Ten Facts About Macedonia
Here are ten facts about the Republic of Macedonia, a European country which has had two flags in its short history and argues with its neighbours about its name.
The Republic of 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.
One of Macedonia's main problems is its name! Historically, Macedonia referred to a larger region in south eastern Europe incorporating what is now the Republic of Macedonia and parts of Albania, Greece, Serbia and Kosovo. Macedonia's problem is that a large region in the north of Greece has also been known as Macedonia for centuries, and the Greeks don't want their neighbours to use the same name. So, although Macedonia may like to call itself Macedonia, it officially has to be known as the Republic of Macedonia or even the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia).
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. Its attempt to join the European Union and therefore adopt the euro as its currency is largely dependent on sorting its naming issue with Greece.
Macedonia made its debut entry in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998. It has not yet won the contest.
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.
Skopje, Macedonia's capital city, has a population of just under 700,000 people, about a third of the country's population. Macedonia's total population is just over 2,000,000.
Television in Macedonia began in 1964 when Television Skopje began. It is now known as Macedonian Television, or Makedonska Televisija (MTV). It operates three television channels for Macedonia and one satellite channel which broadcasts to other countries.
The building that houses the headquarters for Macedonian Television and Macedonion Radio, the MRT Center, is the tallest building in the country. It is 230 feet high (70 metres).
Since becoming an independent nation in 1991, 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 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.
Macedonia's national football team was managed by the former Liverpool footballer John Toshack, who also previously managed Real Madrid and Wales. He led Macedonia for four games in 2012.