Welcome to Macedonia
Our first port of call for Adam and Daniela’s Wedding.
The Republic of Macedonia is a Southeast European country, north of Greece and west of Bulgaria.
Macedonians make up 66% of Macedonia’s population of 2 million, Albanians 23%, and Turks, Vlach, and Serbs, the rest (1994 census).
Skopje is the capital of Macedonia with over 600,000 inhabitants.
Macedonian is the official language of the country and it is also spoken by the Macedonian minorities in Greece, Bulgaria, and Albania, and by the Macedonian Diaspora around the world.
Most of the residents are of Eastern Orthodox Christian and Muslim faith, while some are Roman Catholic or Protestant.
The State symbol is a golden sun symbolizing the freedom of the country and its people.
The Independence day, September 8th, is Macedonia’s national holiday.
Macedonia is known for hospitality, rich culture and history, and love for good wine and great traditional food.
It is also the legendary land of Alexander the Great and the birthplace of Slavonic literacy and literature.
Map of Macedonia
Lake Ohrid, a natural tectonic lake in the south-west corner of Macedonia, is the deepest lake in Europe at 290m (960ft), and one of the world’s oldest. A third of its 450 sq km (175 sq mi) surface area belongs to Albania. Nestled amid mountains at an altitude of 695m (2280ft), the Macedonian section of the lake is the more beautiful, with striking vistas of the water from the beach and hills.
The town of Ohrid is the Macedonian tourist mecca. Some 30 ‘cultural monuments’ in the area keep visitors busy. Predictably, the oldest ruins readily seen today are Roman. Lihnidos (Ohrid) was on the Via Egnatia, which connected the Adriatic to the Aegean, and part of a Roman amphitheatre has been uncovered in the old town. Under Byzantium, Ohrid became the episcopal centre of Macedonia. The first Slavic university was founded here in 893 by Bishop Kliment of Ohrid, a disciple of St Cyril and St Methodius, and from the 10th century until 1767 the patriarchate of Ohrid held sway. The revival of the archbishopric of Ohridin 1958 and its independence from the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1967 were important steps on the road to modern nationhood.
The better part of a day at Ohrid could be spent on a pilgrimage to the Albanian border to see the Church of Sveti Naum on a hill above the lake, 30km (20mi) south of Ohrid by bus.
I tried to find some information on the Nightlife in Lake Ohrid and I was not totally disappointed. I found some comments from people who have visited before although some of the comments about these places were from four years ago.
“Carsija is the heart of Ohrid. It is the center of town, a walking street paved with ancient marble and cobblestones worn smooth over the years. There are many restaurants and nightclubs, discotheques, cafes, and if you are lucky you may even find yourself in the middle of a local concert. Carsija is located on the edge of Lake Ohrid, making a half moon shape along the water. Lights rim the edge of the lake, casting a moonlit effect on the crystal clear water. Along the water there are lots of benches and gardens for couples to enjoy, a very romantic part of the city. The locals tend to get dolled up for the nightlife, so I would reccomend a semi formal dress, whatever it takes.”
“Ohrid, the most beautiful (in my humble opinion) city in Macedonia. Since a very young age I’ve been traveling to places like Spain, Italy, France, States, Mexico, Malta, Egypt, Tunisia etc. Even though all these place we exquisite it is always the people that make one’s stay pleasurable. That is why I loved Ohrid so much. Evryone you meet is a social butterfly as am I, and theres clubs and sooooo many young people. There are also ancients monuments and places that are most definetly worth your visit!”
“I was born in Australia & my parents are British so I never knew much at all about Macedonia. I went to Ohrid for their summer in 2005 as my boyfriend was born & grew up there and was dying to get back…I now understand why! This town is seriously special, it’s got beautiful scenery, a gorgeous & clean freshwater lake to swim in, an amazing atmosphere (girls most of the shops on the main street are open til midnight!), and you could seriously get by with just a phrasebook as most people know a little english. The people are friendly, the value for money is excellent too due to the great exchange rate, taxis are cheap, and just so the boys know 99% of the women are absolutely gorgeous! 🙂 The food is beautiful and healthy, everything is so fresh! I honestly can not wait to go back and I’m not even Macedonian. It is very easy to see why these people are so passionate and proud of their homeland 🙂 Ohrid Macedonia has certainly won this girl’s heart :)”
I like the sound that!! heheh!
