F.Y.R.O. Macedonia

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Macedonia is a landlocked country in the Balkans. It's 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 majority population is ethnic Macedonian and Orthodox but there is also a significant Albanian Muslim minority. Therefore, one can expect a wonderful mix of architectural and ethnic heritage. The country represents the Balkans in the truest sense, consisting of a fascinating mix of Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, and Mediterranean influences. (less...) (more...)

Population: 2,087,171 people
Area: 25,713 km2
Highest point: 2,764 m
Coastline: 0 km
Life expectancy: 75.58 years
GDP per capita: $10,800
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About F.Y.R.O. Macedonia

History

Macedonia is dotted with beautiful Orthodox churches, monasteries, and Ottoman mosques. The territory of the 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 Macedonia.

Macedonia's large Albanian minority (about 25%), an ethnic Albanian armed insurgency in Macedonia in 2001, and the status of neighbouring Kosovo continue to be sources of ethnic tension. There were also tensions during the last parliamentary elections on 2 June 2008, although they happened between supporters of the two biggest rival Albanian political parties.

Climate

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

Activities

Festivals

  • Taksirat Festival. One of the biggest winter festivals in Eastern Europe, which happens at the end of November and beginning of December.

Food

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.

Service at the restaurants and cafés nationwide tend to be slow-ish, either because these businesses are chronically understaffed, or because of the general laid-back culture. Consider yourself lucky if your food is served within half an hour after you get seated.

General

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. 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 yoghurt, cucumbers, and garlic and it is served as a cold soup.

The most popular street food is either burek (бурек) which is a flaky phyllo-like pastry filled with melted cheese and/or ham, or pressed, panini style sandwiches, called toast (тост).

Stobi Flips are a ubiquitous snack food found in supermarkets and corner stores, with the shape and texture of a cheese doodle, but a salty peanut flavour.

Traditional Food

Tavce gravce (pronounced tav-chay grav-chay) or тавче гравче in Macedonian is the national dish and unique to Macedonia. It basically consists of beans, paprika and other vegetables so can be eaten by vegetarians. Traditionally, it is served with cut sausage mixed and eaten with bread. It is an delicious meal that will definitely leave you feeling full!

Fish

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.

Drinks

Rakija is a strong grape brandy that has the best claim to be Republic's national beverage.

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 affordable red wine made from a local grape variety called Vranec. Local white wines include Traminec and Temjanika.

The local beer market is dominated by Skopsko (Скопско, "of Skopje", following the Slavic convention of naming beers after their origin), a drinkable, if not entirely distinctive, lager. There are also many breweries which brew surprisingly good-tasting beer.

Sale of any alcoholic beverages from the stores end by 21:00 all over the country, but in the restaurants and cafés, it's business as usual.

Unlike much of the rest of the Balkans, sparkling water or water with gas is instead mineral water, or kisela voda.

The most common coffee drink in cafés is the macchiato (макијато, espresso topped by a foamy cream), which can be ordered as a single shot, small, mali macchiato, or double shot, large, golem macchiato. Cold cappuccinos with flavoured creams coming in large glasses are also popular in summer.

Tea is pretty much limited to the black and green varieties, and served in bags. Those longing for strong brewed black tea should better head for the tea-houses run by the local Turks in the old town of Skopje or Ohrid.

Shopping

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 jewellers 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.

Currency

The official currency of Macedonia is the denar (abbreviated ден den in the country; international code: MKD), however, many Macedonians quote prices in euro (€). 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. While banks often offer slightly better rates, you need to register with your passport which may take up to 10 minutes. Changing money in the exchange offices, on the other hand, is fairly straight forward, painless and quick. Do not change money on the street. Shops may accept euro but it is technically not allowed for them to do so.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Macedonia (country) on Wikivoyage.

