Pentagon chief in Skopje over Russia bid ‘to sway’ name change vote 17th September , 0 comments US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Skopje on Monday to throw his support behind a ‘yes’ vote in Macedonia’s upcoming referendum on a name change and to counter “Russian influence” against the move. The referendum follows a landmark agreement between Athens and Skopje in June which sought to break the stalemate that has poisoned their relations since and hobbled Macedonia’s integration with the West. Greece objects to its neighbour being called Macedonia because it has its own province of the same name. Speaking on the plane en route to Skopje, Mattis said it was up to the Macedonians to decide whether they wanted the change, which could open important doors for this country of 2. Russia is opposed to any NATO enlargement in eastern Europe and the Balkans, and Washington has accused Moscow of leading an online disinformation campaign in Macedonia to discourage voters from taking part. Speaking to reporters after the talks, Mattis said Washington and Skopje would expand “cybersecurity cooperation to thwart malicious cyber activity that threatens both our democracies”. Montenegro, another tiny Balkan country, joined NATO in , despite opposition by Moscow and part of the population. But Laura Cooper, who is in charge of Pentagon policy on Russia and central Europe, accused Moscow of paying voters to boycott the referendum and of financially supporting pro-Russian organisations. Speaking to Macedonian news portal Nova Makedonija in late August, Russian ambassador Oleg Shcherbak accused the West of putting “very strong media and psychological pressure” on Macedonian voters.

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Sofia has a long history which can be seen by the onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques, Roman ruins and old Soviet monuments. However, it is largely modern and youthful with a wealth of museums, art galleries, cafes and restaurants. Depending on your flight times or if you’re extending your stay by a night then you may like to visit the Archaeological Museum where there are Thracian, Roman and Medieval artefacts on display in a former mosque dating from Or perhaps the Museum of Socialist Art where you’ll find many of the items removed from around the country when the Soviet era came to an end such as unwanted statues of Lenin, the red star from Sofia’s Party House and footage from old propaganda films.

The ethnic complexity of the region, together with its history of division and manipulation by outsiders, left the local population demoralized and conflicted.

Skopje urban plan for — Ciborowski divided the city in blocks dedicated to specific activities. The banks of the Vardar river became natural areas and parks, areas located between the main boulevards were built with highrise housing and shopping malls, and the suburbs were left to individual housing and industry. To stimulate economic development, the number of thoroughfares was increased and future urban extension was anticipated.

Mount Vodno is visible on the bottom left of the picture. Towards the East, the new municipality of Aerodrom was planned in the s to house 80, inhabitants on the site of the old airport. The centre is surrounded by a row of long buildings suggesting a wall “Gradski Zid”. Several institutions, including the university and the Macedonian academy, were also relocated on the north bank in order to reduce borders between the ethnic communities. Indeed, the north bank is mostly inhabited by Muslim Albanians, Turks and Roma, whereas Christian ethnic Macedonians predominantly reside on the south bank.

At the end of the s , the city center experienced profound changes. A highly controversial [32] urban project, ” Skopje “, was adopted by the municipal authorities in order to give the city a more monumental and historical aspect, and thus to transform it into a proper national capital. Several neoclassical buildings destroyed in the earthquake were rebuilt, including the national theatre, and streets and squares were refurbished.

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Could not subscribe, try again laterInvalid Email Following your football team across Europe can be fantastic – seeing some stunning sights across the continent while hopefully cheering on your boys to victory. But some Euro aways can take you off the beaten track, and you can experience some – erm – interesting hospitality. Meet Steve from Wigan. And he’s found that the standard of accommodation in Skopje, Macedonia, isn’t quite what even hardened travellers might be used to.

The menu includes the most delicious, Italian specialties, pizzas, pasta, pizza sandwich etc.

This modern sleeper train is a pleasure to travel on, whether in the privacy of your own sleeper or in economical couchettes. There’s time for dinner in Munich before boarding. The sleeping-car on the Lisinski: The modern air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car of the Lisinski from Munich to Zagreb has 10 compartments with washbasin, each of which can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth room, with toilets at the end of the corridor. Above left, the sleeper arrived at Zagreb. The couchette car on the Lisinski has modern air-conditioned 6-berth and 4-berth compartments.

Above right, the westbound train is seen boarding at Zagreb.

Macedonia: Referendum Approves Name Change, but Turnout Low

The June deal would pave the way for NATO and possibly European Union membership, ending a dispute dating from the early s when Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia. But the agreement has faced vocal opposition on both sides of the border, with each side accusing their own governments of conceding too much. Voters on Sunday were confronted with the question: State Electoral Commission head Oliver Rekoski said turnout at 1 p. It would be a major step for a country that less than two decades ago almost descended into civil war, when some in its ethnic Albanian minority took up arms against the government, seeking greater rights.

People wait in a queue to cast their ballots during a referendum in Skopje, Macedonia, Sunday, Sept.

Come and have the holiday of your life while witnessing the blend of culture and tradition, nature, tasty food, wine, and lots of fun.

About Macedonia Bordered by Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Albania, Macedonia has many influences from the Balkans and the Mediterranean and has been an independent country since Known as the Republic of Macedonia, its title has caused disagreement with Greece who own a region of the same name. Although many people flock to Greece for their holidays, Macedonia does get left off the bucket list but what it lacks in sea and beaches it definitely makes up for in mountains, lakes and rivers.

Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest lakes in Europe and is thought to be three million years old. You just need to take a boat across the lake to it. St John and St Sofia where you can find people singing as well as classical performances.