This part is something that I found while looking for information about Macedonia. 101 facts about Macedonia, you’ll be an expert by the time you get down to the last on the list.
The Republic of Macedonia is situated in the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula and covers an area of 25,713 square kilometers.
According to the 1991 population census, the total figure for the registered total and estimated population in the Republic of Macedonia was 2,033,964.
The extraordinary 1994 population census listed the figure of 2,075,196.
More than half of the Republic’s inhabitants (58.1%) live in urban areas, most of them in the capital, Skopje (c450,000), followed by Bitola (85,000), Kumanovo (70,000), Prilep (70,000), Tetovo (51,000), Veles (47,000), Ohrid (43,000), Stip, etc. There are 1,753 populated settlements.
In terms of ethnic composition, according to the 1994 population census, 1,378,687 inhabitants of the Republic of Macedonia are Macedonians (66.43%), 478,967 are Albanians (23.08%) and 81,615 are Turks (3.9%). There are also 47,408 Roms living in Macedonia as well as 39,865 Serbs, 8,571 Vlachs and some other ethnic groups.
Of the total number of Macedonia’s inhabitants, 1,355,816 (66.66%) are Orthodox Christians, 611,326 (30.06%) belong to the Moslem faith, 10,067 (0.49%) are Roman Catholics, while there are 56,756 (2.79%) inhabitants having other religions.
The first multiparty Parliament of Macedonia was elected in 1990. It is unicameral and consists of 120 members (Representatives). Of the 17 parties taking part in the elections, 11 secured Representative’s mandates. The largest number of seats in Parliament was gained by the VMRO – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) (38), followed by the Social Democratic Union – Party for Democratic Transformation (SDSM) (31), the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP) (22), the Reformist Forces of Macedonia-Liberal Party (17), the Socialist Party (5), the Party of Yugoslavs in Macedonia (2), the Popular Democratic Party (1), the Party for the Total Emancipation of Romanies (PCER) (1), and 3 independent candidates also won seats.
The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, elected at democratic multiparty elections on January 25, 1991, passed a unanimous Declaration of the Sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia. On September 8, 1991, the majority of the population of the Republic of Macedonia taking part in a referendum (95% of those voting) opted for a sovereign and independent Macedonia. On September 17, 1991, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia adopted a Declaration on the Acceptance of the Referendum Results.
On November 17, 1991, the Assembly adopted the new Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia as an independent and sovereign state. The constitution guarantees the rule of law, a democratic political system and individual rights.
On April 8, 1993, the Republic of Macedonia was unanimously and with acclamation admitted to membership of the United Nations Organization as its one hundred and eighty-first member.
There is an average number of 80.7 inhabitants per square kilometer living in Macedonia. The most densely populated area is its north-western part (including Skopje), whereas south-east Macedonia is the most sparsely populated region.
About 35,000 children are born each year in Macedonia, while some 15,000 of its inhabitants die. The annual rate of population increase is 9.83.
Women live longer in Macedonia. Their average life is 74 years, while that of men is 70.
According to gender composition, males are slightly more numerous: there are 1,027,852 males and 1,006,112 females.
Almost half the population is under 30 years of age. There are 165,716 inhabitants of Macedonia over 65 of the population.
There are over 505,000 households in Macedonia. More than a third of them (174,918) consist of four members. There are also 24,972 families with 8 members or more.
About 15,000 marriages take place each year, and there are slightly more than 500 divorces per year.
The number of those employed is about 450,000, of whom about 170,000 are women. There are more than 170,000 unemployed. Almost three-quarters of the unemployed are seeking employment for the first time.
The largest number of those employed work in industry and mining – about 100,000. Agriculture employs about 35,000, building 42,000, trade 47,000, education, culture and the media about 35,000, the health services about 34,000, etc.
