View of the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec
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Panoramic photo by Robert Pipala EXPERT Taken 17:00, 10/03/2010 - Views loading...

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View of the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec

The World > Europe > Poland

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Tyniec is situated on the right bank of the Vistula river, in administrative city limit of Cracow, 12-13 km off the city centre. The picturesque region, hills, forest and the river attracts a number of visitors who wish to relax and get in some fresh air. Nine centuries ago Benedictines arrived at this place. On the rock by the Vistula river they built a monastery - abbacy, which emerges from the trees and reflects in the river. The geographical location brought significant influence on history. The place required control and sometimes defence because the road was of strategic value. The Vistula river, in its upper reaches, was used to be political border in the Middle Ages, from the first to the third annexation and then during the time of Free City of Cracow. more...

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This panorama was taken in Poland, Europe

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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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