Balkans—reflecting Mediterranean (Greek and Turkish) and Middle Eastern influences, and to a lesser extent Italian, German and Eastern European (especially Hungarian) ones. The relatively warm climate in Macedonia provides excellent growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits. Thus, Macedonian cuisine is particularly diverse.

Famous for its rich Shopska salad, an appetizer and side dish which accompanies almost every meal, Macedonian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of its dairy products, wines, and local alcoholic beverages, such as rakija.

Tavče Gravče and mastika are considered the national dish and drink of the Republic of Macedonia, respectively.


Apart from football, handball is the most important team sport in the country. 2002 Kometal Skopje won the European Cup EHF Women's Champions League. The European Women's Handball Championship took place in 2008 in Macedonia. The venues in which the tournament took place were located in Skopje and Ohrid. The Macedonian women's national handball team arrived here a seventh place.


International rankings

Organization Survey Rankning
Institute for Economics and Peace [2] Global Peace Index[99] 88 out of 144
Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2009 34 out of 175
The Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom 2010 56 out of 179
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 71 out of 180
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 2009 72 out of 182

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Languages Law passed in Parliament". 2008-07-26. Retrieved 2008-07-27. "Using the Badenter principles, the Parliament had passed the use of languages law that will touch all ethnicities in Macedonia. The law doesn't allow for use of Albanian or any other minority language as a second official language on Macedonia's territory." 
  2. ^ a b c d "Report for Selected Country". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ United Nations Security Council Resolutions 817 of April 7 and 845 of June 18 of 1993, see UN resolutions made on 1993
  4. ^ "Note on Yugoslavia". Retrieved 2008-05-10.  "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."
  5. ^ The Republic of Macedonia - BASIC FACTS, Republic of Macedonia, Ministry of foreign affairs
  6. ^ 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."
  7. ^ Wilkes, John: The Illyrians, Wiley-Blackwell, 1996, ISBN 0631198075, p. 49.
  8. ^ Sealey, Raphael, A history of the Greek city states, ca. 700-338 B.C., University of California Press, 1976 ISBN 0520031776, p. 442.
  9. ^ Evans, Thammy, Macedonia, Bradt Travel Guides, 2007, ISBN 1841621862, p. 13
  10. ^ Borza, Eugene N., In the shadow of Olympus: the emergence of Macedon, Princeton University Press, 1992, ISBN 0691008809, pp. 74-75.
  11. ^ Lewis, D.M. et al. (ed.), The Cambridge ancient history: The fourth century B.C., Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN 0521233488, pp. 723-724.
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ Poulton, Hugh, Who are the Macedonians? C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2000, ISBN 1850655340, p. 14.
  14. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica — Scopje
  15. ^ "Acta Sancti Demetrii", V 195-207, Гръцки извори за българската история, 3, стр. 159-166
  16. ^ The last centuries of Byzantium, (1261-1453) by Donald MacGillivray Nicol
  17. ^ Phillips, John (2004). Macedonia: Warlords and Rebels in the Balkans. I.B.Tauris. p. 41. ISBN 186064841X. 
  18. ^ Becoming Bulgarian: the articulation of Bulgarian identity in the nineteenth century in its international context: an intellectual history, Ost-European studies, Janette Sampimon, Pegasus, 2006, ISBN 9061433118, p. 234.
  19. ^ James Franklin Clarke, Dennis P. Hupchick - "The pen and the sword: studies in Bulgarian history", Columbia University Press, 1988, ISBN 0880331496, page. 221 (...Peichinovich of Tetovo, Macedonia, author of one of the first Bulgarian books...)
  20. ^ Gawrych, George Walter (2006). The Crescent and the Eagle: Ottoman Rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874-1913. I.B.Tauris. p. 28. ISBN 1845112873.
  21. ^ M. Glenny, "The Balkans"
  22. ^ History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey: Volume 2, Reform, Revolution, and Republic: The Rise of Modern Turkey 1808-1975, by Stanford J. Shaw, 1977, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521291668, p. 209.
  23. ^ Gerginov, Kr., Bilyarski, Ts. Unpublished documents for Todor Alexandrov's activities 1910-1919, magazine VIS, book 2, 1987, p.214 - Гергинов, Кр. Билярски, Ц. Непубликувани документи за дейността на Тодор Александров 1910-1919, сп. ВИС, кн. 2 от 1987, с. 214.
  24. ^ Гиза, Антони, „Балканските държави и Македония“, Македонски Научен Институт ­ София, 2001 г.
  25. ^ Bulgarian Campaign Committees in Macedonia - 1941 Dimitre Mičev
  26. ^ Historical dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Valentina Georgieva, Sasha Konechni, Scarecrow Press, 1998, ISBN 0810833360, p. 223.
  27. ^ Who are the Macedonians? Hugh Poulton, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 1995, ISBN 1850652384, p.102
  28. ^ Bulgaria during the Second World War, Marshall Lee Miller, Stanford University Press, 1975, ISBN 0804708703, p. 131.
  29. ^ Bulgaria managed to save its entire 48,000-strong Jewish population during World War II from deportation to concentration camps, but under German pressure those Jews from their newly annexed territories without Bulgarian citizenship were deported, such as those from Vardar Macedonia and Western Thrace. The Holocaust in Macedonia: Deportation of Monastir Jewry United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  30. ^ Mark Cohen, The Holocaust in Macedonia: Deportation of Monastir Jewry, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  31. ^ This policy changed since 1943 with the arrival of the Tito's envoy Montenegrin Serb Svetozar Vukmanović-Tempo. He began in earnest to organise armed resistance to the Bulgarian rule and sharply criticized the Sharlo's pro-Bulgarian policy.At a meeting of the partisan brigades, as well as a group of battalions in the Resen region on 21 Dec 1943, Tempo makes the following comments about Shatorov and the leadership of the MCP: ...They thought that the Macedonian people were Bulgarians and that they were oppressed by the hegemony of Great Serbia and had to be transferred to Bulgaria. Their basic slogan is: "All non-Macedonians out of Macedonia". The capital J [Serbo-Croatian spelling of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavian, etc.] was deleted from all documents. In fact they did not want Yugoslavia, no matter where it stood politically. When the war started, the initial decision of this leadership was to be separate from Yugoslavia and from Tito. They declared that Macedonia would be free as soon as the Bulgarians came...
