About North Macedonia

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 Geography:

North Macedonia has a total area of 25,713 km2 (9,928 sq mi). It lies between latitudes 40° and 43° N, and mostly between longitudes 20° and 23° E (a small area lies east of 23°). North Macedonia has some 748 km (465 mi) of boundaries, shared with Serbia (62 km or 39 mi) to the North, Kosovo (159 km or 99 mi) to the northwest, Bulgaria (148 km or 92 mi) to the east, Greece (228 km or 142 mi) to the south, and Albania (151 km or 94 mi) to the west. It is a transit way for shipment of goods from Greece, through the Balkans, towards Eastern, Western and Central Europe, and through Bulgaria to the east. It is part of the larger region of Macedonia, which also includes Greek Macedonia and the Blagoevgrad Province in southwestern Bulgaria.

North Macedonia is a landlocked country that is geographically clearly defined by a central valley formed by the Vardar river and framed along its borders by mountain ranges. The terrain is mostly rugged, located between the Šar Mountains and Osogovo, which frame the valley of the Vardar river. Three large lakes—Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Dojran Lake—lie on the southern borders, bisected by the frontiers with Albania and Greece. Ohrid is considered to be one of the oldest lakes and biotopes in the world.

North Macedonia also has scenic mountains. They belong to two different mountain ranges: the first is the Šar Mountains that continue to the West Vardar/Pelagonia group of mountains (Baba Mountain, Nidže, Kozuf and Jakupica), also known as the Dinaric range. The second range is the Osogovo–Belasica mountain chain, also known as the Rhodope range. The mountains belonging to the Šar Mountains and the West Vardar/Pelagonia range are younger and higher than the older mountains of the Osogovo-Belasica mountain group. Mount Korab of the Šar Mountains on the Albanian border, at 2,764 m (9,068 ft), is the tallest mountain in North Macedonia. 


 Geography:

Climate:

Four different seasons are found in the country with warm and dry summers and moderately cold and snowy winters. The range of temperatures recorded throughout the year ranges from −20 °C (−4 °F) in winter, to 40 °C (104 °F) in summer. Low winter temperatures are influenced by winds from the north while heat seasons during summer arise due to the subtropical pressure of the Aegean Sea and climate influences from the Middle East, with the latter causing dry periods. There are three main climatic zones in the country: mildly continental in the north, temperate Mediterranean in the south and mountainous in the zones with high altitude. Along the valleys of the Vardar and Strumica rivers, in the regions of Gevgelija, Valandovo, Dojran, Strumica, and Radoviš, the climate is temperate Mediterranean. The warmest regions are Demir Kapija and Gevgelija, where the temperature in July and August frequently exceeds 40 °C (104 °F).

Average annual precipitation varies from 1,700 mm (66.9 in) in the western, mountainous, area to 500 mm (19.7 in) in the eastern area. There is a low level of precipitation in the Vardar valley with 500 mm (19.7 in) of water per year. The climate and irrigation diversity allow the cultivation of different plant types, including wheat, corn, potatoes, poppies, peanuts, and rice. There are thirty main and regular weather stations in the country.  


 Geography:

History: 

North Macedonia officially celebrates 8 September 1991 as Independence day (N.Macedonian: Ден на независноста, Den na nezavisnosta), with regard to the referendum endorsing independence from Yugoslavia. The anniversary of the start of the Ilinden Uprising (St. Elijah’s Day) on 2 August is also widely celebrated on an official level as the Day of the Republic.

Robert Badinter, as the head of the Arbitration Commission of the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia, recommended EC recognition in January 1992. On January 15, 1992 Bulgaria was the first country to recognize the independence of the republic.

N.Macedonia remained at peace through the Yugoslav Wars of the early 1990s. A few very minor changes to its border with Yugoslavia were agreed upon, to resolve problems with the demarcation line between the two countries. It was seriously destabilised by the Kosovo War in 1999, when an estimated 360,000 ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo took refuge in the country.They departed shortly after the war, and Albanian nationalists on both sides of the border took up arms soon after in pursuit of autonomy or independence for the Albanian-populated areas of Macedonia.

