The Czech Republic, 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 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, 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 Affairs
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 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 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, 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 used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina, and, in short, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city, in the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The inland is a larger region and has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold. The southern tip of the country has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography and Herzegovina is a region that traces permanent human settlement back to the Neolithic age and after which it was populated by several Illyrian and Celtic civilizations. Culturally and socially, the country has a rich history, the Ottomans brought Islam to the region, and altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country. This was followed by annexation into the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted up until World War I.
In the interwar period, Bosnia was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and after World War II, following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the country proclaimed independence in 1992, which was followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995. The country is home to three ethnic groups or, constituent peoples, as specified in the constitution. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second and Croats third, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnicity, is identified in English as a Bosnian. The terms Herzegovinian and Bosnian are maintained as a rather than ethnic distinction. Moreover, the country was simply called Bosnia until the Austro-Hungarian occupation at the end of the 19th century and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is itself complex and consists of 10 cantons, the country has been a member of the Council of Europe since April 2002 and a founding member of the Mediterranean Union upon its establishment in July 2008.
The name is believed to have derived from the hydronym of the river Bosna coursing through the Bosnian heartland. According to philologist Anton Mayer the name Bosna could be derived from Illyrian Bass-an-as which would be a diversion of the Proto-Indo-European root bos or bogh, meaning the running water. According to English medievalist William Miller the Slavic settlers in Bosnia adapted the Latin designation Basante, to their own idiom by calling the stream Bosna, the name Herzegovina originates from Bosnian magnate Stephen Vukčić Kosačas title, Herceg of Hum and the Coast. Hum, formerly Zahumlje, was a medieval principality that was conquered by the Bosnian Banate in the first half of the 14th century. Bosnia is located in the western Balkans, bordering Croatia to the north and west, Serbia to the east and it has a coastline about 20 kilometres long surrounding the city of Neum. It lies between latitudes 42° and 46° N, and longitudes 15° and 20° E, the countrys name comes from the two regions Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have a very vaguely defined border between them
The Areni-1 cave complex is located near the Areni village in southern Armenia along the Arpa River. In 2010, it was announced that the earliest known shoe was found at the site, in January 2011, the earliest known winery in the world was announced to have been found. Also in 2011, the discovery of a straw skirt dating to 3900 BC was reported, in 2009, the oldest brain was discovered
Laugerie-Basse is an important Upper Paleolithic archaeological site within the territory of the French commune Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil in Dordogne. It is known for works of art from the Magdalenian. The impressive Abri of Laugerie-Basse, named after the village, is located on the side of the Vézère valley. It was formed at the bottom of a 45 meters high and 500 meters long scarp slope of flat-lying limestones from the Coniacian, the 15-meter-deep Abri is located 15 meters above river level. Taking advantage of the conditions, the houses of Laugerie-Basse were built directly into the rocks so that building a back wall. The prehistoric site consists of two abris, the main abri and 50 meters upstream the Abri of Marseilles, between the abris and the Vézère the D47 runs from Périgueux to Les Eyzies. In 1863 Édouard Lartet and Henry Christy began for the first time with excavations on the main abri, at that time a small farm with a barn and a stable was standing on the excavation area. Lartet and Christy were succeeded by the Marquis de Vibraye and his assistant Franchet, the excavations on the main abri were rather chaotic for the next five decades.
Only between 1912 and 1913 Denis Peyrony and Maury were able to proceed more systematically and make the first stratigraphy of the main abri, Maury moved on to the hiterhto disregarded Abri des Marseilles where he was active until 1920. The stratigraphy in the main abri comprises archaeological material mainly from Magdalenian III, there is some marginal evidence of the Azilian. In the slope waste in front of the slope remains from the Neolithic. The Abri de Marseilles offers a more detailed stratigraphic sequence, the profile is still existing. From it one can conclude that the Magdalenians settled approximately 14,000 years ago directly on the bottom of the abri. They lived at the abri until the Magdalenian VI, a catastrophic collapse of the roof occurred and the settlement site was partly strewn with some huge slabs of rock and debris. Afterwards the people returned to place, which is clearly evident from traces of settlement on. Thereafter the Abri des Marseilles sank completely into oblivion until the late Neolithic, around 2000 BC members of the Artenac culture arrived who left an enormous, and in this magnitude inexplicable and charcoal layer that covered the whole abri.