  32. ^ Dr. Ivan Yanev Bulgaria's Foreign Policy During the Second World War as Reflected in Bulgarian Historic Literature 1938-1944 Варна, 2006 Издателство "Литернет" [1]
  33. ^ Macedonian tribune, ed.18, 02.08.1945, page.1
  34. ^ Recognition of States: Annex 3
  35. ^ Macedonian Ministry of Environment
  36. ^ Britannica's article about Sar Mountains
  37. ^ Sar Mountains on the Euratlas map of the Europe's most significant mountain ranges
  38. ^ "Macedonia". Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  39. ^ "Macedonian Flora". Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  40. ^ BalkanInsight:Ivanov Elected New Macedonian President
  41. ^ "Ahmeti accepts the invitation for dialog with Gruevski". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  42. ^ SeTimes:VMRO-DPMNE and DUI form ruling coalition in Macedonia
  43. ^ Irish Times:Macedonia elections pass off peacefully
  44. ^ "Republic of Macedonia, Ministry of foreign affairs". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  45. ^ "Republic of Macedonia, Ministry of foreign affairs". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  46. ^ M3 Web – "Bulgaria: Macedonia Remains Out of NATO Because of Greek Veto over Name Dispute – – Sofia News Agency". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  47. ^ "Greece stands by NATO veto threat for Macedonia". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  48. ^ "EP Urges Accession Talks For Macedonia". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  49. ^ Floudas, Demetrius Andreas; ""A Name for a Conflict or a Conflict for a Name? An Analysis of Greece's Dispute with FYROM”". 24 (1996) Journal of Political and Military Sociology, 285. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  50. ^ United Nations Resolution 225 (1993)
  51. ^ European Commission. "Background information — The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  52. ^ European Broadcasting Union. "Members' Logos". Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  53. ^ EC report
  54. ^ "EUROPA - The EU at a glance - Maps - FYROM". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  55. ^ International Olympic Committee. "List of national olympic committees participating in the xix olympic winter games in salt lake city" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  56. ^ North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. ""The situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is critical"". Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  57. ^ Bid to settle Macedonia name row, BBC
  58. ^ "US snubs Greece over Macedonia". BBC News Online. 4 November 2004. Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  59. ^ "Naming the solution", Kathimerini English edition, 16 September 2005
  60. ^ European Journal of International Law
  61. ^ Floudas, Demetrius Andreas; ""Pardon? A Name for a Conflict? FYROM's Dispute with Greece Revisited”" (PDF). in: Kourvetaris et al. (eds.), The New Balkans, East European Monographs: Columbia University Press, 2002, p. 85. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  62. ^ By Davorin - Ljubljana. "Macedonia sues Greece for blocking NATO entry". France 24. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  63. ^ "Interim Accord". United Nations. 1995. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  64. ^ Macedonian Information Agency President-elect Ivanov meets SDSM acting leader
  65. ^ H.E. Amb. Al. Mallias: Greece backs “Republic of Northern Macedonia”. Emportal, 15 April 2009.
  66. ^ National Command Management
  67. ^ a b "Bot generated title ->". The World Bank<!. 2009-04-24. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  68. ^ a b World Bank development data
  69. ^ Government of the Republic of Macedonia
  70. ^ Macedonia's Flat Tax
  71. ^ Macedonian unemployment rate
  72. ^ The 2006 CIA Factbook CIA Factbook Macedonia
  73. ^ Welcome to World Bank Group
  74. ^ "Macedonian Embassy London". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  75. ^ Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  76. ^ "GDP per capita in PPS". Eurostat. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  77. ^ 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
  78. ^ "Greek investments in FYROM at 1 bil. Euros". 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  79. ^ 101 facts about Macedonia
  80. ^ CIA World Factbook
  81. ^ UNDP's Regional Bureau for Europe
  82. ^ a b [ , Macedonian "Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Macedonia, 2002 - Book XIII, Skopje, 2005."]. State Statistical Office of the Republic of Macedonia. , Macedonian. 
  83. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook - Bosnia and Herzegovina". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  84. ^ CIA World Factbook
  85. ^ "Church Rivalry Threatens to Brim Over". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  86. ^ David M. Cheney. "Catholic Church in Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  87. ^ » Blog Archives » Macedonia's Jewish Community Commemorates the Holocaust, and Embraces the Future
  88. ^ "Core document forming part of the reports of States Parties : The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  89. ^ "Macedonia ethnic and linguistic minorities". Eurominority. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  90. ^ "Map of the European languages". Eurominority. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  91. ^ "Indo-European languages in contemporary Eurasia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  92. ^ "BBC: Languages across Europe - Macedonia". BBC. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  93. ^ "Europe languages map". Eupedia. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  94. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.) (2005). "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition". SIL International. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  95. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.) (2005). "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition". SIL International. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  96. ^ OIC
  97. ^ "U.S. Agency for International Development". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  98. ^ "Macedonian Opera Marks 60th Anniversary. Culture - Republic of Macedonia". 
  99. ^ "Vision of Humanity". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The Assembly of Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence on 17 February 2008, a move that is recognised by 65 of the 192 UN member states and the Republic of China (Taiwan), but not by other UN member states. Serbia claims it as part of its own sovereign territory.

