A predominately mountainous and landlocked country with deep river valleys, Macedonia is drained by the Vadar River, which runs through the center of the country, and its tributaries, including the Bregalnica, the Crna Reka, and the Treska rivers. Almost 40% of the country is forested, with a concentration of wooded areas in its western section. The climate is generally cold and snowy in the winter and hot and dry in the summer. The country is subject to occasional earthquakes.
Ethnic Macedonians constitute nearly two thirds of the population. The largest minority is Albanian, representing one fourth of the population and living largely in W Macedonia. There are smaller groups of Turks, Romani (Gypsies), Serbs, and others. About 65% of the people belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, while a third are Muslims, and there are small groups of non-Orthodox Christians. The predominant language is Macedonian, which is related to Bulgarian. Albanian is spoken by the sizable Albanian minority, and Turkish, Roma, and other languages are also spoken.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.