1. European Union – The European Union is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2, the EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished, a monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency. The EU operates through a system of supranational and intergovernmental decision-making. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community, the community and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. While no member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations, the Maastricht Treaty established the European Union in 1993 and introduced European citizenship. The latest major amendment to the basis of the EU. The EU as a whole is the largest economy in the world, additionally,27 out of 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7, because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as an emerging superpower. After World War II, European integration was seen as an antidote to the nationalism which had devastated the continent. 1952 saw the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the supporters of the Community included Alcide De Gasperi, Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, and Paul-Henri Spaak. These men and others are credited as the Founding fathers of the European Union. In 1957, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany signed the Treaty of Rome and they also signed another pact creating the European Atomic Energy Community for co-operation in developing nuclear energy. Both treaties came into force in 1958, the EEC and Euratom were created separately from the ECSC, although they shared the same courts and the Common Assembly. The EEC was headed by Walter Hallstein and Euratom was headed by Louis Armand, Euratom was to integrate sectors in nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs union among members. During the 1960s, tensions began to show, with France seeking to limit supranational power, Jean Rey presided over the first merged Commission. In 1973, the Communities enlarged to include Denmark, Ireland, Norway had negotiated to join at the same time, but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a referendumEuropean Union – In 1989, the Iron Curtain fell, enabling the union to expand further (Berlin Wall pictured).
2. Capital city – A capital city is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other region, usually as its seat of government. A capital is typically a city that encompasses the offices and meeting places of its respective government. In some jurisdictions, including countries, the different branches of government are located in different settlements. In some cases, a distinction is made between the capital and the seat of government, which is in another place. The word capital derives from the Latin caput, meaning head, in several English-speaking states, the terms county town, county seat, and borough seat are also used in lower subdivisions. In unitary states, subnational capitals are known as administrative centres. The capital is often, but not necessarily, the largest city of its constituent, historically, the major economic centre of a state or region often becomes the focal point of political power, and becomes a capital through conquest or federation. Examples are Ancient Babylon, Abbasid Baghdad, Ancient Athens, Rome, Constantinople, Changan, Ancient Cusco, Madrid, Paris, London, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Vienna, and Berlin. Some of these cities are or were also religious centres, e. g. Constantinople, Rome, Jerusalem, Ancient Babylon, Moscow, Belgrade, Paris, and Peking. A capital city that is also the economic, cultural. The convergence of political and economic or cultural power is by no means universal, traditional capitals may be economically eclipsed by provincial rivals, e. g. Nanking by Shanghai, Quebec City by Montreal, and numerous US state capitals. The decline of a dynasty or culture could also mean the extinction of its city, as occurred at Babylon. Although many capitals are defined by constitution or legislation, many long-time capitals have no legal designation as such, for example Bern, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London, Paris, are located in or near them. In Canada, there is a capital, while the ten provinces. The states of such countries as Mexico, Brazil, and Australia all have capital cities, for example, the six state capitals of Australia are Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. In Australia, the capital cities is regularly used, to refer to the aforementioned state capitals plus the federal capital Canberra and Darwin. Abu Dhabi is the city of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In unitary states which consist of multiple constituent countries, such as the United Kingdom or the Kingdom of Denmark, the national capitals of Germany and Russia, the Stadtstaat of Berlin and the Federal City of Moscow, are also constituent states of both countries in their own rightCapital city – Parliament Hill, the national legislative buildings, in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
3. Member state of the European Union – The European Union comprises 28 member states. Each member state is party to the treaties of the union and thereby subject to the privileges. Unlike members of most international organisations, the states of the EU are subjected to binding laws in exchange for representation within the common legislative. Member states must agree unanimously for the EU to adopt policies concerning defence, subsidiarity is a founding principle of the EU. In 1957, six core states founded the EUs predecessor, the European Economic Community, the remaining states have acceded in subsequent enlargements. On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the newest member state of the EU, Enlargement of the Union is also contingent upon the consent of all existing members and the candidates adoption of the existing body of EU law, known as the acquis communautaire. There is disparity in the size, wealth and political system of member states, while in some areas majority voting takes place where larger states have more votes than smaller ones, smaller states have disproportional representation compared to their population. No member state has withdrawn or been suspended from the EU, in June 2016, the UK held a referendum on membership of the EU, resulting in 51. 89% of votes cast in favour to leaving. Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50 on 29 March 2017 to formally initiate the withdrawal process, notes Enlargement is, and has been, a principal feature of the Unions political landscape. The EUs predecessors were founded by the Inner Six, those willing to forge ahead with the Community while others remained skeptical. It was only a decade before the first countries changed their policy and attempted to join the Union, French President Charles de Gaulle feared British membership would be an American Trojan horse and vetoed its application. Applying in 1969 were the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, however, declined to accept the invitation to become a member when the electorate voted against it, leaving just the UK, Ireland and Denmark to join. But despite the setbacks, and the withdrawal of Greenland from Denmarks membership in 1985, in 1987, the geographical extent of the project was tested when Morocco applied, and was rejected as it was not considered a European country. The year 1990 saw the Cold War drawing to a close, meanwhile, the members of the former Eastern Bloc and Yugoslavia were all starting to move towards EU membership. Ten of these joined in an enlargement on 1 May 2004 symbolising the unification of East. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007, the year 2013 saw the latest member, Croatia, accede to the Union, and the EU has prioritised membership for the rest of the Balkans – namely Western Balkans. Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey are all formal, turkish membership, pending since the 1980s, is a more contentious issue but it entered negotiations in 2005. According to the Copenhagen criteria, membership of the European Union is open to any European country that is a stable, free market liberal democracy that respects the rule of law and human rightsMember state of the European Union – The flags of the EU and the then-25 member states seen outside the European Parliament in 2004
4. Netherlands – The Netherlands is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a densely populated country located in Western Europe with three territories in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom. The three largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, Amsterdam is the countrys capital, while The Hague holds the Dutch seat of parliament and government. The port of Rotterdam is the worlds largest port outside East-Asia, the name Holland is used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. Netherlands literally means lower countries, influenced by its low land and flat geography, most of the areas below sea level are artificial. Since the late 16th century, large areas have been reclaimed from the sea and lakes, with a population density of 412 people per km2 –507 if water is excluded – the Netherlands is classified as a very densely populated country. Only Bangladesh, South Korea, and Taiwan have both a population and higher population density. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is the worlds second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products and this is partly due to the fertility of the soil and the mild climate. In 2001, it became the worlds first country to legalise same-sex marriage, the Netherlands is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G-10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as being a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union. The first four are situated in The Hague, as is the EUs criminal intelligence agency Europol and this has led to the city being dubbed the worlds legal capital. The country also ranks second highest in the worlds 2016 Press Freedom Index, the Netherlands has a market-based mixed economy, ranking 17th of 177 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom. It had the thirteenth-highest per capita income in the world in 2013 according to the International Monetary Fund, in 2013, the United Nations World Happiness Report ranked the Netherlands as the seventh-happiest country in the world, reflecting its high quality of life. The Netherlands also ranks joint second highest in the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the region called Low Countries and the country of the Netherlands have the same toponymy. Place names with Neder, Nieder, Nether and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in all over Europe. They are sometimes used in a relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Boven, Oben. In the case of the Low Countries / the Netherlands the geographical location of the region has been more or less downstream. The geographical location of the region, however, changed over time tremendouslyNetherlands – The Netherlands in 5500 BC
5. Amsterdam – Amsterdam is the capital and most populous municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 851,373 within the city proper,1,351,587 in the urban area, the city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. The metropolitan area comprises much of the part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe. Amsterdams name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the citys origin around a dam in the river Amstel, during that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were planned, the 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. As the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered a world city by the Globalization. The city is also the capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and seven of the worlds 500 largest companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city. In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit and 12th globally on quality of living for environment, the city was ranked 3rd in innovation by Australian innovation agency 2thinknow in their Innovation Cities Index 2009. The Amsterdam seaport to this day remains the second in the country, famous Amsterdam residents include the diarist Anne Frank, artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh, and philosopher Baruch Spinoza. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city center. After the floods of 1170 and 1173, locals near the river Amstel built a bridge over the river, the earliest recorded use of that name is in a document dated October 27,1275, which exempted inhabitants of the village from paying bridge tolls to Count Floris V. This allowed the inhabitants of the village of Aemstelredamme to travel freely through the County of Holland, paying no tolls at bridges, locks, the certificate describes the inhabitants as homines manentes apud Amestelledamme. By 1327, the name had developed into Aemsterdam, Amsterdam is much younger than Dutch cities such as Nijmegen, Rotterdam, and Utrecht. In October 2008, historical geographer Chris de Bont suggested that the land around Amsterdam was being reclaimed as early as the late 10th century. This does not necessarily mean there was already a settlement then, since reclamation of land may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat. Amsterdam was granted city rights in either 1300 or 1306, from the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished, largely from trade with the Hanseatic LeagueAmsterdam
6. Greece – Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, historically also known as Hellas, is a country in southeastern Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2015. Athens is the capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. Greece consists of nine regions, Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace, Crete. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a vast number of islands, eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as polis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming a part of the Roman Empire and its successor. The Greek Orthodox Church also shaped modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World, falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence. Greeces rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe, Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. Greeces unique cultural heritage, large industry, prominent shipping sector. It is the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor, the names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages, locations and cultures. The earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, all three stages of the stone age are represented in Greece, for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries and these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, and the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek. The Mycenaeans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC and this ushered in a period known as the Greek Dark Ages, from which written records are absent. The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, in 508 BC, Cleisthenes instituted the worlds first democratic system of government in AthensGreece – Fresco displaying the Minoan ritual of "bull leaping", found in Knossos, Crete.
7. Athens – Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. In modern times, Athens is a cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime. In 2015, Athens was ranked the worlds 29th richest city by purchasing power, Athens is recognised as a global city because of its location and its importance in shipping, finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, culture, education and tourism. It is one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe, with a financial sector. The municipality of Athens had a population of 664,046 within its limits. The urban area of Athens extends beyond its administrative city limits. According to Eurostat in 2011, the Functional urban areas of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union, Athens is also the southernmost capital on the European mainland. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery, Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics. In Ancient Greek, the name of the city was Ἀθῆναι a plural, in earlier Greek, such as Homeric Greek, the name had been current in the singular form though, as Ἀθήνη. It was possibly rendered in the later on, like those of Θῆβαι and Μυκῆναι. During the medieval period the name of the city was rendered once again in the singular as Ἀθήνα, an etiological myth explaining how Athens has acquired its name was well known among ancient Athenians and even became the theme of the sculpture on the West pediment of the Parthenon. The goddess of wisdom, Athena, and the god of the seas, Poseidon had many disagreements, in an attempt to compel the people, Poseidon created a salt water spring by striking the ground with his trident, symbolizing naval power. However, when Athena created the tree, symbolizing peace and prosperity. Different etymologies, now rejected, were proposed during the 19th century. Christian Lobeck proposed as the root of the name the word ἄθος or ἄνθος meaning flower, ludwig von Döderlein proposed the stem of the verb θάω, stem θη- to denote Athens as having fertile soil. In classical literature, the city was referred to as the City of the Violet Crown, first documented in Pindars ἰοστέφανοι Ἀθᾶναι. In medieval texts, variant names include Setines, Satine, and Astines, today the caption η πρωτεύουσα, the capital, has become somewhat commonAthens – From upper left: the Acropolis, the Hellenic Parliament, the Zappeion, the Acropolis Museum, Monastiraki Square, Athens view towards the sea
8. Germany – Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. It includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres, with about 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular destination in the world. Germanys capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while its largest conurbation is the Ruhr, other major cities include Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and Leipzig. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity, a region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period the Germanic tribes expanded southward, beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation, in 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic, the establishment of the national socialist dictatorship in 1933 led to World War II and the Holocaust. After a period of Allied occupation, two German states were founded, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, in 1990, the country was reunified. In the 21st century, Germany is a power and has the worlds fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP. As a global leader in industrial and technological sectors, it is both the worlds third-largest exporter and importer of goods. Germany is a country with a very high standard of living sustained by a skilled. It upholds a social security and universal health system, environmental protection. Germany was a member of the European Economic Community in 1957. It is part of the Schengen Area, and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999, Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, and the OECD. The national military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world, the English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz popular, derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- people, the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a mine in Schöningen where three 380, 000-year-old wooden javelins were unearthedGermany – The Nebra sky disk is dated to c. 1600 BC.