21st century

A conflict took place between the government and ethnic Albanian insurgents, mostly in the north and west of the country, between February and August 2001. The war ended with the intervention of a NATO ceasefire monitoring force. Under the terms of the Ohrid Agreement, the government agreed to devolve greater political power and cultural recognition to the Albanian minority. The Albanian side agreed to abandon separatist demands and to recognise all N.Macedonian institutions fully. In addition, according to this accord, the NLA were to disarm and hand over their weapons to a NATO force.

Inter-ethnic tensions flared in N.Macedonia in 2012, with incidents of violence between ethnic Albanians and N.Macedonians.

 Geography:

Antiquisation

Upon the coming to power in 2006, but especially since the country’s non-invitation to NATO in 2008, the VMRO-DPMNE government pursued a policy of “Antiquisation” (“Antikvizatzija”) as a way of putting pressure on Greece as well as for the purposes of domestic identity-building. Statues of Alexander the Great and Philip of Macedon have been built in several cities across the country. Additionally, many pieces of public infrastructure, such as airports, highways, and stadiums were renamed after Alexander and Philip. These actions were seen as deliberate provocations in neighbouring Greece, exacerbating the dispute and further stalling the country’s EU and NATO applications. The policy has also attracted criticism domestically, as well as from EU diplomats, and, following the Prespa agreement, it has been partly reversed after 2016 by the new SDSM government of North Macedonia. Moreover, per Prespa agreement both countries have acknowledged that their respective understanding of the terms “Macedonia” and “Macedonian” refers to a different historical context and cultural heritage.

 Geography:

EU and NATO path: The Symbolic signing of the Prespa agreement

The Prespa agreement, which replaces the Interim Accord of 1995, was signed on 17 June 2018 by the two foreign ministers Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias and in the presence of the respective prime ministers, Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras. The Prespa agreement was preceded by signing Friendship agreement with Bulgaria in August 2017, aiming to end the “anti-Bulgarian ideology” in North Macedonia and to solve the historical issues between the two counties. North Macedonians are from now on accepting that they have nothing to do with the ancient Greek History and they are not coming from the Great Greek Macedonian King Alexander.

The withdrawal of the Greek veto, along with the signing the Friendship agreement with Bulgaria, resulted in the European Union on 27 June approving the start of accession talks, which were expected to take place in 2019, under the condition that the Prespa deal was implemented and the country’s name was changed to Republic of North Macedonia.

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Human rights

North Macedonia is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and Convention against Torture, and the Constitution guarantees basic human rights to all Macedonian citizens.

According to human rights organisations, in 2003 there were suspected extrajudicial executions, threats against, and intimidation of, human rights activists and opposition journalists, and allegations of torture by the police.


 Geography:

Subdivisions

Rural/Urban municipalities

Statistical regions of North Macedonia

North Macedonia’s statistical regions exist solely for legal and statistical purposes. The regions are:

    Eastern     Northeastern     Pelagonia     Polog     Skopje     Southeastern     Southwestern     Vardar

In August 2004, the country was reorganised into 84 municipalities (opštini; sing. opština); 10 of the municipalities constitute the City of Skopje, a distinct unit of local self-government and the country’s capital.

Most of the current municipalities were unaltered or merely amalgamated from the previous 123 municipalities established in September 1996; others were consolidated and their borders changed. Prior to this, local government was organised into 34 administrative districts, communes, or counties (also opštini).


