Category: Europe

Greece Attractions

Greece Attractions


Off the Turkish coast lies the largest island in the Dodecanese – Rhodes – which is popular with wine lovers and sports enthusiasts alike. The administrative center is Rhodes Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its inhabited old town, the Grand Master’s Palace and the old town walls. In the west of the island, which is much visited by tourists, you can visit numerous sights and destinations. The sailing and surfing schools up to the southern tip are popular, as well as the Valley of the Butterflies to the northwest and Mount Filerimos with an acropolis and the ruins of ancient Ialysos, from which you have a beautiful view of the northern tip.

Ravines and caves

Greece is home to countless canyons and caves to explore. Most are in Crete such as the Samaria Gorge – the largest gorge in Europe. 20 show caves alone are open to guided tours, the largest of which is Perama in the northwest of the country. The guided hiking trail through the stalactite cave is 1100m long. Another well-known cave, Theopetra Cave, is located in the Meteora rocks. It is home to the oldest man-made structure in the world, a stone wall that was built 23,000 years ago and partially closes the entrance.

  • Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Greece, including compulsory schooling and higher education.

Meteora monasteries

In the Thessaly plain, on the edge of the Pindus mountain range, rise 24 monastic rocks. Byzantine monks built this second most important group of monasteries after Athos 600 years ago on the Meteora rocks, which are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Six monasteries, most of which can only be reached on foot, are open to the public. Here wall paintings and Byzantine frescoes can be admired. You can also get an insight into the monastery life of the past.


At an altitude of 2033 m, the “holy mountain” Athos is located on the eastern finger of the Halkidiki peninsula and is home to 2262 monks. The orthodox monastic republic governs largely autonomously. There is a boat connection from Ouranopolis to the approximately 20 monasteries that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage and are famous for their icon painting. Only male pilgrims are allowed to enter the peninsula.

Festivals and events

Despite austerity measures, the long tradition of the festivities in Greece was able to assert itself. In addition to numerous local folk festivals that have cultural or religious origins, there are also many festivals that take place over longer periods of time. The Athens & Epidaurus Festival takes place between June and September at various locations and features art, theater and music. More information is available at Other well-known events are the German-Greek reading festival on Crete or the music festival in Kallithea with electronic-alternative music.

Greece with children

The Greeks are very child-friendly people. Children are always and everywhere welcome and take part in all activities until late in the evening. In any case, your luggage should include bathing shoes, good sunscreen and mosquito repellent for the evening hours. Child discounts are generally granted up to the age of 12. One of the largest water parks can be found near Thessaloniki in Halkidiki. The tourist centers offer many attractions. In every larger town there is a Luna Park with play facilities for children. Beaches, especially in smaller bays, are particularly suitable for children because the water is mostly flat.

Greek islands

The island of love, Kithira, lies 14 nautical miles off the southern tip of the Peloponnese and offers holidaymakers wide beaches, Byzantine churches, stalactite caves and small lakes. One of the easternmost islands is Thássos, known for its fishing and historical sites. Here, too, there are numerous beautiful beaches such as Makriamos, Chrissi Amoudiá and Pefkári. On Skiathos, the visitor is rewarded with an indescribable view after a beautiful hike from the port, via the monastery Evangelistra to the Kastro. In addition, Skiathos offers a choice of almost 60 beaches.


The best known of the numerous city fortresses of ancient Greece is the Acropolis in Athens. Consisting of three temples in total, the most famous is the Parthenon Temple, which towers high above Athens and offers a beautiful view of the city. The current excavations have been impressively integrated into the architecture of the new museum. You should allow enough time for your visit, as it closes in the afternoon on weekends. Tickets are currently also valid for other sights around the Acropolis.

Corinth Canal

Near the city of Corinth, the Corinth Canal was dug by human hands 75 meters deep into the stone rock. As a 26 meter wide waterway, it connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf and is the most expensive canal in the world. As a tourist attraction, the view from the canal bridge is as impressive as looking up the cliffs when navigating the passage by boat.

Corinth Canal

Geography of Romania

Geography of Romania

General information about Romania

The official name is Romania. Located in southeastern Europe. The area is 238.4 thousand km2, the population is 22.4 million people. (2002). The official language is Romanian. The capital is Bucharest (2.1 million people). Public holiday – National Day of Romania on December 1. The monetary unit is the leu.