9. Berlin – Berlin is the capital and the largest city of Germany as well as one of its constituent 16 states. With a population of approximately 3.5 million, Berlin is the second most populous city proper, due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one-third of the area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers. Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world, following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of all-Germany. Berlin is a city of culture, politics, media. Its economy is based on high-tech firms and the sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations. Berlin serves as a hub for air and rail traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. The metropolis is a popular tourist destination, significant industries also include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology, construction and electronics. Modern Berlin is home to world renowned universities, orchestras, museums and its urban setting has made it a sought-after location for international film productions. The city is known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts. Since 2000 Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene, the name Berlin has its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of todays Berlin, and may be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl-. All German place names ending on -ow, -itz and -in, since the Ber- at the beginning sounds like the German word Bär, a bear appears in the coat of arms of the city. It is therefore a canting arm, the first written records of towns in the area of present-day Berlin date from the late 12th century. Spandau is first mentioned in 1197 and Köpenick in 1209, although these areas did not join Berlin until 1920, the central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Cölln on the Fischerinsel is first mentioned in a 1237 document,1237 is considered the founding date of the city. The two towns over time formed close economic and social ties, and profited from the right on the two important trade routes Via Imperii and from Bruges to Novgorod. In 1307, they formed an alliance with a common external policy, in 1415 Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. In 1443 Frederick II Irontooth started the construction of a new palace in the twin city Berlin-CöllnBerlin
10. Slovakia – Slovakia, officially the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Slovakias territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres and is mostly mountainous. The population is over 5 million and comprises mostly ethnic Slovaks, the capital and largest city is Bratislava. The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries, in the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samos Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra. In the 10th century, the territory was integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary, which became part of the Habsburg Empire. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a separate Slovak Republic existed in World War II as a client state of Nazi Germany. In 1945, Czechoslovakia was reëstablished under Communist rule as a Soviet satellite, in 1989 the Velvet Revolution ended authoritarian Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. The country maintains a combination of economy with universal health care. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone on 1 January 2009, Slovakia is also a member of the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD, the WTO, CERN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group. The Slovak economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and its legal tender, the Euro, is the worlds 2nd most traded currency. Although regional income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes, in 2016, Slovak citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 165 countries and territories, ranking the Slovak passport 11th in the world. Slovakia is the world’s biggest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000 cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone, the car industry represents 43 percent of Slovakia’s industrial output, and a quarter of its exports. Radiocarbon datingputs the oldest surviving archaeological artefacts from Slovakia – found near Nové Mesto nad Váhom – at 270,000 BC and these ancient tools, made by the Clactonian technique, bear witness to the ancient habitation of Slovakia. Other stone tools from the Middle Paleolithic era come from the Prévôt cave near Bojnice, the most important discovery from that era is a Neanderthal cranium, discovered near Gánovce, a village in northern Slovakia. The most well-known finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone, the statue was found in the 1940s in Moravany nad Váhom near Piešťany. Numerous necklaces made of shells from Cypraca thermophile gastropods of the Tertiary period have come from the sites of Zákovská, Podkovice, Hubina and these findings provide the most ancient evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterranean and Central Europe. The Bronze Age in the territory of modern-day Slovakia went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to 800 BCSlovakia – A Venus from Moravany nad Váhom, which dates back to 22,800 BC.
11. Bratislava – Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and with a population of about 450,000, the countrys largest city. The greater metropolitan area is home to more than 650,000 people, Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia, occupying both banks of the River Danube and the left bank of the River Morava. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the national capital that borders two sovereign states. The history of the city has strongly influenced by people of different nations and religions, namely by Austrians, Croats, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Jews, Serbs. The city served as the site and legislative center of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1536 to 1783. Bratislava is the political, cultural and economic centre of Slovakia and it is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament and the Slovak Executive. It is home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries, many of Slovakias large businesses and financial institutions also have headquarters there. The capital of Slovakia is the eighth best city for freelancers to live in, mostly because of fast internet, in 2017, Bratislava was ranked as the third richest region of the European Union by GDP per capita. GDP at purchasing power parity is about three times higher than in other Slovak regions, the city received its contemporary name in 1919. Beforehand it was known in English by its German name, Pressburg, as it was long dominated by Austrians. This is the term which the German, the pre-1919 Slovak, the citys Hungarian name, Pozsony, was given after the castles first castellan, Poson. The origin of the name is unclear, it come from the Czech Pos or the German Poscho. Hungarian speakers still use the Hungarian name, Pozsony, the medieval settlement Brezalauspurc is sometimes attributed to Bratislava, however the actual location of Brezalauspurc is under scholarly debate. The citys modern name is credited to Pavel Jozef Šafáriks misinterpretation of Braslav as Bratislav when analyzing medieval sources, thus coming up with the term Břetislaw, during the revolution of 1918–1919, the name Wilsonov or Wilsonstadt was proposed by American Slovaks, as he supported national self-determination. The name Bratislava, which was used only by some Slovak patriots. The name Pressburg was also used in English-language publications until 1919, in older documents, confusion can be caused by the Latin forms Bratislavia, Wratislavia etc. which refer to Wrocław, Poland – not to Bratislava. The first known permanent settlement of the area began with the Linear Pottery Culture, about 200 BC, the Celtic Boii tribe founded the first significant settlement, a fortified town known as an oppidum. They also established a mint, producing silver coins known as biatecs, the area fell under Roman influence from the 1st to the 4th century AD and was made part of the Danubian Limes, a border defence systemBratislava – Bratislava Montage. Clockwise from top of left: View of Bratislava from the castle, St. Michael's Gate in the Old Town, Eurovea shopping complex, Primate's Palace, Hviezdoslav Square, Bratislava castle and the Danube riverbank at night
12. Romania – Romania is a sovereign state located in Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia and it has an area of 238,391 square kilometres and a temperate-continental climate. With over 19 million inhabitants, the country is the member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city, Bucharest, is the sixth-largest city in the EU, the River Danube, Europes second-longest river, rises in Germany and flows in a general southeast direction for 2,857 km, coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romanias Danube Delta. The Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest are marked by one of their tallest peaks, Moldoveanu, modern Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877, at the end of World War I, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. Romania lost several territories, of which Northern Transylvania was regained after the war, following the war, Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition towards democracy and it has been a member of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007. A strong majority of the population identify themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are speakers of Romanian. The cultural history of Romania is often referred to when dealing with artists, musicians, inventors. For similar reasons, Romania has been the subject of notable tourist attractions, Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning citizen of Rome. The first known use of the appellation was attested in the 16th century by Italian humanists travelling in Transylvania, Moldavia, after the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the word rumân gradually fell out of use and the spelling stabilised to the form român. Tudor Vladimirescu, a leader of the early 19th century. The use of the name Romania to refer to the homeland of all Romanians—its modern-day meaning—was first documented in the early 19th century. The name has been officially in use since 11 December 1861, in English, the name of the country was formerly spelt Rumania or Roumania. Romania became the predominant spelling around 1975, Romania is also the official English-language spelling used by the Romanian government. The Neolithic-Age Cucuteni area in northeastern Romania was the region of the earliest European civilization. Evidence from this and other sites indicates that the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture extracted salt from salt-laden spring water through the process of briquetageRomania – Neacșu's letter from 1521, the oldest surviving document written in Romanian.
13. Bucharest – Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, at 44°25′57″N 26°06′14″E, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km north of the Danube River, Bucharest was first mentioned in documents in 1459. It became the capital of Romania in 1862 and is the centre of Romanian media, culture and its architecture is a mix of historical, interbellum, communist-era and modern. In the period between the two World Wars, the citys elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of Little Paris. Although buildings and districts in the city centre were heavily damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an economic, in 2016, the historical city centre was listed as endangered by the World Monuments Watch. According to the 2011 census,1,883,425 inhabitants live within the city limits, the urban area extends beyond the limits of Bucharest proper and has a population of about 1.9 million people. Adding the satellite towns around the area, the proposed metropolitan area of Bucharest would have a population of 2.27 million people. According to Eurostat, Bucharest has an urban zone of 2,183,091 residents. According to unofficial data, the population is more than 3 million, Bucharest is the sixth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits, after London, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, and Paris. Economically, Bucharest is the most prosperous city in Romania and is one of the industrial centres. The city has big convention facilities, educational institutes, cultural venues, traditional shopping arcades, the Romanian name București has an uncertain origin. Tradition connects the founding of Bucharest with the name of Bucur, who was a prince, an outlaw, a fisherman, in Romanian, the word stem bucurie means joy, and it is believed to be of Dacian origin. Other etymologies are given by scholars, including the one of an Ottoman traveler, Evliya Çelebi. A native or resident of Bucharest is called a Bucharester, Bucharests history alternated periods of development and decline from the early settlements in antiquity until its consolidation as the national capital of Romania late in the 19th century. First mentioned as the Citadel of București in 1459, it became the residence of the famous Wallachian prince Vlad III the Impaler, the Ottomans appointed Greek administrators to run the town from the 18th century. A short-lived revolt initiated by Tudor Vladimirescu in 1821 led to the end of the rule of Constantinople Greeks in Bucharest, the Old Princely Court was erected by Mircea Ciobanul in the mid-16th century. Under subsequent rulers, Bucharest was established as the residence of the royal courtBucharest – Clockwise, from top: Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) • Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Român) • Palace of Justice (Palatul Justiției) • Grozăvești Bridge (Podul Grozăvești) • Victory Avenue (Calea Victoriei)
14. Hungary – Hungary is a unitary parliamentary republic in Central Europe. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken language in Europe. Hungarys capital and largest metropolis is Budapest, a significant economic hub, major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr. His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000, converting the country to a Christian kingdom, by the 12th century, Hungary became a middle power within the Western world, reaching a golden age by the 15th century. Hungarys current borders were established in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon after World War I, when the country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, following the interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties. Hungary became a state of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a four-decade-long communist dictatorship. On 23 October 1989, Hungary became again a democratic parliamentary republic, in the 21st century, Hungary is a middle power and has the worlds 57th largest economy by nominal GDP, as well as the 58th largest by PPP, out of 188 countries measured by the IMF. As a substantial actor in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the worlds 36th largest exporter and importer of goods, Hungary is a high-income economy with a very high standard of living. It keeps up a security and universal health care system. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 and part of the Schengen Area since 2007, Hungary is a member of the United Nations, NATO, WTO, World Bank, the AIIB, the Council of Europe and Visegrád Group. Well known for its cultural history, Hungary has been contributed significantly to arts, music, literature, sports and science. Hungary is the 11th most popular country as a tourist destination in Europe and it is home to the largest thermal water cave system, the second largest thermal lake in the world, the largest lake in Central Europe, and the largest natural grasslands in Europe. The H in the name of Hungary is most likely due to historical associations with the Huns. The rest of the word comes from the Latinized form of Medieval Greek Oungroi, according to an explanation the Greek name was borrowed from Proto-Slavic Ǫgǔri, in turn borrowed from Oghur-Turkic Onogur. Onogur was the name for the tribes who later joined the Bulgar tribal confederacy that ruled the eastern parts of Hungary after the Avars. The Hungarians likely belonged to the Onogur tribal alliance and it is possible they became its ethnic majority. The Hungarian endonym is Magyarország, composed of magyar and ország, the word magyar is taken from the name of one of the seven major semi-nomadic Hungarian tribes, magyeriHungary – Italian fresco depicting a Hungarian warrior shooting backwards
15. Budapest – Budapest is the capital and most populous city of Hungary, one of the largest cities in the European Union and sometimes described as the primate city of Hungary. It has an area of 525 square kilometres and a population of about 1.8 million within the limits in 2016. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the Danube river with the unification of Buda and Óbuda on the west bank, the history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Hungarians arrived in the territory in the 9th century and their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241–1242. The re-established town became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture by the 15th century, following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, the region entered a new age of prosperity, and Budapest became a global city after its unification in 1873. It also became the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a power that dissolved in 1918. Budapest was the point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Republic of Councils in 1919, the Battle of Budapest in 1945. Budapest is an Alpha- global city, with strengths in arts, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research, and tourism. Its business district hosts the Budapest Stock Exchange and the headquarters of the largest national and international banks and it is the highest ranked Central and Eastern European city on Innovation Cities Top 100 index. Budapest attracts 4.4 million international tourists per year, making it the 25th most popular city in the world, further famous landmarks include Andrássy Avenue, St. It has around 80 geothermal springs, the worlds largest thermal water system, second largest synagogue. Budapest is home to the headquarters of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the European Police College, over 40 colleges and universities are located in Budapest, including the Eötvös Loránd University, Central European University and Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Budapest is the combination of the city names Buda and Pest, One of the first documented occurrences of the combined name Buda-Pest was in 1831 in the book Világ, written by Count István Széchenyi. The origins of the names Buda and Pest are obscure, according to chronicles from the Middle Ages, the name Buda comes from the name of its founder, Bleda, brother of the Hunnic ruler Attila. The theory that Buda was named after a person is also supported by modern scholars, an alternative explanation suggests that Buda derives from the Slavic word вода, voda, a translation of the Latin name Aquincum, which was the main Roman settlement in the region. There are also theories about the origin of the name Pest. One of the states that the word Pest comes from the Roman times. According to another theory, Pest originates from the Slavic word for cave, or oven, the first settlement on the territory of Budapest was built by Celts before 1 ADBudapest
16. Belgium – Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people. Additionally, there is a group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area. Historically, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, the region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, today, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three regions and three communities, that exist next to each other and its two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia, Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Upon its independence, declared in 1830, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Belgium is also a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, Brussels, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is also a part of the Schengen Area, Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings, a gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Eighty Years War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands. The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and this was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 and for women in 1949. The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party, French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisieBelgium – Charlemagne and Charles V
