Europe is without question one of the most culturally diverse regions of the world – with the continent playing host to 51 different independent states. Perhaps unsurprisingly in a locale with so many people, there are a fair few interesting facts and stats to sink your teeth into. Today, let’s look at five amazing facts about Europe you might not already have known.
- The numbers
Let’s kick things off with a look at some of the basic figures. Incredibly, despite being the second smallest continent in the world, Europe spans across seven time zones and covers a grand total of 8% of the world’s surface.
There are over 738,2000,000 people located there, separating out across a 10,400,000km2 radius. As stated, these divide into 51 countries – with London alone housing 8,673,713 at the last census count.
- Europe has rainforests
It might shock you to know, but there are officially rainforests in the Eurozone. Norway, Spain and even Bosnia boast such areas, with wild expanses of greenery. While this is a type of landscape most commonly associated with South America, Europe stands toe-to-toe with them.
Perucica, in Bosnia, is a particular point of interest for anyone looking to experience what Europe was like before communal expansion took hold. Such is the vastness of the area, you can only enter with the aid of a ranger.
If you can believe it, there is a church in Barcelona – the SagradaFamilia – which has been under construction since 1882. It was, thankfully, announced in October of 2015 the place of worship had entered its final stage of development, and is said to be 70% complete in total.
That means the basilica has officially taken longer to construct than the Great Pyramids of Giza. It’s expected to be completed fully by 2026 – marking the 100-year anniversary of the death of its original architect, Antoni Gaudi.
- Centralised Greece
Greece was once at the centre of the ancient world. While things have certainly changed since then, there’s still a strong core to the former global power – with a staggering 40% of the population living in the capital city of Athens. Needless to say, things get a little busy when people are trying to traverse the streets of the city of an evening.
- It’s not actually a continent
In one of the most shocking twists imaginable, Europe does not technically class as a continent in the true sense of the word. The concept of it being separated from Asia (which is shares a tectonic plate with), was first suggested in Ancient Greece. Those pesky Greeks again.
Wanting to differentiate themselves from what they perceived as barbarians to the East, the Greeks drew a line in the sand when it came to what did and didn’t constitute part of their corner of the globe.
- Little and large
Both the largest and smallest countries in the world can be found within the confines of the European border. While population sizes are large in Asia, land mass doesn’t come much bigger than the 17,098,242km squared you can find in Russia.
On the opposite side of the scale is Vatican City – located in the beating heart of Rome. This is technically a sovereign nation, but is just 0.44km squared in size. It accounts for less than 0.01% of the Earth’s area.
- Massive wine producers
Europe has become famed for its vast array of wine-growing regions, so it’s perhaps little surprise the continent is said to account for 44% of all wine which produced across the globe.
Almost every nation in Europe has some sort of wine production system in place, with the most famous being located in areas like the Loire Valley and Champagne (which, unsurprisingly, lends its name to the drink).
- Watch your step in Belarus
Despite the practice being outlawed across most of Europe, Belarus remains the only country on the continent to still use the death penalty as an ultimate form of punishment. The last time it was used was as recently as 2014.
Learnt something new today? We certainly hope so. If you’re headed to Europe in the coming months take these facts and stats into account.