External links

General information

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Republic of Macedonia article)

From Wikitravel

Europe : Balkans : Republic of Macedonia
Quick Facts
Capital Skopje
Government parliamentary democracy
Currency Macedonian denar (MKD)
Area 25,333 sq km
Population 2,022,547 (July 2007 est.)
Language Macedonian 68%, Albanian 23%, Turkish 3%, Serbian 2%, other 4%
Religion Macedonian Orthodox 64%, Muslim 33%, other 3%
Electricity 220V/50Hz (European plug)
Calling Code +389
Internet TLD .mk
Time Zone UTC +1

The Republic of Macedonia, (Macedonian: Република Македонија, Republika Makedonija) (accepted in the UN under the provisional reference the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), is a landlocked country in the Balkans. It is bordered by Serbia and the disputed region of Kosovo to the north, Albania to the west, Bulgaria to the east, and Greece to the south. The constitutional name of the country is 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. The country controls a transportation corridor from Central Europe to Greece and the Greek port of Thessaloniki on the Aegean Sea.

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 Slavic 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 Slavic, Albanian, Turkish, and Mediterranean influences.


Macedonia is a country with many ethnic minorities. There is still some ethnic tension between Albanians and Macedonians, so this is a subject best avoided.

The road to Markovi Kuli fortress in Prilep
The road to Markovi Kuli fortress in Prilep

Macedonia has warm, dry summers and autumns, and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall.


