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Other metaphors of community include "Mother Macedonia," "heart of the Balkans," and "oasis of peace." Emergence of the Nation.

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The sarcophagus of Gotse Delchev in a church in Skopje is near the site of a ceremonial commemoration that includes fireworks, picnics, and folk dancing.

The national anthem refers to the sun of freedom, the struggle for rights, and the heroes of Ilinden.

Albania recognizes as Macedonian only the Christians living in its southeast, omitting the Macedonian-speaking Muslim and Christian population of the eastern highlands and the Gorans.

In 1999, Bulgaria recognized the independent existence of the Macedonian literary language, but in return Macedonia has renounced support for the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.

There are six ethnic groups: Miyak, Brsyak, Southern, Struma-Mesta, Macedo-Shop, and Upper Vardar. Macedonia is a land-locked nation located in southeastern Europe.

The current border runs along mountain chains that separate the republic from Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, and Kosovo and Serbia. The population in that year was 67 percent Macedonian, 22 percent Albanian, and 4 percent Turkish, with smaller numbers of Roms (Gypsies), Vlahs (Aromanians), Serbs, Muslims, and others.Macedonian evolved in contact with non-Slavic languages such as Greek, Albanian, Aromanian, and Turkish.During the Ottoman period, multilingualism was the norm, but today young Macedonian speakers are more likely to know English than the other national languages.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.Multilingualism is common in urban areas but is less common in rural areas. The unsuccessful Saint Elijah's Day (Ilinden) uprising of 1903 is the organizing metaphor of statehood.

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