We live in Europe.
We are integrating into the European Community.
But how much do we know Europe?
Europe is the world’s second smallest continent. It covers approximately 2% of the Earth’s surface.
In Greek the word “Europe” means: “broad face”. In Greek mythology this was the name of a beautiful girl kidnapped be Zeus.
Europe is actually a vast peninsula of the great Eurasian land mass. It is separated from Asia by the Urals in the east; by the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus in the southeast; and by the Black Sea, the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles in the south. The Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar separate it from Africa. Europe is washed in the north by the Arctic Ocean and in the west by the Atlantic Ocean, with which the North Sea and the Baltic Sea are connected.
European mountains are the Alps, the Carpathians, the Caucasus Mountains and the Pyrenees. These gorgeous mountain ranges are great for hiking and skiing. The highest points are Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus and Mont Blanc in the Alps.
Mount Etna in Sicily is Europe’s most active volcano.
The chief rivers of Europe are the Volga, the Elbe, the Don, the Dnieper, the Danube, the Vistula, the Oder, the Rhine, and the Loire.
The climate of Europe varies from subtropical to polar.
Europe has been the home to some of the Earth’s greatest civilizations from Ancient Greece to the Roman Empire.
Europe gave birth to Western civilization. It is also the home of democracy.
Europe has been the central point of two the biggest wars in modern history: World War I and World War II.
The Industrial Revolution began in Europe in Great Britain.
There are 50 countries in Europe. The world’s smallest country is Vatican City or the Holy See.
Russia is the largest country in Europe though only part of it is on the European continent.
Europe is home to five transcontinental countries that straddle the border between Europe and Asia. These countries are Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey.
The population of Europe is about 740 million which is one tenth of the world’s population.
The most popular European religion is Christianity.
The Council of Europe has 47 member states. Its focus is on democracy and human rights. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican City are not members of the Council of Europe.
Twenty-eight European countries have joined together to become the European Union.
Brussels is considered to be the capital of Europe.
The letters EU stand for the European Union and the 9th of May is European Union Day.
The European flag symbolizes both the European Union and the identity and unity of Europe.
It features a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background. They stand for the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among peoples of Europe.
Over 500 million people live in the European Union.
There are 200 different languages spoken in Europe. People in the EU speak 24 different official languages.
The motto of the European Union is “United in diversity”. It signifies how Europeans have come together in the form of the EU to work for peace and prosperity and at the same time being enriched by the continent’s many different cultures, traditions and languages.
The anthem of the EU is the “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven. The melody comes from the Ninth Symphony composed in 1823, when Beethoven set music to the “Ode to Joy”, Friedrich von Schiller’s lyrical verse from 1785. The poem “Ode to Joy” expresses Schiller’s idealistic vision of the human race becoming brothers – a vision Beethoven shared. There are no words to the anthem, it consists of music only. The anthem expresses the European ideals of freedom, peace and solidarity.
The member states of the European Union are Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Croatia.
Officially Great Britain is still in the EU but according to the referendum it is going to leave in 2019.
Nineteen of the member states use the euro € as their currency. These countries are known as Eurozone.
European cities are popular with tourists. Their rich cultural history makes them great destinations for art, food and history lovers.
Ukrainian citizens have been able to travel to most EU countries without a visa since June 2017 .
To celebrate Europe Day, the EU institutions open their doors to the public on 5 May in Brussels, 5 and 9 May in Luxembourg and 10 June in Strasbourg.
Local EU offices in Europe and all over the world organise a variety of activities and events for all ages.
Each year thousands of people take part in visits, debates, concerts and other events to mark the day and raise awareness about the EU.