Macedonia is covered by mountainous territory marked by deep basins and valleys. There are three large lakes, 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.

The village of Galičnik
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.

Macedonia regions
Macedonia regions
The region along the Vardar River, including the capital and largest city, Skopje
Western Macedonia
Full of the bulk of Macedonia's tourist attractions, in particular the three national parks and Ohrid
Eastern Macedonia
Not as many tourist attractions, but the people tend to be nicer.
  • Skopje, the nation's capital. It is home to many historic landmarks and architectural monuments, and a great deal of cultural places of interest.
  • Ohrid, a lakeside resort and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is considered the jewel in Macedonia's crown.
  • Bitola, the second largest city. It is Macedonia's most "European" town. It has it all: an ancient city, Ottoman monuments, a lovely shopping promenade, great nightlife, and more.
  • Kruševo, a museum-city nestled high up in the mountains of southwestern Macedonia. It is one the most historically significant destinations in the country as it was the site of a revolt against the Ottoman Empire. The town is also home to great skiing.
  • Prilep, tobacco fields, medieval monasteries, and strange rocks.
  • Struga, small town on Lake Ohrid. It receives a fraction of the amount of tourists that nearby Ohrid gets, making Struga much more calm and peaceful.
  • Štip, a peaceful city in eastern Macedonia. The town has existed for thousands of years, which is evidenced by its many archaeological sites.
  • Kumanovo, the third largest city. The area boasts many churches, pre-modern settlements, and more.

Get in

By plane

Republic of Macedonia has two international airports, the main airport in the capital Skopje "Alexander the Great Airport" (SKP) and another in Ohrid "St.Paul the Apostle Airport" (OHD). There are around 150 flights in a week from different European cities to Skopje. Macedonian Government currently awarded one Turkish Airport Operator Company (TAV) to construct a brand new Terminal building in Skopje Airport and is estimated to be finished less than two years. Another option to travel into Republic of Macedonia is to fly to Thessaloniki (SKG) or to Sofia (SOF) and get a taxi or bus from there. However, crossing the border usually takes extra time. A taxi from Sofia to Skopje, arranged through the taxi desk at the airport costs €160 (although you may be able to negotiate with an individual driver for a fare closer to €100). If you fly to Thessaloniki, you can go by public bus (24/7) for 0,50 EUR to the train station and catch a train from there (14 EUR oneway).

By train

Regular train service connects the Republic of Macedonia to Greece in the South and Serbia in the North.

A cheap way of traveling to or from Macedonia might be the Balkan Flexipass.

By car

Be sure your Green Card (International Insurance Card) has an uncanceled "MK" box. Try to get a good map of the Republic of Macedonia and/or try to be able to read Cyrillic letters. Although most street signs are printed in Cyrillic and Latin letters it can be helpful to have a little knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet, especially in small towns.

By bus

There are bus connections from Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia and Turkey to Skopje. In addition some buses, those operated by Drity tours at least, run from Tirana to Pristina via Skopje (don't expect them to wake you up or stop anywhere near Skopje bus station though)

In Skopje there are two bus terminals. Most buses come to the new terminal, but some connections (for example to Pristina) are serviced by the old one, which is located at the city center. If you need to change the terminals, you need to walk to the stone bridge over Vardar and cross the bridge (about 2.5 km) or take a taxi.

At both terminals you will be constantly nagged by taxi drivers, who will try to convince you to use their services. Unless you have too much money to throw away, you shouldn't take their advice. The taxi is likely to be heavily overpriced, especially for foreigners, while the buses are cheap, clean and safe.

By boat

There are plenty of boats for charter around Lake Ohrid and will show you the whole lake for a cheap price.

Get around

By Car

If travelling by car, be sure your tires are good enough. Especially in spring and autumn, weather in the mountains (Ohrid, Bitola) can differ significantly from the weather in the area you're coming from. You shall be aware, that even if the roads are bad, there is a toll charge which can be as much as 1,50 EUR for 20 kms bad road (Eg from Kumanovo to Skopje).

By Train

National trains are slow, but they are nonetheless a nice alternative to hot, crowded buses in the summer. The main train line runs from Skopje to Bitola and Skopje to Gevgelia. No trains run to Ohrid.