17. Brussels – Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the region of Flanders or Wallonia. The region has a population of 1.2 million and an area with a population of over 1.8 million. Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, the secretariat of the Benelux and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are also located in Brussels. Today, it is considered an Alpha global city, historically a Dutch-speaking city, Brussels has seen a language shift to French from the late 19th century onwards. Today, the majority language is French, and the Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. All road signs, street names, and many advertisements and services are shown in both languages, Brussels is increasingly becoming multilingual with increasing numbers of migrants, expatriates and minority groups speaking their own languages. The most common theory of the origin of Brussels name is that it derives from the Old Dutch Broekzele or Broeksel, meaning marsh, Saint Vindicianus, the bishop of Cambrai made the first recorded reference to the place Brosella in 695 when it was still a hamlet. The origin of the settlement that was to become Brussels lies in Saint Gaugericus construction of a chapel on an island in the river Senne around 580. The official founding of Brussels is usually situated around 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel to the Saint Gaugericus chapel, Charles would construct the first permanent fortification in the city, doing so on that same island. Lambert I of Leuven, Count of Leuven gained the County of Brussels around 1000 by marrying Charles daughter, as it grew to a population of around 30,000, the surrounding marshes were drained to allow for further expansion. The Counts of Leuven became Dukes of Brabant at about this time, in the 13th century, the city got its first walls. After the construction of the city walls in the early 13th century, to let the city expand, a second set of walls was erected between 1356 and 1383. Today, traces of it can still be seen, mostly because the small ring, Brabant had lost its independence, but Brussels became the Princely Capital of the prosperous Low Countries, and flourished. In 1516 Charles V, who had been heir of the Low Countries since 1506, was declared King of Spain in St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in Brussels. Upon the death of his grandfather, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor in 1519 and it was in the Palace complex at Coudenberg that Charles V abdicated in 1555. This impressive palace, famous all over Europe, had expanded since it had first become the seat of the Dukes of Brabant. In 1695, during the Nine Years War, King Louis XIV of France sent troops to bombard Brussels with artillery, together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of BrusselsBrussels – A collage with several views of Brussels, Top: View of the Northern Quarter business district, 2nd left: Floral carpet event in the Grand Place, 2nd right: Brussels City Hall and Mont des Arts area, 3rd: Cinquantenaire Park, 4th left: Manneken Pis, 4th middle: St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, 4th right: Congress Column, Bottom: Royal Palace of Brussels
18. Denmark – Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Scandinavian country in Europe and a sovereign state. The southernmost and smallest of the Nordic countries, it is south-west of Sweden and south of Norway, Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark has an area of 42,924 square kilometres. The country consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, the islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea, Denmark, Sweden and Norway were ruled together under the Kalmar Union, established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in 1523. Denmark and Norway remained under the monarch until outside forces dissolved the union in 1814. The union with Norway made it possible for Denmark to inherit the Faroe Islands, Iceland, beginning in the 17th century, there were several cessions of territory to Sweden. In the 19th century there was a surge of nationalist movements, Denmark remained neutral during World War I. In April 1940, a German invasion saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945, the Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy which had begun in 1660. It establishes a constitutional monarchy organised as a parliamentary democracy, the government and national parliament are seated in Copenhagen, the nations capital, largest city and main commercial centre. Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving powers to handle internal affairs, Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948, in Greenland home rule was established in 1979 and further autonomy in 2009. Denmark became a member of the European Economic Community in 1973, maintaining certain opt-outs, it retains its own currency, the krone. It is among the members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE. The etymology of the word Denmark, and especially the relationship between Danes and Denmark and the unifying of Denmark as a kingdom, is a subject which attracts debate. This is centred primarily on the prefix Dan and whether it refers to the Dani or a historical person Dan and the exact meaning of the -mark ending. Most handbooks derive the first part of the word, and the name of the people, from a word meaning land, related to German Tenne threshing floor. The -mark is believed to mean woodland or borderland, with references to the border forests in south Schleswig. The first recorded use of the word Danmark within Denmark itself is found on the two Jelling stones, which are believed to have been erected by Gorm the Old and Harald BluetoothDenmark – The gilded side of the Trundholm sun chariot dating from the Nordic Bronze Age.
19. Copenhagen – Copenhagen, Danish, København, Latin, Hafnia) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. Copenhagen has an population of 1,280,371. The Copenhagen metropolitan area has just over 2 million inhabitants, the city is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand, another small portion of the city is located on Amager, and is separated from Malmö, Sweden, by the strait of Øresund. The Øresund Bridge connects the two cities by rail and road, originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the early 15th century. Beginning in the 17th century it consolidated its position as a centre of power with its institutions, defences. After suffering from the effects of plague and fire in the 18th century and this included construction of the prestigious district of Frederiksstaden and founding of such cultural institutions as the Royal Theatre and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Later, following the Second World War, the Finger Plan fostered the development of housing, since the turn of the 21st century, Copenhagen has seen strong urban and cultural development, facilitated by investment in its institutions and infrastructure. The city is the cultural, economic and governmental centre of Denmark, Copenhagens economy has seen rapid developments in the service sector, especially through initiatives in information technology, pharmaceuticals and clean technology. Since the completion of the Øresund Bridge, Copenhagen has become integrated with the Swedish province of Scania and its largest city, Malmö. With a number of connecting the various districts, the cityscape is characterized by parks, promenades. Copenhagen is home to the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen, founded in 1479, is the oldest university in Denmark. Copenhagen is home to the FC København and Brøndby football clubs, the annual Copenhagen Marathon was established in 1980. Copenhagen is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world, the Copenhagen Metro serves central Copenhagen while the Copenhagen S-train network connects central Copenhagen to its outlying boroughs. Serving roughly 2 million passengers a month, Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup, is the largest airport in the Nordic countries, the name of the city reflects its origin as a harbour and a place of commerce. The original designation, from which the contemporary Danish name derives, was Køpmannæhafn, meaning merchants harbour, the literal English translation would be Chapmans haven. The English name for the city was adapted from its Low German name, the abbreviations Kbh. or Kbhvn are often used in Danish for København, and kbh. for københavnsk. The chemical element hafnium is named for Copenhagen, where it was discovered, the bacterium Hafnia is also named after Copenhagen, Vagn Møller of the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen named it in 1954. Excavations in Pilestræde have also led to the discovery of a well from the late 12th century, the remains of an ancient church, with graves dating to the 11th century, have been unearthed near where Strøget meets RådhuspladsenCopenhagen – From upper left: Christiansborg Palace, Frederik's Church, Tivoli Gardens and Nyhavn.
20. Republic of Ireland – Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a sovereign state in north-western Europe occupying about five-sixths of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the part of the island. The state shares its land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint Georges Channel to the south-east, and it is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President, the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It was officially declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955. It joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, after joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth. The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by a financial crisis that began in 2008. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again quickly ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index and it also performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a member of the Council of Europe. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was styled, the Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland. Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland. The 1948 Act does not name the state as Republic of Ireland, because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name Eire, and, from 1949, Republic of Ireland, for the state, as well as Ireland, Éire or the Republic of Ireland, the state is also referred to as the Republic, Southern Ireland or the South. In an Irish republican context it is referred to as the Free State or the 26 Counties. From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, during the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the islands population of over 8 million fell by 30%Republic of Ireland – The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell (1846–1891).
21. Dublin – Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Dublin is in the province of Leinster on Irelands east coast, the city has an urban area population of 1,345,402. The population of the Greater Dublin Area, as of 2016, was 1,904,806 people, founded as a Viking settlement, the Kingdom of Dublin became Irelands principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century and was briefly the second largest city in the British Empire before the Acts of Union in 1800, following the partition of Ireland in 1922, Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State, later renamed Ireland. Dublin is administered by a City Council, the city is listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network as a global city, with a ranking of Alpha-, which places it amongst the top thirty cities in the world. It is a historical and contemporary centre for education, the arts, administration, economy, the name Dublin comes from the Irish word Dubhlinn, early Classical Irish Dubhlind/Duibhlind, dubh /d̪uβ/, alt. /d̪uw/, alt /d̪u, / meaning black, dark, and lind /lʲiɲ pool and this tidal pool was located where the River Poddle entered the Liffey, on the site of the castle gardens at the rear of Dublin Castle. In Modern Irish the name is Duibhlinn, and Irish rhymes from Dublin County show that in Dublin Leinster Irish it was pronounced Duílinn /d̪ˠi, other localities in Ireland also bear the name Duibhlinn, variously anglicized as Devlin, Divlin and Difflin. Historically, scribes using the Gaelic script wrote bh with a dot over the b and those without knowledge of Irish omitted the dot, spelling the name as Dublin. Variations on the name are found in traditionally Irish-speaking areas of Scotland, such as An Linne Dhubh. It is now thought that the Viking settlement was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duibhlinn, beginning in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements where the modern city stands. Baile Átha Cliath, meaning town of the ford, is the common name for the city in modern Irish. Áth Cliath is a name referring to a fording point of the River Liffey near Father Mathew Bridge. Baile Átha Cliath was an early Christian monastery, believed to have been in the area of Aungier Street, there are other towns of the same name, such as Àth Cliath in East Ayrshire, Scotland, which is Anglicised as Hurlford. Although the area of Dublin Bay has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times and he called the settlement Eblana polis. It is now thought that the Viking settlement was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duibhlinn, beginning in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements where the modern city stands. The subsequent Scandinavian settlement centred on the River Poddle, a tributary of the Liffey in an area now known as Wood Quay, the Dubhlinn was a small lake used to moor ships, the Poddle connected the lake with the Liffey. This lake was covered during the early 18th century as the city grew, the Dubhlinn lay where the Castle Garden is now located, opposite the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin CastleDublin – Clockwise from top: Samuel Beckett Bridge, Trinity College, Custom House, Dublin Castle, O'Connell Bridge, and Convention Centre Dublin.
22. Finland – Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a sovereign state in Northern Europe. A peninsula with the Gulf of Finland to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, the country has borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north. Estonia is south of the country across the Gulf of Finland, Finland is a Nordic country situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia, which also includes Scandinavia. Finlands population is 5.5 million, and the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region,88. 7% of the population is Finnish people who speak Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages, the second major group are the Finland-Swedes. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe, Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, from the late 12th century, Finland was an integral part of Sweden, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In the spirit of the notion of Adolf Ivar Arwidsson, we are not Swedes, we do not want to become Russians, let us therefore be Finns, nevertheless, in 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. In 1906, Finland became the nation in the world to give the right to vote to all adult citizens. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent, in 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Reds supported by the equally new Soviet Russia, fighting the Whites, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought repeatedly to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Salla and Kuusamo, Petsamo and some islands, Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and established an official policy of neutrality. The Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era, Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialization, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. It rapidly developed an advanced economy while building an extensive Nordic-style welfare state, resulting in widespread prosperity, however, Finnish GDP growth has been negative in 2012–2014, with a preceding nadir of −8% in 2009. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, a large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, though freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution. The first known appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three rune-stones. Two were found in the Swedish province of Uppland and have the inscription finlonti, the third was found in Gotland, in the Baltic Sea. It has the inscription finlandi and dates from the 13th century, the name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, which is mentioned first known time AD98. The name Suomi has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, in addition to the close relatives of Finnish, this name is also used in the Baltic languages Latvian and LithuanianFinland – Hakkapeliitta featured on a 1940 Finnish stamp
23. Helsinki – Helsinki is the capital and largest city of Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki has a population of 629,512, a population of 1,231,595. Helsinki is located some 80 kilometres north of Tallinn, Estonia,400 km east of Stockholm, Sweden, Helsinki has close historical connections with these three cities. The Helsinki metropolitan area includes the core of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen. It is the worlds northernmost metro area of one million people. The Helsinki metropolitan area is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Nordic countries, Helsinki is Finlands major political, educational, financial, cultural, and research center as well as one of northern Europes major cities. Approximately 75% of foreign companies operating in Finland have settled in the Helsinki region, the nearby municipality of Vantaa is the location of Helsinki Airport, with frequent service to various destinations in Europe and Asia. In 2009, Helsinki was chosen to be the World Design Capital for 2012 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, the city was the venue for the 1952 Summer Olympics and the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest 2007. In 2011, the Monocle magazine ranked Helsinki the most liveable city in the world in its Liveable Cities Index 2011, in the Economist Intelligence Units August 2015 Liveability survey, assessing the best and worst cities to live in globally, Helsinki placed among the worlds top ten cities. Helsinki is used to refer to the city in most languages, the Swedish name Helsingfors is the original official name of the city. The Finnish name probably comes from Helsinga and similar names used for the river that is known as the Vantaa River. Helsingfors comes from the name of the parish, Helsinge and the rapids, which flowed through the original village. As part of the Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire, one suggestion for the origin of the name Helsinge is that it originated with medieval Swedish settlers who came from Hälsingland in Sweden. Others have proposed that the name derives from the Swedish word helsing, other Scandinavian cities located at similar geographic locations were given similar names at the time, for example Helsingør and Helsingborg. The name Helsinki has been used in Finnish official documents and in Finnish language newspapers since 1819, the decrees issued in Helsinki were dated with Helsinki as the place of issue. This is how the form Helsinki came to be used in written Finnish, in Helsinki slang the city is called Stadi. Hesa, is not used by natives to the city, helsset is the Northern Sami name of HelsinkiHelsinki – Clockwise from top: Helsinki Cathedral, view of central Helsinki, Headquarters of Sanoma, Helsinki city centre at night, beaches at Aurinkolahti, Parliament House and Suomenlinna.
