Europe is one of the greatest centers of civilization in the world history for more than 5000 years. It is the third most populous continent on Earth. Its territory is 10,180,000 square kilometers. The population - over 700 million people.
Europe is in the northern hemisphere, bordered by Ural Mountains and Ural River to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Mediterranean sea, Caspian Sea, Black Sea and Caucasus border it to the southeast.
Europe map at the left - Scale 1: 19,500,000. Lambert Informal Conic Projection, standart parallels 40 N and 56 N.
One of the most modern descriptions of Europe is a "unity of diversity". The European Union has 27 members. From them only Cyprus is entirely in Asia. The Council of Europe, an international organization of European integration, includes more countries – 47. It involves several countries geographically in Asia – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cyprus and Georgia.
On the map of Europe at the right are the countries which belongs to the continent. These are Bulgaria, Greece Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, Austria, Turkey (located almost exclusively in Asia), Finland, Latvia, Slovenia, Andorra, Ukraine, Albania, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vatican, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Iceland, Kazakhstan (the most in Asia), Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Norway, England, Poland, Portugal, Russia (country which parts are mainly in Asia), San Marino, Slovakia, Hungary, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sweden, Guernsey, Transnistria, Jersey, Isle of Man, the Faroe Islands, Kosovo and Gibraltar.
There are 6 regions in Europe.
Balkans – Southeastern Europe region
Balkans - Southeastern Europe region includes all the Balkan Peninsula. Its name comes form the name Balkans, which the Ottoman Turks gave to the Old Mountains. The Balkan Peninsula cross major roads in Western and Central Europe, to the Middle East and Northern and Eastern Europe, and Mediterranean Africa. Because of this strategic geographical position the Balkans centuries were marked by crusades, invasions and many military conflicts. Mixing of different nations and ethnic groups form many cultures, languages and traditions over the centuries. Countries on Balkans map: Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Albania.
The Central European region includes the land in the “heart of Europe” – from the North and Baltic Sea to the southern foot of the Alps. Natural character of the region is a blend of contrasting landscapes. To the north stretches the vast Central-valley, with coasts wetlands, polders, low moraine hills and scattered between shallow lakes and marshes. To the south is a number of Central European mountain ranges, rounded ridges and gentle slopes, picturesque canyons and river valleys. In the southern part of Central Europe dominates the most densely populated mountain in Europe – the Alps. There are six countries in Central Europe. Liechtenstein is the smallest by size, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein are typical alpine countries. In Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, runs the second longest river in Europe – the Danube, which flows into the Black Sea. In political terms, the region has changed much. Since 1815 Switzerland retains only neutral and outside of all wars and conflicts. The countries in Central Europe are industrial – agricultural countries. Leading place in their economy take the industry, the service and the most - tourism. Countries on the map of Central Europe: Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland.
Eastern Europe - is the widest European region, which occupies almost half of the continent. Stretching from the Baltic Sea and Carpathian Middle European valley to the west, east to the Urals and the Arctic Ocean to the Great Caucasus to the south. In Eastern Europe the landscapes varies. From north to south natural areas are naturally changing – hard leaf forests and shrubs on the southern coast of the Crimea peninsula and southern foothills of the Great Caucasus, the steppe and forest-steppe, extensive forest belt, where alternate deciduous, mixed and coniferous forests tundra and north – harsh landscape of the tundra. By the end of 80s of the twentieth century, all countries in Eastern Europe were part of the former Soviet Union. Today, as independent states, they experience a period of transition to market economy. Except Russia, all other countries are small with limited natural resources. Countries on the map of Eastern Europe: Russia, Estonia, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine.
Northern Europe is the kingdom of coniferous forests. Here are the European taiga, tundra and ice deserts of the European Arctic islands. This is the coldest region of the continent. Continental and island parts divide Northern Europe. The mainland is composed of the oldest rocks on the continent (ie. Baltic shield), on which are situated the Scandinavian peninsula (the largest peninsula in Europe) and the large Finnish – Karelian area strewn with thousands of lakes. In Northern Europe there are five high developement of industrial countries – Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Faroe Islands and Poland. They feature a high standard of living. Except Denmark, these countries are the most sparsely populated in Europe.
Southern Europe called the European Mediterranean, includes two large peninsulas: the Iberian and Apennine, and the surrounding islands. Southern european islands and peninsulas separate the north equator in several Mediterranean coastal seas – Balearic, Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, Adriatic and Ionian Sea. The Iberian Peninsula is almost square and is the second largest in Europe after Scandinavia. On the peninsula are located the countries Portugal, Spain and Andorra. Apennine peninsula is narrow, with highly elongated characteristic shape for which it is called “the boot”. Here are situated Italy and two very small countries San Marino and the Vatican. The small nation of Malta is located In the region. And in the most southeastern regions is another island country Cyprus.
Western Europe is a concept that was used before the change (1989) for the countries west of the Eastern Block. In other words the countries to the west of the Soviet Union. Many of these countries were part of the European Union that time or have become part of it. After the changes the concept is largely used in the same way, but many of the countries which become part of the European Union after the changes are part of Central Europe. The term Western Europe is as well as geographical and cultural concept. The Western Europe region includes 25 countries, of which 15 are EU members. The region has a wide outlet to the Mediterranean. It is open to the Atlantic Ocean, which facilitates business contacts between the region and other countries in the world, including Japan and USA. The region is general economic mechanism with a natural, demographic and economic potential. The countries in Europe are seeking to drop the boundaries between them (the Schengen agreement), so the size of their territory is gradually losing importance. The integration process has led to the formation of the European Economic Area (EEA). Since 1993, it formed as one of the economic forces in the world with about 46% of world trade. Three quarters of this trade is within Europe, which is evidence of the opening of borders and connections between the countries formed EEA. The movement of people, goods and capital stimulates economic development in the region, building a unified economic infrastructure. Countries in Western Europe: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican City.
More about Western Europe: Emergence of the medieval city in Western Europe.
The tourism in the continent is an important factor for the balance of payments and provides the highest revenues in the world. With its rich and diverse geographical, cultural historical and natural heritage and with the density of tourist attractions Europe is the most visited continent.