Urban areas are characterized by a historical center with an open bazaar.
Skopje was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake in 1963.
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.
Since 1991, many villages have restored or built new churches or mosques. Dinner is the main meal and is eaten at around two p.m. Meals are prepared immediately before consumption, although they may include leftovers.
Hot food often is allowed to cool to room temperature.
Macedonia is slightly larger than the state of Vermont with a total area of 9,781 square miles (25,333 square kilometers). The number of Macedonians in neighboring states is difficult to determine. Macedonian is a South Slavic language in the Indo-European family whose closest relatives are Bulgarian and Serbian.
The country consists mostly of mountains separated by flat river valleys. There is a major east-west dialectal division and about twenty subdivisions.
That republic adopted an independent constitution on 17 November 1991. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the primary source of identity was religion, but the focus shifted to language before the end of the century.
As the modern Bulgarian and Serbian literary languages took shape, Macedonians attempted to create a literary language based on their speech, but Macedonian did not receive official recognition until 1944.
It is claimed that a Macedonian national identity arose during World War II to keep Yugoslavian Macedonia separate from Bulgaria, but there is documentation that the development of a national identity was indigenous in the nineteenth century. Ethnic Macedonians live in contiguous parts of Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania, and Muslim speakers of Slavic dialects classifiable as Macedonian who consider themselves to have a separate ethnicity (Goran) live in Kosovo and Albania.
Within Macedonia, religion is as important an organizing principle as language: Most Macedonians, Serbs, and Aromanians (Vlahs) are Christian, and most Albanians, Turks, and Rom are Muslim.
The national culture is identified with the Macedonian Orthodox Church, and Macedonian-speaking Muslims are divided among those who self-identify as Macedonians on the basis of language and those who self-identify as Muslims.