24. Portugal – Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country on the Iberian Peninsula in Southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, to the west and south it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and to the east and north by Spain. The Portugal–Spain border is 1,214 kilometres long and considered the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union, the republic also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. The territory of modern Portugal has been settled, invaded. The Pre-Celts, Celts, Carthaginians and the Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigothic, in 711 the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the Moors, making Portugal part of Muslim Al Andalus. Portugal was born as result of the Christian Reconquista, and in 1139, Afonso Henriques was proclaimed King of Portugal, in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the worlds major economic, political and military powers. Portugal monopolized the trade during this time, and the Portuguese Empire expanded with military campaigns led in Asia. After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories, Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe and a legacy of over 250 million Portuguese speakers today. Portugal is a country with a high-income advanced economy and a high living standard. It is the 5th most peaceful country in the world, maintaining a unitary semi-presidential republican form of government and it has the 18th highest Social Progress in the world, putting it ahead of other Western European countries like France, Spain and Italy. Portugal is a pioneer when it comes to drug decriminalization, as the nation decriminalized the possession of all drugs for use in 2001. The early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula located in South Western Europe, the name of Portugal derives from the joined Romano-Celtic name Portus Cale. Other influences include some 5th-century vestiges of Alan settlements, which were found in Alenquer, Coimbra, the region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and then by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula. These were subsistence societies that, although they did not establish prosperous settlements, neolithic Portugal experimented with domestication of herding animals, the raising of some cereal crops and fluvial or marine fishing. Chief among these tribes were the Calaicians or Gallaeci of Northern Portugal, the Lusitanians of central Portugal, the Celtici of Alentejo, a few small, semi-permanent, commercial coastal settlements were also founded in the Algarve region by Phoenicians-Carthaginians. Romans first invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 219 BC, during the last days of Julius Caesar, almost the entire peninsula had been annexed to the Roman Republic. The Carthaginians, Romes adversary in the Punic Wars, were expelled from their coastal colonies and it suffered a severe setback in 150 BC, when a rebellion began in the northPortugal – Citânia de Briteiros, in the Minho Province, is the best preserved Iron Age and Castro culture site in Portugal.
25. Lisbon – Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with a population of 552,700 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km². Its urban area extends beyond the administrative limits with a population of around 2.7 million people. About 2.8 million people live in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area and it is continental Europes westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean, the westernmost areas of its metro area is the westernmost point of Continental Europe. Lisbon is recognised as a city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education. It is one of the economic centres on the continent, with a growing financial sector. Humberto Delgado Airport serves over 20 million passengers annually, as of 2015, and the motorway network, the city is the 7th-most-visited city in Southern Europe, after Istanbul, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Athens and Milan, with 1,740,000 tourists in 2009. The Lisbon region contributes with a higher GDP PPP per capita than any region in Portugal. Its GDP amounts to 96.3 billion USD and thus $32,434 per capita, the city occupies 32nd place of highest gross earnings in the world. Most of the headquarters of multinationals in the country are located in the Lisbon area and it is also the political centre of the country, as its seat of Government and residence of the Head of State. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, in 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal. Unlike most capital cities, Lisbons status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially – by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal. It has one of the warmest winters of any metropolis in Europe, the typical summer season lasts about four months, from June to September, although also in April temperatures sometimes reach around 25 °C. Although modern archaeological excavations show a Phoenician presence at this location since 1200 BC, another conjecture based on ancient hydronymy suggests that the name of the settlement derived from the pre-Roman appellation for the Tagus, Lisso or Lucio. Lisbons name was written Ulyssippo in Latin by the geographer Pomponius Mela and it was later referred to as Olisippo by Pliny the Elder and by the Greeks as Olissipo or Olissipona. The Indo-European Celts invaded in the 1st millennium BC, mixing with the Pre-Indo-European population and this indigenous settlement maintained commercial relations with the Phoenicians, which would account for the recent findings of Phoenician pottery and other material objectsLisbon – Clockwise, from top: Praça do Comércio, Parque Eduardo VII, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Torre de Belém, the Sé de Lisboa, and Parque das Nações.
26. Slovenia – Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, is a nation state in southern Central Europe, located at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and it covers 20,273 square kilometers and has a population of 2.06 million. It is a republic and a member of the United Nations, European Union. The capital and largest city is Ljubljana, additionally, the Dinaric Alps and the Pannonian Plain meet on the territory of Slovenia. The country, marked by a significant biological diversity, is one of the most water-rich in Europe, with a river network, a rich aquifer system. Over half of the territory is covered by forest, the human settlement of Slovenia is dispersed and uneven. Slovenia has historically been the crossroads of South Slavic, Germanic, Romance, although the population is not homogeneous, the majority is Slovene. Slovene is the language throughout the country. Slovenia is a largely secularized country, but its culture and identity have been influenced by Catholicism as well as Lutheranism. The economy of Slovenia is small, open, and export-oriented and has strongly influenced by international conditions. It has been hurt by the Eurozone crisis, started in the late 2000s. The main economic field is services, followed by industry and construction, Historically, the current territory of Slovenia was part of many different state formations, including the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, followed by the Habsburg Monarchy. In October 1918, the Slovenes exercised self-determination for the first time by co-founding the State of Slovenes, Croats, in December 1918, they merged with the Kingdom of Serbia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. During World War II, Slovenia was occupied and annexed by Germany, Italy, and Hungary, with a tiny area transferred to the Independent State of Croatia, in June 1991, after the introduction of multi-party representative democracy, Slovenia split from Yugoslavia and became an independent country. Present-day Slovenia has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and there is evidence of habitation from around 250,000 years ago. A pierced cave bear bone, dating from 43100 ±700 BP, in the 1920s and 1930s, artifacts belonging to the Cro-Magnon such as pierced bones, bone points, and needle were found by archaeologist Srečko Brodar in Potok Cave. It shows that wooden wheels appeared almost simultaneously in Mesopotamia and Europe, in the transition period between the Bronze age to the Iron age, the Urnfield culture flourished. Archaeological remains dating from the Hallstatt period have been found, particularly in southeastern Slovenia, among them a number of situlas in Novo Mesto, in the Iron Age, present-day Slovenia was inhabited by Illyrian and Celtic tribes until the 1st century BCSlovenia – A pierced cave bear bone, possibly flute, from Divje Babe
27. Ljubljana – Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. It has been the cultural, educational, economic, political, during antiquity, a Roman city called Emona stood in the area. Ljubljana itself was first mentioned in the first half of the 12th century and it was under Habsburg rule from the Middle Ages until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. Situated at the middle of a route between the northern Adriatic Sea and the Danube region, it was the historical capital of Carniola. The origin of the name is unclear. In the Middle Ages, both the river and the town were known by the German name Laibach. This name was in use as an endonym until 1918. The city is called in Italian Lubiana and in Latin, Labacum or Aemona For most scholars, the problem has been in how to connect the Slovene and he supported the thesis that the name of the river derived from the name of the settlement. The name Laibach, he claimed, was actually a hybrid of German and Slovene, the symbol of the city is the Ljubljana Dragon. It is depicted on the top of the tower of Ljubljana Castle in the Ljubljana coat of arms and it symbolizes power, courage, and greatness. There are several explanations on the origin of the Ljubljana Dragon and it was there that Jason struck down a monster. This monster has evolved into the dragon that today is present in the city coat of arms and it is historically more believable that the dragon was adopted from Saint George, the patron of the Ljubljana Castle chapel built in the 15th century. In the legend of Saint George, the dragon represents the old ancestral paganism overcome by Christianity, according to another explanation, related to the second, the dragon was at first only a decoration above the city coat of arms. In the Baroque, it part of the coat of arms. Around 2000 BC, the Ljubljana Marshes in the vicinity of Ljubljana were settled by people living in pile dwellings. Prehistoric pile dwellings and the oldest wooden wheel in the world are among the most notable archeological findings from the marshland and these lake-dwelling people lived through hunting, fishing and primitive agriculture. To get around the marshes, they used dugout canoes made by cutting out the inside of tree trunks and their archeological remains, nowadays in the Municipality of Ig, have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2011, in the common nomination of six Alpine states. Around 50 BC, the Romans built a military encampment that later became a permanent settlement called Iulia Aemona and this entrenched fort was occupied by the Legio XV ApollinarisLjubljana – Clockwise from top: Ljubljana Castle in the background and Franciscan Church of the Annunciation in the foreground; Visitation of Mary Church on Rožnik Hill; Kazina Palace at Congress Square; view from Ljubljana Castle towards the north; Ljubljana City Hall; Ljubljanica with the Triple Bridge in distance.
28. United Kingdom – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland, with an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants, together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union. The United Kingdom is a monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952, other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the regions of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales, the last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The relationships among the countries of the UK have changed over time, Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. A treaty between England and Scotland resulted in 1707 in a unified Kingdom of Great Britain, which merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there are fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies. The United Kingdom is a country and has the worlds fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. The UK is considered to have an economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index. It was the worlds first industrialised country and the worlds foremost power during the 19th, the UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth or fifth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946 and it has been a leading member state of the EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. However, on 23 June 2016, a referendum on the UKs membership of the EU resulted in a decision to leave. The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved self-governmentUnited Kingdom – Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, was erected around 2500 BC.
