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Raudonė Castle is in Raudonė, Lithuania. Castle construction works started in late 16th century. In the 16th century the castle belonged to King Sigismund II August. A new renaissance castle was built on the ruins of the old one by a German knight, Krispin de Kirschenstein. The castle has since been rebuilt many times. The 18th century Polish owners of the Raudone estate, the family Olędzki (Olendzki) h. Rawicz (members of szlachta, general sejm and senate) commissioned Wawrzyniec Gucewicz with a renovation of the castle. The next owner, the Russian Prince Platon Zubov, acquired the estate in the first half of the 19th century and his family transformed the castle yet again. Their architect was Cesare Anichini. Today the building is an example of 19th century neo-Gothic architecture. Its last private owners were Sofia Vaksel (a Zubov) and her Madeirian husband, José Carlos de Faria e Castro.
The original castle is the setting of an East Prussian legend known as "The White Maiden of the Bayersburg".
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.