National Figures

Macedonia is well known in the world not only because of its rich cultural heritage but also by famous people who made changes in history and left a significant remark with their existence and work.

They left a profound mark for remembering and recognizing Macedonia everywhere in the world.
These are just some of the famous people from Macedonia, although the list of people is much longer than this.

Alexander the Great


A towering figure in ancient history, Alexander the Great came close to conquering the entire civilized world of his day. The son of King Phillip II of Macedon, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle and first led troops at age 18. After his father’s death he took command of the Macedonian army, whipped the superpower Persians, and then went on to conquer much of the civilized world. At the peak of his powers, his empire stretched from the western edge of modern-day India across to Egypt (where he founded the city of Alexandria and named it for himself). He died at age 33, after days of fever following a bout of heavy drinking; some suggest he was poisoned, though no cause of death has ever been proved. He was entombed in a golden coffin in Alexandria, where his tomb attracted travelers for centuries.


Mother Teresa


The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, commonly known as Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje. She was the third child of Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu; her older sister was named Age and her older brother was named Lazar

Mother Teresa grew famous for humbly ministering to lepers, the homeless and the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta (otherwise known as Kolkata), India. She was proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church in 2016.

In 1928, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Lareto, a Catholic order that did charity work in India. She took the name Sister Teresa and for 17 years taught school in the country. In 1950 she founded the Missionaries of Charity, a new order devoted to helping the sick and the poorest of the poor; the order grew to include branches in more than 100 cities around the world, and Mother Teresa became a worldwide symbol of charity, meeting with Princess Diana and many other public figures.

Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979, and in 1985 she was awarded the Medal of Freedom from the United States. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 19 October 2003, who judged that Teresa’s supernatural intervention had cured an Indian woman suffering from an abdominal tumor.

In 2015, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had formally attributed a second miracle to Mother Teresa: the healing of a Brazilian man with brain tumors in 2008. That cleared the way for canonization, with Mother Teresa officially declared a saint in a Vatican service on September 4, 2016, with Pope Francis saying “We declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a saint and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole Church.”

Toshe Proeski (Todor Proeski)

Singer and songwriter

Macedonian pop singer-songwriter, born on 25 January 1981 in Prilep Macedonia.


Proeski studied classical music, as well as the Serbo-Croatian and English languages, first in Krusevo (where he grew up) and later at the Skopje Music Academy. He broke into show business in 1996, at age 15, and released his first album, Nekade vo nokta (“Somewhere in the Night”), three years later. Several of Proeski’s later albums were simultaneously released in both Macedonian and Serbo-Croat versions, including his seventh, Igri bez granici (“Games Without Borders”), which came out in August 2007. He was named a UNICEF ambassador to the Balkans in 2004. Delighted fans across the Balkan region with his upbeat, often romantic pop music; his appeal—based in part on his good looks and clean-cut image—transcended ethnic divisions, and he was popular throughout the former Yugoslav republics, Bulgaria, and Greece.

He has been compared to the U.S. singer Elvis Presley.

He died on 16 October 2007, near Nova Gradiska, Croatia.  After Proeski’s death in a car crash was announced, radio stations throughout the region broadcast his music continuously, the Macedonian parliament adjourned for the day, and thousands of mourners lined the streets lighting candles, placing flowers near makeshift shrines, and chanting his songs; the Macedonia government proclaimed the day of Proeski’s funeral a national day of mourning and flew official flags at half staff.

Esma Redzepova

Singer and songwriter

Roma-Macedonian singer and songwriter nicknamed Queen of the Gypsies. She is known for albums such as Songs of a Macedonian Gypsy.She won first place in a Macedonian radio talent contest when she was fourteen years old.

She represented Macedonia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 alongside Vlatko Lozanoski.

She married her manager Stevo Teodosievsk in 1968 and was with him up until his death in 1997. The two became foster parents to nearly fifty children.

Her single “Caje Sukarije” was featured on the soundtrack of the 2006 film Borat starring Sacha Baron Cohen.

Verica Pandilovska

Singer-music artist

Verica Pandilovska is an educated music artist with vast experience in live performances and music festivals. She was born on 13th May 1973 in Tetovo, Macedonia. Began singing and performing in high school as a hobby but soon it became a profession and a serious life commitment.

Verica’s first public appearance was at the movie premiere “Arizona Dream” where she performed the traditional “Kalesh Bre Angjo” (Калеш бре Анѓо). In 1994 she had her first debut at the music festivals in Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania etc., received numerous national and international awards and recognitions, as well as concerts, live gigs and TV shows.

Finally, the 2007 was the high point of the career with promotion of her first professional album “Belo zname” which contained the national hits such as “Kuckin Sin”, “Bez zdiv”, “Kapka pot” and many more. Most of the songs have videos that were played at all the TV Stations in the Balkan.

