LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: FYR of Macedonia is a republic of the former socialist Yugoslavia. It is bound by Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, Albania to the west and Serbia & Montenegro to the north. Geographically, the country consists of large and high mountain massifs such as the Skopska Tsrna Gora Range to the north, the Pindus Ranges to the west and the Western Rhodope Mountains to the east which are interspersed by vast, fenced fertile valleys and plains, such as the Vardar and Strumitsa River Valleys. The mountainous terrain to the west is forested with deciduous and coniferous trees, whereas to the east, the mountains are covered in scrub mixed with deciduous and coniferous trees. To the southwest, the lakes of Ohrid and Prespa have formed in low lying areas of the valleys. The principal river is the Vadar River. Major Cities (pop. est.); Skopje 440,600, Bitolj 75,400, Prilep 67,400, Kumanovo 66,200, Tetovo 50,400 (1994). Land Use; forested 39%, pastures 25%, agricultural-cultivated 26%, other 11% (1993).
CLIMATE: Macedonia has a transitional climate from Mediterranean to continental with hot dry summers and moderately cold winters. Average annual precipitation varies form 1,700 mm (67 inches) in the western mountainous area to 500 mm (20 inches) in the eastern area while the central valleys and plains only receive 450 mm (18 inches). Average temperature ranges in Skopje are from -1 degrees Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 23 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit) in July.
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Macedonians who account for 66% of the population while 21% are Albanians. Other ethnic minorities include Bulgarians and Turks.