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Macedonia is like a chest, filled with precious things, that eagerly waits to be opened. It has abundance of history and tradition dating back to the Neolithic, witnessed by the numerous archeological treasures found in the earth’s womb. The Maenad from Tetovo, Adam from Govrlevo, the golden mask from Trebenishta from the 6th century B.C., the Neolithic ceramics, findings from the Bronze Age, remains of Roman buildings, as well as mosaics with precious value, are only part of the rich cultural heritage that for centuries has been found in this land. About 5.000 archeological sites, thousands churches and monasteries, over 200 mosques, fifty towers and bridges are only part of the provocation necessary to visit this rare and archeologically rich country. Even 130 Early Christian basilicas have been discovered in the country at different locations. Numbers are getting even more impressive if it is known that thousands of  archeological exhibits decorate the shelves of the Macedonian museums and galleries.

Archaeological site of Bargala, near Shtip

Nowadays, the Republic of Macedonia is a veritable treasury of culture and art. As hardly anywhere in the world, this region treasures a large number of historical monuments: churches, icons, monasteries, archaeological sites, mosques, old books and other artefacts. The Macedonian collections of icons are acknowledged to be among the best in the world, ofthe same rank as the collections of Sinai, Mt. Atos and Russia. The oldest easel icons originate from the late 10th century, but the terracotta icons found at the site of Vinichko Kale, near the town of Vinica in Eastern Macedonia, are a real rarity. They present unique examples of early Christian art from the period of the late 4th to mid 6th century. The first Slavic alphabet and literature also have their roots in Macedonia.

The cultural mission carried out by the brothers Ss. Cyril and Methodius of Salonika has been of crucial significance for all Slavic people. Taking the language spoken by the Macedonian Slavs from the vicinity of Salonika as its basis, the two brothers devised the Glagolitic alphabet and translated into Old Slavic the most important ecclesiastic books necessary for the religious services and for their mission of converting the pagan Slavs to Christianity.  

St. John of Kaneo church, by the shores of Ohrid lake

Macedonian churches and monasteries have a long tradition. The frescoes in the small church of St. George built in the 12th century near the village of Kurbinovo, in the vicinity of Prespa, together with the frescoes in the church of St. Pantelejmon near Skopje, dating also from the 12th century, present the highest achievements of Byzantine art from that period. Alongside these, one must not omit the church of St. Leontius in the village of Vodocha, the Church of the Holy Mother of God in the village of Veljusa, both in Strumitsa region, the church of St. George in the village of Staro Nagorichane in Kumanovo region, the Monastery of Treskavec in Prilep region, the Monastery of Lesnovo (14th century) in Kratovo region, and the Monastery of St. John Bigorski (19th century) in Gostivar region, whose woodcarved iconostasis presents a masterpiece of the Miyak wood-carvers.

Since ancient times Macedonia has had an exceptional strategic position on the Balkan Peninsula and in Southern Europe. Its central position on the Balkans provides excellent communication. The borders of the Republic measure 849 km and it occupies an area of 25 713 km2. The population of the Republic of Macedonia are the citizens: Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Vlachs, Bosnians, Romanians and others. According to the last census the Republic of Macedonia has about 2,050,000 inhabitants. Commensurate with its Constitution,it is an autonomous and independent civic and democratic state where all the inhabitants, regardless of their ethnic origin, have the same civil rights and freedoms.

article @Ministry of economy

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