Throughout its history, the present-day territory of Macedonia has been a crossroads for both traders and conquerors. Each of these transiting powers left its mark upon the region, giving rise to a rich and varied cultural and historical tradition.
Present-day territory of Macedonia is located in the Heart of the Balkans- , Bordered by Serbia, Bulgaria Greece and Albania. Macedonia is one of the oldest names retained in the Europe continent. The people of Macedonia have distinct linguistics and are culturally unique compared to their neighbouring countries.
Interesting FACTS about Macedonia
Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia (356-323 B.C.) extended his 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.
Macedonian borders remained intact throughout its long and bloody history, even during the entire Ottoman occupation which lasted over 500 years. During this entire period under Turkish rule, Macedonia was recognized as a separate entity. It was this Greater Macedonia that was divided by the Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbians and Albanians after the Balkan wars of 1912-13. The main purpose of the 1st Balkan War in 1912 was to expel the Ottoman Army from Macedonia and the Balkans. More than 100,000 Macedonians took an active part and contributed in driving the Turks out of Macedonia, but Macedonia did not free itself. The victorious Balkan kingdoms convened in Bucharest in August 1913 to divide the spoils. Macedonian was decimated and the people of Macedonia lost all of their human rights.
After the division, none of the controlling powers permitted the use of the name or language in the portions of Macedonia that they had taken. Greece was awarded Aegean Macedonia (the largest portion) and renamed it to "Northern Greece"; Bulgaria annexed Pirin Macedonia and renamed it 'Western Bulgaria, Serbia took over Vardar Macedonia and renamed it to "Southern Serbia" and Albania took over the remaining portion.
It wasn’t until after WW1 when Yugoslavia was formed, that the region of Macedonia taken over by the Serbs became a republic of Yugoslavia and thus again appeared on a map and the people in that region were allowed their identity and language. The Macedonians in Greece, Bulgaria and Albania were not so lucky.
The Cyrillic alphabet, used by many Balkan countries is based on the alphabet developed in the 9th century by two Macedonian brothers Cyril (thus – Cyrillic) and Methodius who were later sainted (St. Cyrill and St. Methodius). It was taught by their disciples at a monastery in Ohrid, from whence it spread across the eastern Slavic world.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta was born in Skopje, Macedonia in 1910. Today, you can see The Memorial House of Mother Teresa which has been built and dedicated to her, located in the centre of the Macedonian capital city of Skopje.
Macedonia is the only country that got independence from Yugoslavia without shedding a single drop of blood. It remained entirely at peace at the heat of Yugoslav wars in early 1990s and got independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
According to NASA, “Kokino” is the fourth oldest astronomic observatory in the world; with the oldest three being Abu Simbel, Egypt; Stonehenge, Great Britain; and Angkor Wat, Cambodia. “Kokino” is located approximately 30 km from the town of Kumanovo, and about 6 km from the Serbian border.
Ohrid Lake is the oldest and one of the deepest lakes in Europe (max depth 288m or 940ft). It is estimated to be 4 million years old and has 200 endemic species that haven’t been found anywhere else in the world. It was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979.
Ohrid is notable for once having had 365 churches, “one for each day of the year,” and has been referred to as a "Jerusalem of the Balkans".The city is rich in picturesque houses and monuments, and tourism is predominant. Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were accepted as Cultural and NaturalWorld Heritage Sites by UNESCO. In fact, Ohrid is one of only 28 sites that are part of UNESCO's World Heritage that are both Cultural and Natural sites.
Another interesting feature about this country is that it has the greatest number of mountains and mountain peaks than any other country in the world. The country has as many as 34 mountain peaks, each with heights of more than 2,000 meters above the sea-level; with Mount Golem Karb being the highest at 2,753 meters above sea-level. Most peaks in Macedonia have never been visited by people.
The cave Peshna in Makedonski Brod was described by New York Times as looking “exactly like Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings”.
Skopje has suffered quite a few devastating earthquakes throughout history, the biggest ones in 518 and in 1963, levelling most of the city. In addition, the Austro-Hungarian General Piccolomini ordered the city burnt down in the 18th Century. Today it has been rebuilt and is known as the “city of monuments”
The Millennium Cross is a 66 metre-high cross situated on the top of the Vodno Mountain in Skopje, and it is the biggest cross in the world. It was constructed to serve as a memorial of 2,000 years of Christianity in Macedonia and the world.