|The Mediterranean Portal|
|The Mediterranean Portal|
1. Mediterranean – The sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, although it is usually identified as a separate body of water. The name Mediterranean is derived from the Latin mediterraneus, meaning inland or in the middle of land and it covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km2, but its connection to the Atlantic is only 14 km wide. The Strait of Gibraltar is a strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Gibraltar. In oceanography, it is called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea or the European Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere. The Mediterranean Sea has a depth of 1,500 m. The sea is bordered on the north by Europe, the east by Asia and it is located between latitudes 30° and 46° N and longitudes 6° W and 36° E. Its west-east length, from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Gulf of Iskenderun, the seas average north-south length, from Croatia’s southern shore to Libya, is approximately 800 km. The Mediterranean Sea, including the Sea of Marmara, has an area of approximately 2,510,000 square km. The sea was an important route for merchants and travelers of ancient times that allowed for trade, the history of the Mediterranean region is crucial to understanding the origins and development of many modern societies. In addition, the Gaza Strip and the British Overseas Territories of Gibraltar and Akrotiri, the term Mediterranean derives from the Latin word mediterraneus, meaning amid the earth or between land, as it is between the continents of Africa, Asia and Europe. The Ancient Greek name Mesogeios, is similarly from μέσο, between + γη, land, earth) and it can be compared with the Ancient Greek name Mesopotamia, meaning between rivers. The Mediterranean Sea has historically had several names, for example, the Carthaginians called it the Syrian Sea and latter Romans commonly called it Mare Nostrum, and occasionally Mare Internum. Another name was the Sea of the Philistines, from the people inhabiting a large portion of its shores near the Israelites, the sea is also called the Great Sea in the General Prologue by Geoffrey Chaucer. In Ottoman Turkish, it has also been called Bahr-i Sefid, in Modern Hebrew, it has been called HaYam HaTikhon, the Middle Sea, reflecting the Seas name in ancient Greek, Latin, and modern languages in both Europe and the Middle East. Similarly, in Modern Arabic, it is known as al-Baḥr al-Mutawassiṭ, in Turkish, it is known as Akdeniz, the White Sea since among Turks the white colour represents the west. Several ancient civilisations were located around the Mediterranean shores, and were influenced by their proximity to the sea. It provided routes for trade, colonisation, and war, as well as food for numerous communities throughout the ages, due to the shared climate, geology, and access to the sea, cultures centered on the Mediterranean tended to have some extent of intertwined culture and history. Two of the most notable Mediterranean civilisations in classical antiquity were the Greek city states, later, when Augustus founded the Roman Empire, the Romans referred to the Mediterranean as Mare NostrumMediterranean – Circa the 6th century BCE: In ancient times the Mediterranean provided sources of food and local commerce and direct routes for trade and communications, colonisation, and war. Numerous cities and colonies were situated at its shores or within the basin: Greek (red) and Phoenician (yellow) colonies in antiquity; and other cities (grey), including the provincial "Rom".
2. Continent – A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. Generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in size to smallest, they are, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, in geology, areas of continental crust include regions covered with water. Islands are frequently grouped with a continent to divide all the worlds land into geopolitical regions. Under this scheme, most of the countries and territories in the Pacific Ocean are grouped together with the continent of Australia to form a geopolitical region called Oceania. By convention, continents are understood to be large, continuous, discrete masses of land, many of the seven most commonly recognized continents identified by convention are not discrete landmasses separated completely by water. Earths major landmasses all have coasts on a single, continuous World Ocean, the most restricted meaning of continent is that of a continuous area of land or mainland, with the coastline and any land boundaries forming the edge of the continent. From this perspective the edge of the shelf is the true edge of the continent. In this sense the islands of Great Britain and Ireland are part of Europe, while Australia, as a cultural construct, the concept of a continent may go beyond the continental shelf to include oceanic islands and continental fragments. In this way, Iceland is considered part of Europe and Madagascar part of Africa, extrapolating the concept to its extreme, some geographers group the Australasian continental plate with other islands in the Pacific into one continent called Oceania. This divides the land surface of Earth into continents or quasi-continents. The ideal criterion that each continent be a discrete landmass is commonly relaxed due to historical conventions, of the seven most globally recognized continents, only Antarctica and Australia are completely separated from other continents by ocean. Several continents are defined not as absolutely distinct bodies but as more or less discrete masses of land, Asia and Africa are joined by the Isthmus of Suez, and North and South America by the Isthmus of Panama. In both cases, there is no separation of these landmasses by water. Both these isthmuses are very narrow compared to the bulk off the landmasses they unite, North America and South America are treated as separate continents in the seven-continent model. However, they may also be viewed as a continent known as America or the Americas. This viewpoint was common in the United States until World War II and this remains the more common vision in Latin American countries, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Greece, where they are taught as a single continent. The criterion of a landmass is completely disregarded if the continuous landmass of Eurasia is classified as two separate continents, Europe and AsiaContinent – The Ancient Greek geographer Strabo holding a globe showing Europa and Asia
3. Europe – Europe is a continent that comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, yet the non-oceanic borders of Europe—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are arbitrary. Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres, or 2% of the Earths surface, politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a population of about 740 million as of 2015. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast, Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization. The fall of the Western Roman Empire, during the period, marked the end of ancient history. Renaissance humanism, exploration, art, and science led to the modern era, from the Age of Discovery onwards, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to economic, cultural, and social change in Western Europe. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the west and the Warsaw Pact in the east, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1955, the Council of Europe was formed following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill and it includes all states except for Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, the EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The European Anthem is Ode to Joy and states celebrate peace, in classical Greek mythology, Europa is the name of either a Phoenician princess or of a queen of Crete. The name contains the elements εὐρύς, wide, broad and ὤψ eye, broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it. For the second part also the divine attributes of grey-eyed Athena or ox-eyed Hera. The same naming motive according to cartographic convention appears in Greek Ανατολή, Martin Litchfield West stated that phonologically, the match between Europas name and any form of the Semitic word is very poor. Next to these there is also a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning darkness. Most major world languages use words derived from Eurṓpē or Europa to refer to the continent, in some Turkic languages the originally Persian name Frangistan is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or EvropaEurope – Reconstruction of Herodotus ' world map
4. Asia – Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres, about 30% of Earths total land area and 8. 7% of the Earths total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its large size and population. In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, the western boundary with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal, the Ural River, and the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains, China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 A. D. The accidental discovery of America by Columbus in search for India demonstrates this deep fascination, the Silk Road became the main East-West trading route in the Asian hitherland while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, given its size and diversity, the concept of Asia—a name dating back to classical antiquity—may actually have more to do with human geography than physical geography. Asia varies greatly across and within its regions with regard to ethnic groups, cultures, environments, economics, historical ties, the boundary between Asia and Africa is the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez, and the Suez Canal. This makes Egypt a transcontinental country, with the Sinai peninsula in Asia, the border between Asia and Europe was historically defined by European academics. In Sweden, five years after Peters death, in 1730 Philip Johan von Strahlenberg published a new atlas proposing the Urals as the border of Asia, the Russians were enthusiastic about the concept, which allowed them to keep their European identity in geography. Tatishchev announced that he had proposed the idea to von Strahlenberg, the latter had suggested the Emba River as the lower boundary. Over the next century various proposals were made until the Ural River prevailed in the mid-19th century, the border had been moved perforce from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea into which the Ural River projects. The border between the Black Sea and the Caspian is usually placed along the crest of the Caucasus Mountains, the border between Asia and the loosely defined region of Oceania is usually placed somewhere in the Malay Archipelago. The terms Southeast Asia and Oceania, devised in the 19th century, have had several different geographic meanings since their inception. The chief factor in determining which islands of the Malay Archipelago are Asian has been the location of the possessions of the various empires there. Lewis and Wigen assert, The narrowing of Southeast Asia to its present boundaries was thus a gradual process, Asia is larger and more culturally diverse than Europe. It does not exactly correspond to the borders of its various types of constituents. From the time of Herodotus a minority of geographers have rejected the three-continent system on the grounds there is no or is no substantial physical separation between themAsia – Two-point equidistant projection of Asia and surrounding landmasses.