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Economy &  Taxes

Ranked as the fourth “best reformatory state” out of 178 countries ranked by the World Bank in 2009, North Macedonia has undergone considerable economic reform since independence. The country has developed an open economy with trade accounting for more than 90% of GDP in recent years. Since 1996, North Macedonia has witnessed steady, though slow, economic growth with GDP growing by 3.1% in 2005. This figure was projected to rise to an average of 5.2% in the 2006–2010 period. The government has proven successful in its efforts to combat inflation, with an inflation rate of only 3% in 2006 and 2% in 2007, and has implemented policies focused on attracting foreign investment and promoting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The current government introduced a flat tax system with the intention of making the country more attractive to foreign investment. The flat tax rate was 12% in 2007 and was further lowered to 10% in 2008. Despite these reforms, as of 2005 North Macedonia’s unemployment rate was 37.2% and as of 2006 its poverty rate was 22%. Due to a number of employment measures as well as the successful process of attracting multinational corporations, and according to the State Statistical Office of North Macedonia, the country’s unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2015 decreased to 27.3%. Government’s policies and efforts in regards to foreign direct investments have resulted with the establishment of local subsidiaries of several world leading manufacturing companies, especially from the automotive industry, such as: Johnson Controls Inc., Van Hool NV, Johnson Matthey plc, Lear Corp., Visteon Corp., Kostal GmbH, Gentherm Inc., Dräxlmaier Group, Kromberg & Schubert, Marquardt GmbH, Amphenol Corp., Tekno Hose SpA, KEMET Corp., Key Safety Systems Inc., ODW-Elektrik GmbH, etc.

In terms of GDP structure, as of 2013 the manufacturing sector, including mining and construction constituted the largest part of GDP at 21.4%, up from 21.1% in 2012. The trade, transportation and accommodation sector represents 18.2% of GDP in 2013, up from 16.7% in 2012, while agriculture represents 9.6%, up from 9.1% in the previous year.

 Geography:

Graphical depiction of North Macedonia’s product exports.

In terms of foreign trade, the largest sector contributing to the country’s export in 2014 was “chemicals and related products” at 21.4%, followed by the “machinery and transport equipment” sector at 21.1%. North Macedonia’s main import sectors in 2014 were “manufactured goods classified chiefly by material” with 34.2%, “machinery and transport equipment” with 18.7% and “mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials” with 14.4% of the total imports. Even 68.8% of the foreign trade in 2014 was done with the EU which makes the Union by far the largest trading partner of North Macedonia (23.3% with Germany, 7.9% with the UK, 7.3% with Greece, 6.2% with Italy, etc.). Almost 12% of the total external trade in 2014 was done with the Western Balkan countries.

North Macedonia has one of the highest shares of people struggling financially, with 72% of its citizens stating that they could manage on their household’s income only “with difficulty” or “with great difficulty”, though North Macedonia, along with Croatia, was the only country in the Western Balkans to not report an increase in this statistic. Corruption and a relatively ineffective legal system also act as significant restraints on successful economic development. North Macedonia still has one of the lowest per capita GDPs in Europe. Furthermore, the country’s grey market is estimated at close to 20% of GDP.[198] PPS GDP per capita stood at 36% of the EU average in 2017. With a GDP per capita of US$9,157 at purchasing power parity and a Human Development Index of 0.701, North Macedonia is less developed and has a considerably smaller economy than most of the former Yugoslav states.

 Geography:

Trade

The outbreak of the Yugoslav wars and the imposition of sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro caused great damage to the country’s economy, with Serbia constituting 60% of its markets before the disintegration of Yugoslavia. When Greece imposed a trade embargo on the Republic in 1994–95, the economy was also affected. Some relief was afforded by the end of the Bosnian War in November 1995 and the lifting of the Greek embargo, but the Kosovo War of 1999 and the 2001 Albanian crisis caused further destabilisation.

Since the end of the Greek embargo, Greece has become the country’s most important business partner. (See Greek investments in North Macedonia.) Many Greek companies have bought former state companies in North Macedonia,[200] such as the oil refinery Okta, the baking company Zhito Luks, a marble mine in Prilep, textile facilities in Bitola, etc., and employ 20,000 people. The moving of business to North Macedonia in the oil sector has been caused by the rise of Greece in the oil markets.

Other key partners are Germany, Italy, the United States, Slovenia, Austria and Turkey.


