Þingvellir National Park
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Panoramic photo by Jonathan Danforth Taken 09:43, 22/03/2013 - Views loading...

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Þingvellir National Park

The World > Europe > Iceland

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No single place epitomizes the history of Iceland and the Icelandic nation better than Þingvellir by the river Öxará. At Þingvellir - literally "Parliament Plains" - the Alþing general assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene there until 1798. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at Þingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. Today Þingvellir is a protected national shrine. According to the law, passed in 1928, the protected area shall always be the property of the Icelandic nation, under the preservation of the Alþing.

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Nearby images in Iceland

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A: waterfall at thingvellir or Þingvellir National Park in Iceland

by Gavin Farrell, 210 meters away

Waterfall at thingvellir or Þingvellir National Park in Iceland 2013

waterfall at thingvellir or Þingvellir National Park in Iceland

B: 140201 Silfra Þingvellir 001

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C: Þingvellir National Park

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D: Þingvellir National Park

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E: Almannagjá

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F: 140201 Silfra Þingvellir 003

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H: Thingvellir Church

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I: Thingvellir National Park viewpoint

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This panorama was taken in Iceland, Europe

This is an overview of Europe

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.

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