5. Africa – Africa is the worlds second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.3 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earths total surface area and 20.4 % of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the human population. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos and it contains 54 fully recognized sovereign states, nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. Africas population is the youngest amongst all the continents, the age in 2012 was 19.7. Algeria is Africas largest country by area, and Nigeria by population, afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens found in Ethiopia being dated to circa 200,000 years ago. Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas, it is the continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. Africa hosts a diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. In the late 19th century European countries colonized most of Africa, Africa also varies greatly with regard to environments, economics, historical ties and government systems. However, most present states in Africa originate from a process of decolonization in the 20th century, afri was a Latin name used to refer to the inhabitants of Africa, which in its widest sense referred to all lands south of the Mediterranean. This name seems to have referred to a native Libyan tribe. The name is connected with Hebrew or Phoenician ʿafar dust. The same word may be found in the name of the Banu Ifran from Algeria and Tripolitania, under Roman rule, Carthage became the capital of the province of Africa Proconsularis, which also included the coastal part of modern Libya. The Latin suffix -ica can sometimes be used to denote a land, the later Muslim kingdom of Ifriqiya, modern-day Tunisia, also preserved a form of the name. According to the Romans, Africa lay to the west of Egypt, while Asia was used to refer to Anatolia, as Europeans came to understand the real extent of the continent, the idea of Africa expanded with their knowledge. 25,4, whose descendants, he claimed, had invaded Libya, isidore of Seville in Etymologiae XIV.5.2. Suggests Africa comes from the Latin aprica, meaning sunny, massey, in 1881, stated that Africa is derived from the Egyptian af-rui-ka, meaning to turn toward the opening of the Ka. The Ka is the double of every person and the opening of the Ka refers to a womb or birthplaceAfrica – Map of Africa
6. Southern European – Southern Europe is the southern region of the European continent. Most definitions of Southern Europe, also known as Mediterranean Europe, include the countries of the Iberian peninsula, different methods can be used to define Southern Europe, including its political, economic, and cultural attributes. Southern Europe can also be defined by its natural features — its geography, climate, geographically, Southern Europe is the southern half of the landmass of Europe. This definition is relative, with no clear limits and those areas of Mediterranean climate present similar vegetations and landscapes throughout, including dry hills, small plains, pine forests and olive trees. Cooler climates can be found in parts of Southern European countries, for example within the mountain ranges of Spain. Additionally, the north coast of Spain experiences a wetter Atlantic climate, Southern Europes flora is that of the Mediterranean Region, one of the phytochoria recognized by Armen Takhtajan. The period known as classical antiquity began with the rise of the city-states of Ancient Greece, Greek influence reached its zenith under the expansive empire of Alexander the Great, spreading throughout Asia. The Roman Empire came to dominate the entire Mediterranean basin in a vast empire based on Roman law and it promoted trade, tolerance, and Greek culture. By 300 AD the Roman Empire was divided into the Western Roman Empire based in Rome, during the Middle Ages, the Eastern Roman Empire survived, though modern historians refer to this state as the Byzantine Empire. In Western Europe, Germanic peoples moved into positions of power in the remnants of the former Western Roman Empire and established kingdoms, the period known as the Crusades, a series of religiously motivated military expeditions originally intended to bring the Levant back into Christian rule, began. Several Crusader states were founded in the eastern Mediterranean, the Crusaders would have a profound impact on many parts of Europe. Their Sack of Constantinople in 1204 brought an end to the Byzantine Empire. Though it would later be re-established, it would never recover its former glory, the Crusaders would establish trade routes that would develop into the Silk Road and open the way for the merchant republics of Genoa and Venice to become major economic powers. The Reconquista, a movement, worked to reconquer Iberia for Christendom. The Late Middle Ages represented a period of upheaval in Europe, the epidemic known as the Black Death and an associated famine caused demographic catastrophe in Europe as the population plummeted. Dynastic struggles and wars of conquest kept many of the states of Europe at war for much of the period, in the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire, a Turkish state originating in Anatolia, encroached steadily on former Byzantine lands, culminating in the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. An unprecedented series of wars and political revolutions took place around Europe. Observers at the time, and many historians since, have argued that wars caused the revolutions, galileo Galilei, invented the telescope and the thermometer which allowed him to observe and describe the solar systemSouthern European – Geographic features of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea
7. Iberian Peninsula – The Iberian Peninsula /aɪˈbɪəriən pəˈnɪnsjᵿlə/, also known as Iberia /aɪˈbɪəriə/, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is divided between Portugal and Spain, comprising most of their territory. With an area of approximately 582,000 km2, it is the second largest European peninsula, at that time, the name did not describe a single political entity or a distinct population of people. Strabos Iberia was delineated from Keltikē by the Pyrenees and included the land mass southwest of there. The ancient Greeks reached the Iberian Peninsula, of which they had heard from the Phoenicians, hecataeus of Miletus was the first known to use the term Iberia, which he wrote about circa 500 BC. Herodotus of Halicarnassus says of the Phocaeans that it was they who made the Greeks acquainted with. According to Strabo, prior historians used Iberia to mean the country side of the Ἶβηρος as far north as the river Rhône in France. Polybius respects that limit, but identifies Iberia as the Mediterranean side as far south as Gibraltar, elsewhere he says that Saguntum is on the seaward foot of the range of hills connecting Iberia and Celtiberia. Strabo refers to the Carretanians as people of the Iberian stock living in the Pyrenees, according to Charles Ebel, the ancient sources in both Latin and Greek use Hispania and Hiberia as synonyms. The confusion of the words was because of an overlapping in political, the Latin word Hiberia, similar to the Greek Iberia, literally translates to land of the Hiberians. This word was derived from the river Ebro, which the Romans called Hiberus, hiber was thus used as a term for peoples living near the river Ebro. The first mention in Roman literature was by the annalist poet Ennius in 200 BC. Virgil refers to the Ipacatos Hiberos in his Georgics, the Roman geographers and other prose writers from the time of the late Roman Republic called the entire peninsula Hispania. As they became interested in the former Carthaginian territories, the Romans began to use the names Hispania Citerior. At the time Hispania was made up of three Roman provinces, Hispania Baetica, Hispania Tarraconensis, and Lusitania, Strabo says that the Romans use Hispania and Iberia synonymously, distinguishing between the near northern and the far southern provinces. Whatever language may generally have been spoken on the peninsula soon gave way to Latin, except for that of the Vascones, the Iberian Peninsula has always been associated with the Ebro, Ibēros in ancient Greek and Ibērus or Hibērus in Latin. The association was so known it was hardly necessary to state, for example. Pliny goes so far as to assert that the Greeks had called the whole of Spain Hiberia because of the Hiberus River, the river appears in the Ebro Treaty of 226 BC between Rome and Carthage, setting the limit of Carthaginian interest at the Ebro. The fullest description of the treaty, stated in Appian, uses Ibērus, with reference to this border, Polybius states that the native name is Ibēr, apparently the original word, stripped of its Greek or Latin -os or -us terminationIberian Peninsula – Satellite image of the Iberian Peninsula.