 Geography:

Tourism

The church of St. John at Kaneo and Lake Ohrid, one of the most popular tourist destinations in North Macedonia

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Tourism plays a significant role in the economy of North Macedonia accounting for 6.7% of its GDP in 2016. The annual income from tourism was estimated at 38.5 billion denars (€616 million) in that year. Following its independence, the most serious negative impact on tourism performance occurred due to the armed conflicts taking place in 2001. The number of foreign visitors has been on the rise since, with a 14.6% increase in 2011. In 2019, North Macedonia received 1,184,963 tourist arrivals out of which 757,593 foreign. Most numerous are tourists from Turkey, neighboring Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria, Poland and other countries of Western Europe. The biggest bulk of tourists, approximately 60% of the million tourists that visited the country in 2017, was situated in Skopje and the southwestern region of the country.

The most significant tourism branches are lake tourism, as there are three lakes in Ohrid, Prespa and Dojran and over 50 small glacial lakes of variable sizes, mountainous tourism as there are 16 mountains higher than 2,000 metres. Other forms of tourism also include rural and ecotourism, city tourism and cultural tourism, represented through gastronomy, traditional music, cultural celebrations and cultural heritage sites.


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Transport

North Macedonia (along with Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo) belongs to the less-developed southern region of the former Yugoslavia. It suffered severe economic difficulties after independence, when the Yugoslav internal market collapsed and subsidies from Belgrade ended. In addition, it faced many of the same problems faced by other former socialist East European countries during the transition to a market economy. Its main land and rail exports route, through Serbia, remains unreliable with high transit costs, thereby affecting the export of its formerly highly profitable, early vegetables market to Germany.

North Macedonia’s IT market increased 63.8% year on year in 2007, which was the fastest growing in the Adriatic region.

North Macedonia is in its position a continental country in the middle of the Balkan peninsula, and the main transport links in the country are those that connect the different parts of the peninsula (transbalkan links). Particularly important is the connection between north–south and Vardar valley, which connects Greece with the rest of Europe.

The total length of the railway network in North Macedonia is 699 km (434 mi). Operated by Makedonski Železnici, the most important railway line is the line on the border with Serbia–Kumanovo–Skopje–Veles–Gevgelija–border with Greece. Since 2001, the railway line Beljakovci has been built—the border with Bulgaria, which will get a direct connection Skopje-Sofia. The most important railway hub in the country is Skopje, while the other two are Veles and Kumanovo.

North Macedonia Post is the state-owned company for the provision of postal traffic. It was founded in 1992 as PTT Macedonia. In 1993 it was admitted to the World Postal Union in 1997, PTT Macedonia was divided into Macedonian Telekom and Macedonian Post (later renamed North Macedonia Post).

As far as water transport is concerned, only lake traffic through Ohrid and Prespan Lake has been developed, mostly for tourist purposes.

There are 17 airports officially in North Macedonia, of which 11 are with solid substrates. Among them are two airports of international character, since they are listed on the airport’s IATA airport code International Airport Skopje and Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport.


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Education

The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.

The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.

The higher levels of education can be obtained at one of the five state universities: Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, St. Clement of Ohrid University of Bitola, Goce Delčev University of Štip, State University of Tetova and University of Information Science and Technology “St. Paul The Apostle” in Ohrid. There are a number of private university institutions, such as the European University, Slavic University in Sveti Nikole, the South East European University and others.

The United States Agency for International Development has underwritten a project called Macedonia Connects, which has made North Macedonia the first all-broadband wireless country in the world. The Ministry of Education and Sciences reports that 461 schools (primary and secondary) are now connected to the Internet. In addition, an Internet service provider (On.net), has created a MESH Network to provide WIFI services in the 11 largest cities/towns in the country. The national library of North Macedonia, National and University Library “St. Kliment of Ohrid”, is in Skopje.

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The North Macedonian education system consists of:    pre-school education, primary,  secondary, higher

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International Schools

International schools can be the perfect solution for an expat student (multinational corporation executives, children of diplomats, NGO staff) in Macedonia. International schools provide similar standards of schooling around the globe, providing for an easy transition between schools whether they are in France or China.