29. London – London /ˈlʌndən/ is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south east of the island of Great Britain and it was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium. Londons ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1. 12-square-mile medieval boundaries. London is a global city in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism. It is crowned as the worlds largest financial centre and has the fifth- or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world, London is a world cultural capital. It is the worlds most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the worlds largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic, London is the worlds leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. Londons universities form the largest concentration of education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted the modern Summer Olympic Games three times, London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. Its estimated mid-2015 municipal population was 8,673,713, the largest of any city in the European Union, Londons urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census. The citys metropolitan area is the most populous in the EU with 13,879,757 inhabitants, the city-region therefore has a similar land area and population to that of the New York metropolitan area. London was the worlds most populous city from around 1831 to 1925, Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Pauls Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world, the etymology of London is uncertain. It is an ancient name, found in sources from the 2nd century and it is recorded c.121 as Londinium, which points to Romano-British origin, and hand-written Roman tablets recovered in the city originating from AD 65/70-80 include the word Londinio. The earliest attempted explanation, now disregarded, is attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae and this had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud. From 1898, it was accepted that the name was of Celtic origin and meant place belonging to a man called *Londinos. The ultimate difficulty lies in reconciling the Latin form Londinium with the modern Welsh Llundain, which should demand a form *lōndinion, from earlier *loundiniom. The possibility cannot be ruled out that the Welsh name was borrowed back in from English at a later date, and thus cannot be used as a basis from which to reconstruct the original name. Until 1889, the name London officially applied only to the City of London, two recent discoveries indicate probable very early settlements near the Thames in the London areaLondon – Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace and Central London skyline
30. Luxembourg – Luxembourg /ˈlʌksəmbɜːrɡ/, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a landlocked country in western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east and its culture, people and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbours, making it essentially a mixture of French and Germanic cultures. It comprises two regions, the Oesling in the north as part of the Ardennes massif. With an area of 2,586 square kilometres, it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe, Luxembourg had a population of 524,853 in October 2012, ranking it the 8th least-populous country in Europe. As a representative democracy with a monarch, it is headed by a Grand Duke, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a country, with an advanced economy and the worlds highest GDP per capita. Luxembourg is a member of the European Union, OECD, United Nations, NATO, and Benelux, reflecting its political consensus in favour of economic, political. The city of Luxembourg, which is the capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions. Luxembourg served on the United Nations Security Council for the years 2013 and 2014, around this fort, a town gradually developed, which became the centre of a state of great strategic value. In the 14th and early 15th centuries, three members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as Holy Roman Emperors, in the following centuries, Luxembourgs fortress was steadily enlarged and strengthened by its successive occupants, the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns and the French. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Luxembourg was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands and this arrangement was revised by the 1839 First Treaty of London, from which date Luxembourgs full independence is reckoned. In 1842 Luxembourg joined the German Customs Union, the King of the Netherlands remained Head of State as Grand Duke of Luxembourg, maintaining a personal union between the two countries until 1890. At the death of William III, the throne of the Netherlands passed to his daughter Wilhelmina and this allowed Germany the military advantage of controlling and expanding the railways there. In August 1914, Imperial Germany violated Luxembourgs neutrality in the war by invading it in the war against France and this allowed Germany to use the railway lines, while at the same time denying them to France. Nevertheless, despite the German occupation, Luxembourg was allowed to maintain much of its independence, in 1940, after the outbreak of World War II, Luxembourgs neutrality was again violated when the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany entered the country, entirely without justification. A government in exile based in London supported the Allies, sending a group of volunteers who participated in the Normandy invasion. Luxembourg was liberated in September 1944, and became a member of the United Nations in 1945. Luxembourgs neutral status under the constitution formally ended in 1948, in 2005, a referendum on the EU treaty establishing a constitution for Europe was heldLuxembourg – Historic map (undated) of Luxembourg city's fortifications
31. Luxembourg City – Luxembourg, also known as Luxembourg City, is the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and the countrys most populous commune. The city contains Luxembourg Castle, established by the Franks in the Early Middle Ages, as of January 2016, the commune had a population of 115,227, which was more than three times the population of the countrys second most populous commune. The citys metropolitan population, including that of surrounding communes of Hesperange, Sandweiler, Strassen, in 2011, Luxembourg was ranked as having the second highest per capita GDP in the world at $80,119, with the city having developed into a banking and administrative centre. In the 2011 Mercer worldwide survey of 221 cities, Luxembourg was placed first for personal safety while it was ranked 19th for quality of living, in the Roman era, a fortified tower guarded the crossing of two Roman roads that met at the site of Luxembourg city. Siegfried built his castle, named Lucilinburhuc, on the Bock Fiels, in 987, Archbishop Egbert of Trier consecrated five altars in the Church of the Redemption. At a Roman road intersection near the church, a marketplace appeared around which the city developed, the city, because of its location and natural geography, has through history been a place of strategic military significance. The first fortifications were built as early as the 10th century, by the end of the 12th century, as the city expanded westward around the new St. Nicholas Church, new walls were built that included an area of 5 hectares. In about 1340, under the reign of John the Blind, in 1443, the Burgundians under Philip the Good conquered Luxembourg. Subsequently, the Burgundians, the Spanish, the French, the Spanish again, the Austrians, the French again, in the 17th century, the first casemates were built, initially, Spain built 23 km of tunnels, starting in 1644. These were then enlarged under French rule by Marshal Vauban, during the French Revolutionary Wars, the city was occupied by France twice, once, briefly, in 1792–3, and, later, after a seven-month siege. After the Luxembourg Crisis, the 1867 Treaty of London required Luxembourg to dismantle the fortifications in Luxembourg City. Their demolition took sixteen years, cost 1.5 million gold francs, furthermore, the Prussian garrison was to be withdrawn. When, in 1890, Grand Duke William III died without any heirs, the Grand Duchy passed out of Dutch hands. Despite Luxembourgs best efforts to remain neutral in the First World War, on 30 August, Helmuth von Moltke moved his headquarters to Luxembourg City, closer to his armies in France in preparation for a swift victory. However, the victory never came, and Luxembourg would play host to the German high command for another four years. At the end of the occupation, Luxembourg City was the scene of an attempted communist revolution, on 9 November 1918, communists declared a socialist republic, in 1921, the city limits were greatly expanded. The communes of Eich, Hamm, Hollerich, and Rollingergrund were incorporated into Luxembourg City, in 1940, Germany occupied Luxembourg again. Under the occupation, the citys streets all received new, German namesLuxembourg City – Skyline of Luxembourg City
32. Spain – By population, Spain is the sixth largest in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. Spains capital and largest city is Madrid, other urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago, in the Middle Ages, the area was conquered by Germanic tribes and later by the Moors. Spain is a democracy organised in the form of a government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a power and a major developed country with the worlds fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP. Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the span is the Phoenician word spy. Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean the land where metals are forged, two 15th-century Spanish Jewish scholars, Don Isaac Abravanel and Solomon ibn Verga, gave an explanation now considered folkloric. Both men wrote in two different published works that the first Jews to reach Spain were brought by ship by Phiros who was confederate with the king of Babylon when he laid siege to Jerusalem. This man was a Grecian by birth, but who had given a kingdom in Spain. He became related by marriage to Espan, the nephew of king Heracles, Heracles later renounced his throne in preference for his native Greece, leaving his kingdom to his nephew, Espan, from whom the country of España took its name. Based upon their testimonies, this eponym would have already been in use in Spain by c.350 BCE, Iberia enters written records as a land populated largely by the Iberians, Basques and Celts. Early on its coastal areas were settled by Phoenicians who founded Western Europe´s most ancient cities Cadiz, Phoenician influence expanded as much of the Peninsula was eventually incorporated into the Carthaginian Empire, becoming a major theater of the Punic Wars against the expanding Roman Empire. After an arduous conquest, the peninsula came fully under Roman Rule, during the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule but later, much of it was conquered by Moorish invaders from North Africa. In a process took centuries, the small Christian kingdoms in the north gradually regained control of the peninsula. The last Moorish kingdom fell in the same year Columbus reached the Americas, a global empire began which saw Spain become the strongest kingdom in Europe, the leading world power for a century and a half, and the largest overseas empire for three centuries. Continued wars and other problems led to a diminished status. The Napoleonic invasions of Spain led to chaos, triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire, eventually democracy was peacefully restored in the form of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Spain joined the European Union, experiencing a renaissance and steady economic growthSpain – Lady of Elche
33. Madrid – Madrid is the capital city of the Kingdom of Spain and the largest municipality in both the Community of Madrid and Spain as a whole. The city has a population of almost 3.2 million with an area population of approximately 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union after London and Berlin, the municipality itself covers an area of 604.3 km2. Madrid lies on the River Manzanares in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid, this community is bordered by the communities of Castile and León. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political, economic, the current mayor is Manuela Carmena from Ahora Madrid. Madrid is home to two football clubs, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid. Madrid is the 17th most liveable city in the according to Monocle magazine. Madrid organises fairs such as FITUR, ARCO, SIMO TCI, while Madrid possesses modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets. Cibeles Palace and Fountain have become one of the monument symbols of the city, the first documented reference of the city originates in Andalusan times as the Arabic مجريط Majrīṭ, which was retained in Medieval Spanish as Magerit. A wider number of theories have been formulated on possible earlier origins, according to legend, Madrid was founded by Ocno Bianor and was named Metragirta or Mantua Carpetana. The most ancient recorded name of the city Magerit comes from the name of a built on the Manzanares River in the 9th century AD. Nevertheless, it is speculated that the origin of the current name of the city comes from the 2nd century BC. The Roman Empire established a settlement on the banks of the Manzanares river, the name of this first village was Matrice. In the 8th century, the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula saw the changed to Mayrit, from the Arabic term ميرا Mayra. The modern Madrid evolved from the Mozarabic Matrit, which is still in the Madrilenian gentilic, after the disintegration of the Caliphate of Córdoba, Madrid was integrated in the Taifa of Toledo. With the surrender of Toledo to Alfonso VI of León and Castile, the city was conquered by Christians in 1085, Christians replaced Muslims in the occupation of the centre of the city, while Muslims and Jews settled in the suburbs. The city was thriving and was given the title of Villa, since 1188, Madrid won the right to be a city with representation in the courts of Castile. In 1202, King Alfonso VIII of Castile gave Madrid its first charter to regulate the municipal council, which was expanded in 1222 by Ferdinand III of CastileMadrid – From upper left: view of business districts of AZCA and CTBA, Gran Vía street and Metropolis Building, the Palace of Communication, view of Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral.
34. Cyprus – Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, the earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC, Cyprus was placed under British administration based on Cyprus Convention in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders, following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. On 15 July 1974, a coup détat was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis and these events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute. The Cyprus Republic has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, as well as its territorial sea and exclusive economic area, another nearly 4% of the islands area is covered by the UN buffer zone. The international community considers the part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, on 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone. The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean GreekCyprus – A copper mine on Cyprus. In antiquity, Cyprus was a major source of copper.
35. Nicosia – Nicosia is the largest city on the island of Cyprus. It is located near the centre of the Mesaoria plain, on the banks of the River Pedieos, Nicosia is the capital and seat of government of the Republic of Cyprus, and as such is the farthest southeast of all EU member states capitals. It has been inhabited for over 4,500 years and has been the capital of Cyprus since the 10th century. The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities of Nicosia segregated into the south and north of the city respectively in 1963, following the intercommunal violence that broke out in the city. Today, the part of the city is the capital of Northern Cyprus. Apart from its legislative and administrative functions, Nicosia has established itself as the financial capital. In 2012, Nicosia was the 5th richest city in the world in purchasing power. Nicosia has been in continuous habitation since the beginning of the Bronze Age 2500 years BC, Nicosia later became a city-state known as Ledra or Ledrae, one of the twelve kingdoms of ancient Cyprus built by Achaeans after the end of the Trojan War. Remains of old Ledra today can be found in the Ayia Paraskevi hill in the south east of the city and we only know about one king of Ledra, Onasagoras. The kingdom of Ledra was destroyed early, under Assyrian rule of Cyprus, Onasagoras was recorded as paying tribute to Esarhaddon of Assyria in 672 BC. By 330 BC, Ledra was recorded to be a small an unimportant town, according to tradition, the city was rebuilt by Leucus, claimed to be the son of Ptolemy I, around 300 BC or 200 BC, and named after him as Leucoton or Lefkotheon. The main activity of the inhabitants was farming. During this era, Ledra did not have the growth that the other Cypriot coastal towns had. In Byzantine times the town was referred to as Λευκωσία or as Καλληνίκησις. In the 4th century AD, the became the seat of bishopric, with bishop Saint Tryphillius. After the destruction of Salamis, the capital of Cyprus, by Arab raids in 647, Nicosia became the capital of the island around 965. The Byzantines moved the islands administration seat to Nicosia primarily for security reasons as coastal towns were often suffering from raids, from that point on it has remained as the capital of Cyprus. On his way to the Holy Land during the Third Crusade in 1187 and he himself stopped first at Crete and then at RhodesNicosia – From upper left: Nicosia city skyline, Ledra Street at night, courtyard of Nicosian houses, Venetian walls of Nicosia, a Nicosian door in the old town, the Buyuk Han, a quiet neighbourhood in the old town, Venetian houses, Nicosia Christmas fair, Makariou Avenue at night
36. France – France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nice, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established. The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural, political, and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War, the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is also a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the FranksFrance – One of the Lascaux paintings: a horse – Dordogne, approximately 18,000 BC
37. Paris – Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It has an area of 105 square kilometres and a population of 2,229,621 in 2013 within its administrative limits, the agglomeration has grown well beyond the citys administrative limits. By the 17th century, Paris was one of Europes major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, and it retains that position still today. The aire urbaine de Paris, a measure of area, spans most of the Île-de-France region and has a population of 12,405,426. It is therefore the second largest metropolitan area in the European Union after London, the Metropole of Grand Paris was created in 2016, combining the commune and its nearest suburbs into a single area for economic and environmental co-operation. Grand Paris covers 814 square kilometres and has a population of 7 million persons, the Paris Region had a GDP of €624 billion in 2012, accounting for 30.0 percent of the GDP of France and ranking it as one of the wealthiest regions in Europe. The city is also a rail, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the subway system, the Paris Métro. It is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro, notably, Paris Gare du Nord is the busiest railway station in the world outside of Japan, with 262 millions passengers in 2015. In 2015, Paris received 22.2 million visitors, making it one of the top tourist destinations. The association football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris, the 80, 000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros, Paris hosted the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics and is bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. The name Paris is derived from its inhabitants, the Celtic Parisii tribe. Thus, though written the same, the name is not related to the Paris of Greek mythology. In the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps, since the late 19th century, Paris has also been known as Panam in French slang. Inhabitants are known in English as Parisians and in French as Parisiens and they are also pejoratively called Parigots. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC. One of the areas major north-south trade routes crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité, this place of land and water trade routes gradually became a townParis – In the 1860s Paris streets and monuments were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps, making it literally "The City of Light."