8. Italian Peninsula – The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is the central and the smallest of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe. It extends 1,000 km from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south, the peninsulas shape gives it the nickname lo Stivale. Three smaller peninsulas contribute to this shape, namely Calabria, Salento. Geographically, the Italian peninsula consists of the south of a line extending from the Magra to the Rubicon rivers. It excludes the Po Valley and the slopes of the Alps. All of the lies within the territory of the Italian Republic except for the microstates of San Marino. Additionally, Sicily, Elba and other islands, such as Palagruža, are usually considered as islands off the peninsula. The peninsula lies between the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west, the Ionian Sea on the south, and the Adriatic Sea on the east, the backbone of the Italian peninsula consists of the Apennine Mountains, from which it takes one of its names. Most of its coast is lined with cliffs, the Italian Peninsulas location between the centre of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea made it the target of many conquests. The peninsula has mainly a Mediterranean climate, though in the parts the climate is much cooler. Its natural vegetation includes macchia along the coasts and deciduous and mixed coniferous forests in the interior. Political divisions of the peninsula sorted by area, Apennine Mountains Roman Republic Roman Italy Insular Italy Media related to Italian Peninsula at Wikimedia CommonsItalian Peninsula – Satellite view of the peninsula in March 2003.
9. Balkan Peninsula – The Balkan Peninsula, or the Balkans, is a peninsula and a cultural area in Eastern and Southeastern Europe with various and disputed borders. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch from the Serbia-Bulgaria border to the Black Sea, the highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala 2,925 metres in the Rila mountain range. In Turkish, Balkan means a chain of wooded mountains, the name is still preserved in Central Asia with the Balkan Daglary and the Balkan Province of Turkmenistan. A less popular hypothesis regarding its etymology is that it derived from the Persian Balā-Khāna, from Antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Balkan Mountains had been called by the local Thracian name Haemus. According to Greek mythology, the Thracian king Haemus was turned into a mountain by Zeus as a punishment, a reverse name scheme has also been suggested. D. Dechev considers that Haemus is derived from a Thracian word *saimon, a third possibility is that Haemus derives from the Greek word haema meaning blood. The myth relates to a fight between Zeus and the monster/titan Typhon, Zeus injured Typhon with a thunder bolt and Typhons blood fell on the mountains, from which they got their name. The earliest mention of the name appears in an early 14th-century Arab map, the Ottomans first mention it in a document dated from 1565. There has been no other documented usage of the word to refer to the region before that, there is also a claim about an earlier Bulgar Turkic origin of the word popular in Bulgaria, however it is only an unscholarly assertion. The word was used by the Ottomans in Rumelia in its meaning of mountain, as in Kod̲j̲a-Balkan, Čatal-Balkan, and Ungurus-Balkani̊. The concept of the Balkans was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, during the 1820s, Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers. Among Russian travelers not so burdened by classical toponymy, Balkan was the preferred term, zeunes goal was to have a geographical parallel term to the Italic and Iberian Peninsula, and seemingly nothing more. The gradually acquired political connotations are newer and, to a large extent, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia beginning in June 1991, the term Balkans again received a negative meaning, especially in Croatia and Slovenia, even in casual usage. A European Union initiative of 1999 is called the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, and its northern boundary is often given as the Danube, Sava and Kupa Rivers. The Balkan Peninsula has an area of about 470,000 km2. It is more or less identical to the known as Southeastern Europe. As of 1920 until World War II, Italy included Istria, the current territory of Italy includes only the small area around Trieste inside the Balkan Peninsula. However, the regions of Trieste and Istria are not usually considered part of the Balkans by Italian geographers, the Western Balkans is a neologism coined to describe the countries of ex-Yugoslavia and AlbaniaBalkan Peninsula – The Balkan Peninsula, as defined by the Danube - Sava - Kupa line
10. Pyrenees – The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain. For the most part, the main crest forms a divide between France and Spain, with the microstate of Andorra sandwiched in between. The Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre have historically extended on both sides of the range, with smaller northern portions now in France and larger southern parts now in Spain. The demonym for the noun Pyrenees in English is Pyrenean, in Greek mythology, Pyrene is a princess who gave her name to the Pyrenees. The Greek historian Herodotus says Pyrene is the name of a town in Celtic Europe, Hercules, characteristically drunk and lustful, violates the sacred code of hospitality and rapes his hosts daughter. Pyrene gives birth to a serpent and runs away to the woods, alone, she pours out her story to the trees, attracting the attention of wild beasts who tear her to pieces. After his victory over Geryon, Hercules passes through the kingdom of Bebryx again, and all the rock-cliffs and wild-beast haunts echo back Pyrene. … The mountains hold on to the name through the ages. Pliny the Elder connects the story of Hercules and Pyrene to Lusitania, the Spanish Pyrenees are part of the following provinces, from east to west, Girona, Barcelona, Lleida, Huesca, Navarra and Gipuzkoa. The French Pyrenees are part of the following départements, from east to west, Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, the independent principality of Andorra is sandwiched in the eastern portion of the mountain range between the Spanish Pyrenees and French Pyrenees. Physiographically, the Pyrenees may be divided into three sections, the Atlantic, the Central, and the Eastern Pyrenees, together, they form a distinct physiographic province of the larger Alpine System division. In the Western Pyrenees, from the Basque mountains near the Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean, at the eastern end on the southern side lies a distinct area known as the Sub-Pyrenees. On the French side the slopes of the range descend abruptly. The Pyrenees are older than the Alps, their sediments were first deposited in coastal basins during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, the intense pressure and uplifting of the Earths crust first affected the eastern part and moved progressively to the entire chain, culminating in the Eocene Epoch. The eastern part of the Pyrenees consists largely of granite and gneissose rocks, the massive and unworn character of the chain comes from its abundance of granite, which is particularly resistant to erosion, as well as weak glacial development. Low passes are lacking, and the roads and the railroads between France and Spain run only in the lowlands at the western and eastern ends of the Pyrenees. A notable visual feature of mountain range is La Brèche de Roland, a gap in the ridge line. Coal deposits capable of being profitably worked are situated chiefly on the Spanish slopes, the open pit of Trimoun close to the commune of Luzenac is one of the greatest sources of talc in EuropePyrenees – Central Pyrenees
11. 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
12. 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
13. Alps – The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc, Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4000 metres, the altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe, in the mountains precipitation levels vary greatly and climatic conditions consist of distinct zones. Wildlife such as live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era, a mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991. By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established, Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, and the Romans had settlements in the region. In 1800 Napoleon crossed one of the passes with an army of 40,000. The 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists, writers, in World War II, Adolf Hitler kept a base of operation in the Bavarian Alps throughout the war. The Alpine region has a cultural identity. The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, French, at present, the region is home to 14 million people and has 120 million annual visitors. The English word Alps derives from the Latin Alpes, maurus Servius Honoratus, an ancient commentator of Virgil, says in his commentary that all high mountains are called Alpes by Celts. The term may be common to Italo-Celtic, because the Celtic languages have terms for high mountains derived from alp and this may be consistent with the theory that in Greek Alpes is a name of non-Indo-European origin. According to the Old English Dictionary, the Latin Alpes might possibly derive from a pre-Indo-European word *alb hill, Albania, a name not native to the region known as the country of Albania, has been used as a name for a number of mountainous areas across Europe. In Roman times, Albania was a name for the eastern Caucasus, in modern languages the term alp, alm, albe or alpe refers to a grazing pastures in the alpine regions below the glaciers, not the peaks. An alp refers to a mountain pasture where cows are taken to be grazed during the summer months and where hay barns can be found. The Alps are a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in a 800 km arc from east to west and is 200 km in width, the mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5 km. The range stretches from the Mediterranean Sea north above the Po basin, extending through France from Grenoble, the range continues onward toward Vienna, Austria, and east to the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. To the south it dips into northern Italy and to the north extends to the border of Bavaria in GermanyAlps – Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, view from the Savoy side
14. 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.
