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Macedonia

Macedonia
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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 the 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.

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 ethnic Macedonian 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 Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, and Mediterranean influences.

Understand
Macedonia is a country with many ethnic minorities. There is still some ethnic tension between Albanians (who form the majority in the northwest) and Macedonians, so this is a subject best avoided. It almost came to civil war a few years ago.

Climate
The road to Markovi Kuli fortress in Prilep

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

Terrain

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.

History=
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.

Regions


Cities

*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.
*Tetovo, majority of the population is ethnic Albanians. Home to the Painted Mosque and Monastery of Lešok.
*Radoviš, a small city in southeastern Macedonia, famous for the new Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.

Other destinations

*Galičica National Park
*Mavrovo National Park
*Pelister National Park

Get in
Citizens of the European Union and of the countries signatories to the Schengen Agreement can enter only with a valid officially issued ID card (or a passport).

Visas are "not" required by nationals from the following countries:

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and , Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Turkey, UK, USA, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The period of stay is regulated under the issued visa, but is no longer than 90 days. The visa free stay is 90 days, with the exception of Turkey, Japan and Montenegro where the visa free stay is 60 days.

Any foreign national possessing a valid multi entry Schengen visa (valid for the entire territory of the Schengen zone) may enter and stay in the Republic of Macedonia up to 15 days without having to possess a Macedonian visa. Visit for more details. Please note that border guards may not be fully aware of this information, and they might tell you that you require a visa to enter Macedonia. Stay calm and politely ask them to recheck their information. They will fill a form with your passport and car registration information which can take up to 1 hour!

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.

From the low-cost airlines only WizzAir flies directly between Skopje and London (Luton Airport).

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. There are 5 buses from Sofia Central Bus Station to Skopje, leaving at 9:00, 12:00, 16:00, 17:00 and 00:00. The two bus companies which operate these services are MATPU and Kaleia, both of which are located outside the main bus terminal. Single ticket is approximately 16 Euros (32 Lev). There are also services from Skopje to Sofia at similar prices and times for a return flight home.

Additionally, if you contact the Sofia Tourist Information Service, they can normally put you in contact with private tranfer companies who will pick you up at the airport and take you to Skopje. Prices range from as little at €60 to €160. Negotiating with taxis can be trickier but may be able to get a cheaper price.

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 (Note 13 April 2011: all international trains to Greece have been stopped until further notice as of February 2011) 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

Eurobus is an international coach operator based in Macedonia that has almost daily tours from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia. Prices from 60€ and possible to get student discount. The website of the bus company is available in German -

* almost daily in modern coaches from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia. Stops in the major cities Skopje, Tetovo, Ohrid.

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.

Talk

"Languages": Macedonian 66%, Albanian 25%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 2%, other 4%. Macedonian is the official language, and is spoken by almost all people.

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. Russian and German are 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.

See

Do

Buy
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.

Currency

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. Shops may accept € but it is technically not allowed for them to do so.



Eat

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.

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. 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.

Fish

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.

Drink

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 affordable red wine made from a local grape variety called Vranec. Local white wines include Traminec and Temjanika.
The local beer market appears, in Skopje at least, to be dominated by Skopsko, a drinkable, if not entirely distinctive, lager.

Sleep

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.

Learn
For those interested in learning the "Macedonian language", the options are the official Center for Testing and Certifying Macedonian as a Foreign/Second Language CETIS MAK. You can also get certified with the Test in Macedonian as a Foreign Language - TEMAK, and get a certificate issued by the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University.

Also, there are several private language schools offering courses for foreigners. Some of them are: LinguaLink, LogosOxford , VortexCenter .

You can study in many of the state and private universities listed below in English, Macedonian and Albanian.

