Geographical midpoint of Europe

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The location of the geographical centre of Europe depends on the definition of the borders of Europe, mainly whether remote islands are included to define the extreme points of Europe, and on the method of calculating the final result. Thus, several places claim to host this hypothetical centre.

Current measurements[edit]

Current measurements of extreme points of Europe and its centres
Monument in Bernotai, Lithuania

After a re-estimation of the boundaries of the continent of Europe in 1989, Jean-George Affholder, a scientist at the Institut Géographique National (French National Geographic Institute) determined that the geographic centre of Europe is located at 54°54′N 25°19′E / 54.900°N 25.317°E / 54.900; 25.317 (Purnuškės (centre of gravity)).[1] The method used for calculating this point was that of the centre of gravity of the geometrical figure of Europe. This point is located in Lithuania, specifically 26 kilometres (16 mi) north of its capital city, Vilnius, near the village of Purnuškės. A monument, composed by the sculptor Gediminas Jokūbonis and consisting of a column of white granite surmounted by a crown of stars, was erected at the location in 2004. An area of woods and fields surrounding the geographic centre point and including Lake Girija, Bernotai Hill, and an old burial ground, was set aside as a reserve in 1992. The State Tourism Department at the Ministry of Economy of Lithuania has classified the Geographic Centre monument and its reserve as a tourist attraction. This location is the only one listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the geographical centre of Europe.[citation needed] 17 km away lies Europos Parkas, Open Air Museum of the Centre of Europe, a sculpture park containing the world's largest sculpture made of TV sets.[2]

Hungary[edit]

It is claimed that a 1992 survey found that the geometric centre of Europe is in the village of Tállya, Hungary 48°14′10″N 21°13′33″E / 48.23610°N 21.22574°E / 48.23610; 21.22574.[3][4] In 2000, a sculpture was erected in the village, with a table on it declaring the place the "Geometric Centre of Europe".[5]

Estonia[edit]

It is claimed that if all the islands of Europe – from the Azores to Franz Joseph Land and from Crete to Iceland – are taken into consideration then the centre of Europe lies at 58°18′14″N 22°16′44″E / 58.30389°N 22.27889°E / 58.30389; 22.27889 (North of Torgu) in the village of Mõnnuste, on Saaremaa island in western Estonia. Again, no author and no method of calculation have been disclosed. The local Kärla Parish is seeking to verify the location and to turn it into a tourist location.[6]

Belarus[edit]

Monument to the Geographical Centre of Europe in Polotsk

Claims have been made that Vitebsk 55°11′0″N 30°10′0″E / 55.18333°N 30.16667°E / 55.18333; 30.16667 in northeastern Belarus, or alternatively Babruysk 53°34′01″N 29°23′52″E / 53.56694°N 29.39778°E / 53.56694; 29.39778 in the western part of the province of Mahilyow of eastern Belarus, is the centre of Europe.[citation needed]

In 2000 Belarusian scientists Alexey Solomonov and Valery Anoshko published a report that stated the geographic centre of Europe was located near Lake Sho (55°10′55″N 28°15′30″E / 55.18194°N 28.25833°E / 55.18194; 28.25833; Belarusian: Шо) in Vitsebsk Voblast.[7]

Scientists from the Russian Central Research Institute of Geodesy, Aerial Survey and Cartography (Russian: ЦНИИГАиК) confirmed the calculations of Belarusian geodesists that the geographical centre of Europe is located in Polotsk 55°30′0″N 28°48′0″E / 55.50000°N 28.80000°E / 55.50000; 28.80000. A small monument to the Geographical Centre of Europe was set up in Polotsk on May 31, 2008.[8]

Some claimants[edit]

This map shows in red points some of the locations of claimants to the title of Centre of Europe:
Dilove (Rakhiv, Ukraine), Krahule (or Kremnické Bane, Slovakia), Dresden and Kleinmaischeid (Germany), Toruń and Suchowola (Poland), Bernotai, or Purnuškės (Lithuania).

Locations currently vying for the distinction of being the centre of Europe include:

Guinness World Records recognises Bernotai, 26 km north of Vilnius, Lithuania, as the official geographical midpoint of Europe,[citation needed] but that does not preclude other centres, depending on the methodology used in making the determination.

Historical measurements[edit]

Poland[edit]

Monument in Suchowola

The first official declaration of the Centre or Europe was made in 1775 by the Polish royal astronomer and cartographer Szymon Antoni Sobiekrajski, and calculated to be in the town Suchowola near Białystok in modern north-eastern Poland. The method used was that of calculating equal distances from the extreme points of Europe: in Portugal (W) vs. Central Ural (E), in Norway (N) vs. Southern Greece (S), (islands were not taken into consideration). There is a monument commemorating that fact in Suchowola 53°34′39″N 23°06′22″E / 53.57750°N 23.10611°E / 53.57750; 23.10611 (Suchowola, Poland (monument)).