International Schools in North Macedonia & Skopje

  1. Nova International Schools
    Address: Prashka 27
    1000 Skopje Macedonia
    Tel: (389 2) 3076-402; 3061-807; 3061-907
    Tuition Rates: €5,050 per year
  2. QSI International School of Skopje
    Address: Zenevska #51
    1000 Skopje, Macedonia
    Tel: 389-2-305-1844
    Tuition Rates: Inquire at school
  3. American School of Macedonia (ASM)
    Address: Nikola Parapunov bb
    Skopje, Macedonia
    Tel: 389 (0)2 3063 265
    Tuition Rates: €3,850 – 4,050 per year
  4. American High School Skopje
    Address: bulevar Treta makedonska brigada nr. 60,
    Skopje 1000, Macedonia
    Tel: 389 (0)2 2469 993
    Email: info@ahss.edu.mk
    Tuition Rates: Inquire at school
  5. International High School (IHS)
    Address: Gjuro Gjakovigj 64 Street
    1000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
    Tel: 003892 32 32 450
    Tuition Rates: €2,200 per year
  6. British Children’s Academy
    Address: Vasil Stefanovski 5
    Skopje 1000 Rep. Macedonia
    Tel: 389-(0)2-3246644
    Tuition Rates: 300 – 480 Macedonian Denar per month
  7. French International School in Skopje
    Ecole française internationale de Skopje
    Address: Nikola Parapunov br 19
    1000 Skopje, N.Macedonia
    Tel: 389(0)2.3083.321, 389(0)70.831.882, 389(0)71.238.496
    Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

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Demographics

Ethnic groups in 2002 : n.Macedonians 64.2% – Albanians 25.2% – Turks 3.9% – Romani 2.7% – Serbs 1.8% – Bosniaks 0.8% – Aromanians and Megleno-Romanians 0.5% – other 1.0%

The above table (figures rounded) shows ethnic affiliation of the population according to the 2002 census

The last census data from 2002 shows a population of 2,022,547 inhabitants.The last official estimate from 2009, without significant change, gives a figure of 2,050,671. According to the last census data, the largest ethnic group in the country are the ethnic Macedonians. The second-largest group are the Albanians, who dominated much of the northwestern part of the country. Following them, Turks are the third-biggest ethnic group of the country where official census data put them close to 80,000 and unofficial estimates suggest numbers between 170,000 and 200,000. Some unofficial estimates indicate that there are possibly up to 260,000 Romani.


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Religion

  Eastern Orthodoxy (69.6%)   Catholicism (0.4%)   Other Christian (0.7%)   Islam (28.6%)   None (0.5%)   Others (0.2%)

Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the majority faith of North Macedonia, making up 65% of the population, the vast majority of whom belong to the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Various other Christian denominations account for 0.4% of the population. Muslims constitute 33.3% of the population. North Macedonia has the fifth-highest proportion of Muslims in Europe, after those of Kosovo (96%),Turkey (90%),Albania (59%), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (51%). Most Muslims are Albanians, Turks, or Romani; few are Macedonian Muslims. The remaining 1.4% was determined to be “unaffiliated” by a 2010 Pew Research estimation.

All together, there were 1,842 churches and 580 mosques in the country at the end of 2011. The Orthodox and Islamic religious communities have secondary religion schools in Skopje. There is an Orthodox theological college in the capital. The Macedonian Orthodox Church has jurisdiction over 10 provinces (seven in the country and three abroad), has 10 bishops and about 350 priests. A total of 30,000 people are baptised in all the provinces every year.

An Orthodox believer with protective mask attends a religious service at the main Orthodox church St Kliment in Skopje on April 16, 2020

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Languages

The national and official language in all aspects, of the whole territory of North Macedonia, and in its international relations, is the N.Macedonian language. Albanian is co-official at a state level (excluding defence, central police and monetary policy) and in local self-government units where speakers are 20% or more. N.Macedonian belongs to the Eastern branch of the South Slavic language group, while Albanian occupies an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. In municipalities where at least 20% of the population is part of another ethnic minority, those individual languages are used for official purposes in local government, alongside n.Macedonian and Albanian or just n.Macedonian.