15. Central Europe – Central Europe lies between Eastern Europe and Western Europe. The concept of Central Europe is based on a historical, social and cultural identity. Central Europe is going through a phase of strategic awakening, with such as the CEI, Centrope. While the regions economy shows high disparities with regard to income, elements of unity for Western and Central Europe were Roman Catholicism and Latin. According to Hungarian historian Jenő Szűcs, foundations of Central European history at the first millennium were in connection with Western European development. The keyword of Western social development after millennium was the spread of liberties and autonomies in Western Europe and these phenomena appeared in the middle of the 13th century in Central European countries. There were self-governments of towns, counties and parliaments, in 1335 under the rule of the King Charles I of Hungary, the castle of Visegrád, the seat of the Hungarian monarchs was the scene of the royal summit of the Kings of Poland, Bohemia and Hungary. They agreed to cooperate closely in the field of politics and commerce, in the Middle Ages, countries in Central Europe adopted Magdeburg rights. Before 1870, the industrialization that had developed in Western and Central Europe, even in Eastern Europe, industrialization lagged far behind. Russia, for example, remained rural and agricultural. The concept of Central Europe was already known at the beginning of the 19th century, an example of that-time vision of Central Europe may be seen in J. Partsch’s book of 1903. On 21 January 1904, Mitteleuropäischer Wirtschaftsverein was established in Berlin with economic integration of Germany, another time, the term Central Europe became connected to the German plans of political, economic and cultural domination. The bible of the concept was Friedrich Naumann’s book Mitteleuropa in which he called for a federation to be established after the war. The concept failed after the German defeat in World War I, the revival of the idea may be observed during the Hitler era. According to Emmanuel de Martonne, in 1927 the Central European countries included, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, italy and Yugoslavia are not considered by the author to be Central European because they are located mostly outside Central Europe. The author use both Human and Physical Geographical features to define Central Europe, the interwar period brought new geopolitical system and economic and political problems, and the concept of Central Europe took a different character. The centre of interest was moved to its eastern part – the countries that have appeared on the map of Europe, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, however, the conflict of interests was too big and neither Little Entente nor Intermarium ideas succeeded. The interwar period brought new elements to the concept of Central Europe, after the war, the Eastern part of Central Europe was placed at the centre of the conceptCentral Europe – Certain and disputed borders of Great Moravia under Svatopluk I (AD 870–894)
16. Dinaric Alps – The Dinaric Alps or Dinarides is a mountain chain which spans from Italy in the northwest, over Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania to Kosovo in the southeast. They extend for 645 kilometres along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, from the Julian Alps in the northwest down to the Šar-Korab massif, where the mountain direction changes to north-south. The highest mountain of the Dinaric Alps is Mount Triglav, a located in Julian Alps in north west Slovenia. The Dinaric Alps are the fifth most rugged and extensively mountainous area of Europe after the Caucasus Mountains, Alps, Pyrenees and Scandinavian Mountains. They are formed largely of Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks of dolomite, limestone, sand and conglomerates formed by seas and lakes that had once covered the area. During the Alpine earth movements that occurred 50–100 million years ago, immense lateral pressures folded, the Dinarides are named after Mount Dinara, a prominent peak in the center of the mountain range on the border of Croatia and Bosnia. The Mesozoic limestone forms a distinctive region of the Balkans, notable for features such as the Karst. The Quaternary ice ages had relatively little direct influence on the Balkans. No permanent ice caps existed, and there is evidence of extensive glaciation. Only the highest summits of Durmitor, Orjen and Prenj have glacial valleys, however, in the Prokletije, a range on the northern Albanian border that runs east to west, there is evidence of major glaciation. One geological feature of great importance to the landscape of the Dinarides must be considered in more detail. They are hard and slow to erode, and often persist as steep jagged escarpments, through which steep-sided gorges, the partially submerged western Dinaric Alps form the numerous islands and harbors along the Croatian coast. The most extensive example of limestone mountains in Europe are those of the Karst of the Dinaric Alps, here, all the characteristic features are encountered again and again as one travels through this wild and underpopulated country. Limestone is a porous rock, yet very hard and resistant to erosion. Water is the most important corrosive force, dissolving the limestone by chemical action of its natural acidity, as it percolates down through cracks in the limestone it opens up fissures and channels, often of considerable depth, so that whole systems of underground drainage develop. During subsequent millennia these work deeper, leaving in their wake enormous waterless caverns, sinkholes and grottoes and forming underground labyrinths of channels, the roofs of some of these caverns may eventually fall in, to produce great perpendicular-sided gorges, exposing the water to the surface once more. The Dinaric rivers carved many canyons characteristic for Dinaric Alps, only along the Dinaric gorges is communication possible across the Karst, and roads and railways tunnel through precipitous cliffs and traverse narrow ledges above roaring torrents. A number of springs and rivers rise in the Dinaric range, at the same time, the purity of these rocks is such that the rivers are crystal clear, and there is little soil-making residueDinaric Alps – Orjen at the Bay of Kotor is the most heavily karstified range of the Dinarides
17. Adriatic – The Adriatic Sea /ˌeɪdriˈætᵻk/ is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula and the Apennine Mountains from the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto to the northwest, the countries with coasts on the Adriatic are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro and Slovenia. The Adriatic contains over 1,300 islands, mostly located along its eastern, Croatian and it is divided into three basins, the northern being the shallowest and the southern being the deepest, with a maximum depth of 1,233 metres. The Otranto Sill, a ridge, is located at the border between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The prevailing currents flow counterclockwise from the Strait of Otranto, along the eastern coast, tidal movements in the Adriatic are slight, although larger amplitudes are known to occur occasionally. The Adriatics salinity is lower than the Mediterraneans because the Adriatic collects a third of the water flowing into the Mediterranean. The surface water temperatures range from 30 °C in summer to 12 °C in winter. The Adriatic Sea sits on the Apulian or Adriatic Microplate, which separated from the African Plate in the Mesozoic era, the plates movement contributed to the formation of the surrounding mountain chains and Apennine tectonic uplift after its collision with the Eurasian plate. In the Late Oligocene, the Apennine Peninsula first formed, separating the Adriatic Basin from the rest of the Mediterranean, all types of sediment are found in the Adriatic, with the bulk of the material transported by the Po and other rivers on the western coast. The western coast is alluvial or terraced, while the eastern coast is indented with pronounced karstification. There are dozens of protected areas in the Adriatic, designed to protect the seas karst habitats. The sea is abundant in flora and fauna—more than 7,000 species are identified as native to the Adriatic, many of them endemic, rare and threatened ones. The Adriatics shores are populated by more than 3.5 million people, the earliest settlements on the Adriatic shores were Etruscan, Illyrian, and Greek. By the 2nd century BC, the shores were under Romes control, following Italian unification, the Kingdom of Italy started an eastward expansion that lasted until the 20th century. Following World War I and the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, the former disintegrated during the 1990s, resulting in four new states on the Adriatic coast. Italy and Albania agreed on their maritime boundary in 1992, Fisheries and tourism are significant sources of income all along the Adriatic coast. Adriatic Croatias tourism industry has grown faster economically than the rest of the Adriatic Basins, maritime transport is also a significant branch of the areas economy—there are 19 seaports in the Adriatic that each handle more than a million tonnes of cargo per year. The largest Adriatic seaport by annual cargo turnover is the Port of Trieste, in the southeast, the Adriatic Sea connects to the Ionian Sea at the 72-kilometre wide Strait of OtrantoAdriatic – Bay of Kotor, a ria in the Southern Adriatic