By Taxi

Taxis are perhaps the most common mode of transport in Macedonia amongst tourists. Most will usually charge a flat rate of 30 denars (in Skopje 50 denars) with the extra kilometres added on. Be careful when negotiating the price of the fare beforehand. Within city limits, prices over 100 denars are considered expensive even though the amount only converts to a few American dollars. Macedonian urban cities are much smaller in comparison to most western developed countries and would only take approximately 10-15 minutes to travel from one side of the city to the other by car. In Skopje, the capital and largest city, this should work out to an amount of about 100-150 denars.

A general exception to this rule is during peak tourist seasons particularly in the town of Ohrid. The summer months are the most profitable for many small businesses in Ohrid (and for some businesses, the only profitable months) including taxi drivers. For this reason many drivers will charge up to three times the flat rate for the same distance. Most taxis will insist on driving for no less than 100 denars which can be heard as "sto denari" or a "stotka" (slang term for a one hundred denar bill). Generally this is excessive but you can either negotiate the price down to 80 or even 70 denars to be reasonable, else simple bargain hunting is all that is required. During the peak seasons it is possible to find drivers willing to go as low as 40. Never feel pressured to take a taxi that seems overpriced.


Languages: Macedonian 66%, Albanian 25%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 2%, other 4%.

While many young people speak English, many do not, so a phrasebook is handy. Speakers of Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian and Slovene should have no problem getting by. German is also very useful, especially among older Albanians, and Dutch might be useful in Ohrid.

Šuto Orizari Municipality (better known as Shutka), which is part of the city of Skopje, is the only place in the world where Romani (Gypsy) is a co-official language.

Ohrid at night
Ohrid at night

Republic of Macedonia is full of markets and bazaars well worth a visit. The bazaars of Skopje, Tetovo, Ohrid and Bitola are the largest selling anything from dried peppers to fake designer sunglasses. While much of the merchandise may not be worth buying, there is normally a good selection of shoes, fruit, and vegetables of good quality, depending on the season. Merchants are generally pleasant and welcoming, especially to westerners, who remain something of a rarity outside of Skopje and Ohrid.

Ohrid is famous for its pearls and there are dozens of jewelers in the old town that will offer good products at decent prices. The Macedonian Orthodox paintings in old Ohrid are also worth a look.

Tipping is not seen as essential, but it is always welcomed.


The official currency of Macedonia is the denar, however, many Macedonians quote prices in €. Most cities have ATMs where you can withdraw money with cheap commission rates, although there are also plenty of banks and exchange booths where you can easily change money. Do not change money on the street.

Currency Amount Denar


Euro 1 61.4
Dollar (US) 1 41.7
Pound (UK) 1 68.8
Dollar (AU) 1 36.4
Dollar (CA) 1 39.1


If you are on a tight budget, try one of the Skara (grill) places. There are quite a few up-market restaurants serving better quality food on the waterfront, but these cater to tourists, so don't be surprised by a rather sizeable bill at the end of your meal.


Typical Macedonian food resembles the food of the southern Balkans, meaning loads of grilled meat (known as skara). Side dishes usually have to be ordered separately. The Republic of Macedonia is also famous for its shopska salata a mixed salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and grated sirenje. Sirenje is a white cheese similar to feta cheese. Usually Macedonians will translate the English cheese to sirenje. Another local speciality is ajvar, a red paste made from roasted peppers and tomatoes, which is either used as an appetizer or side dish. Another typical local dish is tarator which is comparable to the Greek tzatziki. It is made of yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic and it is served as a cold soup.


The Republic of Macedonia, being landlocked, does not offer a great variety of fresh fish. A notable exception is Ohrid, where fresh fish from the local lake can be enjoyed. If you have no objections to eating endangered species, the Ohrid trout is a local delicacy.


Rakija is a strong grape brandy that has the best claim to be Republic's national beverage. There are also many breweries which brew surprisingly good-tasting beer. Macedonians boast the largest winery in the Balkan area—the Tikveš (Tikvesh) winery in Kavadarci. Red wines are usually better than white ones. Try "T'ga za Jug"—Macedonian favorite red wine made from a local grape variety called Vranec. The local beer market appears, in Skopje at least, to be dominated by Skopsko, a drinkable, if not entirely distinctive, lager.