38. Czech Republic – The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is a nation state in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres with mostly temperate continental climate and it is a unitary parliamentary republic, has 10.5 million inhabitants and the capital and largest city is Prague, with over 1.2 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the territories of Bohemia, Moravia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire, after the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria, the Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, reimposed Roman Catholicism, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, and was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Czech country lost the majority of its German-speaking inhabitants after they were expelled following the war, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections. Following the 1948 coup détat, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence, in 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed, on 6 March 1990, the Czech Socialistic Republic was renamed to the Czech Republic. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004, it is a member of the United Nations, the OECD, the OSCE, and it is a developed country with an advanced, high income economy and high living standards. The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development, the Czech Republic also ranks as the 6th most peaceful country, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union, the traditional English name Bohemia derives from Latin Boiohaemum, which means home of the Boii. The current name comes from the endonym Čech, spelled Cžech until the reform in 1842. The name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, the etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning member of the people, kinsman, thus making it cognate to the Czech word člověk. The country has traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the southeast, and Czech Silesia in the northeast. Following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992, the Czech part of the former nation found itself without a common single-word geographical name in English, the name Czechia /ˈtʃɛkiə/ was recommended by the Czech Ministry of Foreign AffairsCzech Republic – Přemysl Ottokar II, King of Bohemia (1253–1278) and Duke of Austria (1251–1278)
39. Prague – Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is the 14th largest city in the European Union and it is also the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters. Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its history and it was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire. Prague is home to a number of cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square with the Prague astronomical clock, since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The city has more than ten major museums, along with theatres, galleries, cinemas. An extensive modern public transportation system connects the city, also, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University in Prague, the oldest university in Central Europe. Prague is classified as an Alpha- global city according to GaWC studies, Prague ranked sixth in the Tripadvisor world list of best destinations in 2016. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city more than 6.4 million international visitors annually. Prague is the fifth most visited European city after London, Paris, Istanbul, the region was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. In the last century BC, the Celts were slowly driven away by Germanic tribes, around the area where present-day Prague stands, the 2nd century map of Ptolemaios mentioned a Germanic city called Casurgis. In the following century, the Czech tribes built several fortified settlements in the area, most notably in Levý Hradec, Butovice and in the Šárka valley. The construction of what came to be known as the Prague Castle began near the end of the 9th century, the first masonry under Prague Castle dates from the year 885 at the latest. The other prominent Prague fort, the Přemyslid fort Vyšehrad, was founded in the 10th century, Prague Castle is dominated by the cathedral, which was founded in 1344, but completed in the 20th century. The legendary origins of Prague attribute its foundation to the 8th century Czech duchess and prophetess Libuše and her husband, Přemysl, legend says that Libuše came out on a rocky cliff high above the Vltava and prophesied, I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars. She ordered a castle and a town called Praha to be built on the site, a 17th century Jewish chronicler David Solomon Ganz, citing Cyriacus Spangenberg, claimed that the city was founded as Boihaem in c.1306 BC by an ancient king, Boyya. The region became the seat of the dukes, and later kings of Bohemia, under Roman Emperor Otto II the area became a bishopric in 973Prague – Montage of Prague, clockwise from top: Panorama of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, Dancing House, Star Villa, Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Wallenstein Palace, Royal Garden at Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral and Municipal House.
40. Latvia – Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2. The country has a seasonal climate. Latvia is a parliamentary republic established in 1918. The capital city is Riga, the European Capital of Culture 2014, Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 119 administrative divisions, of which 110 are municipalities and 9 are cities. Latvians and Livs are the people of Latvia. Latvian and Lithuanian are the two surviving Baltic languages. Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language, Latvia and Estonia share a long common history. Until World War II, Latvia also had significant minorities of ethnic Germans, Latvia is historically predominantly Protestant Lutheran, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic. The Russian population has brought a significant portion of Eastern Orthodox Christians. The Republic of Latvia was founded on 18 November 1918, however, its de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II. The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation of Soviet rule and it ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990, and restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991. Latvia is a democratic and developed country and member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, and WTO. For 2014, Latvia was listed 46th on the Human Development Index and it used the Latvian lats as its currency until it was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2014. The name Latvija is derived from the name of the ancient Latgalians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes, henry of Latvia coined the Latinisations of the countrys name, Lettigallia and Lethia, both derived from the Latgalians. The terms inspired the variations on the name in Romance languages from Letonia. Around 3000 BC, the ancestors of the Latvian people settled on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Balts established trade routes to Rome and Byzantium, trading local amber for precious metals, by 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia, Curonians, Latgalians, Selonians, Semigallians, as well as the Livonians speaking a Finnic languageLatvia – Turaida Castle near Sigulda, built in 1214 under Albert of Riga.
41. Riga – Riga is the capital and the largest city of Latvia. With 696,593 inhabitants, Riga is the largest city in the Baltic states, the city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava. Rigas territory covers 307.17 square kilometres and lies one and ten metres above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain. Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member, Rigas historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture. Riga was the European Capital of Culture during 2014, along with Umeå in Sweden, Riga hosted the 2006 NATO Summit, the Eurovision Song Contest 2003, and the 2006 IIHF Mens World Ice Hockey Championships. It is home to the European Unions office of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, Riga is served by Riga International Airport, the largest airport in the Baltic states. Riga is a member of Eurocities, the Union of the Baltic Cities, another theory could be that Riga was named after Riege, the German name for the River Rīdzene, a tributary of the Daugava. The river Daugava has been a trade route since antiquity, part of the Vikings Dvina-Dnieper navigation route to Byzantium. A sheltered natural harbour 15 km upriver from the mouth of the Daugava — the site of todays Riga — has been recorded, as Duna Urbs and it was settled by the Livs, an ancient Finnic tribe. Riga began to develop as a centre of Viking trade during the early Middle Ages, Rigas inhabitants occupied themselves mainly with fishing, animal husbandry, and trading, later developing crafts. German traders began visiting Riga, establishing a nearby outpost in 1158, along with German traders also arrived the monk Meinhard of Segeberg to convert the Livonian pagans to Christianity. Catholic and Orthodox Christianity had already arrived in Latvia more than a century earlier, Meinhard settled among the Livs, building a castle and church at Ikšķile, upstream from Riga, and established his bishopric there. The Livs, however, continued to practice paganism and Meinhard died in Ikšķile in 1196, in 1198, the Bishop Berthold arrived with a contingent of crusaders and commenced a campaign of forced Christianization. Berthold was killed soon afterwards and his forces defeated, pope Innocent III issued a bull declaring a crusade against the Livonians. Bishop Albert was proclaimed Bishop of Livonia by his uncle Hartwig of Uthlede, Prince-Archbishop of Bremen, Albert landed in Riga in 1200 with 23 ships and 500 Westphalian crusaders. In 1201, he transferred the seat of the Livonian bishopric from Ikšķile to Riga, the year 1201 also marked the first arrival of German merchants in Novgorod, via the Dvina. To defend territory and trade, Albert established the Order of Livonian Brothers of the Sword in 1202, open to nobles, in 1207, Albert started on fortification of the town. Emperor Philip invested Albert with Livonia as a fief and principality of the Holy Roman Empire, until then, it had been customary for crusaders to serve for a year and then return homeRiga – From top, left to right: the Freedom Monument, the Riga City Council building, the House of the Blackheads, Līvu Square, and the Latvian National Opera
42. Italy – Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino, Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. Due to its shape, it is referred to in Italy as lo Stivale. With 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth most populous EU member state, the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom, which eventually became a republic that conquered and assimilated other nearby civilisations. The legacy of the Roman Empire is widespread and can be observed in the distribution of civilian law, republican governments, Christianity. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration, Italian culture flourished at this time, producing famous scholars, artists and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli. The weakened sovereigns soon fell victim to conquest by European powers such as France, Spain and Austria. Despite being one of the victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil. The subsequent participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in defeat, economic destruction. Today, Italy has the third largest economy in the Eurozone and it has a very high level of human development and is ranked sixth in the world for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military, cultural and diplomatic affairs, as a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to 51 World Heritage Sites, the most in the world, and is the fifth most visited country. The assumptions on the etymology of the name Italia are very numerous, according to one of the more common explanations, the term Italia, from Latin, Italia, was borrowed through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning land of young cattle. The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War. Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus, mentioned also by Aristotle and Thucydides. The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy – according to Antiochus of Syracuse, but by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name also applied to most of Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name Italia to a larger region, excavations throughout Italy revealed a Neanderthal presence dating back to the Palaeolithic period, some 200,000 years ago, modern Humans arrived about 40,000 years ago. Other ancient Italian peoples of undetermined language families but of possible origins include the Rhaetian people and Cammuni. Also the Phoenicians established colonies on the coasts of Sardinia and Sicily, the Roman legacy has deeply influenced the Western civilisation, shaping most of the modern worldItaly – The Colosseum in Rome, built c. 70 – 80 AD, is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering of ancient history.
43. Rome – Rome is a special comune and the capital of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region, with 2,873,598 residents in 1,285 km2, it is also the countrys largest and most populated comune and fourth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the center of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4.3 million residents, the city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber. Romes history spans more than 2,500 years, while Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at only around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. The citys early population originated from a mix of Latins, Etruscans and it was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, and the expression was also taken up by Ovid, Virgil, and Livy. Rome is also called the Caput Mundi, due to that, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, and then the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters, sculptors and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, in 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city, Rome ranked in 2014 as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy. Its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are among the worlds most visited tourist destinations with both locations receiving millions of tourists a year. Rome hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics and is the seat of United Nations Food, however, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was actually derived from Rome itself. As early as the 4th century, there have been alternate theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. There is archaeological evidence of occupation of the Rome area from approximately 14,000 years ago. Evidence of stone tools, pottery and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence, several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the age and the beginning of the Iron age. However, none of them had yet an urban quality, nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city was gradually born through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine. All these happenings, which according to the excavations took place more or less around the mid of the 8th century BC. Despite recent excavations at the Palatine hill, the view that Rome has been indeed founded with an act of will as the legend suggests in the middle of the 8th century BC remains a fringe hypothesis. Traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves explain the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and mythRome
44. Bulgaria – Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, with a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europes 16th-largest country. Organised prehistoric cultures began developing on current Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic period and its ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians, Greeks, Persians, Celts, Romans, Goths, Alans and Huns. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State, the following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 it became a one-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc, in December 1989 the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgarias transition into a democracy and a market-based economy. Bulgarias population of 7.2 million people is predominantly urbanised, most commercial and cultural activities are centred on the capital and largest city, Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are industry, power engineering. The countrys current political structure dates to the adoption of a constitution in 1991. Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with a high degree of political, administrative. Human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria can be traced back to the Paleolithic, animal bones incised with man-made markings from Kozarnika cave are assumed to be the earliest examples of symbolic behaviour in humans. Organised prehistoric societies in Bulgarian lands include the Neolithic Hamangia culture, Vinča culture, the latter is credited with inventing gold working and exploitation. Some of these first gold smelters produced the coins, weapons and jewellery of the Varna Necropolis treasure and this site also offers insights for understanding the social hierarchy of the earliest European societies. Thracians, one of the three primary groups of modern Bulgarians, began appearing in the region during the Iron Age. In the late 6th century BC, the Persians conquered most of present-day Bulgaria, and kept it until 479 BC. After the division of the Roman Empire in the 5th century the area fell under Byzantine control, by this time, Christianity had already spread in the region. A small Gothic community in Nicopolis ad Istrum produced the first Germanic language book in the 4th century, the first Christian monastery in Europe was established around the same time by Saint Athanasius in central Bulgaria. From the 6th century the easternmost South Slavs gradually settled in the region, in 680 Bulgar tribes under the leadership of Asparukh moved south across the Danube and settled in the area between the lower Danube and the Balkan, establishing their capital at PliskaBulgaria – Objects from Varna necropolis, parts of the oldest golden treasure in the world.
45. Sweden – Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, at 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of 10.0 million. Sweden consequently has a low density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre. Approximately 85% of the lives in urban areas. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats/Götar and Swedes/Svear, Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested. Sweden is part of the area of Fennoscandia. The climate is in very mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence. Today, Sweden is a monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state. The capital city is Stockholm, which is also the most populous city in the country, legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister, Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages, in the 17th century, it expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire, which became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, the last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining a policy of neutrality in foreign affairs. The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905, leading to Swedens current borders, though Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars, Sweden engaged in humanitarian efforts, such as taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995 and it is also a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides health care. The modern name Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod and this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige literally means Realm of the Swedes, excluding the Geats in Götaland, the etymology of Swedes, and thus Sweden, is generally not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning ones own, referring to ones own Germanic tribeSweden – A Vendel-era helmet, at the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities.
