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  • Alright guys! This is going to be the most controversial video

  • I've made since Armenia and Azerbaijan.

  • As you know, we follow the alphabetical English list of countries in the UN.

  • That being said,

  • as the UN, EU, European Council, and NATO all give the same title for this country.

  • This episode is going to go under 'F' for "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

  • However,

  • I will refer to this country as the Republic of Macedonia as over 130 countries call it that on their own terms,

  • and because it's shorter and easier to say.

  • Okay? Are we good? Cool?

  • ♫ ♫ ♫

  • It's time to learn geography! ♫ NOW!

  • Hey everyone, I'm your host Barby.

  • For those of you who know nothing about this country or why I'm trying to take so many precautions.

  • Basically all you have to know is that

  • in almost every aspect, this place is actually pretty plain, simple and chill.

  • It's just the name that starts all the drama.

  • You might be wondering why. Well, we will explain in a bit

  • But first, let's talk about where it is.

  • So, the Republic of Macedonia--

  • Am I good? I know you don't like it but can you just at least maybe tolerate it

  • if I just use this title for the video for abbreviating purposes?

  • Greece: No problem. Please, just continue your lesson.

  • Thank you.

  • So, the Republic of Macedonia is kind of like a country that got mixed up, tossed around

  • flipped, turned upside down

  • and I'd like to take a moment just sitting right here to tell you how this country became a place with such an affair.

  • OH! High five!

  • First of all, the country is landlocked and located in the Balkan Peninsula of Southeast Europe,

  • surrounded by Bulgaria, Greece, Albania

  • and depending on which side of the sovereignty debate you stand on,

  • Kosovo and Serbia.

  • Guys, it's the Balkans, Europe's most dysfunctional family.

  • The country is divided into 9 regions

  • with the capital Skopje located in the North central part of the country

  • where a quarter of the entire population lives.

  • It's also the historical birthplace of Mother Teresa and in the city square it has a statue of Alexander the Great.

  • Greece: Look, they immortalized Alexander the Great, in their land.

  • Oh, and they named their airport after him too.

  • Greece: ...

  • The country only has two main civilian airports:

  • Skopje Alexander the Great International

  • and Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle International, by Lake Ohrid.

  • Ohrid is a popular tourist and vacation spot,

  • however, the second and third largest cities are Bitola, Kumanovo in the Northeast of Skopje.

  • The E-75 highway is the longest and busiest road that traverses the entire country North to South.

  • Fun little side note!

  • In the Republic of Macedonia, the sidewalks are actually used for both walking and parking.

  • To this day, the legacy of the Ottoman times is well preserved in places like

  • the Gazi Hajdar Kadi Mosque in Bitola.

  • Tetovo is kinda like the Albanian capital of the country as it has the highest Albanian population in the country,

  • adorned with geometric and floral motifs all over.

  • In the west, we reach the strange town/micronation of Vevčani

  • which declared itself its own republic and even has its own currency called the linčnik.

  • Now, if there's any structure that just straight-up dominates the landscape though,

  • it would have to be monasteries, churches, fortresses and mosques.

  • I did four like this, that's weird.

  • This is how I made a four.

  • Ones, like St. John the baptist monastery, which supposedly has the forearm

  • of St. John the baptist embellished with extremely intricate wood carvings in the interior.

  • The Kale fortress in Skopje and the Tsar Samuel fortress in Ohrid stick out too.

  • So, those are some of the most noticeable sites, but you're probably still wondering

  • "Okay, that's nice but what does any of this have to do with the country's controversial name?"

  • We'll explain that in just a little bit in the demographics section,

  • but first let's slowly keep you distracted from the inevitable rage fest

  • by telling you more about the pretty mountains and rivers and stuff...

  • All right, let's have one more round of plain objective fact reporting

  • before the gray zone of doom comes up in the next section.

  • In the simplest way I can put this, the country is about 80% mountainous and basically split in half

  • by the longest river, the Vardar that flows North to South and emptying in the Aegean Sea.

  • On the west of the river you have the Dinaric Alps with the tallest peak Mt. Korab along the border of Albania.

  • The general South Balkan region that the country lies on sits on the subduction zone between

  • the European and African plates cut right in the Mediterranean.

  • Therefore, the Republic of Macedonia is subject to some earthquake activity every so often.

  • The Republic of Macedonia is famous for two things: tobacco, and opium.

  • The opium here is the national treasure which has disputably the highest quality in the world,

  • with about 14 morphine units per specimen.

  • Rep. of Macedonia: Yeah, sorry Afghanistan. Hang in there though, you're doing good.

  • The crop is mostly used for pharmaceuticals and is transported all over Europe.

  • There is also the Peshna cave in Makedonski Brod which is famous for looking like

  • Helm's deep in Lord of the Rings.

  • Close by Skopje, you can't miss the Matka valley with the canyons.

  • Of course, the price trophy of the country would have to be Lake Ohrid.

  • One of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe with over 200 different endemic species.

  • Including the Ohrid trout which is one of the national animals.

  • Some national dishes include meat pie and Ajvar relish made of crushed bell peppers and garlic.

