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"The Lateral Parterre runs parallel to the Sweetgum Alley - one of the main arteries of the property - and constitutes the visual prolongation of one of the Villa’s most important social areas. The Lateral Parterre is configured as an open-air room, probably intended for more intimate enjoyment, and forms a background setting for the Villa’s lounge area. Surrounded by the large trees of the Woodland and the Alley, the parterre is spatially defined by the hedge of yew trees that rigorously demarcates its borders, and the lawns or tapis verts that originally housed plantations of trees and shrubs of relative complexity and highly ornamental character, in accordance with the taste of the epoch, interspersed by cypress trees. The apparent immutability of the yew trees and lawns contrasts with the intense variability of leaves and blossom that characterise the tree-tops and shrubs which cast their shadows on this area throughout the year." (http://www.serralves.pt/en/pathways/lateral-parterre/)
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.