Here are a few facts that you might not yet know about Macedonia, but that speak part of the interesting and mysterious character of this country.
- There are (supposed) parts of the cross on which Jesus was crucified in the foundations of the monasteries of Bogodorica Prechista in Kichevo, and St. Jovan Bigorski and St. Georgij Pobedonosec in Debar.
- According to NASA, Kokino is the fourth oldest astronomic observatory in the world; with the oldest three being Abu Simbel, Egypt; Stonehenge, Great Britain; and Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Kokino is located approximately 30 km from the town of Kumanovo, and about 6 km from the Serbian border.
- Ohrid Lake is the oldest and one of the deepest lakes in Europe (max depth 288m or 940ft). Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were accepted as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.The Ohrid lake itself is over 3 million years old. It has over 200 endemic species not found on any other place on the planet. It is said that Ohrid has 365 churches,one for each day of the year. All its basilicas and luxurious mosaics, valuable archaeological sites and an antique theatre confirm that Ohrid (called Lychnidos : the City of Lights) was a cultural centre of the ancient era.
- Mother Theresa of Calcutta was born in Skopje, Macedonia. Even though she was born in Skopje, she was Albanian by ethnicity at the time of her birth in 1910. Today, you can see museum house dedicated to her in the center of the capital city of Skopje. The father of the modern Turkish nation Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was born in Salonika and went to the Military Academy in Bitola, the second largest city in the Republic of Macedonia.
- Macedonia is the only country that got independence from Yugoslavia without shedding a single drop of blood. It remained entirely at peace at the heat of Yugoslav wars in early 1990s and got independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
- Another interesting feature about this country is that it has more number of mountains and mountain peaks than any other country in the world. The country has as many as 34 mountain peaks, each with a height of more than 2,000 meters above the sea-level; with Mount Golem Korab being the highest at 2,753 meters above sea-level. Most peaks in Macedonia have never been visited by people.
- The Cyrillic alphabet, official in Macedonia, is based on the alphabet developed in the 9thcentury by two Macedonian (Region) brothers – St Cyril (thus – Cyrillic) and St Methodius. It was taught by their disciples at a monastery in Ohrid, from whence it spread across the eastern Slavic world.
- Skopje has suffered quite a few devastating earthquakes throughout history, the biggest ones in 518 and in 1963, leveling most of the city. In addition, the Austro-Hungarian General Piccolomini ordered the city burnt down in the 18th Century.
- The greatest conqueror in the human history was Alexander The Great Macedonian. He overthrew the Persian Empire, defeated the Greek city-states, carried Macedonian arms to India. Already in his lifetime the subject of fabulous stories, he later became the hero of a full-scale legend bearing only the sketchiest resemblance to his historical career.
- The cave Peshna in Makedonski Brod was described by New York Times as looking “exactly like Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings”.
– The Millennium Cross is a 66 meter-high cross situated on the top of the Vodno Mountain in Skopje, and it is the biggest cross in the world. It was constructed to serve as a memorial of 2,000 years of Christianity in Macedonia and the world.
- The highest quality of opium is the Macedonian. Second is Pakistan’s opium who has seven morph units. Third is the Columbian with around 3.5 M.E. The Macedonian opium has an incredible 14 M.E., doubling that of Pakistan.
- The first Church in Europe is the Macedonian Church. 50 years after Jesus, Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man asking for help, as written in the Bible. Paul does come to Macedonia, and pays a visit to Philipi, Ber, Stobi and Ohrid. His symbolic trip if looked on Macedonian map, forms a cross.Lydia,the first person recorded to convert to Christianity in Europe,a Macedonian woman from the town of Thyatira who in nearby Philipi was selling RED textile fabric. The Red color has always been prominent in the Macedonian folklor, materials and fabric, on the flags of all uprisings throughout the centuries.
- The 120 stone dolls in Kuklica, Kratovo, who are 10 million years old, were almost accidentally flooded by the Macedonian Government in an attempt to create an artificial lake in the area. The legend behind the stone dolls who are lined up next to one another is that they were guests at a wedding, but were turned into stone, cursed by a forsaken bride.
- Macedonia has a rich artistic life. Some 260 exhibitions of work by Macedonian artists and 65 exhibitions of guests from foreign countries are organized each year. The works of the Macedonian painters Nikola Martinoski, Lazar Lichenoski, Petar Mazev, Dimitar Kondovski, Petar Hadzhi Boshkov, Vangel Naumovski, Vasko Tashkovski and Gligor Chemerski have been exhibited in the best known art centres of the world.
- The Lesnovski Monastery was the First Monarchy in the Balkans. Until the 1940’s the Lesnovski Monastery had the largest library in Southern Europe. The books were later taken out and distributed throughout Macedonia.
- Several international cultural events and festivals are held each year in Macedonia. The best known are the Ohrid Summer festival of music and drama, in which renowned musicians from around the world take part, and the Struga Poetry Evenings which every year gather some 200 poets from about 50 countries. Ohrid is also the place where the Balkan Festival of Folk Song and Dance is held, and Veles organizes traditional meetings of writers from the Balkan countries in honour of the founder of modern Macedonian literature, Kocho Racin. Skopje is host to the World Cartoon Gallery, the May Opera Evenings and the Open Youth Theatre festival