Country Briefs: The land of medieval monasteries, withered Turkish bazaars, archaic churches and shopping centers, Macedonia, also known as "a land of lakes and mountains" with its verdant sites and breathtaking beauty is definitely a place with a difference.
Macedonia lies in the in southeastern Europe and is an independent state of Balkan Peninsula. The neighboring countries of Macedonia are Serbia and Montenegro in the north, Albania in the west, Greece to the south and Bulgaria to the east.
Macedonia spreads in an area of 25,333 square kilometers and its population exceeds two million. The largest city of the country, Skopje, also acts as its capital city. Skopje is the hub of all political, cultural, economic and academic activities of the country.
But looking back over the years it is found that the Republic of Macedonia was a part of the southernmost part of Yugoslavia. This is the reason that at times the Republic of Macedonia is also referred to as "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".
During 1912 to 1944 the Ottoman Empire ruled over the central area of the Republic of Macedonia, the valley of the river Vardar. Later it was captured by Serbia. During the course of the Second World War the region was conquered by the Italian-ruled Albania.
After the Second World War as Yugoslavia got reconstituted, the Vardar region was transformed into a separate republic. In 1946 this new republic got the status of "People's Republic of Macedonia" within the new socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
In 1963 the name of the Constitution of Yugoslavia was modified to "Socialist Republic of Macedonia". The Yugoslav authorities promoted the development of the Macedonians ethnic identity and Macedonian language.
On 17th September 1991 the socialist republic of Macedonia held a referendum establishing its independence from Yugoslavia under the title of Republic of Macedonia.
On the one hand Bulgaria recognized the Republic of Macedonia immediately, on the other hand the recognition got stalled due to Greece considering it a Hellenic name and against the Republic's constitution.
In 1993 United States solved the issue by recognizing the state under the title Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
In the years that followed more than half of the UN member's states including United States of America recognized the country as the Republic of Macedonia.
However a permanent agreement between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia does not exist till date. Still there are signs that reflect Athens's inclination to agree to and accept a permanent name that includes Macedonia.
There was a deluge of refugees in Macedonia in 1999 after the Kosvo War. Most of the refugees were mainly Albanians from Kosvo. Te refugees returned immediately after the war but the war strained the relations between the ethnic Macedonians and the Albanian Macedonians.
As a result the Albanian radicals on both the sides picked up arms to fight in pursuit of the freedom for the Albanian populate areas in the Republic. A war also took place between the government and the ethnic rebels.
The war did not continue for long and ended when NATO ceasefire-monitoring force intervened and the government promised to entrust greater political power and cultural recognition to Albanian minority. In March 2005 Macedonia won the recognition of European Union member nation.
- Municipality: The ten municipalities marked with an asterisk constitute Greater Skopje.
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
- Population: 2002-10-31 census.
- Area: Calculated by adding areas of components.