Besides n.Macedonian and Albanian, minority languages with substantial numbers of speakers are Turkish (including Balkan Gagauz), Romani, Serbian/Bosnian and Aromanian (including Megleno-Romanian). N.Macedonian Sign Language is the primary language of those of the deaf community who did not pick up an oral language in childhood.

According to the last census, 1,344,815 citizens of North Macedonia declared that they spoke n.Macedonian, 507,989 declared Albanian, 71,757 Turkish, 38,528 Romani, 24,773 Serbian, 8,560 Bosnian, 6,884 Aromanian and 19,241 spoke other languages.


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Prices and local living standards

Everyday life and people in north Macedonia

N.Macedonia is generally not an expensive country, compared to others in its vicinity, and even less so compared to tourist destinations and popular cities around Europe like London, Paris or Rome.

You can rent an apartment for around 200$ here, eat out for less than a dollar (if you’re into street food), even utilities are cheap.

One of the most beautiful and visited places in Macedonia is the Ohrid lake, which each year proves to be a favorite destination -especially during summertime- for many tourists in Europe, all while the prices there are pretty low.

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Restaurants 

As mentioned before, restaurants and eating out in N.Macedonia are very affordable. You can eat at a mid-range restaurant for 16$ for two people! If you like fast food you will not pay more than $2 for a burger. Pizzas in restaurants are $3 and beer is around $2. If you want some soft drinks or a coffee add another $1.

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Markets

Food is generally cheap. When you go grocery shopping, bring around 25$ and you’ll be able to eat for probably a whole week. Though restaurants are definitely cheap in this country, cooking at home will save you a lot of money, since all of the basic groceries cost less than a dollar. Ask the locals about the cheapest supermarkets.

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Transportation

Public transport is definitely not organized well and you can’t count on it really, but at least it’s cheap! The buses are somewhat late but you can mostly catch one with just a bit of waiting. A one-way ticket for public transport is less than a dollar, and a monthly pass costs less than 30$ which can be considered a reasonable price.

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Utilities (MONTHLY)

Utilities (water, gas, heating, cooling and electricity) can be around 50$ per month if you’re renting a really small apartment. If the apartment is larger, around 85m2, it will cost you around 100$ and if there’s central heating, add 25$-45$ more per month (but it really depends on the size of the apartment).

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Sports and leisure 

Being a member of a fitness club or a gym isn’t expensive either in Macedonia. A membership in either one will cost you around 20$ which is incredibly cheap, considering the prices in the rest of Europe. Cinema tickets are also not expensive – not cheap either, mind you – but not expensive, costing around 5$ each.

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Clothing and shoes

Shopping is definitely recommended for anyone who wanders off to N.Macedonia. It is very cheap and N.Macedonia has many shopping malls where you can have a good time. You can buy yourself some quality jeans like Levi’s for just a bit more than 40$, while quality running sneakers will cost you around 70$.

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Rent per month

The price of rent depends on what you want and prefer. If you live alone you can rent a fully furnished studio for about $200 or a one-bedroom apartment for $250. Two-bedroom apartments are $250 and if you’re looking for that apartment to be in the city center, then it costs well above 300$.

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Food & Tastes

The country’s cuisine is a representative of that of the Balkans—reflecting Mediterranean and Middle Eastern (Ottoman) influences, and to a lesser extent Italian, German and Eastern European (especially Hungarian) ones. The relatively warm climate in North Macedonia provides excellent growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits. Thus, Macedonian cuisine is particularly diverse.

N.Macedonian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of its dairy products, wines, and local alcoholic beverages, such as rakija. Tavče gravče and mastika are considered the national dish and drink of North Macedonia, respectively. Some other important dishes include Šopska salad, an appetiser and side dish that accompanies the main meal, ajvar, stuffed peppers, pastrmajlija and others.

