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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Paris at night.
Credit: Benh

Paris is the capital of France and the country's largest city. It is situated on the River Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region (also known as the "Paris Region"; French: Région parisienne). The city of Paris within its administrative limits (largely unchanged since 1860) has an estimated population of 2,167,994. The Paris unité urbaine (or urban area) extends well beyond the administrative city limits and has an estimated population of 9.93 million (in 2005).

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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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Lichtenstein Castle
Credit: Andreas Tille

Lichtenstein Castle is a fairy-tale castle located near Honau in the Swabian Alb, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. Although there have been previous castles on the site, the current castle was constructed by Duke Wilhelm of Urach in 1840 after being inspired by Wilhelm Hauff's novel Lichtenstein. The romantic Neo-Gothic design of the castle was created by the architect Carl Alexander Heideloff.

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