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Ten Facts about North Macedonia

Macedonia flag

Ten Facts about North Macedonia

Here are ten facts about the Republic of North Macedonia, a European country which has had two flags and two names in its short history

Fact One

The Republic of North Macedonia is a land-locked country in Europe, bordered by Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. It declared its independence from Yugoslavia on 8th September 1991.

Fact Two

Up to February 2019, North Macedonia was known simply as Macedonia. This caused problems with its neighbours in Northern Greece, which also saw itself as being called Macedonia. Historically, Macedonia referred to a larger region in south eastern Europe incorporating what is now the Republic of North Macedonia and parts of Albania, Greece, Serbia and Kosovo. After years of discussions, the country calling itself Macedonia agreed to rename itself North Macedonia, giving it its new name.

Fact Three

North Macedonia has its own language - Macedonian - which is spoken by about 2 million people, made up of the majority of the population of the country, plus a number of people in surrounding countries. It also has its own currency, the Macedonian denar. North Macedonia is not a member state of the European Union so does not use the euro as currency. However, membership to the EU is a priority for the country, and is now a possibility seeing as its naming issue with Greece has been sorted.

Fact Four

North Macedonia made its debut entry in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998. It has not yet won the contest.

Fact Five

Mother Teresa was born in what is now Macedonia's capital city, Skopje, on 26th August 1910. Back then, Skopje was known as Üsküb and was a city in the Ottoman Empire. Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. It would have been a bit weird calling her Mother Teresa at birth.

Fact Six

Skopje, North Macedonia's capital city, has a population of just under 600,000 people, about a third of the country's population. Macedonia's total population is just over 2,000,000.

Fact Seven

Television in North Macedonia began in 1964 when Television Skopje began. It is now known as Macedonian Radio Television, or Македонска Радио Телевизиjа (MRT/MPT). It operates three television channels for North Macedonia and two satellite channel which broadcasts to other countries.

Fact Eight

The building that houses the headquarters for Macedonian Radio Television, the MRT Center, was the tallest building in the country up to 2015. It is 230 feet high (70 metres). The Cevahir Sky City complex of residential and commerical high-rise buildings are the tallest at 466 feet (142 metres).

Fact Nine

Macedonia's flag from 1992 to 1995

Since becoming an independent nation in 1991, North Macedonia has had two flags. Both its first flag and the current flag feature a yellow sun on a red background. The first version, pictured left, was based on a symbol found on ancient tombstones discovered in 1977 in the town of Vergina. However, Vergina is in Greek Macedonia and Greece decided to claim that they owned the copyright to use the symbol. They even went as far as blocking trade with the then Republic of Macedonia and forced the UN headquarters in New York to take down the Macedonian flag. As a compromise, and to restart trading with their Greek neighbours, Macedonia changed its flag to its current one from 1995.

Fact Ten

North Macedonia's national football team was managed by the former Liverpool footballer John Toshack, who also previously managed Real Madrid and Wales. He led North Macedonia for four games in 2012.

Facts added 8th September 2011