18. Balkan – The Balkan Peninsula, or the Balkans, is a peninsula and a cultural area in Eastern and Southeastern Europe with various and disputed borders. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch from the Serbia-Bulgaria border to the Black Sea, the highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala 2,925 metres in the Rila mountain range. In Turkish, Balkan means a chain of wooded mountains, the name is still preserved in Central Asia with the Balkan Daglary and the Balkan Province of Turkmenistan. A less popular hypothesis regarding its etymology is that it derived from the Persian Balā-Khāna, from Antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Balkan Mountains had been called by the local Thracian name Haemus. According to Greek mythology, the Thracian king Haemus was turned into a mountain by Zeus as a punishment, a reverse name scheme has also been suggested. D. Dechev considers that Haemus is derived from a Thracian word *saimon, a third possibility is that Haemus derives from the Greek word haema meaning blood. The myth relates to a fight between Zeus and the monster/titan Typhon, Zeus injured Typhon with a thunder bolt and Typhons blood fell on the mountains, from which they got their name. The earliest mention of the name appears in an early 14th-century Arab map, the Ottomans first mention it in a document dated from 1565. There has been no other documented usage of the word to refer to the region before that, there is also a claim about an earlier Bulgar Turkic origin of the word popular in Bulgaria, however it is only an unscholarly assertion. The word was used by the Ottomans in Rumelia in its meaning of mountain, as in Kod̲j̲a-Balkan, Čatal-Balkan, and Ungurus-Balkani̊. The concept of the Balkans was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, during the 1820s, Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers. Among Russian travelers not so burdened by classical toponymy, Balkan was the preferred term, zeunes goal was to have a geographical parallel term to the Italic and Iberian Peninsula, and seemingly nothing more. The gradually acquired political connotations are newer and, to a large extent, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia beginning in June 1991, the term Balkans again received a negative meaning, especially in Croatia and Slovenia, even in casual usage. A European Union initiative of 1999 is called the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, and its northern boundary is often given as the Danube, Sava and Kupa Rivers. The Balkan Peninsula has an area of about 470,000 km2. It is more or less identical to the known as Southeastern Europe. As of 1920 until World War II, Italy included Istria, the current territory of Italy includes only the small area around Trieste inside the Balkan Peninsula. However, the regions of Trieste and Istria are not usually considered part of the Balkans by Italian geographers, the Western Balkans is a neologism coined to describe the countries of ex-Yugoslavia and AlbaniaBalkan – The Balkan Peninsula, as defined by the Danube - Sava - Kupa line
19. Rhodope Mountains – The Rhodopes are a mountain range in Southeastern Europe, with over 83% of its area in southern Bulgaria and the remainder in Greece. Its highest peak, Golyam Perelik, is the seventh highest Bulgarian mountain, the mountain range gives its name to the terrestrial ecoregion Rodope montane mixed forests that belongs in the Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests Biome and the Palearctic ecozone. The region is notable for its karst areas with their deep river gorges, large caves and specific sculptured forms. A significant part of Bulgarias hydropower resources is located in the areas of the range. There are a number of hydro-cascades and dams used for electricity production, irrigation, in Greece there are also the HPPs of Thisavros and Platanovrysi. The name of the Rhodope mountains has a Thracian provenance, rhod-ope is interpreted as the first name of a river, meaning rusty/reddish river, where Rhod- has the same Indo-European root as the Bulgarian руда, ръжда, риж, Latin rufus and German rot. In Greek mythology, Queen Rhodope of Thrace offended the gods, the wife of King Haemus of Thrace, the mountains are associated with the mythic figure of Orpheus. In geomorphological terms, the Rhodopes are part of the Rilo-Rhodope massif, the Rhodopes are spread over 14,735 square kilometers, of which 12,233 square kilometers are on Bulgarian territory. They have the greatest extent of any mountain range in Bulgaria. The mountains are about 240 kilometers long and about 100 to 120 kilometres wide, to the north the mountain slopes descend steeply towards the Upper Thracian Plain. To the west, the Rhodopes reach the Avram saddle, Yundola, to the south and east they extend over the border with Greece. The Rhodopes are a system of ridges and deep river valleys. Fifteen reserves have established in the region, some of which are under UNESCO protection. The location of the Rhodopes in the part of the Balkan Peninsula determines the climate in the region to a great extent. It is influenced both by the air coming from the north and by the warmer breeze from the Mediterranean. The average annual temperature in the Eastern Rhodopes is 13 °C, the precipitation is in December. In the Western Rhodopes, the temperature varies from 5 to 9 °C, the mild climate, combined with some other factors, works in favour of the development of recreation and tourist activities. The Pamporovo resort, where the microclimate permits a heavy snow cover to be preserved for a time, is an excellent exampleRhodope Mountains – Vacha Reservoir.
20. Western Europe – Western Europe, or West Europe, is the region comprising the western part of Europe. Below, some different geographic and geopolitical definitions of the term are outlined, prior to the Roman conquest, a large part of Western Europe had adopted the newly developed La Tène culture. This cultural and linguistic division was reinforced by the later political east-west division of the Roman Empire. The division between these two was enhanced during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages by a number of events, the Western Roman Empire collapsed, starting the Early Middle Ages. By contrast, the Eastern Roman Empire, mostly known as the Greek or Byzantine Empire, survived, in East Asia, Western Europe was historically known as taixi in China and taisei in Japan, which literally translates as the Far West. The term Far West became synonymous with Western Europe in China during the Ming dynasty, the Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci was one of the first writers in China to use the Far West as an Asian counterpart to the European concept of the Far East. In his writings, Ricci referred to himself as Matteo of the Far West, the term was still in use in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Post-war Europe would be divided into two spheres, the West, influenced by the United States, and the Eastern Bloc. With the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain, behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Although some countries were neutral, they were classified according to the nature of their political. This division largely defined the popular perception and understanding of Western Europe, the world changed dramatically with the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. The Federal Republic of Germany peacefully absorbed the German Democratic Republic, COMECON and the Warsaw Pact were dissolved, and in 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Several countries which had part of the Soviet Union regained full independence. Although the term Western Europe was more prominent during the Cold War, it remains much in use, in 1948 the Treaty of Brussels was signed between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It was further revisited in 1954 at the Paris Conference, when the Western European Union was established and it was declared defunct in 2011, after the Treaty of Lisbon, and the Treaty of Brussels was terminated. When the Western European Union was dissolved, it had 10 member countries, six member countries, five observer countries. The CIA divides Western Europe into two smaller subregions, regional voting blocs were formed in 1961 to encourage voting to various UN bodies from different regional groups. The European Union is an economic and political union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe, some Western and Northern European countries of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are members of EFTA, though cooperating to varying degree with the European UnionWestern Europe – The Great Schism in Christianity, the predominant religion in Western Europe at the time.
