North Macedonia Sights, UNESCO, Climate and Geography
According to COUNTRYAAH, the Republic of North Macedonia is a small country located centrally on the Balkan Peninsula. It is a young country that declared itself independent from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Almost immediately after the declaration of independence, Greece objected to the name Macedonia. This is because the northern part of Greece is also known by this name. As a result, in international traffic one had to talk about the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. This is often abbreviated as FYROM The name dispute is the reason that Macedonia is still not a full member of the European Union. Since 2019, the name has officially become North Macedonia.
The history of North Macedonia and the Macedonia region in Greece runs roughly the same. The region was inhabited in ancient times by the Thacian and Illiyrian tribes. The region (belong) to present-day North Macedonia, the region of Macedonia in Greece and part of present-day Bulgaria. This part of the Balkan Peninsula was occupied by the Romans in the second century BC. From the sixth to the fourteenth century, it is part of the Byzantine Empire to belong to the Ottoman Empire from the fourteenth. The first uprising against this regime took place in the early twentieth century. This uprising is known as the Illinois Rebellion. Not long after, several Balkan Wars would take place. After these wars, part of Macedonia is annexed to Greece and part to Serbia. In this way, today’s Macedonia became part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. After World War II Macedonia became part of Yugoslavia from which it finally declared its independence in 1991.
Today, North Macedonia is a safe and peaceful country that is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination. In particular, the trips to Lake Ohrid are becoming increasingly popular. Part of the shoreline on this lake is built up with apartment complexes and hotels. However, it looks less touristy than you might think because no building on the shoreline is allowed to be higher than four floors. A holiday to North Macedonia is highly recommended, let yourself be surprised by the beautiful nature and the exceptionally hospitable inhabitants.
The best-known and most important sights of North Macedonia are located near Lake Ohrid. Around this lake, which according to some sources is the oldest lake in Europe, there are many historical as well as natural attractions. Some of these sights are also included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
A popular tourist attraction is the Monastery of St. Naum. This monastery is located on Lake Ohrid near the source of the Drin not from the border with Albania. At the place Kruševo there are two memorial monuments. On top of the hill is the Ilinden Monument, also known as Makedonium, this monument commemorating the Ilinden Rebellion in the early twentieth century. Not too far from here, a monument has been erected to the Macedonian singer Toše Proeski.
What you should definitely not miss during a visit to Macedonia are the national parks. The Mavrovo National Park, the Pelister National Park and the Galičica National Park. A special variety of flora and fauna can be found in these parks. During a visit to one of these parks there is a good chance that you will encounter snakes, turtles, foxes and all kinds of different bird species. If you are lucky, you can also see wolves, lynx and bears.
Also in the capital Skopje there are many places of interest. The most famous are the Stone Bridge, St. Spas Church, the Oriental Bazar, the Macedonian Museum, Fort Kale and the various monuments erected in honor of Mother Teresa.
There is only one inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in North Macedonia. This concerns a number of monuments in the city of Ohrid. These monuments are registered under the name “Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region”. This inscription includes the Monastery of Pantelejmon, St. John’s Church, the Ancient Theater of Ohrid and part of Lake Ohrid. According to archaeological research, the area around Lake Ohrid is one of the first permanently inhabited places in Europe.
North Macedonia has a temperate continental climate with warm summers and cool winter months. Yet the summer and winter temperatures in North Macedonia are less far apart than you would normally be in a continental climate. This has to do with the protected location of the country on the Balkan Peninsula. In the summer months, the average temperature is just below thirty degrees Celsius. In the higher parts of the country this average will be several degrees lower. On the highest peaks of the Sâr Mountains, the average temperature is considerably lower. The snow that falls here in the winter months can sometimes remain until May or June.
The winter months can be quite cold, but periods with prolonged day and night frosts only occur in the higher parts of the country. In the lower areas such as the Pelagonian Plain and the places on Lake Prespa or Lake Ohrid, prolonged frost is rare. The nights can be quite cold, but during the day the temperature will in many cases rise above zero. Lake Ohrid has never frozen over. This is partly because of its depth and partly because the temperatures there are not low long enough.
Average precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Only in the last two months of the year and the spring months the average annual precipitation is somewhat higher. In some parts of North Macedonia it can be so dry in the summer months that almost no flowers and plants grow in the summer months. In the winter period it can snow a lot, especially in the higher parts of the country. This makes North Macedonia a suitable winter sports country.
North Macedonia is located in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula and has no coastline. North Macedonia has land borders with Albania, Kosovo, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. Some of these borders are formed by lakes. The most famous lakes in North Macedonia are Lake Ohrid, Lake Dorian and Lake Prespa. The largest and most important river in North Macedonia is the Vardar. This river rises near the city of Gostivar and then flows to the capital Skopje. From Skopje the Vardar flows through Greece to the Aegean Sea. Other rivers in North Macedonia are the Drin and the Treska.
Just over two million people live in North Macedonia. Most of the inhabitants live in one of the major cities. Most people, about a quarter of the total population, live in the metropolitan area of Skopje. Other important towns in North Macedonia are Gostivar, Kumanovo, Kruševo, Ohrid, Prelip, Struga, Strumica, Tetovo, Veles and Štip the largest and most important.
Macedonia is a mountainous country with many mountains that rise above two thousand meters. Many of these mountains are located in protected natural areas. The three national parks of North Macedonia are Mavrovo National Park, Pelister National Park and Galičica National Park. Notably, all three parks are located in the western part of Macedonia. The highest point of the country is with 2764 meters is the mountain Korab which forms the border with Albania. This mountain is located in the Mavrovo National Park.
The travel advice for North Macedonia has been on the status of being vigilant for some years now. This is mainly due to the tensions between the Albanian and Macedonian populations. As a tourist you will hardly notice these tensions. It is wise to avoid demonstrations and gatherings. Furthermore, the border area with Kosovo and part of the border with Albania is known as an unsafe area.
In general, it can be said that larger cities are slightly less safe than other parts of the country. The risk of robbery and theft is slightly higher here.
The medical facilities here leave much to be desired and cannot be compared with medical care as we know it in the Netherlands. You do not need any special vaccinations for a visit to Macedonia.
Macedonia is located in an earthquake-prone area. If you are in Macedonia during an earthquake, keep a close eye on the local authorities and follow the data instructions carefully.
For a visit to North Macedonia you must be in possession of a passport or identity card that is valid for at least three months. Dutch citizens and other residents of the European Union are allowed to travel freely within Macedonia. However, Macedonia is not yet part of the European Union. You do not need any special inoculations or vaccinations for a trip to Macedonia.
|Phone (country code)||389|
|Language(s) (colloquial)||Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian|
|Religion(s)||Greek/Serbian Orthodox and Islamic|
|Time difference summer||In Macedonia time runs parallel to the Netherlands|
|Time difference winter||In Macedonia time runs parallel to the Netherlands|
|Daylight Saving Time Control||yes, this is the same as in the Netherlands|