Macedonia has 34 mountain peaks exceeding 2,000 meters. The highest is that of Mount Golem Korab which is 2,753 meters above sea level. Titov Vrv in the Shar Mountains is 2,748 meters high, while the peak of Turchin in the same range reaches 2,702 meters.
The Republic of Macedonia has 53 natural or artificial lakes. The largest is Lake Ohrid, which, lying at an altitude of 693 meters, occupies an area of 349 square kilometers, 118.9 of which belong to Albania. Lake Ohrid has a maximum depth of 286 meters. Lake Prespa covers 274 square kilometers (49.4 of which belong to Albania and 47.8 to Greece) and is 54 meters deep.
The Vardar, 301 kilometers in length, is the longest river in Macedonia. Its largest tributaries are the rivers Bregalnica (225 km), Crna Reka (207 km), Treska (138 km) and Pchinja (135km).
Macedonia has four national parks (Galichica, Mavrovo, Pelister and Jasen) comprising a total area of about 110,000 hectares.
The town of Ohrid and Lake Ohrid have been placed under the protection of UNESCO as an outstanding environment.
The town of Krushevo is the highest in Macedonia (1,350 meters), while Gevgelija is the lowest, at an altitude of only 45 meters.
The gross national product of the Republic of Macedonia in 1991 amounted to 2,324,460,000 US dollars, while the per capita social product was 1,140 dollars.
The contribution of industry to the structure of the social product of the Republic is 40.5%, that of trade 24.7%, agriculture 15.2%, building 7.4%, transportation 5.8%, etc.
The production of environmentally healthy food is an important developing potential in Macedonia. In 1992, 299,522 tons of wheat, 130,260 tons of maize and 42,698 tons of rice were produced as well as 29,867 tons of tobacco, 60,330 tons of sugar beet and 37,756 tons of sunflower. Macedonian small-holdings is produce about 14,000 of beans, 140,000 tons of tomatoes, 115,000 tons of peppers and 3,000 tons of cucumbers, as well as about 90,000 tons of apples and 265,000 tons of grapes annually.
Macedonian wineries produce more than 135 million litres of wine and over 150 million litres of natural brandy, while the breweries produce about 850 million litres of beer.
The total exports of the Republic of Macedonia amount to 1,100 million US dollars, while its imports reach about 1,275million dollars. More than 55% of the exports are highly-processed products, while the same type of products account for 47% of imports. The export of unprocessed products is 8%, and their imports 28%.
About 700,000 tourists spend more than 2.5 million nights annually visiting the Macedonian lakes, mountains, spas and other tourist resorts.
Hotel and catering facilities in Macedonia offer more than 8.180,000 beds, while the camp sites can receive over 20,000 guests.
International air traffic in the Republic of Macedonia operates through the two international airports of Skopje and Ohrid. The average daily number of departure and arrival flights is 32. In 1992, about 425,000 passengers traveled to destinations throughout the world.
The first railway on the Balkans was the railway between Salonica and Skopje, built in the 19th century.
The railway network of Macedonia comprises 922 kilometers of tracks, of which 231 km are electrified.
More than 2.6 million passengers use the services of Macedonian railways each year, and over 5 million tons of goods are transported by their means.
There are some 10,000 kilometers of roads, 4,876 km of which are asphalt; 944 km are main routes. A modern highway, 176 km in length, extends from Macedonia’s northern to its southern border.
The road system carries over 35 million passengers and about 7 million tons of goods.
The population of Macedonia spends 44.18% of its out-goings on food, 14.71% on housing, 11.45% on clothes and shoes, 8.16% on transportation and PTT services, etc.
The total number of apartments and houses in the Republic of Macedonia is 586,231. The number of households is smaller and amounts to 505,852.
There is a total of 249,654 private registered vehicles. There are also more than 2,500 buses and about 2,000 freight vehicles.
The Republic has over 340,000 telephone subscribers, or 161 subscribers per 1,000 inhabitants.
More than 35 million letters, about 300,000 packages and 600,000 telegrams are sent each year through the postal network.
The annual production of electric energy in the Republic exceeds 6,000 GWh.
