Top Ten European Attractions

Top Ten European Attractions

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  1. The Louvre, Paris, France
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    The Musée du Louvre is one of the world’s largest, and the most visited museum in the world. It is a central landmark of Paris, France and is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st district. Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square m (652,300 square ft.). The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are still visible. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1672, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of antique sculptures. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation’s masterpieces. The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being confiscated church and royal property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon when the museum was renamed the Musée Napoléon. After his defeat at Waterloo, many works seized by Napoleon’s armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic, except during the two World Wars. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.
    Links: Top Ten French AttractionsMuseums and Galleries, Top 100 Works of ArtArtifacts,  Top 100 French Paintings, Top Ten French Painters, http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp?bmLocale=en, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Louvre,
  2. Stonehenge, England
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           Stonehenge’s function has been heavily debated over the years ranging from ceremonial center to astronomical, to even a trans-dimensional portal, but the facts are that Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 km (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 km (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It is at the center of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists had believed that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2,500 BC. One recent theory, however, has suggested that the first stones were not erected until 2,400-2,200 BC, whilst another suggests that bluestones may have been erected at the site as early as 3,000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3,100 BC.
    Links: Top Ten British AttractionsTop 100 Wonders, Top Ten Stone Monuments, Top Ten Monolithshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge,
  3. Rome, Italy
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    Rome is a city and special comune (“Roma Capitale”) in Italy. Rome is the capital of Italy, the capital of Lazio and the principal town of the Province of Rome. With over 2.7 million residents in 1,285.3 km2 (496.3 square mi), it is also the country’s largest and most populated city and comune. The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy. Rome’s history spans two and a half thousand years. It was the capital city of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, which was the dominant power in Western Europe and the lands bordering the Mediterranean for over 700 years from the 1st century BC until the 7th century AD and the city is regarded as one of the birthplaces of western civilization. Since the 1st century AD Rome has been the seat of the Papacy and, after the end of Byzantine domination, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic. After the Middle Ages, Rome was ruled by popes such as Alexander VI and Leo X, who transformed the city into one of the major centers of the Italian Renaissance, along with Florence. The current version of St Peter’s Basilica was built and the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michelangelo. Famous artists and architects, such as Bramante, Bernini and Raphael resided for some time in Rome, contributing to its Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Rome has been ranked by GaWC in 2010 as a beta+ world city, as well as the 28th most important global city. In 2007, Rome was the 11th most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy. The city is one of Europe’s and the world’s most successful city “brands,” both in terms of reputation and assets. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are amongst the world’s 50 most visited tourist destinations (the Vatican Museums receiving 4.2 million tourists and the Colosseum receiving 4 million tourists every year).
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Sculptures, Top Ten Angel Sculptures, Top Ten Basilicas, Castles, Top Ten Obelisks, Top Ten Arenas, Top Ten Fountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome,
  4. Barcelona, Spain
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    Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the 2nd largest city in Spain, after Madrid, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of 101.4 square km (39 square mi). The urban area of Barcelona extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of between 4,200,000 and 4,500,000 within an area of 803 square km (310 square mi), being the 6th most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, the Ruhr, Madrid and Milan. It is also Europe’s largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea. Barcelona is today one of the world’s leading tourist, economic, trade fair/exhibitions and cultural-sports centers, and its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities. Barcelona is Europe’s 4th best business city and fastest improving European city. One of Europe’s principal Mediterranean ports can be found here as well as Barcelona international airport, which handles above 34 million passengers per year. Barcelona is the 16th most-visited city in the world and the 4th most visited in Europe after Paris, London and Rome, with several million tourists every year. Barcelona is the 14th most “livable city” in the world according to lifestyle magazine Monocle. It is the 4th richest city by GDP in the European Union and 35th in the world. The city is Europe’s 3rd and one of the world’s most successful as a city brand, both in terms of reputation and assets. Barcelona is the 7th most important fashion capital in the world. Barcelona, among world centers of commerce takes 2nd place in economic stability. Founded as a Roman city, Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona became one of the most important cities of the Crown of Aragon. Besieged several times during its history, Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural center and a major tourist destination. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean is located in Barcelona. The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as world-class conferences and expositions, including the 1888 Exposición Universal de Barcelona, the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition (Expo 1929), the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures, and the 2004 World Urban Forum.
