Portal:Europe

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Introduction

Europe orthographic Caucasus Urals boundary (with borders).svg

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Since around 1850, Europe is most commonly considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries.

Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area). Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of the world population) . The European climate is largely affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent, even at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.

Featured panorama

Saint Peter's Square
Credit: Diliff

Saint Peter's Square is a large plaza located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave inside Rome, directly west of the neighbourhood or rione of Borgo.At the centre of the square is an Egyptian obelisk, erected at the current site in 1586. Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the square almost 100 years later, including the massive Tuscan colonnades, four columns deep, which embrace visitors in "the maternal arms of Mother Church". A granite fountain constructed by Bernini in 1675 matches another fountain designed by Carlo Maderno in 1613.



Selected article

The Palace of Queluz. The "Ceremonial Façade" of the corps de logis designed by Oliveira
The Palace of Queluz is a Portuguese 18th-century palace located at Queluz, a freguesia of the modern-day Sintra Municipality, in the Lisbon District. One of the last great Rococo buildings to be designed in Europe,the palace was conceived as a summer retreat for Dom Pedro of Braganza, later to become husband and then king consort to his own niece, Queen Maria I. It served as a discreet place of incarceration for Queen Maria as her descent into madness continued in the years following Dom Pedro's death in 1786. Following the destruction by fire of the Ajuda Palace in 1794, Queluz Palace became the official residence of the Portuguese prince regent, John VI, and his family and remained so until the Royal Family fled to the Portuguese colony of Brazil in 1807 following the French invasion of Portugal.

Work on the palace began in 1747 under the architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira. Despite being far smaller, the palace is often referred to as the Portuguese Versailles. From 1826, the palace slowly fell from favour with the Portuguese sovereigns. In 1908, it became the property of the state. Following a serious fire in 1934, which gutted one-third of the interior, the palace was extensively restored, and today is open to the public as a major tourist attraction. One wing of the palace, the Pavilion of Dona Maria, built between 1785 and 1792 by the architect Manuel Caetano de Sousa, is now a guest house allocated to foreign heads of state visiting Portugal.


Featured portrait

Leo Tolstoy, 1897
Credit: Unknown

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910),usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time.Born to an aristocratic Russian family in 1828, he is best known for the novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. He first achieved literary acclaim in his twenties with his semi-autobiographical trilogy, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth (1852–1856), and Sevastopol Sketches (1855), based upon his experiences in the Crimean War. Tolstoy's fiction includes dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and Hadji Murad. He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.

Selected image

Christmas icon, Adoration of the Shepherds, from the Ivan Honchar Museum collection. Artist unknown, c. 1670.
Credit: Unknown

The History of Christianity in Ukraine dates back to the earliest centuries of the apostolic church. It has remained the dominant religion in the country since its acceptance in 988 by Vladimir the Great (Volodymyr the Great), who instated it as the state religion of Kievan Rus', a medieval East Slavic state and establishment of the Kiev Metropolis.

Selected biography

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, c. 1914
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia (November 15 [O.S. November 3] 1895 – July 17, 1918) was the eldest daughter of the last Tsar of the Russian Empire, Emperor Nicholas II, and of Empress Alexandra of Russia.

During her lifetime, Olga's future marriage was the subject of great speculation within Russia. Matches were rumored with Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, Crown Prince Carol of Romania, Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Britain's George V, and with Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia. Olga herself wanted to marry a Russian and remain in her home country. During World War I, Olga nursed wounded soldiers in a military hospital until her own nerves gave out and, thereafter, oversaw administrative duties at the hospital.

Olga's murder following the Russian Revolution of 1917 resulted in her canonization as a passion bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church. In later years, when dozens of people made claims to be surviving members of the imperial family, a woman named Marga Boodts claimed to be Grand Duchess Olga, but her claim was not taken seriously. Olga was assassinated along with her family at Yekaterinburg. Her remains were identified through DNA testing and were buried during a funeral ceremony in 1998 at Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg along with those of her parents and two of her sisters.


Featured location

Surtsey, sixteen days after the onset of the eruption
Surtsey is a volcanic island located in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago off the southern coast of Iceland. At 63°18′11″N 20°36′18″W / 63.303°N 20.605°W / 63.303; -20.605Coordinates: 63°18′11″N 20°36′18″W / 63.303°N 20.605°W / 63.303; -20.605, Surtsey is the southernmost point of Iceland. It was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres (426 ft) below sea level, and reached the surface on 14 November 1963. The eruption lasted until 5 June 1967, when the island reached its maximum size of 2.7 km2 (1.0 sq mi). Since then, wave erosion has caused the island to steadily diminish in size: as of 2012, its surface area was 1.3 km2 (0.50 sq mi).

The new island was named after Surtr, a fire jötunn or giant from Norse mythology. It was intensively studied by volcanologists during its eruption, and afterwards by botanists and other biologists as life forms gradually colonised the originally barren island. The undersea vents that produced Surtsey are part of the Vestmannaeyjar submarine volcanic system, part of the fissure of the sea floor called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Vestmannaeyjar also produced the famous eruption of Eldfell on the island of Heimaey in 1973. The eruption that created Surtsey also created a few other small islands along this volcanic chain, such as Jólnir and unnamed other peaks. Most of these eroded away fairly quickly.


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