Macedonia has 368,065 radio and 345,465 television subscribers. There is one radio to 6 inhabitants on average and one television set to 7 inhabitants.
There are over 100 radio and television stations operating in Macedonia. Radio programmes are broadcast via 120 transmitters with a total power of 1,743 kW. Television programmes are broadcast via 10 main transmitter centres. The number of private radio and television stations increases virtually every day.
In addition to Macedonian, radio and television stations in Macedonia broadcast special programmes in Albanian, Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, Romany and Vlach. The Macedonian Television was the first in the world to broadcast programmes in Albanian. The radio and television programmes broadcast in Romany in the Republic of Macedonia are the only broadcasts in this language in the world.
A total of 112 newspapers and 74 periodicals are published in Macedonia. The total number of printed copies is about 28 million. There are three daily newspapers in Macedonian, as well as newspapers in Albanian and Turkish which are published three times a week.
Twelve enterprises are engaged in book publishing, most of which are stationed in Skopje. About 600 titles are published each year and more than 2 million books are printed. Publishing in the languages of the nationalities is well-developed.
There are over 22 museums in Macedonia with an annual number of more than 400,000 visitors.
There are 33 cultural clubs overall in the municipal centres, where more than 6,500 performances and events are held, attended by more than a million visitors.
Three enterprises are involved in the production of films, of which ‘Vardar-film’ is the oldest and the best known. One feature film and some ten short documentaries or animated cartoons are produced on average each year.
The documentary film entitled ‘Dae’ directed by Stole Popov was nominated in 1980 for the most prestigious filaccolade in the world the Academy Award. The Macedonian Film “Before the Rain”, directed by Milcho Manchevski was nominated for the 1995 Academy Award for best foreign film, after having previously won the Golden Lion of the Venice Film Festival.
Films are shown in 51 cinemas with a total of over 20,000 seats. There are more than 20,000 projections each year with over 3 million viewers.
Ten professional theatre companies are active in Macedonia, presenting more than 1,000 performances each year. The number of theatre seats is 4,282, while the total number of theatre-goers is about 400,000 annually. There is one theatre company per 200,000 inhabitants and there is one theatre seat per 476 inhabitants.
There is a Theatre of the Nationalities in Skopje, consisting of Albanian and Turkish Drama companies. There are also Romany theatre companies.
The most successful theatre companies are the Drama Theatre and the Macedonian National Theatre, both in Skopje, the National Theatre, Bitola, and the ‘Pralipe’ Romany Theatre. These companies have been winners of a large number of the highest awards in the former Yugoslavia and also of many international prizes and acknowledgments. The Theatre of the Nationalities with its Albanian and Turkish Drama companies has also participated in many national and international theatre festivals and has received high acknowledgments.
The founder of the modern Macedonian theatre is Vojdan Chernodrinski (‘Macedonian Blood Wedding’, 1901). Goran Stefanovski is the author whose plays have been most frequently performed. There have been 70 productions of his plays in Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovene, English, French, Russian, German, Albanian, Turkish, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Rumanian and Greek.
There is an Opera and a Ballet company active within the framework of the Macedonian National Theatre, Skopje.
The first opera by a Macedonian composer, ‘Goce’, by Kiril Makedonski, was performed on May 24, 1954.
The first known opera performance in Macedonia was staged in Shtip in1925.
The first Macedonian ballet was ‘A Macedonian Story’ by the composer Gligor Smokvarski, performed in 1953.
Macedonia has a Philharmonic and five other professional orchestras which hold about a hundred concerts each year, attended by an audience of more than 50,000.
There are 99 amateur cultural, artistic and educational associations. Of these, 21 carry out their programmes in Albanian, Turkish or Romany. They have more than 10,000 members presenting about 10,000 performances, concerts, evenings of light music and folk music, exhibitions and other events.
Macedonia has a rich artistic life. Some 260 exhibitions of work by Macedonian artists and 65 exhibitions of guests from foreign countries are organized each year. The works of the Macedonian painters Nikola Martinoski, Lazar Lichenoski, Petar Mazev, Dimitar Kondovski, Petar Hadzhi Boshkov, Vangel Naumovski, Vasko Tashkovski and Gligor Chemerski have been exhibited in the best known art centres of the world.