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It is situated on the highest point in the city overlooking the Vardar River. The fortress is depicted on the coat of arms of Skopje, which in turn is incorporated in the city’s flag. The first fortress, according to research and available data, is believed to have been built amidst the 6th century A. It was constructed with yellow limestone and travertine and along with fragments of Latin inscriptions, asserts the idea that the fortress originated from the Roman city of Skupi, which was completely destroyed by an earthquake in

The temperature of the water is so low due to the fact that these springs flow below the Galicica Mountain, carrying water into Lake Ohrid directly from Lake Prespa- an interesting phenomenon of nature.

To mark the occasion, here are 25 things you did not know about the Balkan country. Lake Kozjak, set high in the mountains Credit: It has the fifth highest average elevation of any country in Europe m , behind Andorra highest , Switzerland, Austria and Turkey. And old Without being drawn on where Greece begins and Macedonia ends, the ancient kingdom of Macedon dates back to BC and was ruled mostly by the founding dynasty of the Argeads, though modern-day Macedonia most closely relates to the ancient kingdom of Paeonia, north of the kingdom of Macedonia.

Skopje, the capital, is said to be seven thousand years old. Skopje, the Macedonian capital, is really old Credit: So old in fact, that There are said to be parts of the cross on which Jesus was crucified in the foundations of three monasteries in the country — St Bogodorica Prechista in Kichevo and St Jovan Bigorski and St Georgij Pobedonosec in Debar. Across the country there are nearly 1, churches and monasteries, while the city of Ohrid was once notable for having churches, one for each day of the year.

It has been accordingly nicknamed the Jerusalem of the Balkans.

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Most of the towns represent essential cultural destinations, thus making Macedonia a country of a rich cultural heritage where each region looks and feels different. The mountains and their reachable peaks make it a perfect place for doing extreme sports, such as hiking and paragliding. On the other hand, the fertile soil gives an opportunity for many vineyard locations, thus making our country a leader in the high- quality wine production business.

The food is not an exception. The tourists enjoy the rich flavor and aroma of the seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the taste of the homemade Macedonian cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, kiselo mleko sour milk and kajmak.

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The ancient Macedonians were considered non-Greek but are claimed as co-nationals by the modern Greeks. Modern Macedonians are Slavs descended from the peoples who arrived in the Balkans in the sixth and seventh centuries. There are six ethnic groups: Macedonia is a land-locked nation located in southeastern Europe. The current border runs along mountain chains that separate the republic from Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, and Kosovo and Serbia. Macedonia is slightly larger than the state of Vermont with a total area of 9, square miles 25, square kilometers.

The country consists mostly of mountains separated by flat river valleys. The capital, Skopje, is the largest city. In , the population was 1, ,

Catholic Church in Macedonia

After all, while St. Paul was in Troas, Asia Minor , at night he had a dream where a Macedonian came to him and said: At the time of Western Bulgarian Tsardom there was a creation of the South Slavic parishes alignment with the Archbishopric of Ohrid whose autocephaly was maintained until , when the Turks, influenced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople , suspend it.

The oldest of the icons, that can be found there, are dating from the 16th century and are depicting the archangels.

Greece Russia is waging a covert propaganda campaign to torpedo a referendum in Macedonia this weekend which could pave the way for the small Balkan country to join Nato and the EU, diplomats and analysts warned. Macedonians will vote on Sunday on whether to change the name of their country to North Macedonia, resolving a year diplomatic standoff with Greece. Athens has always objected to the country calling itself Macedonia, arguing that it implies territorial claims on its northern region of the same name.

But Moscow is vehemently opposed to Nato enlargement in the Balkans, which it regards as its sphere of influence, and has allegedly flooded social media in Macedonia with false accounts calling for a boycott of the referendum. Thousands of fake Twitter and Facebook accounts with the hashtag Bojkotiram, meaning “boycott” in Macedonian, have appeared in recent weeks, according to Macedonia’s Investigative Reporting Lab.

The objective appears to be to reduce the turnout of the referendum to under 50 per cent of eligible voters, meaning it would lack legitimacy. Women attend a campaign rally for the “yes” vote ahead of a referendum on whether to change the country’s name from plain Macedonia to Northern Macedonia to appease Greece Credit: Tensions between the two erupted into armed conflict in

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Tour Overview This is an exciting new itinerary that combines some of our old favourites, plus a couple of new up-and-comers. The name of the game here is variety, and there’s plenty of it on this trip, which features and breathtaking classical highlights of mainland Greece, the natural beauty and historical intrigue of Macedonia, as well as the complex and fascinating new country of Kosovo, formerly of the old Yugoslav Republic.

Distances covered are not huge, and journeys offer plenty of time to learn about the region’s complicated past while taking in the ever-changing landscape.

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Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. Cultural life Great effort has been invested in the support of Macedonian language and culture , not only through education but also through the theatre and other arts as well as the media of mass communication. Daily life and social customs As a result of the long presence of the Ottoman Turks in the region, the traditional cuisine of Macedonia is not only based on Balkan and Mediterranean fare but also flavoured by Turkish influences.

Macedonians also enjoy other foods that are common throughout the Balkans , including taratur yogurt with shredded cucumber and baklava. Macedonian specialties include ajvar a sauce made from sweet red peppers , tavce gravce baked beans , shopska salata a salad combining sliced cucumbers, onions , and tomatoes with soft white cheese , and selsko meso pork chops and mushrooms in brown gravy.

Macedonian popular culture is a fascinating blend of local tradition and imported influence. Folk music and folk dancing are still popular, and rock and pop music are ubiquitous.

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