The central Balkan peninsula located in southeast Europe is where you will find the Republic of Macedonia, a landlocked country that declared its independence from Yugoslavia over 20 years ago. . Bordered by Greece, Kosovo, Albania, Serbia and Bulgaria, Macedonia is currently a candidate for inclusion in the European Union and has applied for acceptance by NATO. A mountainous, water-rich country popular with international tourists, Macedonia is famous for beautiful rivers that flow into the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Adriatic basins. People from all over the world also visit Macedonia for its many spas (banja) and resort towns offering relief from various medical conditions. Useful Facts about Macedonia • The capital of Macedonia is Skopje, which is also its largest city and home to over 500,000 residents. • Macedonian is the official language, with Serbian, Roma, Turkish and Albanian spoken is various regions of the country. People who speak standard Bulgarian and Macedonian can usually understand each other since these languages share a similar history. • Macedonians represent 65 percent of the ethnic population, followed by 25 percent Albanians, 4 percent Turks, 3 percent Roma and 1 percent Serbs. • Orthodox Christianity is the predominant religion followed in Macedonia, with about 30 percent adhering to the Islam faith. • Since Macedonia has yet to be included in the European Union, the country's currency is called the Denar (MKD). Legal System in Macedonia Macedonia is a parliamentary republic presided over by a President, Prime Minister and Speaker of the Parliament. The legislative body is the Parliament (Sobranie) which creates, proposes and enacts all government laws. The Supreme Court, the Constitution Court and the Republican Judicial Council exercise judicial power in Macedonia. Lower courts such as municipal and district courts are presided over by judges who obtain their positions by popular vote or by the amount of education and experience gained as lawyers practicing in specialized areas of the legal field. Macedonian laws and legal rules of order follow the European Continental Law System that also includes over 25 basic courts, several appeals courts and a Skopje-based Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeal Shtip represents the highest court in each demarcated region.