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Vilnius TV Tower is one of the highest buildings in the Eastern Europe and the highest in Lithuania. Its height reaches 326.5 metres and the weight of the whole structure is estimated at 30,000 tons. The tower was designed by Vladimiras Obydovas and the engineering section was designed by Kazimieras Balėnas. The construction of the tower started in 1974 and lasted for 6 years. The TV Tower is unique not only because of its exterior. Radio and TV equipment is housed in the lower and the upper part of the tower whereas main cables run down the entire length of the tower pipe. The pipe of the tower consists of 18 floors with work and auxiliary premises. For Lithuania, however, it is not only an impressive building but also a symbol of Lithuanian freedom and independence. Soviet armed forces forayed into Vilnius on the night of January 13, 1991, and surrounded the TV Tower and people who were protecting it. Even today you may find the marks of gunshots on the walls of the Tower. Fourteen defenders died during this attack. Today the TV Tower hosts an exhibition dedicated to those tragic events. A bronze memorial entitled Aukojimas (Engl. sacrifice) and dedicated to the fighters for independence was unveiled here in 2005, and the streets surrounding the TV Tower carry the names of those people. From the celebration of the millenium in 2000, it has become a tradition to decorate the TV Tower and therefore every year it becomes one of the tallest Christmas trees in the country that sparkles with 5440 Christmas lights. During the World Basketball Championship 2006 in Japan, the tower was decorated with the world biggest basketball net. Not far from the TV Tower streatches Karoliniškės Landscape Reserve. http://www.vilniusautomobiliu.lt/index.php/pageid/1090/objectid/595
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.