Then further slides of the roof occurred bringing about a spectacular rock chaos with up to 10 meter high boulders, by now the main abri has been cleaned up completely, whereas the Abri des Marseilles has only been partially explored. Apart from stone artefacts and other tools, all in all approximately 600 art objects from the Magdalenian were recovered in Laugerie-Basse, in Laugerie-Basse Paul Hurault, 8th Marquis de Vibraye discovered in 1864 the Immodest Venus which gave its name to the genre of paleolithic Venus figurines
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany 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, 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, 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 a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is 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 bourgeoisie
Devetàshka cave is a huge karst cave around 7 km east of Letnitsa and 15 km northeast of Lovech, near the village of Devetaki on the east bank of the river Osam, in Bulgaria. The site has continuously occupied by Paleo humans for tens of thousands of years. Devetashka cave is located approximately 2 km from the village of Devetaki, a narrow path by the river lead from the village to the cave. It can be accessed directly via Road 301 along a 400 m long dirt road, the site is 35 m wide and 30 m high at the entrance. The cave widens after around 40 m, forming a hall with an area of 2,400 m2. Earliest traces of human presence back to the Middle Paleolithic around 70,000 years ago. The site contained one of the richest sources of Neolithic cultural artifacts, besides significant archaeological findings, Devetashka cave is provides a habitat for a wide diversity of faunal residents. During the breeding season of mammalian species in the cave from early June to the end of July, thirty-four species of mammals, four of which are included in the Red List and fifteen species of bats are to be found at the Devetashka cave.
Devetashka cave was shown in the action movie The Expendables 2, the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria declared that several activities during filming violated Bulgarias environmental regulations. A contractor hired by The Expendables crew was subsequently fined for trimming the shrubbery in front of the site, after a fatal accident during the filming of a stunt, the production team again clashed with the authorities over damages to the cave. Loud noises, bright lights, crowds of people and fires in close proximity to the cave might have caused the displacement of large numbers of bats from the cave, however, by late 2012, the majority of the bats had returned to the cave. Media related to Devetashka cave at Wikimedia Commons Devetashka Cave
The Magura Cave is located in north-western Bulgaria close to the village of Rabisha,25 km from the town of Belogradchik in Vidin Province. Guided visits are conducted by the staff of Belogradchik municipality, to which the management of the cave was transferred in 2012 by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, in 1984 the site was induced into UNESCOs tentative list of World Heritage. The total length of the 15 million year old cave is 2.5 km, the average annual temperature of the cave is 12 °C, except for one room where the temperature is always 15 °C. The air humidity reaches 80% and the displacement -56 m, the Magura cave was formed in the limestone Rabisha Hill. The morphology of the consists of one main gallery with six various-sized halls. The very spacious site allows for music concerts to be held during Christmas, the inner temperature is constantly 11-12 °C. During the summers of 1974 and 1975 the cave was used for speleotherapy. Thirty patients slept in the cave for twelve nights, taking advantage of allergens absence, constant humidity.
A part of the cave is now used for ageing sparkling and red wines, labelled Magura, bones from different prehistoric species like cave bear, cave hyena, wolf, wild cat and otter have been discovered in the Magura Cave. Today, constant inhabitants of the cave is the collembola, as well as four types of bats, Cave paintings dating from the Epipaleolithic, late Neolithic and early Bronze Age decorate some of the caves walls. The paintings have been estimated to be made between 10.000 and 8.000 years ago, the drawings represent important events of the society that had occupied the Magura cave, religious ceremonies, hunting scenes and depictions of deities which are unique on the Balkan peninsula. The Fertility Dance and the Hunting Ceremony rank among the most noteworthy paintings, one grouping from the Bronze Age has been interpreted as a solar calendar. The cave paintings allowed storing information about regional solar calendar, religious festivals, contemporary imitations of possible fertility rites are reported — inscriptions in Latin and paintings made by treasure-hunters.
The medium used to create the art was bat guano, more than 750 images have been identified. Painted signs can be organised into four groups, zoomorphic, geometric. For the first group, there are bitriangular silhouettes with raised rounded arms, ithyphallic figures, regarding zoomorpic items, there are caprids, dogs, ostrich-like animals and schematic linear quadrupeds. Few rayed circle figures, mainly the two unica of the so-called calendar scene, likely represent a sun depiction, taking count of some associated figures, it is possible to recognize dancing and mating scenes. In the so-called Cult Hall a large dance and hunting scene is depicted, arranged in two main rows, these are the best known and most reproduced Magura Cave images
A rock shelter is a shallow cave-like opening at the base of a bluff or cliff. In arid areas, wind erosion can be an important factor in rockhouse formation, erosion from moving water is seldom a significant factor. Many rock shelters are found under waterfalls, Rock shelter formation types Rock shelters are often important archaeologically. Because rock shelters form natural shelters from the weather, prehistoric humans often used them as living-places, and left behind debris, tools, in mountainous areas the shelters can be important for mountaineers. In western Connecticut and eastern New York, many shelters are known by the colloquialism leatherman caves. Sandstone can be used as shingles for roof tops when possible, the Cumberland stitchwort is an endangered species of plant which is found only in rock shelters in Kentucky and Tennessee. Gatecliff Rockshelter Kinlock Shelter Mesa Verde Overhang Roc-aux-Sorciers Shelter Rock Walnut Canyon