French garden at Rundale Palace - aerial view, Latvia
The park of Rundāle Palace is an essential part of the palace complex; it has retained its original layout without any significant changes. The location map of Rundāle Palace was drawn by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1735/1736. The garden was created between 1736 and 1740, at the same time when the palace was constructed.
The location map provides evidence that the actual access to the Palace differs from the one intended by Rastrelli, as his idea of an access road on the central symmetry axis was never realized. The park was not affected by modernization in the 19th century when formal gardens were transformed into landscape gardens. The cartography and inventory carried out in 1974 revealed that in the 19th century trees in the park were still planted according to Rastrelli’s design.
More information: http://www.virtuallatvia.lv
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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.