North Macedonia is a country characterized by unique and intriguing geographical terrain consisting of mountain ranges, grasslands, and River Lake basins which form part of the greater tourism attraction.
It is famous for its rich political history dating back to the reign of King Alexander the great, overzealous orthodox Christian religion, it’s largely mountainous terrain that is perfect for skiing, UNESCO historical sites, as well as its capital city, being the birthplace of Mother Teresa.
Salvaged from the ashes of war and tribal clashes that lasted for centuries, the now independent nation prides its socio-economic growth on its thirst for peace and stability. And even though it is ranked as the 6th poorest country in Europe, it still stands out among the rest for other good reasons.
The Overview of North Macedonia
Occupying the northern part of the once great Macedonia, North Macedonia is a territory of the South-central Balkans covering 25 713 sq. km making up two-fifths of Macedonia with the remaining geographical percentage belonging partly to Bulgaria and Greece.
The majority of people living in North Macedonia are ethnic Macedonians and Albanians, while Turkish, Serbians, among others, make the few minorities.
That is why Macedonian and Albanian languages are recognized as official languages while the rest form regional languages.
It shares borders with Serbia and Bulgaria and has a coastline along the Adriatic Sea. In addition to its natural beauty, North Macedonia also has rich history and culture that reflect the diverse range of its people.
It is important to note that this young nation prides itself on some of the most powerful names in history; here’s what Borth Macedonia is famous for.
King Alexander The Great
Back in 356 BC, King Alexander of Macedonia is regarded as one of the worlds’ greatest military generals for his ability to organize troops and wage wars that saw his empire stretch to as far as Egypt and to India.
In the capital city of Skopje, a giant statue of the great King is erected, depicting him as a great warrior riding his horse in battle.
This, among many other statues lining the streets of the city, is a way to preserve its history and attract more tourists.
The Birthplace of Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa, the nun of great faith who became a saint, founded the order of the missionaries of charity to care for the poor and sick in the Slums of Calcutta, India.
Her charity services were outstanding, and she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as well as the Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize.
She was born in the capital of North Macedonia, Skopje, where she lived until she was eighteen years old before moving to Ireland and subsequently to India, where her charity work mostly took place.
In Skopje, her statue symbolizes great faith, and inspiration is erected on the main street.
The Famous Archeological Museum
The Famous Archeological Museum Macedonia is a museum in the city of Skopje, Macedonia. It was established in 1924 and it is considered one of the most important institutions of cultural heritage in the country.
It houses over 10,000 objects from all over the world. Also, the museum has a wide variety of exhibits that include ancient Greek and Roman coins, ceramics, jewelry, and weapons. The most popular exhibit is an ancient Roman sarcophagus with a relief of a woman on it.
The museum also has an outdoor area where visitors can explore nature and learn about Macedonian history through exhibits like dinosaur footprints and fossils discovered by archeologists.
Ancient Castles, Ruins, and Fortresses
Because of its ancient political history, it means that North Macedonia is among the oldest cosmopolitan territories in Europe that were largely inhabited. Therefore it is home to some of the oldest ruins in the world.
These sites have seen international archeologists from around the globe dig and unravel the past.
Some are found in the capital and others are distributed across the countryside.
North Macedonia Is Home To The Early Churches
Macedonia is mentioned severally in the Bible. North Macedonia happens to practice Orthodox Christianity so much that parts of the wooden cross Jesus was crucified on are found in this small country.
Three churches, namely, Saint Bogorodica Precista situated in Kichevo town, Saint Georgji Pobedonosec in the southern city of Devar, and Saint Jovan Bogorski in Gostivar all register medieval architecture with parts of the cross as an important part of its structural foundation.
So Much to See in National Parks
A country cannot be a country without the mention of its animals. In this case, North Macedonia boasts of four national parks.
- Pelister National park.
- Mavrovo National park
- Galicica National park
- Sar Mountains National park
Most of these parks are situated on the lower slopes of the Northwest Mountains consisting of woodland savannas.
Some of the animals found in the forests of North Macedonia are;
- Wild pigs
Personal Tip: Remember to carry your camera to record some beautiful memories while at the park.
Wireless Broadband Connection dubbed “Macedonia Connects”
Richer and stronger countries like the US and China may have preceded North Macedonia in technological advancement but surprisingly, the young nation became the first country worldwide to connect wireless broadband across its nation.
This happened in 2006 and was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development.
The Mountains Of North Macedonia
It is estimated that 80% of the entire landmass belonging to North Macedonia is largely mountainous.
The peaks of many mountains stand above the tree line 6,600 feet above sea level and are also 2,000 meters high.
During the winter, these mountain ranges are frequented by tourists and locals alike for skiing competitions/activities as they offer up to 25km of snow-covered slopes.
Tips: If you’re a first-timer, read how to prepare for a hike on mountain terrains. The fact is you need the right gear for hiking. Read here about our Best Hiking Moccasins for Hiking.
The Only Mineral Mine In Europe
So what does North Macedonia mine that is an excerpt of the entire European continent? Rubies.
These are precious stones with color variations ranging from crimson to purple to a pale rose. The ruby mine in this small country is found in Prilep, while the thallium mine is found in Mount Kozhuv.
Did you also know that the only place thallium minerals are found in the world is in North Macedonia? Now you know.
On the other hand, Thallium is a rare bluish whitish metal and it is not found free and is mostly used in the production of fiber optics.
The Presence Of Tectonic lakes
In North Macedonia, the tectonic plates keep moving, so the country is prone to earthquakes. The last and most massive one happened in 1961 and it was so great it nearly destroyed the country’s capital.
The movement of the earth’s crust leads to the formation of springs, be it mineral or hot springs. As a result, Lake Prespa, Lake Ohrid, and Lake Dojran which are the only lakes in North Macedonia are formations of this phenomenon.
The Country Is Landlocked
The country has no connection to a water body, which is landlocked. Kosovo and Serbia border it on the North, Greece on the South, Albania On the west, and Bulgaria on the East.
Most Peaceful Independence
Most countries worldwide fought their colonizer’s tooth and nail to regain their freedom.
However, the most amazing thing about North Macedonia is that it got its independence without fighting or shedding blood for it.
Has More Religious Institutions Than Any Else In The World
Survey shows that North Macedonia has 1953 churches and 580 mosques. Meaning that the two religion houses the majority of the Macedonia population.
In one small town of Ohrid, found in the Southwestern part of the country, 365 churches have been established. If that is not fanaticism, then I do not know what is. In awe of this peculiar phenomenon, UNESCO named the city of Ohrid part of the World Heritage Sites.
The Millennium Cross: The Second biggest in Europe
Because of its strong Christian belief, North Macedonia has the second biggest cross in Europe.
Built in 2000, the millennium cross commemorates 2000 years since Christianity became a part of North Macedonia.
This massive cross is hoisted on top of mountain Vodno and is visible anywhere in the capital as it stands 66 high.
North Macedonia is a country of rapid growth, and just like any other newly formed state, it has its challenges. In this case, North Macedonia is challenged to register and absorb its minority groups to foster peace and growth.
Second is its quest to seek international recognition to build relations with other nations as well as being a part of international organizations.
These two will shine North Macedonia as a tourism and economic destination aiding in its growth.