The St Jacob Sibenik Croatia
St. Jacobs Cathedral in Sibenik is a unique monument of sacral architecture,
added to UNESCO's list of world heritage sights in the year 2000.
The cathedral was built on the south side of the cities old central square.
The idea of building a cathedral dates back to 1298 when Sibenik gained its own diocese and the status of a city.
Building of the cathedral only began in 1431 and lasted with a few pauses until 1536.
Juraj Matejev Dalmatinac (Georfius Mathei Dalmaticus), was educated at the Arts Academy in Venice,
and was invited to manage the building of the temple.
A master in the late gothic era, he changed the original conception of the church,
and under his direction the enclaves, the sanctuary, the apse which is decorated with
72 stone chiselled portraits of citizens who at that time lived in Sibenik and the sacristies were built.
Making the cathedral even more magnificent is the fact that it was built entirely with stone, without using any other materials.
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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.