*"University for Information Science and Technology "St. Paul The Apostle" - a new state university located in Ohrid. The university"s language of instruction is English. International students are required to pay a tuition fee of 4000€ per year.
*"Ss. Cyril and Methodius University" - the biggest state university in Macedonia, founded in 1949, located in the capital Skopje. Today it represents a family of 23 faculties, 10 institutes and other institutions.
*"Goce Delčev University" - the second biggest state university, located in Štip with many branches in other cities in Eastern Macedonia. It was founded in 2006.
*"St. Clement of Ohrid University" - is one of the fifth state universities, located in Bitola with branches in other cities in Western Macedonia. It was founded in 1979, but the name St. Clement of Ohrid was not given until late 1994. The current number of enrolled students exceeds 15,000.
*"State University of Tetovo" - is a state university located in Tetovo. The university was established in 1994, however, it was not officially recognized as a state university by the government of the Republic of Macedonia until January 2004. The languages of instruction are Macedonian and Albanian.
*"South East European University" - is a not for profit private university in Tetovo. It was founded in 2001 and is a member of the European University Association. The languages of instruction are English, Macedonian and Albanian.
*"FON University" - a modern private university.
*"European University Republic of Macedonia" - a modern private university
*"University American College Skopje" - a modern private university.
*"International Slavic Institute" - a private Russian university located in Sveti Nikole and Bitola. With majors in Psychology, Finances and credit and Management.
*"University for Audio-Visuel Arts - European Film Academy ESRA" - a private university, part of the French Film School "Ecole Supérieure de Réalisation Audiovisuelle" located in Paris and New York.

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.

Respect

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 roughly one in four people you see on the street are likely to be Albanian, with far higher percentages in the west, and tensions are at times high between the Macedonian and Albanian communities. In short, keep your political opinions to yourself.

Contact
Domestic Phones
Domestic telephone service is available in all inhabited towns, via the PSTN or VoIP. The PSTN network is run by T-home. There is an affordable fixed phone service (wireless and easy to install) from the mobile operator ONE, avaliable prepaid (without a monthly fee, 12 months availability without recharge, recharging for only 500 denars -18€) and postpaid.

Mobile phones
Mobile phones are widely spread and the coverage is excellent. There are 3 mobile networks (T-mobile, One and VIP), all using the GSM/3G standard. You can buy a pre-paid SIM card from T-mobile for 295 denars (5€) with 250 denars free talk time, from ONE for 190 denars (3€) with 250 denars free talk time, and from VIP for 300 denars (5€) with 300 denars free talk time. You may need to show your ID card or passport when buying.

Internet Access
Internet access is widely available. Broadband internet is available through cable, ADSL, WiMax and LAN connections. You can also access internet with your mobile phone, via GPRS or 3G.

ONE offers both internet for home and mobile internet. More information here . T-home offers ADSL internet for 599 denars/month (10€) - 30GB bandwidth, 6Mbps speed - you need to have PSTN connection from T-home.

Internet cafes are available in most cities and in some villages.

WikiPedia:Republic_of_Macedonia
Dmoz:Europe/Macedonia/
World66:europe/macedonia





ca:Macedònia
de:Mazedonien
eo:Makedonio
es:Macedonia
fi:Makedonia
fr:Macédoine
hu:Macedónia
it:Repubblica di Macedonia
ja:マケドニア
nl:Macedonië (land)
pl:Macedonia
pt:Macedônia
ro:Macedonia
ru:Македония
sv:Makedonien
wts:Category:Macedonia
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REISEPORTAL
"Macedonia" (; ), officially the "Republic of Macedonia" (, transliterated: "Republika Makedonija" ), is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe. It is one of the successor states of the
|footnotes = }}"" (, ; formerly St. Clement of Ohrid University of (. Климент Охридски — Битола) was founded in 1979, as a result of dispersed processes that occurred in education in the 1970s, and
"Bogdanci" (, ) is a small town in Republic of Macedonia, close to the border with Greece. It is located at around , and is the seat of Bogdanci Municipality.ocatioThe space of the Gevgelian ravine that comprise the space of the Bogdanci field is
"Bogdanci" (, ) is a small town in Republic of Macedonia, close to the border with Greece. It is located at around , and is the seat of Bogdanci Municipality.ocatioThe space of the Gevgelian ravine that comprise the space of the Bogdanci field is
"Berovo" (, ) is a small town near the Maleševo Mountains, from Skopje, from Strumica and from Kočani, in the Republic of Macedonia. It is the seat of Berovo Municipality.emographicThere are 7,002 residents in the town of Berovo.eatureBerovo
"Prilep" (, ) is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko"s Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of King Marko.amThe name of the city in
 
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