An independent republic since 1991, when it bizarrely had to call itself The Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) after decades of Communist rule, the newly-awakened country is now on its way to establishing itself as a tourism hub for its rich culture and stunning natural attractions. Architecture, traditional music, poetry and art are highlights of its long heritage, and magnificent Orthodox churches, monasteries, castles and mansions vie with equally magnificent scenery for visitor attention.
Almost the last undiscovered country in Europe, Macedonia is a treasure trove of idyllic villages unchanged for centuries, rich historic sites and glorious, unspoiled, mountain, lakeside and river valley scenery. Life moves more slowly here, to an ethnic rhythm dictated by the seasons and the climate, although the cities are ultra-modern with 21st century amenities. Now is the time to visit this unique country with its fascinating mix of old and new and its combination of Mediterranean, Turkish, Albanian and Macedonian influences and ethnicities.
Western Macedonia is the tourism hub, although as yet, only 700,000 visitors choose to visit the country annually, a bonus for those who hate crowded historic sites crammed with package tourists. The capital, Skopje, is set in the Povardarie north-central region on the Vardar River and offers a huge choice of hotels from five-star to budget. Hospitality here is traditional, and Macedonians are proud of their new country and overjoyed to share its wonders with visitors. Historic hamams, (Turkish baths) are a rare treat here, with the 15th century Daut Pasha Hamam built for use by the ruler’s harem.
Macedonia’s countryside is dotted with charming villages and remnants of its long history, such as the still-active Marko Monastery, the village of Skopsa with its medieval religious buildings, Stone Age archaeological sites and Byzantine fortifications. Matka Gorge is home to more medieval monasteries and is a great place for hiking, and all over the small country’s towns and villages are fascinating bazaars and street markets, with Ohrid town especially famous for its jewelry and pearls. Foreigners are rarely seen outside Skopje and Ohrid, and daytrips open up a world of fascinating contrasts.
Transportation in Macedonia is relatively modern, with its two airports at Skopje and Ohrid, domestic and regional rail lines and a comprehensive bus service operating regular and seasonal routes around the country and into neighboring states. The main road network includes seven motorways linking the three regions of Povardarie, Western and Eastern Macedonia, making self-drive travel between destinations fast and straightforward. Train travel is slow, but bus travel in the hot summer months can be crowded and uncomfortable. Travel costs are cheap, and taxis are the favorite means of transport for visitors.
Things to do:
Skopje for its hidden historical treasures and museums;
The dramatic beauty of charming, lakeside, Ohrid, now listed with UNESCO;
Sveti Jovan Bigorsky monastery for its magnificent grounds and church;
Karst scenery, traditional villages, waterfalls, winter skiing and pine forests in
Mavrovo National Park;
Ohrid’s Roman amphitheater, now used for the city’s Summer Festival;
Trescavek Monastery for its remoteness and magnificent setting on a mountaintop;
Lake Matka for its emerald green waters, canyons, caving and outdoor activities;
Skopje’s Museum of Macedonia for its exhibits from 7,500 years of the region’s
Mother Teresa’s Memorial Room, set close to her now-demolished birthplace;
Ohrid’s 10th century Car Samoil Castle for its amazing views over the Old City.
Women from Macedonia are kind of standard. They have traditional way of thinking, they all look for a decent man to marry and create a family with him.
Typical Macedoinion women are tall, rather thin with a nice tanned skin, brown or blue eyes and often blonde or dark hair. These women like to behave like women. They stay feminine and natural all their lives. They are mostly educated, with good knowledge of English language.