    Links: Top Ten Spanish Attractions, Cities, Top Ten Cities with the Highest Quality of Living, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Architectural Works by Antoni Gaudí, Top Ten Architectural Works by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Top Ten Fashion Cities, Top Ten Basilicas, Top Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Opera Houses, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barcelona,
  5. Vatican City, Italy
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    Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800. This makes Vatican City the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population. Vatican City was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of the Holy See and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy. Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, issues only diplomatic and service passports, whereas Vatican City State issues normal passports. In each case very few passports are issued. The Lateran Treaty in 1929, which brought the city-state into existence, spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870) that had previously encompassed much of central Italy. Most of this territory was absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, and the final portion, namely the city of Rome with Lazio, ten years later, in 1870. Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergymen of various national origins. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope’s residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace. The Popes have generally resided in the area that in 1929 became Vatican City since the return from Avignon in 1377, but have also at times resided in the Quirinal Palace in Rome and elsewhere. Previously, they resided in the Lateran Palace on the Caelian Hill on the far side of Rome from the Vatican. Emperor Constantine gave this site to Pope Miltiades in 313. The signing of the agreements that established the new state took place in the latter building, giving rise to the name of Lateran Pacts, by which they are known.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Top Ten Vatican City Attractions, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Libraries, Top Ten Ancient Libraries, Top Ten Squares, Top Ten Basilicas, Sculptures,
  6. Vienna, Austria
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           Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria’s primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million (2.4 million within the metropolitan area, more than 25% of Austria’s population), and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic and political center. It is the 10th largest city by population in the European Union. Vienna lies in the east of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants and this region is referred to as Twin City. In a 2005 study of 127 world cities, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the city first (in a tie with Vancouver, Canada) for quality of life. This assessment was mirrored by the Mercer Survey in 2009 and 2010. Analytically, the city was ranked 1st globally for a culture of innovation in 2007 and 2008, and 2nd globally after Boston in 2009 from 256 cities on an analysis of 162 indicators in the Innovation Cities Index on a 3-factor score covering culture, infrastructure and markets. As a city, Vienna regularly hosts urban planning conferences and is often used as a case study by urban planners. This city rates highly in popular opinion-based journalistic rankings from magazines such as the Economist Intelligence Unit, whom rated it the 2nd best city in which to live according to their Global Livability Survey in 2011 as well as Monocle, where it is rated 8th among the “Top 25 Livable Cities” in 2010.
    Links: Top Ten Austrian Attractions, Top Ten Vienna Hotels, Top Ten Vienna RestaurantsCities, Museums and Galleries, Churches, Top Ten European Churches, Palaces, Top Ten European Palaces, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna,
  7. Copenhagen, Denmark
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           Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 (2011) and a metropolitan population of 1,919,979 (2011). With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the center of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region. Within this region, Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö are growing into a combined metropolitan area. Copenhagen is situated on the islands of Zealand and Amager. First documented in the 11th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the beginning of the 15th century. During the 17th century, under the reign of Christian IV, it became a significant regional center. Copenhagen is a major regional center of culture, business, media and science, as indicated by several international surveys and rankings. Life science, information technology and shipping are important sectors, and research and development plays a major role in the city’s economy. Its strategic location and excellent infrastructure, with the largest airport in Scandinavia located 14 minutes by train from the city center, have made it a regional hub and a popular location for regional headquarters and conventions. Copenhagen has repeatedly been recognized as one of the cities with the best quality of life. It is also considered one of the world’s most environmentally friendly cities. The water in the inner harbor is clean and safe for swimming. 36% of all citizens commute to work by bicycle. Every day, they cycle a combined 1.2 million km. Since the turn of the millennium, Copenhagen has seen a strong urban and cultural development and has been described as a boom town. This is partly due to massive investments in cultural facilities as well as infrastructure and a new wave of successful designers, chefs and architects. As of 2010, Copenhagen is ranked as the 10th most expensive city in the world according to Forbes magazine.
