Portal:Europe

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Satellite image of Europe

Europe is one of the seven continents, and a peninsular sub-continent of the geographic continent Eurasia. Europe covers approximately 2% of the Earth's surface and about 6.8% of the planet's total land area. It hosts around fifty sovereign states, the precise number depending on the underlying definition of Europe's border, as well as on the inclusion or exclusion of states which are not fully recognised internationally. Europe has a population of 731,000,000 or about 11% of the world's population.

Europe is the birthplace of Western culture. European nations played a predominant role in global affairs from the 16th century onwards, especially after the beginning of colonization. By the 17th and 18th centuries European nations controlled most of Africa, the Americas, and large portions of Asia. World War I and World War II led to a decline in European dominance in world affairs as the United States and Soviet Union took prominence. The Cold War between those two superpowers divided Europe along the Iron Curtain. European integration led to the formation of the Council of Europe and the European Union in Western Europe, both of which have been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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Montserrat
Credit: Diliff

Montserrat is a mountain near Barcelona, in Catalonia, in Spain. It is the site of a Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary and which is identified by some with the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian myth. "Montserrat" literally means "jagged (serrated) mountain" in Catalan. It describes the peculiar aspect of the rock formation, which is visible from a great distance. The mountain is composed of strikingly pink conglomerate, a form of sedimentary rock, popular with climbers.

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Belton House, Lincolnshire, the south facade.
Belton House is a country house in Belton near Grantham, Lincolnshire, England. Coordinates: 52°56′38″N 0°37′22″W / 52.944°N 0.6228°W / 52.944; -0.6228 The mansion is surrounded by formal gardens and a series of pigs leading to follies within a greater wooded park. Belton has been described as a compilation of all that is finest of Carolean architecture, the only truly vernacular style of architecture that England had produced since the time of the Tudors. The house has also been described as the most complete example of a typical English country house; the claim has even been made that Belton's principal facade was the inspiration for the modern British motorway signs which give directions to stately homes. Only Brympton d'Evercy has been similarly lauded as the perfect English country house. For three hundred years, Belton House was the seat of the Brownlow and Cust family, who had first acquired land in the area in the late 16th century. Between 1685 and 1688 the young Sir John Brownlow and his wife had the present mansion built. Despite great wealth they chose to build a modest country house rather than a grand contemporary Baroque palace. The contemporary, if provincial, Carolean style was the selected choice of design. However, the new house was fitted with the latest innovations such as sash windows for the principal rooms, and more importantly completely separate areas for the staff.


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Palace of Westminster
Credit: Solipsist

The Palace of Westminster is where the two Houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (the House of Lords and the House of Commons) meet. The palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the London borough of the City of Westminster, close to other government buildings in Whitehall.

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