Being the national tourist attraction, Ohrid is obviously more expensive than any other destination in the Republic of Macedonia. Note that hotel prices are very expensive throughout the country and charge double rates to foreigners. It is therefore advisable to stay in private accommodation. If someone does not ask you at the bus station, you can always consult one of the many travel agencies in and around the center. If you do opt for private accommodation make sure you see the room first and then decide. Payment is normally made in advance and should cost no more than €10-15 per night per person in peak season and half that during the rest of the year. Note: finding suitable accommodation in July and August is not easy, so try and book through a travel agent in advance.

When visiting Lake Ohrid, staying in nearby Struga as opposed to the more popular Ohrid is a wise alternative for the price and tourist-trap conscious.

  • Ss. Cyril and Methodius University - the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University was founded in 1949 in Skopje. It consisted of three faculties and today it represents a family of twenty-three faculties, ten institutes and other institutions.
  • Goce Delčev University - is one of four state universities in the country. It was created in 2006, located in Štip, East-Central Republic of Macedonia, and commenced with its first class of students October 2007. The first class is planned to number 933 students, more than half of which Computer Science majors.
  • St. Clement of Ohrid University - is the second state university in the Republic located mainly in Bitola, but has other institutes in Prilep and Ohrid. It was founded on 25 April 1979, but the name St. Clement of Ohrid was not given until late 1994. The current number of enrolled students exceeds 15,000.
  • South East European University - is a university in Tetovo, in the north western part of the Republic of Macedonia. It was founded in October 2001 and is a member of the European University Association. It is a recognised and accredited autonomous higher education institution which was established in 2001 by an agreement between international donors, the government of the Republic of Macedonia and the local academic community.
  • State University of Tetovo - is one of the three state universities in the Republic. The university was established in 17 December 1994, however, it was not officially recognized as a state university by the government of the Republic of Macedonia until January 2004.
  • University American College Skopje - is an institution for higher education, that combines the best of the American and European educational experience.
  • Slavic University - is a university located in Sveti Nikole, in the east central part of the country.
  • European University Republic of Macedonia - The European University is a pioneer in the area of private educational institutions in this country, which reflects a completely new and different approach towards students and towards the acquiring of knowledge, at the same time relying on the renowned tradition of European, American and Macedonian universities.

Stay safe

Republic of Macedonia is a safe country. Driving is not ill-advised, but it's recommended for foreigners to try and use taxis and public transport wherever possible. As in all countries, keep an eye out for pickpockets and all valuables safe. Hotels and most private accommodation will offer a safe to store valuables and cash in.

Most people are very friendly and hospitable.

Stay healthy

Water is safe to drink and there are public drinking water fountains in most public places. It is advisable to wash all fruit and vegetables.

As with any other country, use caution when eating red meats at restaurants. Although Macedonian cuisine typically revolves around grills ("skara") there are some restaurants that do not use proper or clean methods of cooking, which if practiced in many Western countries would be seen as a violation of certain health regulations. Bad restaurants can be spotted easily; they will probably not look very appealing and will not have many customers. However, the vast majority of restaurants in Macedonia serve good quality food.


It is not advisable to refer to the country as FYROM (fee-ROM). Republic of Macedonia is directly transliterated from the Cyrillic as Republika Makedonija, and is pronounced roughly how it would appear to an English speaker: "reh-POO-blee-kah mahk-eh-DOHN-ee-yah".

Touchy topics are Macedonian-Bulgarian, Macedonian-Albanian, and Macedonian-Greek relations. Most Macedonians can hold strong political opinions regarding their neighbours and won't shy away from expressing their views in most cases. Politics often finds its way into conversation over a cup of coffee. To keep from upsetting your hosts or new-found friends avoid topics such as the 2001 war against the NLA, Macedonia's partition during the Balkan wars and Macedonia's pending membership into the European Union or Nato. Don't worry about talking about the Communist period or about Josip Tito.

With the current situation in Kosovo, be very careful when talking about politics, as there is also a significant Albanian minority here. Ask as many questions as you'd like (within reason), but don't make any statements. Best to keep in mind that in some western areas, roughly one in four people you see on the street are likely to be Albanian and tensions are high between the Macedonian and Albanian communities. In short, keep your political opinions to yourself.


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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

(the) former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

  1. A provisional designation (pending resolution of a naming dispute with Greece) used by many international organizations of the Republic of Macedonia, a country on the Balkan Peninsula, abbreviated FYROM.

Usage notes

The word "former" (and the definite article "the" if used) are explictly and intentionally in lower case, as this is a "provisional designation" and not the present or intended name of the state.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also


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