    Links: Top Ten Danish Attractions, Top Ten Copenhagen Hotels, Top Ten Copenhagen Restaurants, Cities, Sculptures, Top Ten Bridges, Top Ten Fountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen,
  8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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           Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The city’s status as the capital of the nation is governed by the constitution. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population of 1,209,419 and a metropolitan population of 2,158,592. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. It comprises the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million. Amsterdam’s name is derived from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city’s origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were formed. As Netherlands’ commercial capital and one of the top financial centers in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. The city is also cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and 7 of the world’s top 500 companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city. In 2010, Amsterdam was ranked 13th globally on quality of living by Mercer, and previously ranked 3rd in innovation by 2thinknow in the Innovation Cities Index 2009. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city center. Amsterdam’s main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually.
    Links: Top Ten Dutch Attractions, Cities, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten 420 Destinations, Top Ten Amsterdam Hotels, Top Ten Coffee Houses, Top Ten Strains of Cannabis, Top Ten Concert Halls, Top Ten Office Buildings, Top Ten Amsterdam Restaurants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam,
  9. Moscow, Russia
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           Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational and transportation center of Russia and the continent. Moscow is the northernmost megacity on Earth (but isn’t coldest), the most populous city in Europe, and the 6th largest city proper in the world. Its population, according to the results of the 2010 Census, is 11,503,501. Based on Forbes 2011, Moscow had 79 billionaires, displacing New York City as the city with the greatest number of billionaires. Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia. In the course of its history the city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Soviet Union. Moscow is the site of the Moscow Kremlin, an ancient fortress that is today the residence of the Russian President and of the executive branch of the Government of Russia. The Kremlin is also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in Moscow. The city is served by an extensive transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railroad terminals, and one of the deepest underground tubes in the world, the Moscow Metro, second only to Tokyo in terms of ridership and recognized as one of the city’s landmarks due to the rich and varied architecture of its 185 stations. Over time, Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome (Третий Рим), The Whitestone One (Белокаменная), The First Throne (Первопрестольная), The Forty Forties (Сорок Сороков). In old Russian the word “Сорок” (forty) also meant a church administrative district, which consisted of about forty churches.The demonym for a Moscow resident is Moskvitch, rendered in English as Muscovite.
    Links: Top Ten Russian Attractions, Cities, Top Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Squares, Top Ten Triumphal Arches, Top Ten Firework Shows, Top Ten Pictures of Fireworks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow,
  10. St. Petersburg, Russia
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    Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject (a federal city) of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. In 1914 the name of the city was changed to Petrograd, in 1924 to Leningrad and in 1991 back to Saint Petersburg. In Russian literature and informal documents the “Saint” is usually omitted, leaving Petersburg. In common parlance Russians may drop “-burg” as well, leaving only Peter. Saint Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on May 27, 1703. From 1713 to 1728 and from 1732 to 1918, Saint Petersburg was the Imperial capital of Russia. In 1918 the central government bodies moved from Saint Petersburg (then named Petrograd) to Moscow. It is Russia’s 2nd largest city after Moscow with almost 4.9 million inhabitants. Saint Petersburg is a major European cultural center and an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea. Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia. Among cities of the world with over one million people, Saint Petersburg is the northernmost. Saint Petersburg is also home to The Hermitage, the largest art museum in the world. A large number of foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and other businesses are located in Saint Petersburg.
