officially the Republic of Macedonia, is a country in the central Balkan
peninsula in southeastern Europe. It is one of the successor states of
the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. It
became a member of the United Nations in 1993, but as a result of a dispute
with Greece over its name, it was admitted under the provisional reference
of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, sometimes abbreviated as
A landlocked country, the
Republic of Macedonia is bordered by Serbia and Kosovo to the north, Bulgaria
to the east, Greece to the south and Albania to the west. The country's
capital is Skopje, with 506,926 inhabitants according to a 2004 census.
Other cities include Bitola, Kumanovo, Prilep, Tetovo, Ohrid, Veles, Štip,
Gostivar and Strumica. It has more than 50 lakes and sixteen mountains
higher than 2,000 m (6,562 ft). Macedonia is a member of the UN and the
Council of Europe. Since December 2005 it has also been a candidate for
joining the European Union and has applied for NATO membership.