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Strictly, the Jungfraujoch is the lowest point on the mountain ridge between Mönch and Jungfrau, at 3471 m. It is just above this location that the mountain station of Jungfraubahn is located, Jungfraujoch railway station, which at an elevation of 3,454 metres is the highest railway station in Europe. The Jungfraujoch is often called the "Top of Europe" in tourist literature.
Not far east of the Joch rises a peak called the Sphinx, which tops out at an elevation of 3,571 metres. It begins from the Jungfraujoch on the Valais side and at the Great Aletsch Glacier. There is an elevator to the summit of the Sphinx, where a small viewing platform and a scientific observatory, the Sphinx Observatory, are located.
The Jungfraujoch is also home to one of the Global Atmosphere Watch's atmospheric research stations. The Jungfraujoch can only be accessed through a 7.3 km long cog railway tunnel, served by the Jungfraubahn, the highest in a series of cooperating railway companies that provide access to the Jungfraujoch from Interlaken.
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.