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Health

There are two different options for the patient to access healthcare. Firstly, there are services covered under the national health insurance fund (HIF), while the alternative is, to pay the treatment by themselves. Through HIF coverage, general physicians are the first to be contacted in need. At this point, access to the services is free of charge. After primary examination, the General Physician refers the patient to higher levels of care, if necessary, specifying the type of treatment and the health care in stitution at which the treatment should be obtained. If additional examinations are needed, specialists can refer the patient further. Tertiary care depends on previous treatments and referral at the secondary level at general or other specialized hospitals. 

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Art & Culture

The traditional culture is rural, but today more than 60% of the population is urban, with a quarter of the national residents living in metropolitan Skopje. Traditional architectural influences are Mediterranean, Byzantine, and Ottoman. Modern high-rise apartment blocks have a balcony, which often is used for storage and clothes drying. A traditional Muslim household has separate rooms for male and female guests, whereas a Christian house has a single room. In older urban neighborhoods, individual single-story rooms open into a central courtyard. Wealthier traditional urban houses have one or more upper stories projecting over the street. Urban areas are characterized by a historical center with an open bazaar. N.Macedonia was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake in 1963. The old main train station, torn in half with its clock stopped at the moment of the quake, was reinforced and left standing as a monument to the disaster. Many public monuments commemorate those fallen in World War II or Ilinden. Since 1991, many villages have restored or built new churches or mosques.

In the traditional culture, the young show deference to the old. It is normal for male friends to shake hands and for women to kiss when meeting and saying good-bye. A person entering a room where others are seated will shake hands with each person. Physical contact among friends of the same gender is considered normal. Although staring at strangers was once common, it became relatively rare in the 1990s. It once was the norm to remove one’s shoes at the entrance of a home, but this practice is receding among urban Christians.

Official holidays include the New Year on 1 and 2 January, Orthodox Christmas on 7 January, Easter Monday, the International Day of Labor on 1 and 2. May, Saint Elijah’s Day on 2 August, Macedonian Independence Day on 8 September, and the Day of the Uprising of the Macedonian People on 11 October to commemorate World War II.

The arts are supported by the state through the N.Macedonian Academy of Arts and Sciences, institutions of higher learning, and public theaters. Despite its small size, N.Macedonia boasts thirteen active professional theater groups that average over sixteen hundred total performances per year, a philharmonic orchestra (established in 1944), six chamber ensembles, and a host of annual folk music festivals.


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Types of Houses:

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Center of the city where people live mainly in apartments, studio apartments and floor apartments.

Villa      

A villa is a luxury house. It is freestanding and independent with a large landscaped garden and plenty of distance from the nearest neighbor.

A villa has a minimum covered living space of 250 square metres and is constructed of high quality materials and fittings. It usually consists of two levels and a basement large enough to accommodate storage area and parking for two or three cars.

Most villas are located in upscale neighbourhoods.

Detached House

      A detached house is an independently standing house surrounded by land, a standalone structure on a private lot. Detached houses consist of one or two levels of living space plus an underground space for storage and car parking.

Semi-Detached House (often called maisonette)

      The primary feature of a Semi-Detached House in comparison to a detached house is that it is attached to another comparable unit. The individual residence units in a Semi-Detached House have a shared wall between them.

Cottage Style House

      A cottage style house is usually a low to medium size, one or two levels, rural dwelling of traditional structure, made of stone and surrounded by a working farm or a garden of fruit trees. A cottage style house is associated with comfort and minimalistic living.

Apartment

      An apartment is a self-contained private residence, always part of a larger building.

The apartment is individually owned, while use of and access to common facilities such as hallways, heating system, elevators, swimming pool, exterior areas is associated and controlled by the association of owners that jointly represent ownership of the whole building. Building maintenance fees like security and cleaning are split in shares proportional to the size of each apartment.

Apartment (entire floor)

      Like the apartment. Only occupies a full floor of a building. Also called floor–through apartment.

Studio Apartment

      A studio apartment is a small apartment with own bathroom which combines living room, bedroom and kitchenette into a single room.

Studio apartments typically range from 20 to 40 square meters in size.

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North Macedonian Village, place outside the center of the city, where you can find Villas and Cottage Houses.