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Republic of Macedonia

Република Македонија
Republika Makedonija
Flag of the Republic of Macedonia
Flag
{{{coat_alt}}}
Coat of arms
Anthem: 
Денес над Македонија
Denes nad Makedonija
Today over Macedonia
Location of  Republic of Macedonia  (green)on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Republic of Macedonia  (green)

on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Skopje
Official languages Macedonian
Regional languages
Ethnic groups
(2002)
  • 64.2% Macedonians
  • 25.2% Albanians
  • 3.9% Turks
  • 2.7% Roma
  • 1.8% Serbs
  • 2.2% other / unspecified
Demonym(s) Macedonian
Government Parliamentary republic
• President
Gjorge Ivanov
• Prime Minister (interim)
Emil Dimitriev
• Speaker of the Parliament
Trajko Veljanovski
Legislature Assembly
Independence 
Area
• Total
25,713 km2 (9,928 sq mi) (148th)
• Water (%)
1.9
Population
• 2011 estimate
2,058,539 (146th)
• 2002 census
2,022,547
• Density
80.1/km2 (207.5/sq mi) (122nd)
GDP (PPP) 2012 estimate
• Total
$22.147 billion
• Per capita
$10,718
GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate
• Total
$10.198 billion
• Per capita
$4,935
Gini (2008) 44.2
medium
HDI (2011) Increase 0.728
high · 78th
Currency Macedonian denar (MKD)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (CEST)
Driving side right
Calling code +389
ISO 3166 code MK
Internet TLD .mk

Republic of Macedonia (Macedonian: Република Македонија - Republika Makedonija) is an independent state on the Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe. The country borders Serbia to the north, Albania to the west, Greece to the south, and Bulgaria to the east. The country's currency is the Macedonian Denar (MKD).

Greece and the Republic of Macedonia are arguing over the name Macedonia. United Nations calls the Republic of Macedonia, "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) (Macedonian: Поранешна Југословенска Република Македонија - ПЈРМ - Poranešna Jugoslovenska Republika Makedonija -PJRM). The north and northeast part of Greece has been called Macedonia for ages and officially since 1912, just like the southeast county of England Kent has been called Kent for a long time. 'FYROM' is also used by the United Nations and NATO as well as many other international organisations. But, many countries now call the country 'Republic of Macedonia'. The United Kingdom, for example, uses Republic of Macedonia in the diplomatic list. The capital is Skopje, with more than 500,000 residents. It has many smaller cities. Some important ones are Bitola, Prilep, Tetovo, Kumanovo, Ohrid, Veles, Stip, and Strumica.

The Republic of Macedonia is often called a land of lakes and mountains. There are more than 50 large lakes and sixteen mountains higher than 2000 meters above sea level.

The country is a member of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since December 2005, it is a candidate for joining the European Union. The Republic of Macedonia is also a partner and candidate member of NATO but Greece blocked Macedonia's entry into NATO until the name dispute between the two countries is solved.

The language spoken by the majority of the population is Macedonian. Albanian is also spoken by the Albanian minority (15%) living in the country.

History

What is now Macedonia used to be a state called Socialist Republic of Macedonia in the southern part of the country of Yugoslavia. When that country broke up in 1991, Macedonia became independent.

Over time the territory which today is the Republic of Macedonia was ruled by a many different states and former empire.

Geography

Location

Mount Korab, Republic of Macedonia
Mount Korab, the highest mountain in North Macedonia

North Macedonia has a total area of 25,713 km2 (9,928 sq mi). It lies between latitudes 40° and 43° N, and mostly between longitudes 20° and 23° E (a small area lies east of 23°). North Macedonia 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 the larger region of Macedonia, which also includes Macedonia (Greece) and the Blagoevgrad Province in southwestern Bulgaria.

North 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. 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.

North Macedonia also has scenic mountains. They belong to two different mountain ranges: the first is the Šar Mountains 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 Osogovo–Belasica 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 of the Osogovo-Belasica mountain group. Mount Korab of the Šar Mountains on the Albanian border, at 2,764 m (9,068 ft), is the tallest mountain in North Macedonia.

Matka Lake - Macedonia
Matka Canyon

In North Macedonia there are 1,100 large sources of water. The rivers flow into three different basins: the Aegean, the Adriatic and the Black Sea.

The Aegean basin is the largest. It covers 87% of the territory of North Macedonia, which is 22,075 square kilometres (8,523 sq mi). Vardar, the largest river in this basin, drains 80% of the territory or 20,459 square kilometres (7,899 sq mi). Its valley plays an important part in the economy and the communication system of the country. The Vardar Valley project is considered to be crucial for the strategic development of the country.

The river Black Drin forms the Adriatic basin, which covers an area of about 3,320 km2 (1,282 sq mi), i.e., 13% of the territory. It receives water from Lakes Prespa and Ohrid.

The Black Sea basin is the smallest with only 37 km2 (14 sq mi). It covers the northern side of Mount Skopska Crna Gora. This is the source of the river Binachka Morava, which joins the Morava, and later, the Danube, which flows into the Black Sea.

North Macedonia has around fifty ponds and three natural lakes, Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Lake Dojran.

In North Macedonia there are nine spa towns and resorts: Banište, Banja Bansko, Istibanja, Katlanovo, Kežovica, Kosovrasti, Banja Kočani, Kumanovski Banji and Negorci.

Climate

Koppen-Geiger Map MKD present
Köppen–Geiger climate classification map for North Macedonia

North 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 North Macedonia has a moderate continental climate with warm and dry summers and relatively cold and wet winters. There are thirty main and regular weather stations in the country.

Biodiversity

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

Phytogeographically, North Macedonia belongs to the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the 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 North 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 relict of tertiary flora, and the five-needle pine Molika, was first noted on Pelister in 1893.

Pelister Molika
Pinus peuce, the Macedonian Pine or Molika, one of North Macedonia's most recognisable trees

North 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 opiums in the world.

The native forest fauna is abundant and includes bears, wild boars, wolves, foxes, squirrels, chamois and deer. The lynx is found, 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 relict 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 be found only 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.

The shepherd dog of Šar Mountain, the Šarplaninec (Yugoslav shepherd), is known worldwide. It stands some 60 centimetres (2.0 ft) tall and is a brave and fierce fighter that may be called upon to fight bears or wolf packs while guarding and defending flocks. The Šarplaninec originates from the shepherd's dog of the ancient Epirotes, the molossus, but it was recognised as its own breed in 1939 under the name of Illyrian shepherd and since 1956 has been known as Šarplaninec.

The country has three national parks:

Name Established Size Map Picture
Mavrovo 1948 731 km2 Mavrovo-Lake-Autumn.jpg
Galičica 1958 227 km2 Galichitsa.jpg
Pelister 1948 125 km2 Mount Pelister MK.jpg

Politics

Republic of Macedonia is a democratic country with a parliament.

Related pages

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