Macedonia, officially the Republic of Macedonia is located in the Balkan Peninsular and was previously part of Yugoslavia until they gained independence in 1991. It is a spectacular landlocked country that has an abundance of mountains, lakes, national parks and ancient towns with Ottoman and European architecture. Macedonia has a captivating past and complex national essence, where much of the country has yet to be explored and is a perfect destination for travellers looking to get off the beaten track of the typical European ventures.
Here are 15 facts about Macedonia.
1. Ohrid Lake is the oldest and one of the deepest lakes in Europe. It is estimated to be around 4 million years old and has 200 endemic species that haven’t been found at any other place in the world. It was also declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979
2. Macedonia’s capital city, Skopje has a population of just under 700,00 people. Macedonia’s total population is just over 2,000,000
3. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was born in Skopje
4. Macedonia is the only country that got independence from Yugoslavia without shedding any blood. It remained totally at peace during the Yugoslav war in the early 1990s
5. It has more mountains and mountain peaks than any other country in the world. Macedonia has around 34 mountain peaks and most peaks have never been visited by people
6. The Cyrillic alphabet, official in Macedonia, is based on the alphabet developed by two Macedonian brothers in the 9th century. It was taught by their disciples at a monastery in Ohrid, and from there it spread across the eastern Slavic world
7. Macedonia was the first country in the world to have full access to a wireless broadband connection in 2006, after being part of a high-tech project.
8. The country is old! The ancient kingdom of Macedon dates back to 808BC and Skopje is said be around 7,000 years old
9. It has its own language – Macedonian – which is spoken by around 2 million people, made up of the majority of the population of the country, plus a number of people in the neighbouring countries
10. The official name of Macedonia in the UN is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM. The is because of the long dispute the country has with Greece regarding their history as the former Kingdom of Macedonia. Their government however, has persuaded around 135 countries to recognise it as the Republic of Macedonia
11. It has its own currency, Macedonian Denar. Its effort to join the EU and also adopt the euro as its currency is dependent on sorting its naming issue with Greece
12. Alexander the Great, who was king of the former Kingdom of Macedonia, was the first world-size conqueror who extended his empire across Greece and Persia, to India and Egypt. During this time, the Kingdom of Macedonia was the most powerful state in the world however, after his death, the empire fell apart
13. Thanks to being part of the Ottoman Empire from the 14th century, there are a number of notable mosques, including the multi-coloured Painted Mosque, built in 1495 and said to be one of the most magnificent examples of Islamic architecture in the world
14. It’s a land-locked country, bordered by Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania
15. Kokino is one of the world’s oldest observatories, as recognised by NASA and dating back to the 19th century BC
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