There are 127 public libraries in Macedonia whose total number of accessions is 2,742,000.
There are in addition 133 scientific, scholarly and specialist as well as 699 school libraries.
The largest and the best known is the St. Clement of Ohrid National and University Library, Skopje.
Of particular educational significance for many adults are the further education institutes in which thousands of seminars, courses, schools and public lectures are organized in the course of the year.
Primary education in the Republic of Macedonia is carried out in 1,053 primary schools with a total of 10,166 classes, with 266,813 pupils. The instruction is carried out in Albanian in 279 primary schools with 2,694 classes and 72,121 pupils (about 27% of the total number of pupils). There are about 5,500 pupils whose instruction is carried out in Turkish in 55 schools and 218 classes, and 15 schools and 79 classes with over 1,200 pupils operate in Serbo-Croatian. Instruction in primary education is carried out by about 13,000 teachers.
There are 70,696 pupils in the 90 secondary schools, where instruction is carried out by 4,227 teachers. In five secondary schools the instruction is carried out in Albanian, and in two, in Turkish. The instruction in some schools is carried out in two languages.
Macedonia has two universities – the St. Cyril and Methodius University at Skopje, and the University of St. Clement of Ohrid at Bitola with about 27,000 students. They consist of 29 schools and colleges and 1,218 faculty members, 800 of whom have doctorates.
About 19.3% of the students complete their studies within the envisaged period. More than 110,000 students have received degrees or certificates since 1948 from the schools and colleges in Macedonia.
There are two religious secondary schools (one Orthodox and one Moslem) active in Macedonia with 242 pupils and an Orthodox Theological College with 151 students.
From 1957 to 1991, 934 people received Ph.Ds from the Macedonian universities, and 1,675 were granted master’s degrees in the period 1964-1991.
The St. Cyril and Methodius University at Skopje, was founded in 1946, and the University of St. Clement of Ohrid at Bitola in 1979.
In addition to the universities, scholarly, scientific and research activities are carried out in 16 independent scientific and research institutions with 184 scholars and specialists.
The highest scholarly institution in the Republic of Macedonia is the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, established in 1967.
It has 31 regular and 10 associate members, as well as 37 extraordinary members.
There is one store to an average of 168 inhabitants. There aver 12,000 stores with more than 1 million square meters of shopping area.
There are 17 general hospitals, 20 clinics and institutes and 15 specialized hospitals with over 11,000 hospital beds. Macedonian hospitals and medical institutions employ a total of 6,840 doctors and stomatologists, i.e. there is one medical practitioner per 454 inhabitants and one stomatologist per 1,819 inhabitants on average.
The best known summer tourist and resort centres in Macedonia are Ohrid, Prespa and Dojran. In winter, the ski centres of Popova Shapka, Mavrovo, Pelister, Krushevo and Ponikva attract the greatest number of visitors. Among the better known spas are those of Bansko (Strumica), Debar, Negorci (Gevgelija) and Kechovica (Shtip).
There are about 900,000 hectares of land under forest, or about 35% of the total area of the Republic of Macedonia.
Arable agricultural land extends over some 670,000 ares, or 27% of the total area of the Republic, and there is about similar area of land under pastures. Some 70% of the arable land is in the private sector.
The livestock in the Republic of Macedonia consists of about 2.5 million sheep, 300,000 head of cattle, 170,000 pigs and horses. There are also more than 5 million domestic fowl and other poultry. There are over 80,000 beehives.
There are a number of hunting grounds and reserves in Macedonia. In 1991,19 deer, 13 chamois, 33 bears, 16,511 hares, 875 boars, 19,623 partridges and 4,046 pheasants were shot there. Macedonia has about 30,000 hunters.
In the course of one year, each Macedonian eats or drinks an average of 119 kg of bread, 89 kg vegetables, 50 kg fresh fruit, 31 kg fresh or processed meat, 3.5 kg fish, 61 l milk, 9 kg cheese, 120 eggs, 15 kg sugar, 1.6 kg coffee, 5.7 l wine, 13 l beer and 4.5 l hard liquor.