Popular cities in F.Y.R.O. Macedonia

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Skopje , the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, is a city of many cultures and many centuries. Regardless of the direction you are arriving from, the infamously ugly apartment buildings constructed after the 1963 earthquake which ravaged the city will welcome you, and, while the fans of the stereotypical ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Stone Bridge
  • Macedonia Square
  • Kamen Most
  • Gradski Trgovski Centar
  • Church of Sveti Spas
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Gevgelija is a city located in the very southern part of Eastern Macedonia on the border with Greece. About 20,000 people live in the city.

Interesting places:

  • Apollonia Casino
  • Gevgelija Museum
  • St. Spas Monastery
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Tetovo is a town tucked into the northwestern corner of Western Macedonia, in the shadow of the Šar Mountains. The town has about 65,000 people, making it the third largest city in Macedonia.

Interesting places:

  • Popova Shapka Ski Center
  • Tetovo Museum
  • Tetovo Fortress
  • South East European University
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Bitola is a grand old town that still bears the marks of its turn-of-the-century importance as a center for diplomacy – while also exemplifying the country’s time-honored cafe culture. Bitola is nicknamed “city of consuls” and is the second largest city in the Republic of Macedonia, with a population of ... (read more)

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Vinica is a town in Eastern Macedonia. It is known for its historic Roman fortress on a hill overlooking the modern town.

Interesting places:

  • Church of Archangel Michael
  • Vinica City Museum
  • Vinica Fortress
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Kičevo is a city in the Western Macedonia. Kičevo has about 30,138 residents.

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Interesting places:

  • Roman Baths
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Valandovo (Macedonian: Валандово) is a town in southeastern Republic of Macedonia.

Interesting places:

  • City Park
  • St. George Monastery
  • Valandovo Municipal Stadium
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Negotino is a city in the Povardarie region of Macedonia.

Interesting places:

  • Small Park
  • Negotino Sports Complex
  • Negotino Castle Museum
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Ohrid is a large town in southwestern Macedonia on the shore of Lake Ohrid. A town of vast history and heritage, it was made a UNESCO heritage site in 1980. Nestled between high mountains up to 2,800 m and Lake Ohrid, it is not only a place of historic significance but also of outstanding natural beauty. ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Saint Panteleimon
  • Church of St. John at Kaneo
  • Samuil\'s Fortress
  • Church of Saint Sophia
  • Ohrid Amphitheater
panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

States in F.Y.R.O. Macedonia

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Points of Interest in F.Y.R.O. Macedonia

Macedonia is a small country but there are a lot of things to see in it. Its capital Skopje is the biggest city and upcoming European city, with the Vardar river running right trough it. It has a multitude of sights worth seeing: Kale fortress is kind of a city symbol. Right under it lays the beautiful Old Bazaar with many cafeterias and restaurants. Its main sights are St. Spas Church, Kurshumli An and many more. Over the famous Stone Bridge you can get to the main square "Macedonia" where you can see the 22-meter statue of the ancient Macedonian leader Alexander the Great, as well as the biggest shopping centre in the city "ГТЦ". Other interesting sights are the Memorial House of Mother Teresa and the Millennium Cross on the top of mountain Vodno, which is a 66-meter cross and it is the biggest cross ever built. It is reachable by rope railway and by foot.

Kamen Most - Skopje

Saint Panteleimon - Ohrid

Apollonia Casino - Gevgelija

Global Shopping Center - Strumica

Popova Shapka Ski Center - Tetovo

City Park - Valandovo

Church of Archangel Michael - Vinica

Koleshino Waterfall - Koleshino

Defense Tower - Kocani

Small Park - Negotino

Leshok Monastery - Leshok

Gabrovo Waterfall - Gabrovo

Macedonia Square - Skopje

Stone Bridge - Skopje

Gradski Trgovski Centar - Skopje

Church of St. John at Kaneo - Ohrid

Church of Sveti Spas - Skopje

Samuil\'s Fortress - Ohrid

Church of Saint Sophia - Ohrid

Daut Pasa Baths - Skopje

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

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