Typically considered one of the most developed regions of the world, the European continent holds a massive amount of cities supporting around 740 million people and covering over 10 million kilometres squared of landmass. The continent is also home to some of the most notable sights and scenes in the world and below we discuss some of the common favourites:
Starting in the city of London in England, the EDF London Eye, formerly the Merlin Entertainments London Eye, the British Airways London Eye and the Millennium Wheel, is located on the South Bank of the River Thames in Lambeth and until 2006 was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, but still holds the record of the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe. It’s known to be the United Kingdom’s most popular paid tourist attraction and attracts over 3.5 million visitors every year who wish to sit atop one of the wheel’s 32 air-conditioned passenger capsules and see huge panoramic views of the city of London.
Around five thousand years ago the structure of the mysterious site of Stonehenge was set in place, however, several Mesolithic postholes have also been found nearby which are dated to around ten thousand years ago. Mysterious in origin, the culture that erected these huge stones into a monument left no written records and thus the civilization responsible for the structure remains a mystery. What is known about the monument itself is additionally limited, but what is known is that it bore an incredible degree of religious significance to those at the time that took over 500 years to build it. Legend has it that on the sunset and rise of the solstices, the light of the sun aligns perfectly with the stone structures.
Moving on to Spain, the Basilica I Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia, better known simply as the Sagrada Familia, is one of the largest Roman Catholic Churches in the world, incorporating an amazing sense of gothic architecture with a truly unique sense of stylization designed by famed historical architect Antoni Gaudi . The church began being built over a hundred years ago but has still not been completed to this day. However, the site is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracts over 2.5 million visitors every year and is considered a symbol of Barcelona.
In Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle has often been described as the inspiration and influence for every stereotypical fairy-tale castle palace. Each year the castle sees over 1.3 million people visiting and consists of an establishment which begun construction in the 19th Century but actually had been built on the ruins of at least two prior castles constructed at some point in the Middle Ages. King Maximilian II of Bavaria had purchased the area and had commissioned a new castle to replace the ruins in the area in 1832, his son, Ludwig, subsequently had this rebuilt and restructured upon coming into power in 1864.
France, on the other hand, houses one of the tallest towers in the world, the Eiffel Tower, built in 1889. The tower is a common hotspot for tourists and visitors to the country and stands around 1064 feet tall, but this changes height during the course of the year as the metal expands and contracts with the temperature. The tower houses two restaurants on the first and second floors and attracts around 7 million people annually, landing it the record for the most visited paid monument in the entire world.
The Musee du Louvre, or better known simply as the Louvre, is located within the dead-centre of Paris, France, and although it was originally built as a fortress in the 12th Century, today it sees usage as one of the world’s most, if not the world’s most, prestigious art gallery. The museum has eight differing departments for each culture including Egyptian Antiquities, Decorative Arts, Near Eastern Antiquities, Sculpture, Greek Antiquities, Islamic, Etruscan Antiquities and Roman Antiquities, as well as a range of contemporary paintings, prints and drawings. The Louvre also houses the world’s most famous painting and undoubtedly its most valuable possession, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.
In Italy, once one of the largest urban Metropolis in Roman antiquity, the city of Pompeii had its population wiped out in 79 AD by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. However, almost 2000 years later the town has been cleared of all debris and due to the lack of air or moisture in the volcanic ash, the town has remained extremely well preserved. Today the ruins can be visited by the public and it attracts over 2.5 million visitors to walk its ancient streets every year. To this day, many of the artefacts buried in the eruption still sit quietly in the city, fully preserved and longingly waiting reawakening.
Located in the Venetian Lagoon, Italy, the city of Venice is comprised of over a hundred islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. These canals are used as waterways for the various Gondola that patrol around, providing quick and incredibly scenic travel to many of the three million tourists that visit every year. The city incorporates a classic Italian style of architecture with a unique twist, causing the term ‘Venetian’ to be used to describe the architectural style as opposed to standard Italian styles. Additionally the country holds many celebrations and events throughout the year including the Carnival of Venice and many religious festivals.
Based in Switzerland, the village of Lauterbrunnen lies in the valley of the same name and has often had its name translated to mean ‘Clear Spring’. This is no surprise as the city exhibits a stunning natural beauty with brilliant blue waterfalls and gorgeous green grass all over the valley side meadows. The village has an extremely small population of only around 2500 people but incorporates a unique clean yet rustic visual appeal.
Starting construction in 1609, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, and better known as the Blue Mosque, is widely known as one of the largest Mosques in the world and stretches over 210 feet (64 meters) high, covering over 51 thousand square feet (4745 square meters). The Mosque utilizes a beautiful blend of Islamic and Classical Ottoman architecture for an almost fantastical style. Meanwhile the interior incorporates a range of Islamic imagery with a strong significance to circles and circular symmetry.
Whatever your reason for exploring the vast continent of Europe, you’ll be sure to discover its age old cultures and secrets in any country in the region, together with SeekTeachers, you could even secure that teaching job you’ve been after and have a chance to go and visit these stunning locations. To see a list of teaching jobs in Europe, just click here.