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Macedonia travel guide

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Macedonia

Macedonia is a 25,713-square-kilometer landlocked country bounded by
Greece, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, and Bulgaria. Although peaceful today,
this area has been fought over many times. For nearly 500 years Macedonia
was part of the Ottoman Empire and today mosques similar to those in
Turkey are often juxtaposed against Orthodox churches. Bulgaria annexed
Macedonia during World War Two, followed by Serbia after the war. In 1992
the country emerged painlessly from the Yugoslav Federation when Belgrade
withdrew all federal troops after independence was declared. Hundreds of
thousand of ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo entered Macedonia in 1999
but they were able to return home when that conflict ended. However,
almost a quarter of Macedonians are ethnic Albanians and they have had to
struggle to maintain their identity in predominately Slavic Macedonia. In
2001 an insurgency by Albanian fighters in northern and western Macedonia
ended when the Macedonian government agreed to increased autonomy for the
predominately Albanian areas. Greece has questioned the very use of the
name Macedonia pointing out that the Slavs only arrived here in the 7th
century, long after Alexander the Great’s time, and has insisted that the
country go by the clumsy moniker FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia). Yet for the traveler, Macedonia’s rich Balkan history is an
attraction in itself. The vibrant capital Skopje was rebuilt after a
devastating 1963 earthquake but a Turkish bridge, bathhouse, mosques, and
caravanserais remain in the old town. Macedonia’s unquestioned highlight
is Lake Ohrid, 167 kilometers southwest of Skopje. This is the deepest
lake in Europe and one of the oldest in the world. The mountain views
across the lake (which Macedonia shares with Albania) are strikingly
beautiful and many medieval Orthodox churches are in the walled town of
Ohrid.

Macedonia travel guide last edited by pacifico

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