Netherlands: Crypt of Saint Servaas, Maastricht
St. Servaas (Servatius) is the patron saint of Maastricht. He was the bishop of Tongres (a Belgian city) who sought refuge behind the castellum walls of Maastricht from Germanic incursions. The bishop established a Christian community which became the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk and the seat of the new diocese of Maastricht. When Servaas died, around the year 384, he was buried beside the Roman road outside the castellum. About 150 years later, Bishop Monulphus built a chapel on this site which was to grow into the church and chapter of St Servaas, the city's second greater church. His tomb in the crypt has been a favored place of pilgrimage for many centuries. Famous visitors include Charlemagne and Pope John Paul II when he visited in 1985.
The Roman catholic Basilica of Saint Servaas, situated in Maastricht (The Netherlands) at the Vrijtho...
3D Drawing Vrijthof, Maastricht
Maastricht gezien vanaf het noord-oost uitkijk platform van de st.Jan toren aan het Vrijthof.
The Bergportaal, a portal in Gothic style, was added to the south side of Sint Servaas Basilica in th...
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.