In 2008 she promoted the video for the song” Cveke za izvini”.

In 2009 promotion of composition “Severno od mene, Juzno od tebe”. Next year she promoted the single” Nema da ostaresh. In 2011 she presented herself in festival Ohridski Trubaduri on Ohrid with the song “Kaktus”. In 2013 Verica took her music career in Italy and bring home the song” Vrati mi go migot” from the compositor Salvatore Moneti.

She also presented Macedonia in the music festival in Kirgistan in 2015.

Zoran Dzorlev


Zoran Dzorlev was born on 10 Jan. 1967 in Strumica. He studied violin starting at the Elementary School, later he continued to study music at the High School of DMBUC in Llija Nikolovski – Luj, Skopje. Dzorlev graduated in 1989 at the Faculty of Music with his instrument violin. He worked for the orchestra of the Macedonian Opera and Ballet for 14 years, the last 3 years in the position of Vice Concert Maestro. As a Vice Concert Maestro he participates at the Youth Chamber Orchestra of MMM, under the direction of Prof. Maestro Fimco Muratovski. He is a member of the Macedonian Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Vanco Cavdarski and is as well a member of several other well-known Chamber Orchestras, like the Macedonian Philharmonics. From 2011 to 2017 he is Director of National Institution Ensemble of Dances and Songes of Macedonia- “Tanec”. He has taken part in a lot of recitals in Macedonia and had internationally a lot of appearances with the Macedonian Philharmonics, Chamber Orchestra, String Trios, Quartets and Quintets. Zoran Dzorlev has won a number of awards in different contests. In his career he has won the first, second and third price in state contests for violin and state contests for chamber music. The last few years he is known for his remakes of Macedonian popular and folk compositions, movie compositions, jazz, ethno themes and performing the same.




“Trpceski’s art is to probe deep beneath the notes and elicit the essential character and substance of a score. […] Deftness and passion made for a performance that was extraordinarily compelling in its freshness and in its capacity to expose the music’s very heart.”

The Telegraph

Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski performs with the world’s foremost orchestras including London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw, Russian National Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne, Helsinki Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Real Filharmonía de Galicia, New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, New Japan Philharmonic, China Philharmonic and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He regularly gives solo recitals in such cultural capitals as New York, London, Paris, Munich, Prague and Tokyo, and performs chamber music at festivals such as Verbier, Aspen Music Festival, Bergen International Festival, the Baltic Sea Festival and the BBC Proms. Conductors he regularly collaborates with include Marin Alsop, Lionel Bringuier, Thomas Dausgaard, Gustavo Dudamel, Jakob Hrůša, Vladimir Jurowski, Susanna Mälkki, Andris Nelsons, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Antonio Pappano, Vasily Petrenko, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Lahav Shani, Dima Slobodeniouk, Robin Ticciati and Krzysztof Urbański. During the 2017/18 season Trpčeski will reunite with the San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich on tour, as well as joining Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and Slovenian Philharmonic, amongst others. Autumn 2017 marks the beginning of a string of diverse performances at London’s Wigmore Hall as an Artist in Residence, featuring his regular duo partnership with the cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, as well as including the UK debut of the self-made folk-based project, “Makedonissimo”, celebrating the music, culture and people of his native Macedonia. Trpčeski has recorded prolifically to widespread acclaim. His first recording (EMI, 2002) received both the “Editor’s Choice” and “Debut Album” awards at the Gramophone Awards. In 2010 and 2011, his interpretations of Rachmaninov’s four piano concertos with Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra were recognized with Classic FM, Gramophone “Editor’s Choice,” and Diapason d’Or accolades. Trpčeski’s March 2012 recital at the Wigmore Hall, released on “Wigmore Hall Live”, was immediately hailed by The Telegraph as “Classical CD of the Week.” His most recent recording for Onyx Classics features Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos No. 1 and 3, and again won him the Diapason d’Or in September 2017. With the special support of KulturOp — Macedonia’s leading cultural and arts organization — and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia, Trpčeski works regularly with young musicians in Macedonia in order to cultivate the talent of the country’s next generation of artists.


Born in the Republic of Macedonia in 1979, Simon Trpčeski is a graduate of the School of Music in Skopje, where he studied with Boris Romanov. He was previously a BBC New Generation Artist, and was honoured with the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2003.

Goran Pandev

Soccer player

Top-scoring Macedonian footballer. He began his career by playing for the FK Belasica, a Macedonian Third League football club. He won the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup while playing for the Milan-based Internazionale (professional Italian football club). His family lived in Strumica, Macedonia (then a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) at the time of his birth. He and Dutch-born footballer, Wesley Sneijder, both played for the Internazionale in 2010.


