Republika Makedonija - Republic of Macedonia

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

Macedonia is a small country between Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia. The country contains about 40% of the area and 45% of the population of the geographical region known as Macedonia. About 50% of this region belongs to Greece and 10% to Bulgaria. Between 1945 and 1991, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia was one of the six constituent republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1991, Yugoslav Macedonia seceded peacefully from the Yugoslav federation, declaring its independence as the Republic of Macedonia. But although the country did not take part in the Yugoslav war of the early 1990s, it was destabilized by some 360,000 ethnic Albanian refugees from the neighbouring Kosovo and an armed conflict in March 2001. So it is still difficult to visit the country.

The country is since 1992 formally known as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which is a sort of compromise. The neighbouring state of Greece is also called Macedonia, and the Greek believe, that they are historically the true Macedonians. They insisted that the name of the Republic of Macedonia must be changed. However, as said before the geographic region of Macedonia is split into three parts by the political borders. However, after a lot of Greek grouching the UN officially accepted the new name in an "ok, you're right, an now go out and play with the other kids" manner. Obviously the name dispute was a matter of honour for the Greek, while the rest of the world was astonished by the fuss they made about a bagatelle. So be carefull not to use the name Republic of Macedonia, while travelling in Greece!

The area of both, the Republic of Macedonia and the geographical region known as Macedonia are mostly covered by karstified limestone, so there are plenty of caves. Because of the political difficulties the caves are not well explored, and not developed for tourists. Very common are cave churches in this area.