The Balkan Peninsula is composed by different nations, religions and cultures that once upon a time made the Yugoslav Federation, which was the home of the six countries (Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia and Montenegro) and one province (Kosova, now an independent country). The Western Balkan countries all gained their independence through the many bloodshed wars from the Federation of Yugoslavia. The ones that received their independence peacefully, were Macedonia (1991) and Montenegro (2007).
Brief history of Macedonia!!!
Macedonia has a very sensitive history regarding its past with its neighbor country Greece, therefore the Macedonian-Greek conflict is a very complex issue. The conflict among these countries raised form the name “Macedonia”. According to Greece, the name Macedonia belongs to their national history, whereas the Republic of Macedonia opposes this argument by claiming that Macedonia received its name after its king, Macedon. On the other hand, some scholars claim that the name has its origin in the old Macedonian words “makos” (big, high), and “don” (land), which, when put together, render the meaning of a big, high, mountainous land.
However, the unresolved situation with the name issues has caused Macedonia the inability to join NATO or EU, although of course, the name issues is not the only reason why Macedonia is still left outside NATO and EU family membership.
Nevertheless, the Republic of Macedonia is a veritable treasury of culture and art. As hardly anywhere in the world, this region treasures a large number of historical monuments: mosques, churches, icons, monasteries, archaeological sites, old books and other artifacts.
Macedonia is a landlocked country that is geographically clearly defined by a central valley formed by the Vardar River and framed along its borders by mountain ranges. It is the home of three large lakes — Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Dojran Lake — lie on the southern borders, bisected by the frontiers with Albania and Greece. Ohrid is considered to be one of the oldest lakes and biotopes in the world.
If you want to come and visit Macedonia, you more than welcome to do so in any season you chose. There are several winter sports centres, which are well known even abroad: Kodra e Dilleti (Eng: Sunny Hill, Mkd: PopovaShapka), Mavrovo, Krushevo, Pelister, Golak andPonikva. These centers provide all the necessary facilities for sports and recreation such as comfortable resorts and hotels, cable cars and ski lifts. The most famous winter sport centers Kodra e Dilleit and Mavrova are located no more than two hours from the capital city Skopje of the two Airports from Skopje and Ohird. During summer however, you will enjoy in the beautiful hot weather at Ohrid and Struga Lake, but of course many other options are offered such as camping in different mountains of Macedonia. The climate of the country is a transitional one, from Mediterranean to continental. The summers are hot and dry and the winters are moderately cold.
Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy with an executive government composed of a coalition parties between Macedonian and Albanian. Albanian is the second largest community living in Macedonia, officially 25% and non-officially around 30%. Two languages are official in the country, the Macedonian one (which has Slavic roots) and the Albanian (from the Illyrians). Macedonia is the only multi-ethnic country in the Balkans. The current President of Republic of Macedonia is, Gjorge Ivanov who was elected on April the 5th, 2009.
Macedonia became a member state of the UN on 8 April 1993, eighteen months after its independence from Yugoslavia. The major interest of the country is a full integration to the European and the Trans-Atlantic integration processes. Its main priorities are of course joining the EU and NATO. In 2005, the country was officially recognized as a European Union candidate state.
On the NATO summit held in Bucharest in April 2008, Macedonia failed to gain an invitation to join the organization because Greece vetoed the move after the dispute over the name issue. The USA had previously expressed support for an invitation, but the summit then decided to extend an offer only on condition of a prior resolution of the conflict with Greece.
The main administrative center of the Republic of Macedonia today is Shkupi (Mkd:Skopje), with a population of over 600,000 inhabitants. It is a town with a 2,000 year long tradition and represents an exquisite mixture of Eastern and Western cultures, a place where many roads and
civilizations have met and mingled.
Macedonian cuisine cannot do without the national dishes which grace the table- yaniya, shketo, rice casserole, pindjur, baked beans, turli-tava, taratur, grilled meat, fish dishes, pastrmaliya, and various soups. Macedonia has exceptionally good conditions for the production of quality wines, the best among many being the wines from the Tikvesh region.
Shopping centers and bazaars lined with shops well supplied with all kinds of goods can be found in all towns and tourist centers throughout Macedonia. Some of the local craftsmen offer their products, too such as: embroidery, filigree work, handmade leather, fur and woolen products, pottery and gold and silver jewellery. Macedonian vegetable markets are traditionally teeming with all kinds of seasonal fruits and vegetables and imported products from all meridians. Many specialized shops offer their various products, ranging from car parts to sports equipment and camping necessities
Since the new Cafebabel Skopje has just emerged, our staff promises to bring great insights and fresh news from this Balkan small country which offers lots of diversity. Stay tuned!