Austria-Hungary[edit]

Austrian-Hungarian marker in Ukraine
Mount Tillenberg/Dyleň (in the background, as seen from Neualbenreuth, Bavaria)

Soviet measurements[edit]

Measurements done after World War II by Soviet scientists again proclaimed Rakhiv and Dilove (in Russian: Rakhov and Dyelovoye) to be the geographical centre of Europe. The old marker in the small town was renewed, and a major campaign to convince everyone of its validity was undertaken.

Possibly mistaken claims[edit]

Certain people might mistakenly take two notions: "geographical centre of Europe" and "geographical centre of a country lying (approximately) in the centre of Europe" to be synonymous. Such seems the genesis of the claims that the centre of Europe lies in the following places.

Geographic centre of the European Union[edit]

Other locations have claimed the title of geographic centre of Europe on the basis of calculations taking into account only the territory of those states which are members of the European Union (or formerly - European Community).

IGN calculations[edit]

Memorial at Viroinval (15-member-EU)
Memorial at Kleinmaischeid (25-member-EU)
Memorial at Gelnhausen-Meerholz (27-member-EU)
Five flagpoles mark the gegraphical centre of the 28-member European Union (1 July - 31 December 2013) in Schulzengrundstraße, Westerngrund, Bavaria

As the European Union (EU) has grown in the last 50 years, so has the geographical centre shifted with each expansion.

The French Institut Géographique National (IGN) has been calculating the changing location of what it estimates to be the geographical centre of the EU since at least 1987. Its calculations exclude such extra-European territories of the EU as French Guiana.

Other calculations[edit]

The geographical midpoint of the European Union is not free from disputes, either. If some different extreme points of the European Union, like some Atlantic Ocean islands, are taken into consideration this point is calculated in different locations.

Eurozone[edit]

The original centre of the Eurozone is located in France, and in various places for various periods. At some point of time it was near the village of Liernais. This location also changes with the accession of new countries into Eurozone (e.g. Slovakia 2009).

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Gardner, N (November 2005). "Pivotal points: defining Europe's centre". Hidden Europe (5): 20–21. Retrieved 2007-01-11.  Useful short English language article that considers the claims of various localities to be the geographical centre of Europe.

A film about the "Center of Europe"[edit]

A 2004 Polish-German documentary, Środek Europy (Die Mitte, "The Center"), written and directed by Stanisław Mucha, shows over a dozen different locations.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jan S. Krogh. "Other Places of Interest: Central Europe". 
  2. ^ "Europos Parkas: Open Air Museum of the Centre of Europe". EU PHARE 2001 Co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region Programme. 
  3. ^ "Tállya Online: Európa Mértani Közepe, Tállya". Archived from the original on 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  4. ^ Cristea, George (2001). Jakten på Europas mittpunkt (in Swedish). Stockholm: Carlsson. ISBN 91-7203-435-1. 
  5. ^ "Tállya nevezetességei/Közterületi szobrok/Európa mértani középpontja/DSCF6249". Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  6. ^ "Kärla vald tahab Euroopa keskpunkti külalistele avada" (in Estonian). 
  7. ^ ".". Belarus Magazine. 
  8. ^ Российские геодезисты подтвердили нахождение центра Европы в Полоцке - Главные новости - БЕЛТА - новости, события, факты, комментарии[dead link]
  9. ^ http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/pl-pd-sw.html : "In 1775 royal astronomer Szymon Antoni Sobiekrajski published a report in which he stated that Suchowola is the exact geographic centre of Europe"
  10. ^ http://en.infoglobe.cz/tips-for-trips/svk-kremnicke-bane-geographical-center-of-europe/
  11. ^ http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ukraine/the-carpathians/rakhiv/sights/landmarks-monuments/geographical-centre-europe
  12. ^ http://www.muziejai.lt/vilnius/europos_geografinis_centras.en.htm
  13. ^ http://confluence.org/confluence.php?visitid=14714 : "according to the research of the French National Geographic Institute, the one and only geographical central point of the continent is in Lithuania, a fact that even won recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records"
  14. ^ Tapon, Francis (2011). The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us. SonicTrek. p. 14. ISBN 9780976581222. 
  15. ^ http://www.belarus-magazine.by/en.php?subaction=showfull&id=1241527298&archive=1252327313&start_from=&ucat=4&
  16. ^ http://www.tortenelmi-borut.hu/tallyagr.html : "According to topographical measurements, Tállya is the geodesic centre of [...] continental Europe"
  17. ^ "Stránky Miroslava Červeného". 
  18. ^ "Piątek (województwo łódzkie)" (in Polish). Wikipedia. 
  19. ^ Frey, George (2007-01-05). "5 January 2007". Signonsandiego.com. Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
  20. ^ "The Center (Die Mitte)". strandfilm. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Geographical midpoint of Europe at Wikimedia Commons

This article incorporates information from the revision as of 30 April 2008 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.