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Summary: Macedonia is in southeastern Europe, north of Greece, and is a mountainous territory covered with deep basins and valleys, with three large lakes, each divided by a frontier line. The country is bisected by the Vardar River, and some if its concerns are unemployment, the gray economy, and the country's Hellenic name and symbols.

Capital: Skopje
Time Zone: DST +0200 UTC
Population: 2,071,210
Languages: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian
Power: 220 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Macedonian Denar - Currently 1 MKD = 0.0240 USD $
Climate: Macedonia has a familiar climate: warm, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall.

Skopje: Located on the Vardar River and about halfway between Bulgaria's Sofia and Albania's Tirana, Skopje offers some examples of Turkish architecture and an open marketplace whose colorful stalls are overflowing with local produce and products. The center of town is car-free, so stroll at your leisure as far as the 550 year old Saud Pasha Baths, the Church of Sveti Spas near the city's market, and the Museum of Macedonia.

Ohrid: Some stunning medieval monasteries are found here and are on UNESCO's list of the world's cultural and natural treasures. A Roman amphitheater betrays the region's roots, while Saint Sophia offers early Byzantine art, and the 9th century Saint Naum Monastery has become a place of pilgrimage.


Music: There are many outdoor performances of traditional music, singing and dancing during the summer months.

Transportation: Train service can be very slow, however, the bus service is fine. Plan your trip ahead and book in advance when travelling to Ohrid.

Locals: When invited into a home, you will typically find offerings of food and drink that are best accepted to avoid insult. Avoid discussing politics and respect the local culture as distinct.

When To Visit: Macedonia has good weather nearly year-round, so there really is no "bad" time to go. July features two main festivals: the Balkan Festival of Folk Dances and Songs, and the Ohrid Summer Festival, both held in Ohrid.

Food: The country's cuisine is a wonderful blend of Greek and Turkish influences. Among the most typical dishes are pitas stuffed with meat, vegetables, or cheese, and gravce na tavce, a hearty baked-bean dish. Roast lamb is common, as are stuffed tomatoes with green peppers and Ohrid trout.

Tipping: Check if a service charge has already been included on the bill, otherwise leave a small tip of about 10 percent for most services.

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