21. Western Asia – Western Asia, West Asia, Southwestern Asia or Southwest Asia is the westernmost subregion of Asia. The concept is in limited use, as it overlaps with the Middle East. The term is used for the purposes of grouping countries in statistics. The total population of Western Asia is an estimated 300 million as of 2015, in an unrelated context, the term is also used in ancient history and archaeology to divide the Fertile Crescent into the Asiatic or Western Asian cultures as opposed to ancient Egypt. As a geographic concept, Western Asia almost always includes the Levant, Mesopotamia, the term is used pragmatically and has no correct or generally agreed-upon definition. In contrast to this definition, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation in its 2015 yearbook also includes Armenia and Azerbaijan, unlike the UNIDO, the United Nations Statistics Division excludes Iran from Western Asia and include Turkey, Georgia, and Cyprus in the region. These four countries are listed in the European category of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, the Olympic Council of Asias multi-sport event West Asian Games are contested by athletes representing these thirteen countries. Among the regions sports organisations are the West Asia Basketball Association, West Asian Billiards and Snooker Federation, West Asian Football Federation, Western Asia was in use as a geographical term in the early 19th century, even before Near East became current as a geopolitical concept. Use of the term in the context of contemporary geopolitics or world economy appears to date from the 1960s, Western Asia is located directly south of Eastern Europe. The region is surrounded by seven major seas, the Aegean Sea, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. The Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut deserts in eastern Iran naturally delimit the region somewhat from Asia itself, three major tectonic plates converge on Western Asia, including the African, Eurasian, and Arabian plates. The boundaries between the plates make up the Azores-Gibraltar Ridge, extending across North Africa, the Red Sea. The Arabian Plate is moving northward into the Anatolian plate at the East Anatolian Fault, several major aquifers provide water to large portions of Western Asia. In Saudi Arabia, two large aquifers of Palaeozoic and Triassic origins are located beneath the Jabal Tuwayq mountains and areas west to the Red Sea. Cretaceous and Eocene-origin aquifers are located beneath large portions of central and eastern Saudi Arabia, including Wasia, flood or furrow irrigation, as well as sprinkler methods, are extensively used for irrigation, covering nearly 90,000 km² across Western Asia for agriculture. Western Asia is primarily arid and semi-arid, and can be subject to drought, the region consists of grasslands, rangelands, deserts, and mountains. Water shortages are a problem in parts of West Asia, with rapidly growing populations increasing demands for water. Major rivers, including the Tigris and Euphrates, provide sources for water to support agricultureWestern Asia – A Lebanese cedar forest in winter.
22. Turkey – Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country in Eurasia, mainly in Anatolia in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, parliamentary republic with a cultural heritage. The country is encircled by seas on three sides, the Aegean Sea is to the west, the Black Sea to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, Ankara is the capital while Istanbul is the countrys largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Approximately 70-80% of the countrys citizens identify themselves as ethnic Turks, other ethnic groups include legally recognised and unrecognised minorities. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority group, making up approximately 20% of the population, the area of Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic by various ancient Anatolian civilisations, as well as Assyrians, Greeks, Thracians, Phrygians, Urartians and Armenians. After Alexander the Greats conquest, the area was Hellenized, a process continued under the Roman Empire. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, the empire reached the peak of its power in the 16th century, especially during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. During the war, the Ottoman government committed genocides against its Armenian, Assyrian, following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states. Turkey is a member of the UN, an early member of NATO. Turkeys growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power while her location has given it geopolitical, the name of Turkey is based on the ethnonym Türk. The first recorded use of the term Türk or Türük as an autonym is contained in the Old Turkic inscriptions of the Göktürks of Central Asia, the English name Turkey first appeared in the late 14th century and is derived from Medieval Latin Turchia. Similarly, the medieval Khazar Empire, a Turkic state on the shores of the Black. The medieval Arabs referred to the Mamluk Sultanate as al-Dawla al-Turkiyya, the Ottoman Empire was sometimes referred to as Turkey or the Turkish Empire among its European contemporaries. The Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world, various ancient Anatolian populations have lived in Anatolia, from at least the Neolithic period until the Hellenistic period. Many of these peoples spoke the Anatolian languages, a branch of the larger Indo-European language family, in fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical centre from which the Indo-European languages radiated. The European part of Turkey, called Eastern Thrace, has also been inhabited since at least forty years ago. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date, the settlement of Troy started in the Neolithic Age and continued into the Iron AgeTurkey – Some henges at Göbekli Tepe were erected as far back as 12,000 BC, predating those of Stonehenge, England by almost ten millennia.
23. Levant – The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term Levant entered English in the late 15th century from French and it derives from the Italian Levante, meaning rising, implying the rising of the sun in the east. As such, it is equivalent to the Arabic term Mashriq. Eventually the term was restricted to the Muslim countries of Syria-Palestine, in 1581, England set up the Levant Company to monopolize commerce with the Ottoman Empire. The name Levant States was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and this is probably the reason why the term Levant has come to be used synonymously with Syria-Palestine. Some scholars misunderstood the term thinking that it derives from the name of Lebanon, today the term is typically used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references. It does not include Anatolia, the Caucasus Mountains, or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper, the Sinai Peninsula is sometimes included. The Levant has been described as the crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and northeast Africa, the populations of the Levant share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, and a very long history. They are often referred to as Levantines, the term Levant, which appeared in English in 1497, originally meant the East in general or Mediterranean lands east of Italy. It is borrowed from the French levant rising, referring to the rising of the sun in the east, the phrase is ultimately from the Latin word levare, meaning lift, raise. Similar etymologies are found in Greek Ἀνατολή, in Germanic Morgenland, in Italian, in Hungarian Kelet, in Spanish and Catalan Levante and Llevant, most notably, Orient and its Latin source oriens meaning east, is literally rising, deriving from Latin orior rise. The notion of the Levant has undergone a process of historical evolution in usage, meaning. While the term Levantine originally referred to the European residents of the eastern Mediterranean region, it came to refer to regional native. The English Levant Company was founded in 1581 to trade with the Ottoman Empire, at this time, the Far East was known as the Upper Levant. In early 19th-century travel writing, the term sometimes incorporated certain Mediterranean provinces of the Ottoman empire, in 19th-century archaeology, it referred to overlapping cultures in this region during and after prehistoric times, intending to reference the place instead of any one culture. The French mandate of Syria and Lebanon was called the Levant states, today, Levant is the term typically used by archaeologists and historians with reference to the history of the region. Scholars have adopted the term Levant to identify the region due to it being a wider, yet relevant, archaeologists seeking a neutral orientation that is neither biblical nor national have used terms such as Levantine archaeology and archaeology of the Southern Levant. Two academic journals were launched, Journal of Levantine Studies, published by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and The Levantine ReviewLevant – The Levantine Sea, the eastern portion of the Mediterranean.
