World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Macedonia Travelling Guide
Macedonia Travelling Guide

General background: International recognition of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (F.Y.R.O.M.) independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 was delayed by Greece's objection to the new state's use of what it 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 F.Y.R.O.M.'s use of "Macedonia." F.Y.R.O.M.'s large Albanian minority, an ethnic Albanian armed insurgency in F.Y.R.O.M. in 2001, and the status of neighboring Kosovo continue to be sources of ethnic tension.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than Vermont.

Climate: Warm, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall.

Terrain: Mountainous territory covered with deep basins and valleys; three large lakes, each divided by a frontier line; country bisected by the Vardar River.

Population: 2,054,800

Ethnic groups: Macedonian 66.6%, Albanian 22.7%, Turkish 4%, Roma 2.2%, Serb 2.1%, other 2.4% (1994)

Religions: Macedonian Orthodox 67%, Muslim 30%, other 3%

Language: Macedonian 70%, Albanian 21%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 3%, other 3%

Government type: Emerging democracy

Capital: Skopje

Legal system: Based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts.

Economic overview: At independence in November 1991, Macedonia was the least developed of the Yugoslav republics, producing a mere 5% of the total federal output of goods and services. The collapse of Yugoslavia ended transfer payments from the center and eliminated advantages from inclusion in a de facto free trade area. An absence of infrastructure, UN sanctions on Yugoslavia, one of its largest markets, and a Greek economic embargo over a dispute about the country's constitutional name and flag hindered economic growth until 1996. GDP subsequently rose each year through 2000. However, the leadership's commitment to economic reform, free trade, and regional integration was undermined by the ethnic Albanian insurgency of 2001. The economy shrank about 4% because of decreased trade, intermittent border closures, increased deficit spending on security needs, and investor uncertainty. The international community hopes to restart growth with a donors' conference in 2002.

Communication/Telephone system: Not available.

Places of interest: Macedonia is medieval monasteries, timeworn Turkish bazaars, Orthodox churches and space-age shopping centers.

Travel tips: The security situation is tense and visitors should exercise caution, avoid travel to the north, and keep informed of latest developments through their embassy.