Macedonia is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia is bordered by Kosovo[a] to the northwest, Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south and Albania to the west.
The major religions are Orthodox Christianity (66 percent) and Islam (30 percent), with small groups of Roman Catholics, Protestants, and atheists. Most Jews were deported and killed by the Nazis, but a few still live in Macedonia. Belief in the evil eye is widespread, and religious practices in rural areas often reflect folk beliefs.
Macedonia mines coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, uranium and zinc. Manufactures include cement, chemicals, cigarettes, cotton fabric, footwear, iron and steel, refrigerators, sulphuric acid, tobacco products and wool yarn. Agriculture employs 9% of the workforce, as compared with 23% in manufacturing and mining.
The population density was about 80 persons per sq km (206 per sq mi). Among major ethnic groups, Macedonians made up about 64% of the population, Albanians 25%, Turks 4%, Roma 3%, Serbs 2%. Macedonian and Albanian (since November 2001) are the official languages.
Kosovo and Macedonia completed demarcation of their boundary in September 2008. Greece continues to reject the use of the name Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia.
There are about fifteen artificial lakes in Macedonia. One of the largest is Mavrovo. Formed in 1953, Lake Mavrovo covers about 13.7 square kilometers (5.3 square miles).
Macedonia's current educational system was developed during the years in which Macedonia was a member state of Yugoslavia; it is a hybrid of systems common to most of western Europe. Textbooks and other aspects of instruction that reflect the years of Soviet influence are being phased out. Education is compulsory through eighth grade.
The life expectancy at birth for the average Macedonian was 73 in 2000. In 1994, the immunization rates for children under the age of one were as follows: diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, 87%; measles, 85%; and tuberculosis, 90%.
Macedonia stands at the junction of two main climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the continental. Periodically, air breaks through mountain barriers to the north and south, bringing dramatically contrasting weather patterns; one example is the cold northerly wind known as the vardarac. Overall there is a moderate continental climate: temperatures average 32° F (0° C) in January and rise to 68°–77° F (20°–25° C) in July.
The United States formally recognized Macedonia in 1994, and the countries established full diplomatic relations in 1995. The United States strongly supports Macedonia's aspirations for full integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions and is committed to helping Macedonia strengthen rule of law; improve education; promote media freedom; and build greater democratic foundations in a full, inclusive multi-ethnic society. The United States and its European allies acted swiftly to mediate an end to the 2001 civil conflict in Macedonia.
Medieval monasteries and Orthodox churches are primary attractions. Turkish baths and bazaars can also be found. In 2000 there were about 224000 tourists arrivals and tourism receipts totaled $37 million.