24. Syrian Desert – To the south it borders and merges into the Arabian Desert. The land is open, gravely desert pavement, cut with occasional wadis, the desert is bounded by the Orontes Valley and volcanic field of Harrat al-Shamah to the west, and by the Euphrates to the east. In the north, the desert gives way to the fertile areas of grass. Several parts of the Syrian Desert have been referred to such as the Palmyrene desert around Palmyra. The name Shamiyah has also used for the Syrian Desert. The 700-900m high region in the middle of the desert is the Hamad Plateau, what little rain arrives on the plateau flows into local salt flats. The highest peaks of the Plateau are those of the 1000m+ Khawr um Wual in Saudi Arabia, together with the other deserts of the Arabian Peninsular, the Hamad Desert has been described as one of the most arid deserts of the world. The Syrian Desert is the origin of the Syrian hamster, storks, herons, cranes, small waders, waterfowl and also raptors visit the seasonal lakes. The large mammals are now no longer to be found, thought to be due to hunting by man, the desert was historically inhabited by Bedouin tribes, and many tribes still remain in the region, their members living mainly in towns and settlements built near oases. Some Bedouin still maintain their way of life in the desert. Safaitic inscriptions, proto-Arabic texts written by literate Bedouin, are throughout the Syrian Desert. These date approximately from the 1st century B. C. to the 4th century A. D, the desert was first traversed by motor vehicle in 1919. A series of Coalition military operations were ineffective at removing the resistance presence in the Desert. Arabian desert Fertile Crescent List of deserts by area Syrian steppeSyrian Desert
25. Negev Desert – The Negev or Naqab is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The regions largest city and administrative capital is Beersheba, in the north, at its southern end is the Gulf of Aqaba and the resort city of Eilat. It contains several development towns, including Dimona, Arad and Mitzpe Ramon, as well as a number of small Bedouin cities, including Rahat and Tel as-Sabi and Lakyah. There are also several kibbutzim, including Revivim and Sde Boker, the origin of the word negev is from the Hebrew root denoting dry. In the Bible, the word Negev is also used for the direction south, during the British Mandate it was called Beersheba sub-district. The Negev covers more than half of Israel, over some 13,000 km² or at least 55% of the land area. It forms a triangle shape whose western side is contiguous with the desert of the Sinai Peninsula. The Negev has a number of interesting cultural and geological features, among the latter are three enormous, craterlike makhteshim, which are unique to the region, Makhtesh Ramon, Makhtesh Gadol, and Makhtesh Katan. The Negev is a rocky desert and it is a melange of brown, rocky, dusty mountains interrupted by wadis and deep craters. It can be split into five different ecological regions, northern, western and central Negev, the high plateau, the northern Negev, or Mediterranean zone, receives 300 mm of rain annually and has fairly fertile soils. The western Negev receives 250 mm of rain per year, with light, sand dunes can reach heights of up to 30 metres here. The high plateau area of Ramat HaNegev stands between 370 metres and 520 metres above sea level with temperatures in summer and winter. The area gets 100 mm of rain per year, with inferior, the Arabah Valley along the Jordanian border stretches 180 km from Eilat in the south to the tip of the Dead Sea in the north. The Arabah Valley is very arid with barely 50 mm of rain annually and it has inferior soils in which little can grow without irrigation and special soil additives. Vegetation in the Negev is sparse, but certain trees and plants there, among them Acacia, Pistacia, Retama, Urginea maritima. A small population of Arabian leopards, an animal in the Arabian peninsula. The Negev Tortoise is a endangered species that currently lives only in the sands of the western. The Negev shrew is a species of mammal of the family Soricidae found only in Israel, hyphaene thebaica or doum palm can be found in the Southern NegevNegev Desert – Ein Avdat in the Zin Valley in the Negev
26. Maghreb – The Maghreb, or the Greater Maghreb, is usually defined as much or most of the region of western North Africa or Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. Historical terms for the region or various portions of the Maghreb include Mauretania, Numidia, Libya, the term maghrib is Arabic for west, from the verb gharaba. In the strict sense, the definite form al-maghrib denotes the country of Morocco in particular and it identified the westernmost territories that fell to the Islamic conquests of the 7th century. Today, it is a noun for the present region of the Maghreb. The Berber languages alternative term for the region, Tamazgha, has been popularized by Berber activists since the second half of the 20th century. As recently as the late 19th century it was used to refer to the Western Mediterranean region of coastal North Africa in general, and to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia in particular. The region was unified as an independent political entity during the rule of the Berber kingdom of Numidia. The most enduring rule was that of the local Berber empires of the Almoravids, Almohads, Hammadids, Zirids, Marinids, Saadi, the Ottoman Turks ruled the region as well. Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya established the Maghreb Union in 1989 to promote cooperation and it was envisioned initially by Muammar Gaddafi as a superstate. The union included Western Sahara implicitly under Moroccos membership, putting Moroccos long cold war with Algeria to a rest, however, this progress was short-lived, and the union is now frozen. Tensions between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara re-emerged strongly, reinforced by the unsolved borderline issue between the two countries and these two main conflicts have hindered progress on the unions joint goals and practically made it inactive as a whole. Around 3,500 BC a tilt in the Earths orbit created a rapid desertification of the Sahara, the Maghreb or western North Africa is believed to have been inhabited by Berbers since from at least 10,000 BC. Maghreb coast ports were predominantly occupied or constructed by the Phoenicians, the main Phoenician settlements centered in the Gulf of Tunis along the North African littoral between the Pillars of Hercules and the Libyan coast east of ancient Cyrenaica. They dominated the trade and intercourse of the Western Mediterranean for centuries, Rome was greatly helped by the defection of King Massinissa and Carthaginians eastern Numidian Massylii client-allies. A century later, the Byzantine emperor Justinian I sent a force under General Belisarius that succeeded in destroying the Vandal kingdom, the Berbers contested outside-the-area control although after the 640s-700 AD period the Arabs controlled the entire region. The Arabs reached the Maghreb in early Umayyad times, Arab expansion and the spread of Islam pushed the development of trans-Saharan trade. While restricted due to the cost and dangers, the trade was highly profitable, commodities traded included such goods as salt, gold, ivory, and slaves. Arab control over the Maghreb was quite weak, various Islamic variations, such as the Ibadis and the Shia, were adopted by some Berbers, often leading to scorning of Caliphal control in favour of their own interpretation of IslamMaghreb – Magreb head ornament (Morocco)
27. Sahara Desert – The Sahara is the largest hot desert and the third largest desert in the world after Antarctica and the Arctic. Its area of 9,200,000 square kilometres is comparable to the area of the United States. The desert comprises much of North Africa, excluding the fertile region on the Mediterranean Sea coast, the Atlas Mountains of the Maghreb, and the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan. It stretches from the Red Sea in the east and the Mediterranean in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, where the landscape gradually changes from desert to coastal plains. To the south, it is bounded by the Sahel, a belt of tropical savanna around the Niger River valley. The Sahara can be divided into several regions including, the western Sahara, the central Ahaggar Mountains, the Tibesti Mountains, the Aïr Mountains, the Ténéré desert, the name Sahara is derived from ṣaḥārā, the plural of the Arabic word for desert. The Sahara covers large parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and it covers 9 million square kilometres, amounting to 31% of Africa. If all areas with an annual precipitation of less than 250 mm were included. It is one of three physiographic provinces of the African massive physiographic division. The Sahara is mainly rocky hamada, Ergs form only a minor part, wind or rare rainfall shape the desert features, sand dunes, dune fields, sand seas, stone plateaus, gravel plains, dry valleys, dry lakes, and salt flats. Unusual landforms include the Richat Structure in Mauritania, several deeply dissected mountains, many volcanic, rise from the desert, including the Aïr Mountains, Ahaggar Mountains, Saharan Atlas, Tibesti Mountains, Adrar des Iforas, and the Red Sea hills. The highest peak in the Sahara is Emi Koussi, a volcano in the Tibesti range of northern Chad. The central Sahara is hyperarid, with sparse vegetation, the northern and southern reaches of the desert, along with the highlands, have areas of sparse grassland and desert shrub, with trees and taller shrubs in wadis, where moisture collects. In the central, hyperarid region, there are subdivisions of the great desert, Tanezrouft, the Ténéré, the Libyan Desert, the Eastern Desert. These extremely arid areas often receive no rain for years, the northern limit also corresponds to the 100 mm isohyet of annual precipitation. To the south, the Sahara is bounded by the Sahel, the southern limit of the Sahara is indicated botanically by the southern limit of Cornulaca monacantha, or northern limit of Cenchrus biflorus, a grass typical of the Sahel. According to climatic criteria, the limit of the Sahara corresponds to the 150 mm isohyet of annual precipitation. The Sahara is the worlds largest low-latitude hot desert and this steady descending airflow causes a warming and a drying effect in the upper troposphereSahara Desert – A satellite image of the Sahara by NASA World Wind.