    Links: Top Ten Russian Attractions, Cities, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Russian Museums, Sculptures, Top Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Churches, Top Ten Firework Shows, Top Ten Pictures of Fireworks, Top Ten Bridges, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._petersburg,
  11. Prague, Czech Republic
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           Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava River, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of nearly 2.0 million. The city has a temperate oceanic climate with warm summers and chilly winters. Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic center of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100 year existence. Founded during the Gothic and flourishing by the Renaissance eras, Prague was the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after WWI became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, and in modern history generally as the principal conurbation in Bohemia and Moravia whose second city is Brno. Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th century Europe. Main attractions include the following: Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall, and Petřín hill. Prague boasts more than ten major museums, along with countless theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits. A modern public transportation system connects the city. Prague is classified as a Beta+ global city according to GaWC studies, comparable to Berlin, Rome, or Houston. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 4.1 million international visitors annually, as of 2009. In 2011 Prague was the 6th most visited city in Europe.
    Links: Top Czech Republic Attractions,  Top Ten Prague Hotels, Top Ten Prague Restaurants, Cities, Castles, Top Ten Bridges, Top Ten Concert Halls, Top Ten Squares, Top Ten Walls, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague,
  12. Budapest, Hungary
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           Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country’s principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial and transportation center. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3,284,110 people. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the unification on November 17, 1873 of west-bank Buda and Óbuda with east-bank Pest. The history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Magyars arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42. The re-established town became one of the centers of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, development of the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after the 1873 unification. It also became the second capital of Austria-Hungary, a great power that dissolved in 1918. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest of 1945 and the Revolution of 1956. Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes’ Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the 2nd oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world’s largest thermal water cave system, 2nd largest synagogue, and 3rd largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 2.3 million tourists a year. Considered a financial hub in Central Europe, the city ranked 3rd (out of 65 cities) on Mastercard’s Emerging Markets Index, and ranked as the most livable Central/Eastern European city on EIU’s quality of life index. It is also ranked as “Europe’s 7th most idyllic place to live” by Forbes. It is the highest ranked Central/Eastern European city on Innovation Cities’ Top 100 index. Budapest is home to the headquarters of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), and the first foreign office of the CIPA.
    Links: Top Ten Hungarian Attractions, Cities, Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest,
  13. Stockholm, Sweden
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           Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality (2010), 1.37 million in the urban area (2010), and around 2.1 million in the 6,519 square km (2,517.00 square mi) metropolitan area (2010). As of 2010, the Stockholm metropolitan area is home to approximately 22% of Sweden’s population. Founded no later than 1250, possibly as early as 1187, Stockholm has long been one of Sweden’s cultural, media, political and economic centers. Its strategic location on 14 islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, has been historically important. Stockholm has been nominated by GaWC as a global city, with a ranking of Alpha-. In The 2008 Global Cities Index, Stockholm ranked 24th in the world, 10th in Europe, and 1st in Scandinavia. Stockholm is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture, its abundant clean and open water, and its many parks. It is sometimes referred to as Venice of the North. Stockholm is the site of the national Swedish government, the Parliament of Sweden (riksdagen), the Supreme Court of Sweden (Högsta domstolen), and the official residence of the Swedish monarch as well as the prime minister. Since 1980, the monarch has resided at Drottningholm Palace in Ekerö Municipality outside of Stockholm and uses the Royal Palace of Stockholm as his workplace and official residence. The government has its seat in Rosenbad and the parliament in the Parliament House.
    Links: Top Ten Swedish Attractions, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Arenas, Top Ten Squares, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm,
  14. Zurich, Switzerland
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    Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich. While the municipality itself has approximately 390,000 inhabitants, the Zurich metropolitan area is an urbanized area of international importance constituted by a population of nearly 2 million inhabitants. Zurich is a mixed hub for railways, roads and air traffic. Both Zurich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country. Permanently settled for around 7,000 years, the history of Zurich goes back to its founding by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum. During the Middle Ages Zurich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, was the place of origin and center of the Protestant Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland, led by Ulrich Zwingli. Zurich is a leading global city and among the world’s largest financial centers. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants. Also, most of the research and development centers are concentrated in Zurich and the low rate of tax attracts overseas companies to set up their headquarters there. According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zurich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe. An impressive number of museums and art galleries can be found in the city, including the Swiss National Museum and the Kunsthaus. Zurich also hosts one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world.
