Macedonia is located in the hearth of Balkan Peninsula and from all four sides is surrounded by land, landlocked.
In 2006, it became the first country in the world to have full access to a wireless broadband connection, after being a part of a high-tech project.
The Cyrillic alphabet, which is used by several countries and official here, is based on the alphabet developed in the 9th century by two Macedonian brothers – St Cyril (thus – Cyrillic) and St Methodius. It was taught by their disciples at a monastery in Ohrid, from whence it spread across the eastern Slavic world.
Mountains cover around 87% of the country, Macedonia is rather mountainous country. Around 36% of the country is covered with woodland and forests.
The most famous ancient Roman Road, Via Egnatia was passing through Macedonian for centuries making the country a trading center.
There are more than 50 lakes and 34 mountains higher than 2,000 meters with Mount Golem Korab being the highest at 2,753 meters above sea level. Most peaks in Macedonia have never been visited by people. It has the fifth highest average elevation of any country in Europe (741m), behind Andorra (highest), Switzerland, Austria and Turkey.
Cave Vrelo is a stunning underwater cave with a depth of 77 meters, which makes it the world’s deepest underwater cave. The cave was listed in the top 77 natural wonders of the world. Moreover, Macedonian has over 164 caves.
Cave Peshna is said to have one of the biggest entries in the Balkan region and resemble Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings.
There are over 25 glacier mountain lakes in Macedonia. The most famous are (Пелистерски Очи) Pelister Eyes and even more thrilling is the story about their origin.
Vardar is the biggest River in Macedonia. Its spring is in Vrutok, a village near the town of Gostivar. Over 80 % of Vardar flows out of the country.
The ancient kingdom of Macedon dates back to 808BC and was ruled mostly by the founding dynasty of the Argeads. Skopje, the capital, is said to be seven thousand years old.
Alexander the Great, the once-king of the Kingdom of Macedonia was the world’s first conqueror, who extended an empire across Greece and Persia to India and Egypt. During his time, the Kingdom of Macedonia was the most powerful state in the world; but after his death, the empire fell apart and it became the first Roman province in 146 B.C.
There are (supposed) parts of the cross on which Jesus was crucified in the foundations of three monasteries in the country – St Bogodorica Prechista in Kichevo and St Jovan Bigorski and St Georgij Pobedonosec in Debar. Across the country there are nearly 1,000 churches and monasteries, while the city of Ohrid was once notable for having 365 churches, one for each day of the year. It has been accordingly nicknamed the Jerusalem of the Balkans.
Ohrid is the country’s only Unesco World Heritage site. The city and its lake (Lake Ohrid) are counted as both cultural and natural inclusions, one of only 28 sites around the world to be marked as both.
Not only the oldest but also one of the deepest with a max depth of 288 meters. The age of Ohrid Lake is estimated to be around 4 million years old.
In 1979 it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the lake area is home to more than 200 endemic species.
Trpejca, a small sleepy town on the banks of Lake Ohrid, is known as the St Tropez of Macedonia.
At the southern tip of Lake Ohrid, the St Naum Monastery, which dates back to 910AD, also has the unexpected bonus of a pride of peacocks roaming the grounds.
Kokino is one of the world’s oldest observatories, as recognized by NASA and dating back to the 19th century BC. It is inscribed on a UNESCO “tentative” list of protection.
Kokino is located approximately 30 km from the town of Kumanovo, and about 6 km from the Serbian border.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, was born in Skopje in 1910. Today, there is both a statue of her and museum dedicated to her life. She is considered to be one of the most famous Macedonians. She was Beatified in 2003 by Pope John Paul II and Canonized in 2016 by Pope Francis. She also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
Macedonia was one of the only countries during the break-up of Yugoslavia. It remained entirely at peace at the heat of Yugoslav wars in the early 1990s and got independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
Macedonia is located above the Eurasian Tectonic Place, which causes frequent ground shakes and sometimes earthquakes. Capital Skopje has been hit by at least two devastating earthquakes in its history, the most recent of which was in 1963. The magnitude 6.1 quake destroyed 80 per cent of the city and killed more than 1,070 people.
Skopje is home to the world’s fifth biggest cross, the 66-metre high Millennium Cross, built to mark 2,000 years of Christianity in Macedonia. It sits atop Vodno Mountain in the city and can be reached by cable car.
Cevahir Sky City, 42 storeys building, is the tallest construction in Macedonia. The complex is 130 meters tall. However, before this complex of residential and business area was build the tallest construction was the MRT Center (Macedonian Radio and Television), 70 meters tall building which was constructed in 1984.
Struga is the site of the annual Struga Poetry Evenings where, since 1961, one of the world’s largest gatherings of poets takes place each year. Its own award, the Golden Wreath, has been bestowed upon the likes of WH Auden, Ted Hughes and Allen Ginsberg.
Toše Proeski, dubbed the “Elvis Presley of the Balkans”, was one of the region’s most successful pop stars. He was killed at the age of 26 in a car crash in Croatia, but his spirit lives on in his home town of Kruševo, still visited today by his fans.
This bizarre array of stones is said by legend to be a petrified wedding party – formed some 50,000 years ago. Found in Kuklici near the city of Kratovo, one can make out (at a push) the bride, the groom, the best man and the maid of honour.
Due to the occupation under the Ottoman Empire from the 14th century, there are a number of remarkable mosques, including the multi-coloured Painted Mosque, built in 1495 and said to be one of the most resplendent specimens of Islamic architecture in the world.
Macedonia boasts three national parks, of which Mavrovo is the largest. It was founded in 1949 and takes in the artificial Lake Mavrovo, as well as the highest mountain peaks in the country, allowing for skiing and snowboarding in the winter. “Mavrovo’s impressive forests contain more than 100 rare species of trees, and its rugged hilltops are rich in wild herbs and teas that can be easily collected by hand,” says the tourist board.
The Macedonian cuisine, owing to its geographical position, is inspired by Mediterranean, Turkish, and to a lesser extent, Italian, German and Eastern European. Tavče gravče, a multi-beaned stew, is seen as the national dish, while mastika, a liqueur seasoned with mastic, otherwise known as “Arabic gum” is its national drink.