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  Europe
 

Europe is one of those few corners of the world that can boast such an authentic character and culture. Its rich combination of warm and legendary hospitality, exuberant cultural activities and diverse nature and geography has made it a treasure for travellers. Europe also possesses some unique forms of dance, music and literature that provide a unique dimension to the cultural density and diversity of this continent and offers you virtually unlimited opportunities for exploration and discovery. The unrivalled national passion and adventurous streak of mind of the Europeans has produced some of the most impacting events of world history. This continent is home to those strong willed seafarers who braved the rough sea and ocean waves to discover different parts of the world. Europe is the land that remained witness to the glorious upheavals and subsequent declines of civilisations and dynasties like the Greek civilisation, Byzantine and Roman Empire, reign of Constantinople, Czars rule in Russia, the emergence of papacy and Vatican, the Spanish Granada and the most successful British Empire. Naturally, no other region of the world approaches the popularity of Europe as a travel destination as a great meeting place of cultural and commercial interests. Moreover, the continent’s topography is incredibly varied, ranging from lush and tropical to arid semi-desert.
A visit to the different countries of Europe today offers far more than the world's best beaches, snow covered skiing slopes, dense sub arctic forests, historical places, gigantic shopping malls and other forms of modern entertainments. As the European nations have grown into international travel destinations, their individual features and strengths have emerged. Many traditional cultures have been preserved and the astonishing ecological treasures of the islands are now among their most celebrated features. The region's rich history is also gaining a more appreciative audience among vacationers. Be it the remains of French revolution days, the brutal concentration camps of Germany, the canals of Netherlands, the Royal existence in Britain, the Acropolis of Greece, the Colosseum of Italy or the Pop’s residence in the Vatican city, attractions and opportunities are galore in this continent. Today, Europe offers a more diverse and vibrant travel experience than ever before.
With an area covering approximately 10,030,000 sq km (3,870,000 sq mi), Europe is a small region in continental terms, larger than Australia only. However, in terms of human count, it houses more than 11% of the world's population and thus becomes the third-largest continent in the world. Starting from the Neanderthal man, the European populace has covered a long path of evolution. Today, a European can be categorised under several names and terms according to nationality like, Italian, British, Polish, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Scandinavian, Icelander, German, and Greek and so on.

 
 

Europe is part of the Eurasia landmass on earth. It is considered as the sixth largest continent of the world, followed by Australia. Its demarcation with Asia on the eastern side of the European continent, though disputed, follows the terrain lacing the Ural Mountains and Caspian Sea. It starts from the Ural Mountains ad follows the path by the side of Kemba River, the Caspian Sea, the Kura River in the Caucasus region, the Black Sea, the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara and comes to an end at the Dardanelles. On other sides, the landscape of Europe is bounded by the Arctic region to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to west and the Mediterranean and the Caucasus to the south. The Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar separate it from Africa. These borders and demarcations are often disputed with claims from different quarters over territories of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Politically, Europe consists of nearly 50 independent countries and several dependant, autonomous and unilaterally seceded territories. The far off island nation of Iceland is also considered to be part of Europe.
The topography of Europe is vast and varied but the composition of the natural features is simple enough to be segregated in different sections. The great European landscape is basically a conglomeration of connected peninsulas, which include the Scandinavian Peninsula to the north, “mainland" Europe in the central part and the smaller ones of Iberia, Italy and the Balkans. The terrain of the European continent follows a strange but uniform pattern from south towards north. In the south it stands tall with mountain ranges of Alps, Pyrenees and Carpathians. Alps and Pyrenees mountains roll down east to west of the continent, allowing moisture-filled winds to flow from the oceans to the inlands of Europe. The Scandinavian Mountains, Dinarides, Carpathians and Apennines crisscross Europe from south to west and nestles some dense forests in its foothills. The highest points are Mt. Elbrus (18,481 ft/5,633 m) in the Caucasus and Mont Blanc (15,771 ft/4,807 m) in the Alps. These heights then descend to the formation of the Central European Uplands surrounded by the Great European Plain. While the uplands extend from the western British Isles to the mountainous, fjord-cut middle-half of Norway, the plain land takes the central position. It nestles the North German Plain and several low-lying plateaus, river valleys and basins. This region of Europe is fertile and houses a large segment of the population and agricultural activity. Though rapid expansion of human inhabitation and cattle grazing has caused much damage, Europe manages to retain a humble portion of forest area on earth. The most prominent among these are the spruce forests of Scandinavia, vast pine forests in Russia, chestnut rainforests of the Caucasus and the cork oak forests in the Mediterranean. Europe also houses some rare species of carnivores, herbivores, sea creatures and flora and fauna. The climate of Europe is as varied as its topography that dwindles between subtropical to polar in different arts. It ranges from freezing temperatures in Iceland due to sub arctic and tundra climates to more hot and humid regions of in the mainland. The regions of Greece and Italy reel under moderate weather conditions of Mediterranean climate.
Dating back to the prehistoric days of Palaeolithic age, Europe has traversed a long path of human evolution. Right from the ancient days of Ancient Greece civilisation, Roman and Ottoman Empire, this part of the world has contributed immensely in the advancement and betterment of human life. Scientific discovery, overseas voyages, revolutionary literary ideas and artistic and architectural innovations flooded the European continent in different periods of time. The Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution and Age of Reformation are some of the evidences of such intellectual upheavals. Most importantly, Christianity gained momentum in this continent and still remains the epicentre of this faith. After imperial rules of Portugal, France, Netherlands and United Kingdom, which spread in different parts of the world, democracy came into being around nineteenth century. Most of the European nations played a major role in both the World Wars. Adolf Hitler of Germany, Mussolini from Italy and Winston Churchill from Britain emerged as the main protagonists during this turbulent decades. From this time on to the end of the Cold War, European countries were divided on the basis of political and economic ideologies. While the nations in Eastern Europe, with the exceptions of Turkey and Greece, adhered to Communism and the countries in Western Europe and Southern Europe followed capitalist theories to development.
Today Europe is the most prosperous part of the world only rivalled by United States of America. Germany, Britain and France are one of the forerunners of the continent and enjoy a favourable position in the United Nations. Otherwise, almost all other nations of Europe are presently united under the European Union and share a common currency Euro for trade and commerce.

 
 

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