Of the total number of those employed in Macedonia, 15% have college or further educational qualifications, 26% have completed secondary education, 30% have highly skilled or skilled worker’s certificates.
The leading areas of industry in Macedonia are in metallurgy and metal-processing, and also in the chemical, textile and timber industries.
The chief producer of electric energy is the ‘Bitola’ Mining and Power Combine, whose three thermoelectric power stations produce about 4,300 GWh of electricity per year, or about 80% of the total production.
About 1,650 tons of fish are caught annually in Macedonian lakes and rivers. The best known and the most sought after is the Ohrid trout.
About 196,000 people receive pensions, most of which are old age pensions (104,000), followed by family pensions (51,000), disability pensions (41,000), etc. On average there is one pensioner to 2.5 inhabitants.
Macedonia’s cultural heritage is exceptionally rich, as is testified to by the large number of old churches and monasteries and their icons and frescoes. The oldest and the most renowned are the churches of St. Sophia and the Holy Virgin of Perivleptos in Ohrid, the church of the Holy Saviour in Skopje, the church of St. George in Kurbinovo, and also the monasteries of St. Pantelejmon at Nerezi near Skopje, of St. John of Bigor and that of St. George in Staro Nagonichane. Oriental cultural and historical heritage on the territory of Macedonia is also significant. Its best known examples are the Kurshumli An caravansarai, the Daut Pasha Baths, the Mustapha Pasha Mosque in Skopje and the Painted (colored) Mosque in Tetovo.
There are extremely valuable archaeological sites from the classical period at Stobi, near Veles, Heraclea in Bitola, Scupi near Skopje and at Bargala near Shtip.
Several international cultural events and festivals are held each year in Macedonia. The best known are the Ohrid Summer festival of music and drama, in which renowned musicians from around the world take part, and the Struga Poetry Evenings which every year gather some 200 poets from about 50 countries. Ohrid is also the place where the Balkan Festival of Folk Song and Dance is held, and Veles organizes traditional meetings of writers from the Balkan countries in honour of the founder of modern Macedonian literature, Kocho Racin. Skopje is host to the World Cartoon Gallery, the May Opera Evenings and the Open Youth Theatre festival.
In 1905, the brothers Milton and Janaki Manaki shot the first filmed material in the Balkans in their native town of Bitola and thus laid the foundations of ‘the seventh art’ in this region.
The Skopje Zoo is the first established in the Balkans.
Macedonia is renowned for its folklore which has been carefully nurtured by many professional and amateur ensembles. The ‘Tanec’ folk dance and song ensemble has been the ambassador of Macedonian folklore to all the continents of the world.
The bagpiper Pece Atanasovski was the winner at the World Festival in Sicily in 1968, in a competition of 1,800 bag-pipers from around the world. Atanasovski has also won first prizes in 16 other international festivals (Llangollen, Dijon, Nancy, Oslo, Leyden, Bracciano), and has lectured on original Macedonian folklore at over 90 universities around the world.
Sports activities are carried out in more than 1,300 clubs with about 60,000 active members. The most popular sport is soccer with 525 clubs, followed in popularity by basketball, handball, volleyball, wrestling, swimming and karate. The development of sports is the concern of sports associations and of the Macedonian Olympic Committee.
The Macedonian sport which has won the greatest number of prizes is wrestling. The wrestler Saban Trstena was the winner of the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and of the silver medal in Seoul 1988.
His colleague Shaban Sejdiu was the bronze medallist at the Moscow and Los Angeles Olympics. Several Macedonian boxers have been European champions, and the ‘Balkanec’ Wrestling Club from Shtip was the Club Vice-Champion of Europe. Six other Macedonian sportsmen (Ace Rusevski, boxing; Redzhep Redzepovski, boxing; Stojna Vangelovska, basketball; Blagoja Georgievski, basketball; Blagoe Vidinik, football, and Branimir Jovanovski, shooting) have won medals in the Olympic Games.