Kiril Lazarov

Handball player

Macedonian-born handball player known for his 2009 record for most World Championship goals scored. He was born in Sveti Nikole, Macedonia. He and his brother, Filip Lazarov, both grew up to be professional handball players. He has often been referred to by his athletic nickname, the “left-handed bomber.” He wed Ljubica Lazarov in 2006, and Ljubica gave birth to the couple’s daughter and son.


Darko Pancev

Soccer player

Retired footballer chosen in 2003 by the Football Federation of the Republic of Macedonia as its Golden Player. He joined the Yugoslav First League in 1982 and quickly became a top scorer. He joined the Red Star Belgrade in 1988 but had to take a year off from soccer in order to serve a mandatory term in the Yugoslav People’s Army. He married Maja Grozdanovska, a singer, and the couple had two daughters.

Shaban Trstena


Shaban Trstena was born in Skopje.Growing up in Chair, Trstena joined the Liria Wrestling Club and was trained by notable coaches Mentaz Allajbegu and Hajrush Sinani, who had also trained notable wrestlers Shaban Seidiu, Bajram Qorrolli, Abdulla Mehmeti, Mustaf Syla, Shend Kamberi and Adnan Elezi. Trstena won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and also won the silver medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Trstena is currently the youngest to win any wrestling gold at the Olympics, being 19 years of age at the Los Angeles Olympics. In the 1984 European Championships, Trstena won gold beating the then World Champion Valentin Yordanov. Trstena would then win silver in 1983, 1985, 1986, and the bronze in 1982 and 1988. In the 1982 World Wrestling Championships, Trstena reached bronze. During the three times he competed in the Mediterranean or Balkan Games, he won gold in all three. He has been pronounced the Best Macedonian athlete many times and once, in 1984 the best athlete of Yugoslavia. In 2000 he has been also pronounced the best Albanian athlete of the last century. He has won 715 matches out of 741 fights. He participated in 42 tournaments in the world winning 30 gold medals, the remainder being silver and bronze. At the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 he won the fifth place.


Kokan Ajanovski

Long distance runner

Kokan is born in Skopje on 17.01.1982. He is graduated mechanical engineer and sport lover. He is running and competing in the races, half marathons, marathons  in Macedonia as well as half marathons outside of Macedonia.

Best international success:

  • Balkan Marathon Championships Limassol, Cyprus, 2018, 3rd place
  • Balkan Marathon Championships Zagreb, Croatia, 2017, 8th place
  • Balkan Half marathon Championships Podgorica, 2016, 8th place
  • Balkan Team Cross Country Championships, Denica Kocaeli,Turkey,2014 ,3rd place,


Personal Best Half Marathon: 1h 12min 00sec, Copenhagen, Denmark , World Half-marathon Championships 2014




Famous people with Macedonian descent



Father of singer Shakira has reportedly Macedonian origin, and there are other theories about the Orthodox family of the singer. Shakira’s grandfather was Lebanese who married a Macedonian. Shakira’s father – William was born in America and moved to Colombia where he married Italian Nidija.
In fact, she was his second wife, a mother of Shakira. Once attracted great attention news that Shakira and the second son gave him a name that can be linked with our region, began speculation whether it has to do with the father of the singer, who reportedly has Macedonian origin! The first child of Shakira and footballer Pique called Milan, and the second son – Sasha.


Mike S. Zafirovski

– is a Macedonian-American businessman. Zafirovski immigrated to the USA in 1969, arriving in Cleveland, Ohio with his family, $1500 dollars among them and speaking no English. Two years later, he entered Edinboro University on a swimming scholarship. In 2004, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He joined Motorola, serving as Executive Vice President and President of the Personal Communications Sector from June 2000 until July 2002. Afterwards Zafirovski became the President and Chief Executive Officer of Nortel Networks, He was elected to the Board of Directors at Boeing on October 25, 2004 and in July 2007 President George W. Bush appointed him to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.


Marek Jankulovski

is a retired Czech footballer who played as a defender. His most notable achievements include winning the UEFA Champions League with A.C. Milan and being voted the 2007 Czech Footballer of the Year. He earned 77 caps for the Czech Republic, and represented them at three European Championships, the 2000 Olympics and the 2006 World Cup. His father, Pando Jankulovski, is a Macedonian who emigrated to Czechoslovakia from Yugoslavia. Marek’s mother is Czech. Marek is married to Jana Jankulovska and they have two daughters together, Karolína and Kristýna. He is also a member of the team Real Top Praha in whose jersey participates in charity games and events.


Maya Mia

Beauty and makeup tutorial YouTube phenomenon who publishes her videos to the channel 007Maya Mia. She created her channel in October of 2012 and published her first video, “Secret to Long Beautiful Hair,” on November 18, 2012. Her YouTube channel has earned over 1 million subscribers. She is also popular on Instagram with over 1.6 million followers. She was born in Ohrid, Macedonia.