    Links: Top Ten Swiss Attractions, Cities, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Theatres, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zurich,
  15. Geneva, Switzerland
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           Geneva is the 2nd most-populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich) and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhone exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva. While the municipality itself (downtown ville de Genève) has a population of 191,415 (2010), the canton of Geneva (République et Canton de Genève, which includes the city) has 464,677 residents (2011). Geneva is a global city, a financial center  and a worldwide center for diplomacy and the most important UN international co-operation centre with New York thanks to the presence of numerous international organizations, including the headquarters of many of the agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross. It is also the place where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war. Geneva has been described as the 3rd European financial centre after London and Zurich, and the world’s 8th most important financial center by the Global Financial Centers Index, ahead of Frankfurt, and a 2009 survey by Mercer found Geneva to have the 3rd highest quality of life of any city in the world (narrowly outranked by Zürich). The city has been referred to as the world’s most compact metropolis and the “Peace Capital.” In 2009, Geneva was ranked as the 4th most expensive city in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Swiss Attractions, Cities, Castles, Top Ten Lakes, Top Ten European Lakes, Top Ten Fountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva,
  16. Oslo, Norway
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           Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt), it was established on January 1,  1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway’s King Christian IV. It was rebuilt closer to Akershus Castle, as Christiania (also spelled Kristiania in late 1800’s). In 1925, the city reclaimed its original Norwegian name, Oslo. The diocese of Oslo is one of the five original dioceses in Norway, which originated around the year 1070. Oslo is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental center of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important center for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are among the world’s largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers. Oslo is a pilot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission intercultural cities program. Oslo is considered a global city and ranked “Beta World City” in studies performed by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008. For several years, Oslo has been listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world along with such other cities, as Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, Paris and Tokyo. In 2009, however, Oslo regained its status as the world’s most expensive city. A survey conducted by ECA International in 2011 placed Oslo 2nd after Tokyo. As of 2010, the metropolitan area of Oslo has a population of 1,442,318 of whom 912,046 live in the contiguous conurbation. The population currently increases at a record rate of 1.64% annually, making it the fastest growing city in Europe. This growth stems from immigration, as the Norwegian population in the city is decreasing. The immigrant share of the population in the city proper now counts more than 25% of the city’s total.
    Links: Top Ten Norwegian Attractions, Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oslo,
  17. Capri, Italy
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           Capri is an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples in the Campania region of Italy. The main town on the island shares the name. It has been a resort since the time of the Roman Republic. Features of the island are the Marina Piccola, “the little harbor,” the Belvedere of Tragara (a high panoramic promenade lined with villas), the limestone crags called sea stacks that project above the sea (the Faraglioni), the town of Anacapri, the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) and the ruins of the Imperial Roman villas. Capri is part of the region of Campania, Province of Naples. The town of Capri is the island’s main population center. The island has two harbors, Marina Piccola and Marina Grande (the main port of the island). The separate commune of Anacapri is located high on the hills to the west. The etymology of the name Capri is unclear; it might either be traced back to the Ancient Greeks (Ancient Greek kapros meaning “wild boar”), the first recorded colonists to populate the island. But it could also derive from Latin capreae (goats). Fossils of wild boars have been discovered, lending credence to the “kapros” etymology, but on the other hand the Romans called Capri “goat island.” Finally, there is also the possibility the name derives from an Etruscan word for “rocky,” though any historical Etruscan rule of the island is disputed.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Islands, Top Ten European Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capri,
  18. Historic Areas of Istanbul, Turkey
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           Istanbul, also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city of Turkey. According to the address-based birth recording system of the Turkish Statistical Institute, the metropolitan municipality (province) of the city had a population of 13.26 million as of 2010, which is 17.98% of Turkey’s population and the largest in Europe. Istanbul is a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. During its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). When the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on 29 October 29, 1923, Ankara, which had previously served as the headquarters of the Turkish national movement during the Turkish War of Independence, was chosen as the new Turkish State’s capital. Istanbul is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The city covers 39 districts of the Istanbul province.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions, Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istanbul,
  19. Porto, Portugal
    PortoPorto1Porto2Porto3Porto4Porto5Porto7Porto8Porto9Porto10Porto11Porto12Porto13Porto14Porto15Porto16
           Porto, also known as Oporto in English, is the 2nd largest city in Portugal, after Lisbon, and one of the major urban areas in the Southern Europe. Its administrative limits (an area of 41.66 square km/16 square mi) include a population of 237,584 (2011) inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes. The urbanized area of Porto, which extends beyond the administrative limits of the city, has a population of 1.3 million (2011) in an area of 389 square km (150 square mi), making it the 2nd largest urban area in Portugal. The Porto Metropolitan Area includes approximately 1.7 million people, and is recognized as a Gamma-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group, being one of the four cities in the peninsula with global city status (the others being Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon). Located along the Douro river estuary in northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centers, with its settlement dating back many centuries as an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its Latin name, Portus Cale, has been referred to as the origin for the name “Portugal,” based on transliteration and oral evolution from Latin. In Portuguese the name of the city is spelled with a definite article as “o Porto” (the port). Consequently, its English name evolved from a misinterpretation of the oral pronunciation and referred to as “Oporto” in modern literature and by many speakers. One of Portugal’s internationally famous exports, port wine, is named for Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the adegas of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the production and export of the fortified wine.
