The Republic of Macedonia has a rich cultural heritage
in art, architecture, poetry, and music. It has many ancient, protected
religious sites. Poetry, cinema, and music festivals are held annually.
Macedonian music styles developed under the strong influence of Byzantine
church music. Macedonia is amongst one of the countries with the most
beautiful preserved Byzantine fresco paintings, mainly from the period
between the 11th and 16th centuries. There are several thousands square
metres of fresco painting preserved, the major part of which is in very
good condition and represent masterworks of the Macedonian School of
In Macedonia the past meets the present. Its age-old
architecture and monasteries and churches of exquisite beauty make an
interesting contrast to the super modern new architecture. Most of the
Macedonian monasteries, built in various periods, and particularly those
built between the 11th and 15th–16th centuries, have been completely
preserved until today. The Macedonian collection of icons, and in particular
the Ohrid ones, are among the most valuable collections in the world
today. After the Sinai and the Moscow collection of icons, it is third
in importance in Orthodoxy. From a Byzantological aspect, it is unique.
The most important cultural events in the country are
the Ohrid Summer festival of classical music and drama, the Struga Poetry
Evenings which gather poets from more than 50 countries in the world,
Skopje May Opera Evenings, International Camera Festival in Bitola,
Open Youth Theatre and Skopje Jazz Festival in Skopje etc.