|Republic of Macedonia
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
The state name is controversial between the Greek and
Macedonian governments. As a member of the United
Nations, Macedonia bears the name "Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia" (FYR Macedonia), as requested by
Greece. According to the Macedonian constitution, the
country name is "Republic of Macedonia" (Republika
The republic, which has been independent since 1991,
is located in south-eastern Europe on the Balkan
Peninsula and, with an area of 25,714 km², is about
two thirds the size of Switzerland. The country borders
Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the northeast, Greece
to the southeast and south, and Albania to the west .
Macedonia is the only country on the Balkan Peninsula
that has no direct access to the sea.
The country is characterized by several mountain
ranges and is located in a tectonically active region.
The west is occupied by high mountains that belong to
the Dinaric Alps. The country's highest elevation (Golem
Korab, 2,764 m) is located here on the border with
neighboring Bulgaria. Basin landscapes and deeply carved
valleys can be found between the individual mountain
ranges. In the east of Macedonia, low mountain ranges
reach an average height of 1,000 m, occasionally up to
1,700 m. The Vardar flows through the center of the
country as the longest river in a wide valley. He flows
into Greece as Axios in the Aegean. In the south-west of
Macedonia there are several large lakes that were
created by tectonic processes.They include Lake Ohrid,
through which the border with Albania runs, and Lake
The capital Skopje is located in the upper valley of
the Vardar in the north of the country.
A predominantly Mediterranean climate with dry, hot
summers and mild winters determines the climate in
Macedonia. The average temperatures in Skopje in the
Vardar Valley are 2 กใ C in January and around 25 กใ C in
July. Continental climatic influences are increasing in
the higher parts of the country, where the winters are
The average rainfall in the capital Skopje is 550 mm.
In the mountains, up to 2,000 mm of rain is measured,
which mostly falls as snow in winter.
Flora and fauna
In the lower regions of the country there are mainly
agricultural areas and maquis. At the lakes in the
southwest of Macedonia there are still stocks of oak,
fig and walnut trees. In the mountains up to a height of
around 1,300 m there are forests with beeches, chestnuts
and maple, and in higher altitudes fir and pine. From
around 2,000 m, mountain pines and junipers predominate,
which merge into alpine mats.
In the remote regions of the mountains, animal
species such as lynx, wolf, brown bear, ibex and golden
eagle also find a suitable habitat. Deer, deer and wild
boar are found in the deciduous forests. The lakes in
the south-west of the country are particularly rich in
Around 2.04 million people live in Macedonia, around
60% of them in cities. The largest city is the capital
Skopje with around 515,000 residents, followed by
Kumanovo with 105,000, Bitola with 95,000 and Prilep
COUNTRYAAH, 65% of the population are Macedonians; the
largest minority are Albanians (about a quarter of the
population), who live mainly in areas in the northwest
of the country on the border with Kosovo. Turks have a
population share of around 4%, Serbs, Roma and Romanians
form small minorities. Most Macedonians are Orthodox
Christians (67%) of the Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian
or Greek Church, while the Albanians and Turks are
predominantly followers of Islam. The official language
is Macedonian, which belongs to the Slavic languages,
and since November 2001 also Albanian in the regions
where more than 20% Albanians live. Turkish, Serbian and Romani are also spoken.
The social and health system in Macedonia is well
developed, but benefits are limited by the economic
problems of the state. In general, the standard of
living of the population decreased in the 1990s.
Population growth is only 0.1%, which is also due to
emigration; the average life expectancy is 74 years.
Children are required to attend school for eight
years and attending school is free of charge. The
literacy of the population is given as almost 94%.
According to the 1991 constitution, Macedonia is a
presidential republic with a multi-party system. The
head of state is the President (Gjorgje Ivanov since
2009), who is elected by the people for a term of five
years. He is commander in chief of the armed forces and
appoints the Prime Minister (since 2006 Nikola Gruevski)
as head of the government.
The legislature lies with the parliament, which
consists of one chamber (sobranie). The 120 MPs and
three representatives of the Macedonians abroad are
elected by the people for a term of four years.
Macedonia is divided into eight statistical regions
with 84 municipalities (Opstini), whereby the ten
Opstini of Skopje are summarized as "Greater Skopje".
Macedonia was the least developed economic republic
of the former socialist Yugoslavia. Two thirds of the
trade was with the other Yugoslav republics. The
dissolution of Yugoslavia and the international
sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro (1992) and the
Greek trade embargo against Macedonia had a
correspondingly devastating effect. From the mid-1990s,
most foreign investors withdrew their capital due to the
Kosovo crisis. The economy recovered with loans from the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but
slipped into recession again in 2009 as a result of the
global financial and economic crisis; the gross domestic
product (GDP) fell by 0.3% in 2012. At the same time,
high unemployment (approx.
Agriculture generates around 11% of GDP, and an
estimated 20% of the workforce is employed here. A good
half of the state territory is agricultural land. The
main crops are cereals, sugar beets, sunflowers,
tobacco, fruit and wine. Livestock farming (especially
sheep) plays only a minor role.
Macedonia has mineral resources such as coal, zinc,
lead, silver, gold, antimony, iron ores, copper and
chrome, but the deposits are only partially developed.
Almost a third of all employees work in industry, with a
28% share of GDP. The most important branches of
industry are the iron industry, the processing of food
and the manufacture of textiles.
The main export goods of Macedonia are iron and
steel, chemical products and textiles. Germany and
Serbia are the most important trading partners here. The
main imports are crude oil, chemical products and food
from Greece, Germany and Great Britain.
The road network covers around 10,600 km, of which
around 5,500 km are paved. There are almost 930 km of
rail, a main route runs through the Vardar Valley from
Belgrade to Soloniki. There is an international airport
in Skopje and Ohrid.
The currency is the Macedonian dinar.