  • Sometimes referred as vegetable caviar.

  • Even though sometimes Serbians will say that they created it.

  • And that's about it!

  • Stay tuned. France is coming up next!

  • Oh yeah... Uh, how did this country get their whole name controversy dispute thing, right ah.

  • Oh boy, well uh...

  • Here comes the train wreck. I'll do my best.

  • Transition?

  • Oh boy... This is going to be just dandy. No matter what I say in any angle in this section.

  • Someone is going to disagree and throw sharp objects at me.

  • But, this is my job... This is the life I chose...

  • Come on Barby, you can do this!

  • Hey! Uh... We haven't done a Bob Saget joke in a while.

  • Duh, I'm Bob Saget. I wear dad pants and I once sat on a pizza.

  • Okay, first of all. The country has about 2 million people and was the only

  • former Yugoslav republic to gain independence without any bloodshed.

  • About 65% of the nation identifies as ethnically Macedonian and a quarter are Albanians

  • and rest are made up of groups like Turks, Romanis, Serbs and Bosniaks.

  • The currency is also the Macedonian Denar, they use the 'C', 'E', 'F' type outlets

  • and they drive on the right side of the road.

  • Now, let's begin the discussion...

  • First of all, what exactly are some distinguishing traits of people that identify as "Macedonian"?

  • Well, for starters, just like we explained in the Bulgaria episode.

  • They have Slavic roots and speak a Slavic based language that is very similar to Bulgarian.

  • Most people in both countries can understand each other just fine,

  • and many have relatives and family that live in each other's countries.

  • The people of this country have been tossed around over and over again in the past millennia,

  • and it wasn't until the Balkan wars that things really got cracking.

  • For those of you who don't know, the Balkan wars basically just went like this:

  • - Round 1 -

  • Oh no, we don't like the Ottomans. Let's fight them, yeah...

  • - Round 2 -

  • Bulgaria: What the?! We had an agreement, you screwed it all up. You're all dead!

  • And that's about it.

  • Essentially the area that takes up the parameters of modern-day Republic of Macedonia were

  • sort of the product of Yugoslavia after World War II.

  • First, they were called Vardar Banovina and then it became the Socialist Republic of Macedonia.

  • To this day, Macedonians claim that they are descendants of Alexander the Great

  • and the ancient Macedonians that were mixed in with the Slavic tribes that migrated

  • into the area in the 6th century AD.

  • Then, in 1991 Yugoslavia broke up and that was when the whole modern mess with Greece really heated up.

  • I mean, it was already kind of heated before that but this just made things a lot worse.

  • To this day, Greece deliberately opposes the usage of the title "Macedonia"

  • as they claim the name is historically inseparable from Greek heritage

  • and they are the only ones that have the right to use the name, let alone the symbols.

  • And shortly after they said that, the Republic of Macedonia started to use the... symbols.

  • Yeah, that didn't really help the conflict.

  • One thing that both Greeks and Macedonians can agree on is that historically, there was a region

  • called Macedonia that expanded under Alexander the Great all the way from the Balkans to India.

  • Where they disagree on is who the Macedonians and Alexander the Great really were,

  • which... I'm going to try my best, kind of went like this:

  • Greece: You guys are constructing a narrative and appropriating our heritage and symbols

  • and it all started with Tito. Macedonia is an inherently Greek title

  • and you guys are not Greek, let alone Hellenistic in any way.

  • Rep. of Macedonia: Uh, we never claimed to be Greek and neither was Alexander the Great.

  • He was ethnically Macedonian which was a separate distinct group apart from the Greeks

  • with mixed in with our Slavic forefathers after they arrived centuries later.

  • Greece: Dude, the Macedonians were Greeks. They spoke Greek, they had the same culture,

  • they worshiped the same gods, they spread the Greek language across the empire,

  • Alexander the Great was taught by Aristotle. They were Greek!

  • Rep. of Macedonia: Yeah, he spoke Greek, he also spoke Persian and a ton of other languages,

  • and if they were Greek, why would they go to war with ton of other Greek cities so often?

  • He spoke the original Macedonian language first, and then propagated

  • the Greek culture as it was seen as advantageous.

  • Greece: That's just a lie your leaders have told you to set up footing for future claims against Greek territory.

  • Macedonia has been the name of our North region for over 3000 years

  • with real Greek Macedonians today living in that area.

  • Rep. of Macedonia: Huh, yeah, that totally explains the actions of Ioannis Metaxas in 1913.

  • Greece: I knew you would bring that up. Look, I know that was tragic and horrible but it's completely

  • irrelevant to the actual documented, archaeologically corroborated, historical facts that you can't deny.

  • Rep. of Macedonia: Huh, then clearly you need a history lesson.

  • Greece: NO, YOU DO!

  • Rep. of Macedonia: YOU DO!

  • Greece: YOU DO!

  • Bulgaria: So uh guys, the Pirin region...

  • Rep. of Macedonia: AAAAA!

  • Disclaimer: this is pretty much just what the governments and radical nationalists say.

  • Most of the general Greek and Macedonian populations don't really care too much about this issue.