    Links: Top Ten Portuguese Attractions, Sculptures, Churches, Top Ten European Churches, Top Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Office Buildings, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Bookstores, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oporto,
  20. Dublin, Ireland
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           Dublin, meaning “town of the hurdled ford,” is the capital and most populous city of Ireland. Dublin is situated near the midpoint of Ireland’s east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and at the center of the Dublin Region. Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island’s principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century, and was briefly the 2nd largest city within the British Empire and the 5th largest in Europe. However, Dublin entered a period of stagnation following the Act of Union of 1800, but remained the economic center for most of the island. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, the new parliament, the Oireachtas, was located in Leinster House. Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State, and later the Republic of Ireland. Similar to the other cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford, Dublin is administered separately from its respective county with its own city council. The city is listed by the GaWC as a global city, with a ranking of Alpha-, placing Dublin among the top 30 cities in the world. It is a historical and contemporary cultural center for the country, as well as a modern center of education, the arts, administration, economy, and industry.
    Links: Top Ten Irish Attractions, Cities, Sculptures, Top Ten Libraries, Top Ten Bridges, Top 100 Bars, Top Ten Irish Pubs, Top Ten Arenas, Top Ten Soccer Stadiums, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dublin,
  21. CERN, Switzerland
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           The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border. Established in 1954, the organization has 20 European member states. The term CERN is also used to refer to the laboratory itself, which employs just under 2,400 full-time employees, as well as some 7,931 scientists and engineers representing 608 universities and research facilities and 113 nationalities. CERN’s main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research. Numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN by international collaborations to make use of them. It is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web. The main site at Meyrin also has a large computer center containing very powerful data-processing facilities primarily for experimental data analysis and, because of the need to make them available to researchers elsewhere, has historically been a major wide area networking hub. The CERN sites, as an international facility, are officially under neither Swiss nor French jurisdiction. Member states’ contributions to CERN for the year 2008 totaled CHF 1 billion (approximately € 664 million).
    Links: Top Ten Swiss Attractions, Top 100 People, Top 100 Scientists, Top Ten Physicists, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cern,
  22. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey
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           Göbekli Tepe is a hilltop sanctuary erected on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge some 15 km (9.3 mi) northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa in southeastern Turkey. The site, currently undergoing excavation by German and Turkish archaeologists, was most likely erected in the 9th millennium BC. Together with Nevalı Çori, it has revolutionized understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic. When discovered, it had been deliberately filled in and buried, for reasons unknown.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe,
  23. Bonus: Brú na Bóinne, Ireland
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           Brú na Bóinne (Palace of the Boyne) is located in County Meath, Ireland and is the largest and one of the most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe.
    Links: Top Ten Irish Attractions, Top Ten Tombs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Br%C3%BA_na_B%C3%B3inne,
  24. Links: Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_Europe,

Recommendations for Excursions in Europe