46. Stockholm – The city is spread across 14 islands on the coast in the southeast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago and the Baltic Sea. The area has settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC. It is also the capital of Stockholm County, Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden. The Stockholm region alone accounts for over a third of the countrys GDP and it is an important global city, and the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region. The city is home to some of Europes top ranking universities, such as the Stockholm School of Economics, Karolinska Institute and it hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall. One of the citys most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited museum in Scandinavia. The Stockholm metro, opened in 1950, is known for its decoration of the stations. Swedens national football arena is located north of the city centre, Ericsson Globe, the national indoor arena, is in the southern part of the city. The city was the host of the 1912 Summer Olympics, and hosted the equestrian portion of the 1956 Summer Olympics otherwise held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Stockholm is the seat of the Swedish government and most of its agencies, including the highest courts in the judiciary, and the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister. The government has its seat in the Rosenbad building, the Riksdag is seated in the Parliament House, and the Prime Ministers residence is adjacent at the Sager House. After the Ice Age, around 8,000 BCE, there were already a number of people living in the present-day Stockholm area. Thousands of years later, as the ground thawed, the climate became tolerable, at the intersection of the Baltic Sea and lake Mälaren is an archipelago site where the Old Town of Stockholm was first built from about 1000 CE by Vikings. They had a positive impact on the area because of the trade routes they created. Stockholms location appears in Norse sagas as Agnafit, and in Heimskringla in connection with the legendary king Agne, the earliest written mention of the name Stockholm dates from 1252, by which time the mines in Bergslagen made it an important site in the iron trade. The first part of the name means log in Swedish, although it may also be connected to an old German word meaning fortification, the second part of the name means islet, and is thought to refer to the islet Helgeandsholmen in central Stockholm. Stockholms core, the present Old Town was built on the island next to Helgeandsholmen from the mid 13th century onward. The city originally rose to prominence as a result of the Baltic trade of the Hanseatic League, Stockholm developed strong economic and cultural linkages with Lübeck, Hamburg, Gdańsk, Visby, Reval, and Riga during this timeStockholm – Aerial view of the Old Town, Skeppsbron, Stockholm City Hall, Hötorget buildings, Ericsson Globe and Stockholm Palace.
47. Estonia – Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia, across the Baltic Sea lies Sweden in the west and Finland in the north. The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands and islets in the Baltic Sea, covering 45,339 km2 of land and water, and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 6500 BC, in 1988, during the Singing Revolution, the Estonian Supreme Soviet issued the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration in defiance of Soviet rule, and independence was restored on 20 August 1991. Estonia is a parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn, with a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union, Eurozone, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, OECD and Schengen Area. Estonia is a country with an advanced, high-income economy that is among the fastest growing in the EU. Its Human Development Index ranks very highly, and it performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties, the 2015 PISA test places Estonian high school students 3rd in the world, behind Singapore and Japan. Citizens of Estonia are provided with health care, free education. Since independence the country has developed its IT sector, becoming one of the worlds most digitally advanced societies. In 2005 Estonia became the first nation to hold elections over the Internet, in the Estonian language, the oldest known endonym of the Estonians was maarahvas, meaning country people or people of the land. The land inhabited by Estonians was called Maavald meaning Country Parish or Land Parish, one hypothesis regarding the modern name of Estonia is that it originated from the Aesti, a people described by the Roman historian Tacitus in his Germania. The historic Aesti were allegedly Baltic people, whereas the modern Estonians are Finno-Ugric, the geographical areas between Aesti and Estonia do not match, with Aesti being further down south. Ancient Scandinavian sagas refer to a land called Eistland, as the country is called in Icelandic. Early Latin and other ancient versions of the name are Estia and Hestia, esthonia was a common alternative English spelling prior to 1921. Human settlement in Estonia became possible 13,000 to 11,000 years ago, the oldest known settlement in Estonia is the Pulli settlement, which was on the banks of the river Pärnu, near the town of Sindi, in south-western Estonia. According to radiocarbon dating it was settled around 11,000 years ago, the earliest human inhabitation during the Mesolithic period is connected to Kunda culture, which is named after the town of Kunda in northern Estonia. At that time the country was covered with forests, and people lived in communities near bodies of waterEstonia – Tools made by Kunda culture, Estonian History Museum
48. Tallinn – Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland,80 km south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm, from the 13th century until 1918, the city was known as Reval. Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 and has a population of 444,591, approximately 33% of Estonias total population lives in Tallinn. Tallinn was founded in 1248, but the earliest human settlements date back 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest capital cities of Northern Europe. The initial claim over the land was laid by the Danes in 1219 after a raid of Lyndanisse led by Valdemar II of Denmark. Due to its location, the city became a major trade hub, especially from the 14th to the 16th century. Tallinns Old Town is one of the best preserved cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tallinn is the political, financial, cultural and educational center of Estonia. Often dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe, it has the highest number of startups per person in Europe and is a birthplace of international companies. The city is to house the headquarters of the European Unions IT agency, providing to the global cybersecurity it is the home to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. It is ranked as a city and has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world. The city was a European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku in Finland and it has been suggested that Quwri may have denoted a predecessor of the modern city. The earliest names of Tallinn include Kolyvan, which is known from East Slavic chronicles, up to the 13th century, the Scandinavians and Henry of Livonia in his chronicle called the town Lindanisa (or Lyndanisse in Danish, Lindanäs in Swedish and Ledenets in Old East Slavic. It has been suggested that the archaic Estonian word linda is similar to the Votic word lidna. According to this suggestion, nisa would have the meaning niemi, producing Kesoniemi, another ancient historical name for Tallinn in Finnish is Rääveli. The Icelandic Njals saga mentions Tallinn and calls it Rafala, which is a variant of the name Raphael, after the Danish conquest in 1219, the town became known in the German, Swedish and Danish languages as Reval. The name originated from Revelia Revala or Rävala, the adjacent ancient name of the surrounding area and it is usually thought to be derived from Taani-linn, after the Danes built the castle in place of the Estonian stronghold at Lindanisse. However, it could also have come from tali-linna, or talu-linna, the element -linna, like Germanic -burg and Slavic -grad / -gorod, originally meant fortress, but is used as a suffix in the formation of town namesTallinn – A collage of Tallinn showing a view from the sea, the Old Town and a night view of the downtown
49. Malta – Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy,284 km east of Tunisia, the country covers just over 316 km2, with a population of just under 450,000, making it one of the worlds smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital in the European Union, Malta has one national language, which is Maltese, and English as an official language. John, French and British, have ruled the islands, King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the George Cross to Malta in 1942 for the countrys bravery in the Second World War. The George Cross continues to appear on Maltas national flag, the country became a republic in 1974, and although no longer a Commonwealth realm, remains a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004, in 2008, Catholicism is the official religion in Malta. The origin of the term Malta is uncertain, and the modern-day variation derives from the Maltese language, the most common etymology is that the word Malta derives from the Greek word μέλι, meli, honey. The ancient Greeks called the island Μελίτη meaning honey-sweet, possibly due to Maltas unique production of honey, an endemic species of bee lives on the island. The Romans went on to call the island Melita, which can be considered either as a latinisation of the Greek Μελίτη or the adaptation of the Doric Greek pronunciation of the same word Μελίτα. Another conjecture suggests that the word Malta comes from the Phoenician word Maleth a haven or port in reference to Maltas many bays, few other etymological mentions appear in classical literature, with the term Malta appearing in its present form in the Antonine Itinerary. The extinction of the hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta. Prehistoric farming settlements dating to the Early Neolithic period were discovered in areas and also in caves. The Sicani were the tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time and are generally regarded as being closely related to the Iberians. Pottery from the Għar Dalam phase is similar to found in Agrigento. A culture of megalithis temple builders then either supplanted or arose from this early period, the temples have distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from 4000 to 2500 BCE. Animal bones and a knife found behind an altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice. Tentative information suggests that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, the culture apparently disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500 BC. Archaeologists speculate that the builders fell victim to famine or diseaseMalta – Ġgantija megalithic temple complex
50. Valletta – Valletta is the capital city of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt in Maltese. The historical city has a population of 6,444, while the area around it has a population of 393,938. Valletta is the southernmost capital of Europe and the second southernmost capital of the European Union after Nicosia, Valletta contains buildings from the 16th century onwards, built during the rule of the Order of St. John also known as Knights Hospitaller. The City of Valletta was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980, the official name given by the Order of Saint John was Humilissima Civitas Valletta—The Most Humble City of Valletta, or Città Umilissima in Italian. The building of a city on the Sciberras Peninsula, originally called Xaghriet Mewwija, had proposed by the Order of Saint John as early as 1524. Back then, the building on the peninsula was a small watchtower dedicated to Erasmus of Formia. In 1552, the watchtower was demolished and the larger Fort Saint Elmo was built in its place, in the Great Siege of 1565, Fort Saint Elmo fell to the Ottomans, but the Order eventually won the siege with the help of Sicilian reinforcements. The victorious Grand Master, Jean de Valette, immediately set out to build a new fortified city on the Sciberras Peninsula to fortify the Orders position in Malta, the city took his name and was called La Valletta. The Grand Master asked the European kings and princes for help, pope Pius V sent his military architect, Francesco Laparelli, to design the new city, while Philip II of Spain sent substantial monetary aid. The foundation stone of the city was laid by Grand Master de Valette on 28 March 1566 and he placed the first stone in what later became Our Lady of Victories Church. De Valette died from a stroke on 21 August 1568 at age 74, originally interred in the church of Our Lady of the Victories, his remains now rest in St. Johns Co-Cathedral among the tombs of other Grand Masters of the Knights of Malta. Francesco Laparelli was the principal designer and his plan departed from medieval Maltese architecture. He designed the new city on a grid plan. The streets were designed to be wide and straight, beginning centrally from the City Gate and ending at Fort Saint Elmo overlooking the Mediterranean and his assistant was the Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, later oversaw the construction of the city himself after Laparellis death in 1570. The Ufficio delle Case regulated the building of the city as a planning authority, seven Auberges were built for the Orders Langues, and these were complete by the 1580s. An eighth Auberge, Auberge de Bavière, was added in the 18th century. During António Manoel de Vilhenas reign, a town began to form between the walls of Valletta and the Floriana Lines, and this evolved from a suburb of Valletta to Floriana, a town in its own right. In 1749, Muslim slaves plotted to kill Grandmaster Pinto and take over Valletta, in 1798, the Order left the islands and the French occupation of Malta beganValletta – From top: Skyline, Saluting Battery, Lower Barrakka Gardens, St. John's Co-Cathedral and the city walls
51. Austria – Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic and a landlocked country of over 8.7 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, the territory of Austria covers 83,879 km2. The terrain is mountainous, lying within the Alps, only 32% of the country is below 500 m. The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene. The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty, from the time of the Reformation, many northern German princes, resenting the authority of the Emperor, used Protestantism as a flag of rebellion. Following Napoleons defeat, Prussia emerged as Austrias chief competitor for rule of a greater Germany, Austrias defeat by Prussia at the Battle of Königgrätz, during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, cleared the way for Prussia to assert control over the rest of Germany. In 1867, the empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary, Austria was thus the first to go to war in the July Crisis, which would ultimately escalate into World War I. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919, in 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria in the Anschluss. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Germany was occupied by the Allies, in 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral, today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna, other major urban areas of Austria include Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,724, the country has developed a high standard of living and in 2014 was ranked 21st in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999. The German name for Austria, Österreich, meant eastern realm in Old High German, and is cognate with the word Ostarrîchi and this word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local dialect. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976, the word Austria is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century. Accordingly, Norig would essentially mean the same as Ostarrîchi and Österreich, the Celtic name was eventually Latinised to Noricum after the Romans conquered the area that encloses most of modern-day Austria, around 15 BC. Noricum later became a Roman province in the mid-first century AD, heers hypothesis is not accepted by linguists. Settled in ancient times, the Central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes, the Celtic kingdom of Noricum was later claimed by the Roman Empire and made a provinceAustria – First appearance of the word "ostarrichi", circled in red. Modern Austria honours this document, dated 996, as the founding of the nation.