The ‘Vardar’ Skopje soccer team were one-time champions of the former federal football league and winners of the former Yugoslav Cup and have competed in the Balkan Cup, the Central European Cup, the UEFA Cup and the European Cup-Winners’ Cup.
The volleyball players of ‘Vardar’ Skopje have competed in the European Champions’ Cup.
Macedonia acquired its first chess Grand Master in 1992, Nikola Mitkov a year later, the title of Grand Master was also granted to Vlatko Bogdanovski.
Macedonia has been host to and successful organizer of several international sports championships: in 1972, the Chess Olympiad was held in Skopje and in 1974 the World Wild Water Kayak and Canoe Championship. Skopje was also the organizer of one of the 1969 World Ice Hockey Championship rounds, and host to one of the rounds of the World Basketball Championship in 1970. Three World Championship swimming marathons have been held on Lake Ohrid, and every year the Ohrid Swimming Marathon is being held.
Safety and Security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
We advise you to exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia because of the risk of civil unrest. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Despite a significant improvement in the security situation since serious inter-ethnic violence in 2001, occasional acts of inter-ethnic violence continue to occur. You should avoid demonstrations and protests as they may become violent.
Region bordering Kosovo: We advise you to exercise caution in the region bordering the Serbian province of Kosovo, including adjacent areas of southern Serbia, because of the threat of inter-ethnic violence. The border between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo is subject to closure to all traffic at short notice. Tensions between Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian communities in the region are easing. However, isolated incidents of inter-ethnic violence continue to occur. The immediate border areas beyond designated crossing points are restricted military zones. Landmines and unexploded ordnance are present in the mountainous areas bordering Kosovo.
Petty crime such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching occurs in large cities and at airports.
Credit card fraud is widespread in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Driving on rural roads may be dangerous because of poorly maintained roads and slow moving farm equipment. Roads may be shared with pedestrians and farm animals in rural areas.
If you have concerns about the safety standards of a particular airline or aircraft, we recommend you research the airline or aircraft through organisations such as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The Department of Transport and Regional Services has published fact sheets on security for air travellers. When staff at Australia’s overseas missions are provided advice not to use particular airlines due to safety concerns this will be included in travel advice.
The European Union has published a list of airlines that are subject to operating bans or restrictions within the Union . The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through its foreign assessment program focuses on a country’s ability, not the individual airline, to adhere to international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance established by ICAO.
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is in an active seismic zone and is subject to earthquakes.
Information on natural disasters, including earthquakes, can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Before you go, organise a variety of ways of accessing your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers cheques and cash. Check with your bank whether your ATM card will work overseas.
The economy is cash based with euros and US dollars widely accepted. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels.
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers’ cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don’t carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it on-line or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
Since 1 July 2005, Australians have been required to pay an additional fee to have their passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or child care facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or child care facilities in Australia.
When you are in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can’t get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 17 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in sexual activity with children under 16 while outside of Australia.
Males who are Australian/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia dual nationals may be subject to compulsory military service while in the country. If in doubt, check with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia before you depart.
Our Travel Information for Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
Visa conditions change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for the most up to date information.
You are required to declare all foreign currency on arrival in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Failure to do so may result in detention and forfeiture of undeclared funds.
Foreigners in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are required to register their place of residence within 24 hours of arrival. Registration is completed as part of check-in at hotels. Foreigners staying in a private home are required to register at the nearest police station within 3 days of arrival. Failure to do so can result in fines and delays in departure.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For information on our advice to Australians on how to reduce the risk of infection and on Australian Government precautions see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our ‘Travelling Well’ brochure also provides useful tips for staying healthy while travelling overseas.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
Australia has a Consulate in Skopje headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance which does not include the issue of Australian passports. You can obtain full consular assistance from the nearest Australian Embassy which is in Serbia.
13 Cika Ljubina 11000
Telephone (381 11) 330 3400
Facsimile (381 11) 330 3409
Contact details for the Consulate are:
Australian Honorary Consulate
Motiva, Londonska 11 B
Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Telephone (389 2) 306 1114
Facsimile (389 2) 306 1834
If you are travelling to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, whatever the reason and however long you’ll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register on-line or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency-whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.