Flag of Macedonia
|Design||A stylised yellow sun on a red field, with eight broadening rays extending from the centre to the edge of the field. |
In 1991, Todor Petrov, president of the ultra-nationalist organization World Macedonian Congress, designated and proposed the Vergina Sun as the national symbol of the Republic of Macedonia. On 11 August 1992, the newly independent Republic of Macedonia adopted the new flag to replace the old Communist "red star" insignia. The flag depicted the "Vergina Sun" symbol, a stylised yellow sun centred on a red field with eight main and eight secondary rays emanating from the sun, tapering to a point. This ancient symbol was named after the Greek town where it had been discovered in archaeological excavations of the ancient Macedonian city of Aigai.
The Vergina Sun was regarded by Greece as a symbol of continuity between ancient Macedonia and modern Greek culture, and in particular as a symbol of the Argead dynasty of Philip II of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great. From the late 1970s it had also been adopted by many both in Greece and the then Socialist Republic of Macedonia to symbolise historical connections with ancient Macedonia and had been paraded in demonstrations by Greeks and ethnic Macedonians at home and abroad.
The flag, the new state's constitution and its name all became the focus of a dispute between the two countries, during which Greece imposed an economic blockade on the Republic from February 1994. In July 1995, Greece lodged a request with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for exclusive trademark protection to the Vergina Sun.
Greek objections also prevented the flag from being flown at the United Nations Headquarters building in New York. The blockade was lifted in October 1995 when an agreement was reached to change the flag, modify the constitution and resolve the naming dispute through United Nations-sponsored negotiations. 
Red and yellow have always been considered the main colours representing Macedonia, probably because of the colours of the historical coat of arms of Macedonia. The new eight-rayed sun represents "the new sun of Liberty" referred to in the national anthem of the Republic of Macedonia, Denes nad Makedonija ("Today over Macedonia").