52. Vienna – Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austrias primary city, with a population of about 1.8 million, and its cultural, economic and it is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin, Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region, along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be The City of Dreams because it was home to the worlds first psycho-analyst – Sigmund Freud. The citys roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a Medieval and Baroque city and it is well known for having played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, Vienna is known for its high quality of life. In a 2005 study of 127 world cities, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the city first for the worlds most liveable cities, between 2011 and 2015, Vienna was ranked second, behind Melbourne, Australia. Monocles 2015 Quality of Life Survey ranked Vienna second on a list of the top 25 cities in the world to make a base within, the UN-Habitat has classified Vienna as being the most prosperous city in the world in 2012/2013. Vienna regularly hosts urban planning conferences and is used as a case study by urban planners. Between 2005 and 2010, Vienna was the worlds number-one destination for international congresses and it attracts over 3.7 million tourists a year. The English name Vienna is borrowed from the homonymous Italian version of the name or the French Vienne. The etymology of the name is still subject to scholarly dispute. Some claim that the name comes from Vedunia, meaning forest stream, which produced the Old High German Uuenia. A variant of this Celtic name could be preserved in the Czech and Slovak names of the city, the name of the city in Hungarian, Serbo-Croatian and Ottoman Turkish has a different, probably Slavonic origin, and originally referred to an Avar fort in the area. Slovene-speakers call the city Dunaj, which in other Central European Slavic languages means the Danube River, evidence has been found of continuous habitation since 500 BC, when the site of Vienna on the Danube River was settled by the Celts. In 15 BC, the Romans fortified the city they called Vindobona to guard the empire against Germanic tribes to the northVienna
53. Lithuania – Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in Northern Europe. One of the three Baltic states, it is situated along the shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.9 million people as of 2015, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. The official language, Lithuanian, along with Latvian, is one of two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. For centuries, the shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, and the first unified Lithuanian state, with the Lublin Union of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772–95, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuanias territory. As World War I neared its end, Lithuanias Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, in the midst of the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end and the Germans retreated, Lithuania is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, a full member of the Eurozone, Schengen Agreement and NATO. It is also a member of the Nordic Investment Bank, the United Nations Human Development Index lists Lithuania as a very high human development country. Lithuania has been among the fastest growing economies in the European Union and is ranked 21st in the world in the Ease of Doing Business Index, the first people settled in the territory of Lithuania after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC. Over a millennium, the Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with the local population, the first written mention of Lithuania is found in a medieval German manuscript, the Annals of Quedlinburg, in an entry dated 9 March 1009. Initially inhabited by fragmented Baltic tribes, in the 1230s the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, after his assassination in 1263, pagan Lithuania was a target of the Christian crusades of the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. Despite the devastating century-long struggle with the Orders, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania expanded rapidly, by the end of the 14th century, Lithuania was one of the largest countries in Europe and included present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia. The geopolitical situation between the west and the east determined the multicultural and multi-confessional character of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the ruling elite practised religious tolerance and Chancery Slavonic language was used as an auxiliary language to the Latin for official documents. In 1385, the Grand Duke Jogaila accepted Polands offer to become its king, Jogaila embarked on gradual Christianization of Lithuania and established a personal union between Poland and Lithuania. It implied that Lithuania, the fiercely independent land, was one of the last pagan areas of Europe to adopt Christianity, after two civil wars, Vytautas the Great became the Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1392. During his reign, Lithuania reached the peak of its expansion, centralization of the state beganLithuania – Trakai Island Castle
54. Vilnius – Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and its largest city, with a population of 542,664 as of 2015. Vilnius is located in the southeast part of Lithuania and is the second largest city in the Baltic states, Vilnius is the seat of the main government institutions of Lithuania as well as of the Vilnius District Municipality. Vilnius is classified as a Gamma global city according to GaWC studies and its Jewish influence until the 20th century has led to it being described as the Jerusalem of Lithuania and Napoleon named it the Jerusalem of the North as he was passing through in 1812. In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture, together with the Austrian city of Linz, the name of the city originates from the Vilnia River. The city has also known by many derivate spellings in various languages throughout its history. The most notable names for the city include, Polish, Wilno, Belarusian, Вiльня, German, Wilna, Latvian, Viļņa, Russian, Вильнюс, Yiddish, ווילנע , Czech. A Russian name from the time of the Russian Empire was Вильна/Вильно, the name Vilna is still used in Finnish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Hebrew. Wilna is still used in German, along with Vilnius, the neighborhoods of Vilnius also have names in other languages, which represent the languages spoken by various ethnic groups in the area. Historian Romas Batūra identifies the city with Voruta, one of the castles of Mindaugas, during the reign of Vytenis a city started to emerge from a trading settlement and the first Franciscan Catholic church was built. These letters contain the first unambiguous reference to Vilnius as the capital, According to legend, Gediminas dreamt of an iron wolf howling on a hilltop and consulted a pagan priest for its interpretation. He was told, What is destined for the ruler and the State of Lithuania, is thus, the Iron Wolf represents a castle and a city which will be established by you on this site. This city will be the capital of the Lithuanian lands and the dwelling of their rulers, the location offered practical advantages, it lay within the Lithuanian heartland at the confluence of two navigable rivers, surrounded by forests and wetlands that were difficult to penetrate. The duchy had been subject to intrusions by the Teutonic Knights, Vilnius was the flourishing capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the residence of the Grand Duke. Gediminas expanded the Grand Duchy through warfare along with strategic alliances and marriages, at its height it covered the territory of modern-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Transnistria, and portions of modern-day Poland and Russia. His grandchildren Vytautas the Great and Jogaila, however, fought civil wars, during the Lithuanian Civil War of 1389–1392, Vytautas besieged and razed the city in an attempt to wrest control from Jogaila. The two later settled their differences, after a series of treaties culminating in the 1569 Union of Lublin, the rulers of this federation held either or both of two titles, Grand Duke of Lithuania or King of Poland. In 1387, Jogaila acting as a Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Władysław II Jagiełło, the city underwent a period of expansion. The Vilnius city walls were built for protection between 1503 and 1522, comprising nine city gates and three towers, and Sigismund August moved his court there in 1544Vilnius – Top: Vilnius Old Town Middle left: Vilnius Cathedral Middle right: St. Anne's Church The 3rd row: Vilnius business district (Šnipiškės) The 4th row: Presidential Palace.
55. Poland – Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe, situated between the Baltic Sea in the north and two mountain ranges in the south. Bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, the total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres, making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. With a population of over 38.5 million people, Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world, the 8th most populous country in Europe, Poland is a unitary state divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, and its capital and largest city is Warsaw. Other metropolises include Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Szczecin, the establishment of a Polish state can be traced back to 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of a territory roughly coextensive with that of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin. This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, Poland regained its independence in 1918 at the end of World War I, reconstituting much of its historical territory as the Second Polish Republic. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, followed thereafter by invasion by the Soviet Union. More than six million Polish citizens died in the war, after the war, Polands borders were shifted westwards under the terms of the Potsdam Conference. With the backing of the Soviet Union, a communist puppet government was formed, and after a referendum in 1946. During the Revolutions of 1989 Polands Communist government was overthrown and Poland adopted a new constitution establishing itself as a democracy, informally called the Third Polish Republic. Since the early 1990s, when the transition to a primarily market-based economy began, Poland has achieved a high ranking on the Human Development Index. Poland is a country, which was categorised by the World Bank as having a high-income economy. Furthermore, it is visited by approximately 16 million tourists every year, Poland is the eighth largest economy in the European Union and was the 6th fastest growing economy on the continent between 2010 and 2015. According to the Global Peace Index for 2014, Poland is ranked 19th in the list of the safest countries in the world to live in. The origin of the name Poland derives from a West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta River basin of the historic Greater Poland region in the 8th century, the origin of the name Polanie itself derives from the western Slavic word pole. In some foreign languages such as Hungarian, Lithuanian, Persian and Turkish the exonym for Poland is Lechites, historians have postulated that throughout Late Antiquity, many distinct ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland. The most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, the Slavic groups who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the authority of the Roman ChurchPoland – Reconstruction of a Bronze Age, Lusatian culture settlement in Biskupin, c. 700 BC
56. Warsaw – Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland, roughly 260 kilometres from the Baltic Sea and 300 kilometres from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population is estimated at 1.750 million residents within a metropolitan area of 3.101 million residents. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres, while the area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres. In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world and it was also ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Central Europe. Today Warsaw is considered an Alpha– global city, an international tourist destination. Warsaws economy, by a variety of industries, is characterised by FMCG manufacturing, metal processing, steel and electronic manufacturing. The city is a significant centre of research and development, BPO, ITO, the Warsaw Stock Exchange is one of the largest and most important in Central and Eastern Europe. Frontex, the European Union agency for external security, has its headquarters in Warsaw. It has been said that Warsaw, together with Frankfurt, London, Paris, the city is positioning itself as Eastern Europe’s chic cultural capital with thriving art and club scenes and serious restaurants. The first historical reference to Warsaw dates back to the year 1313, after the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, Warsaw was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars, the city became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. In accordance with the decisions of the Congress of Vienna, the Russian Empire annexed Warsaw in 1815, only in 1918 did it regain independence from the foreign rule and emerge as a new capital of the independent Republic of Poland. Warsaw gained the title of the Phoenix City because it has survived wars, conflicts. Most notably, the city required painstaking rebuilding after the damage it suffered in World War II. On 9 November 1940, the city was awarded Polands highest military decoration for heroism, the historic city-centre of Warsaw with its picturesque Old Town in 1980 was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Buildings represent examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period, folk etymology attributes the city name to a fisherman, Wars, and his wife, Sawa. According to legend, Sawa was a living in the Vistula River with whom Wars fell in loveWarsaw
57. Croatia – Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Its capital city is Zagreb, which one of the countrys primary subdivisions. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres and has diverse, mostly continental, Croatias Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The countrys population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, the Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century, tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Petar Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary, a fascist Croatian puppet state backed by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany existed during World War II. After the war, Croatia became a member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991 Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year, the Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration. A unitary state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system, the International Monetary Fund classified Croatia as an emerging and developing economy, and the World Bank identified it as a high-income economy. Croatia is a member of the European Union, United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the service sector dominates Croatias economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue during the summer, with Croatia ranked the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world, the state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatias most important trading partner, since 2000, the Croatian government constantly invests in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors. Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia, the rest is imported, the origin of the name is uncertain, but is thought to be a Gothic or Indo-Aryan term assigned to a Slavic tribe. The oldest preserved record of the Croatian ethnonym *xъrvatъ is of variable stem, the first attestation of the Latin term is attributed to a charter of Duke Trpimir from the year 852. The original is lost, and just a 1568 copy is preserved—leading to doubts over the authenticity of the claim, the oldest preserved stone inscription is the 9th-century Branimir Inscription, where Duke Branimir is styled as Dux Cruatorvm. The inscription is not believed to be dated accurately, but is likely to be from during the period of 879–892, the area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric periodCroatia – Branimir Inscription
58. Zagreb – Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia. It is located in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately 122 m above sea level. In the last official census of 2011 the population of the City of Zagreb was 792,875, the wider Zagreb metropolitan area includes the City of Zagreb and the separate Zagreb County bringing the total metropolitan area population up to 1,237,887. It is the biggest metropolitan area in Croatia, and the one with a population of over one million. Zagreb is a city with a history dating from the Roman times to the present day. The oldest settlement located in the vicinity of the city was the Roman Andautonia, the name Zagreb is recorded in 1134, in reference to the foundation of the settlement at Kaptol in 1094. Zagreb became a royal town in 1242. In 1851 Zagreb had its first mayor, Janko Kamauf, and in 1945 it was made the capital of Croatia when the demographic boom, the city extends over 30 kilometres east-west and around 20 kilometres north-south. The transport connections, concentration of industry, scientific, and research institutions, Zagreb is the seat of the central government, administrative bodies, and almost all government ministries. Almost all of the largest Croatian companies, media, and scientific institutions have their headquarters in the city and it is a city known for its diverse economy, high quality of living, museums, sporting, and entertainment events. Its main branches of economy are high-tech industries and the service sector, the etymology of the name Zagreb is unclear. It was used of the city only from 1852, but it had been in use as the name of the Zagreb dioecese since the 12th century. The name is first recorded in a charter by Ostrogon archbishop Felician, dated 1134, the older form of the name is Zagrab, the modern Croatian form Zagreb is first recorded in a 1689 map by Nicolas Sanson. An even older form is reflected in Hungarian Zabrag, for this, Desy proposes the etymology of Chabrag, a well-attested hypocorism of the name Cyprian. The same form is reflected in a number of Hungarian toponyms, the name Agram was used in German in the Habsburg period, this name has been classified as probably of Roman origin but according to Desy it could be an Austrian German reanalysis of *Zugram. In Middle Latin and Modern Latin, Zagreb is known as Agranum, in Croatian folk etymology, the name of the city has been derived from either the verb za-grab-, meaning to scoop or to dig. One folk legend illustrating this derivation ties the name to a drought of the early 14th century, in another legend, a city governor is thirsty and orders a girl named Manda to scoop water from Manduševac well, using the imperative, zagrabi, Mando. The oldest settlement located near todays Zagreb was a Roman town of Andautonia, now Šćitarjevo, Gradec and Kaptol were united in 1851 by ban Josip Jelačić, who was credited for this, with the naming the main city square, Ban Jelačić Square in his honourZagreb