Capital city: Skopje
Political system: Republic
Total area: 25 433 km²
Population: 2.05 million
Schengen area: Not a member of Schengen
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia became independent in 1991 following the break-up of Yugoslavia. It is a landlocked country in the central Balkans with mountains overlooking a valley and deep basins. Lake Ohrid, which it shares with Albania, is one of the oldest lakes in the world.
Ethnic Macedonians account for two-thirds of the population, but there is also a sizeable ethnic Albanian minority and smaller minorities of Turks and Roma.
The single-chamber parliament or Sobranie has 120 members who are elected for a period of four years. The president, who has limited powers, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term.
The country possesses mineral resources including iron-ore, copper, lead and zinc. Textiles represent the most significant sector for trade, accounting for more than half of total exports. Other important exports include iron, steel, wine and vegetables.
The local cuisine includes specialities such as caraway pork with cabbage, stuffed pigeon and the local version of shopska salad (based on tomato, cucumber and sheep’s cheese) which is found throughout the Balkans.