28. North Africa – North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of Africa. The United Nationss definition of Northern Africa is, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, the countries of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya are often collectively referred to as the Maghreb, which is the Arabic word for sunset. Egypt lies to the northeast and encompasses part of West Asia, while Sudan is situated on the edge of the Sahel, Egypt is a transcontinental country because of the Sinai Peninsula, which geographically lies in Western Asia. North Africa also includes a number of Spanish possessions, the Canary Islands and Madeira in the North Atlantic Ocean northwest of the African mainland are included in considerations of the region. From 3500 BC, following the abrupt desertification of the Sahara due to changes in the Earths orbit. The Islamic influence in the area is significant, and North Africa is a major part of the Muslim world. Some researchers have postulated that North Africa rather than East Africa served as the point for the modern humans who first trekked out of the continent in the Out of Africa migration. The Atlas Mountains extend across much of Morocco, northern Algeria and Tunisia, are part of the mountain system that also runs through much of Southern Europe. They recede to the south and east, becoming a steppe landscape before meeting the Sahara desert, the sediments of the Sahara overlie an ancient plateau of crystalline rock, some of which is more than four billion years old. Sheltered valleys in the Atlas Mountains, the Nile Valley and Delta, a wide variety of valuable crops including cereals, rice and cotton, and woods such as cedar and cork, are grown. Typical Mediterranean crops, such as olives, figs, dates and citrus fruits, the Nile Valley is particularly fertile, and most of the population in Egypt and Sudan live close to the river. Elsewhere, irrigation is essential to improve yields on the desert margins. The inhabitants of Saharan Africa are generally divided in a manner corresponding to the principal geographic regions of North Africa, the Maghreb, the Nile valley. The edge of the Sahel, to the south of Egypt has mainly been inhabited by Nubians, Ancient Egyptians record extensive contact in their Western desert with people that appear to have been Berber or proto-Berber, as well as Nubians from the south. They have contributed to the Arabized Berber populations, the official language or one of the official languages in all of the countries in North Africa is Arabic. The people of the Maghreb and the Sahara regions speak Berber languages and several varieties of Arabic, the Arabic and Berber languages are distantly related, both being members of the Afroasiatic language family. The Tuareg Berber languages are more conservative than those of the coastal cities. Over the years, Berbers have been influenced by contact with cultures, Greeks, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, EuropeansNorth Africa – Market of Biskra in Algeria, 1899
29. Atlas Mountains – The Atlas Mountains are a mountain range in the Maghreb. It stretches around 2,500 km through Algeria, Morocco, the ranges highest peak is Jebel Toubkal, with an elevation of 4,167 metres in southwestern Morocco. It separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert, the Atlas mountains are primarily inhabited by Berber populations. The terms for mountain in some Berber languages are adrar and adras, the mountains are home to a number of plant and animal species unique in Africa, often more like those of Europe, many of them are endangered and some have already gone extinct. The basement rock of most of Africa was formed during the Precambrian period, the Atlas was formed during three subsequent phases of Earths geology. The first tectonic deformation phase involves only the Anti-Atlas, which was formed in the Paleozoic Era as the result of continental collisions, North America, Europe and Africa were connected millions of years ago. The Anti-Atlas Mountains are believed to have originally formed as part of Alleghenian orogeny. These mountains were formed when Africa and America collided, and were once a chain rivaling todays Himalayas, today, the remains of this chain can be seen in the Fall Line region in the Eastern United States. Some remnants can also be found in the later formed Appalachians in North America, a second phase took place during the Mesozoic Era. It consisted of an extension of the Earths crust that rifted and separated the continents mentioned above. This extension was responsible for the formation of many thick intracontinental sedimentary basins including the present Atlas, most of the rocks forming the surface of the present High Atlas were deposited under the ocean at that time. Such convergent tectonic boundaries occur where two plates slide towards each other forming a zone, and/or a continental collision. However, there is a lack of evidence for the nature of the subduction in the Atlas region, or for the thickening of the Earths crust generally associated with continental collisions. In fact, one of the most striking features of the Atlas to geologists is the small amount of crustal thickening. Recent studies suggest that deep processes rooted in the Earths mantle may have contributed to the uplift of the High, the Atlas are rich in natural resources. There are deposits of ore, lead ore, copper, silver, mercury, rock salt, phosphate, marble. The range can be divided into four regions, Middle Atlas. The Middle Atlas is a portion of the Atlas mountain range lying completely in Morocco, the Middle Atlas is the westernmost of three Atlas Mountains chains that define a large, plateaued basin extending eastwardAtlas Mountains – Toubkal Mountain in Toubkal National Park in the High Atlas
30. Cyrenaica – Cyrenaica is the eastern coastal region of Libya. Also known as Pentapolis in antiquity, it formed part of the Roman province of Crete and Cyrenaica, later divided into Libya Pentapolis, during the Islamic period, the area came to be known as Barqa, after the city of Barca. In a wider sense, still in use, Cyrenaica includes all of the part of Libya. Cyrenaica borders on Tripolitania in the northwest and on Fezzan in the southwest, the region that used to be Cyrenaica officially until 1963 has formed several shabiyat, the administrative divisions of Libya, since 1995. The 2011 Libyan Civil War started in Cyrenaica, which came largely under the control of the National Transitional Council for most of the war. Geologically, Cyrenaica rests on a mass of Miocene limestone that tilts up steeply from the Mediterranean Sea and this mass is divided into two blocks. The Jebel Akhdar extends parallel to the coast from the Gulf of Sidra to the Gulf of Bomba, there is no continuous coastal plain, the longest strip running from the recess of Gulf of Sidra past Benghazi to Tolmeita. Thereafter, except for deltaic patches at Susa and Derna, the shore is all precipitous, a steep escarpment separates the coastal plain from a relatively level plateau, known as the Marj Plain, which lies at about 300 meters elevation. Above the Marj Plain lies a plateau at about 700 meters elevation. The Jebel Akhdar and its adjacent coast are part of the Mediterranean woodlands and forests ecoregion, the plant communities of this portion of Cyrenaica include forest, woodland, maquis, garrigue, steppe, and oak savanna. Small areas of maquis are found on north-facing slopes near the sea, juniperus phoenicea, Pistacia lentiscus, Quercus coccifera and Ceratonia siliqua are common tree and large shrub species in the maquis. Areas of red soil are found on the Marj Plain, which has borne abundant crops of wheat, plenty of springs issue on the highlands. Wild olive trees are abundant, and large areas of oak savanna provide pasture to the flocks, historically large areas of range were covered in forest. The forested area of the Jebel Akhdar has been shrinking in recent decades, a 1996 report to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that the forested area was reduced to 320,000 hectares from 500,000 hectares, mostly cleared to grow crops. The Green Mountain Conservation and Development Authority estimates that the area decreased from 500,000 hectares in 1976 to 180,000 hectares in 2007. The lower Jebel el-Akabah lies to the south and east of the Jebel Akhdar, the two highlands are separated by a depression. This eastern region, known in ancient times as Marmarica, is drier than the Jebel Akhdar. Historically, salt-collecting and sponge fishing were more important than agriculture, Bomba and Tobruk have good harborsCyrenaica – Map of Cyrenaica and Marmarica in the Roman era (Samuel Butler, 1907)