Member of the UN (since 1955), IAEA (since 1957), FAO (since 1961), IMF (since 1972), WTO (since 1995), associate member of the EU (since 1995), member of CESST (since 1997).

Geography of Romania

According to ALLCITYCODES, Romania is located between 20°15′ and 29°41′ East longitude and 43°37′ and 48°15′ North latitude. In the southeast it is washed by the Black Sea; in the north and east it borders with Ukraine (169 km), Moldova (450 km), in the northwest with Hungary (433 km), in the southwest with Serbia (476 km), in the south with Bulgaria (608 km).

Approximately 1/3 of the territory is occupied by the Carpathian Mountains, which are divided into Eastern, Southern Carpathians and Western Romanian Mountains. The most elevated part of the Carpathian arc, running from the north to the center to the west of the country, is the Southern Carpathians, where the peaks of Moldovyanu (2544 m), Negoyu (2535 m), Paryngu Mare (2519 m) are located. From the inner and outer sides of the Carpathians stretches a chain of subcarpathian hills and plateaus (average height 400-700 m). In the west of the country there is the Middle Danube Plain, in the south – the Lower Danube Plain, 600 km long from the city of Kalafat to the city of Galati. The country’s rivers belong to the Danube basin, which flows from west to east along the border with Bulgaria for a distance of 1075 km. The main tributaries are the Prut (716 km), Siret (598 km), Argesh (344 km), Olt (736 km), Timish (383 km), Muresh (760 km), and others. There are more than 2 thousand lakes; the largest are the estuaries of the Black Sea (Razelm 415 km2, Sinoe 171 km2). All types of zonal soils are represented: in the lowlands steppe, forest-steppe, in hilly areas – brown forest; starting from a height of 1400 m – mountain forest. Almost 2/3 of the lands used in agriculture have fertile soils (chernozems, chernozems, brown forests). Forests occupy 27% of the country’s territory. Romania is rich in minerals, including oil (industrial reserves of 200-300 million tons), natural gas (500-600 billion m3), coal, slates (4.5-5 billion tons of balance reserves), ores of non-ferrous, rare and precious metals. The climate is transitional from temperate oceanic, Western Europe, to continental, Eastern Europe. Average annual temperatures range from +8°С in the north to +11°С in the south of the country. Average annual precipitation is 637 mm (in the northwest – 800-1000 mm,

The flora and fauna of Romania is diverse. Forest areas are concentrated mainly in areas above 200 m above sea level. The coniferous forests of the Carpathian Mountains (1800-1900 m above sea level) are of the greatest economic value. Hardwoods (beech, hornbeam, oak) are also used in the woodworking industry. In terms of stocks and timber harvesting, Romania occupies a prominent place in Europe. The fauna of the country is peculiar. Bears, wolves, roe deer are found in mountainous regions; the fauna of the Danube Delta is unique (marsh and waterfowl, fish of valuable commercial species).

Population of Romania

Since 1989, the population has decreased by 750 thousand people, or 4%. The proportion of women is 51.1%, men – 48.9%. The urban population is 54%, rural – 46%. The official language is Romanian. The birth rate of the population has fallen from 16‰ in the early 1990s. to 9.8‰ in 2001, mortality increased from 10.7‰ to 11.6‰, infant mortality was 20.2 pers. per 1000 newborns. Average life expectancy – 69.7 years, incl. women – 73.7 years, men – 66 years. The population is aging; the proportion of ages 60 and over rose from 15.5% in 1990 to 17.3% in 2001.

The retirement age for women is 57, for men it is 62; The 2002 law provides for a gradual increase in the age to 60 and 65, respectively. Ethnically, Romanians predominate (89%), Hungarians (7%), Gypsies, Ukrainians, Turks, Greeks, Russians, and Armenians are also represented. From con. 1980s there was an intensive outflow mainly of Hungarians and Germans. Several million Romanians live outside the country’s borders.

The leading confessions are Orthodoxy (83% of the population), Catholicism (7%), incl. Greek Catholic, the so-called. Uniate, Church (Romanians of Transylvania), Roman Catholic (Hungarians, Germans in Transylvania and Banat). Protestants, Lutherans, Calvinists (6%). Muslims, Jews, Old Believers (the Russian population in the Danube Delta) are represented.

Geography of Romania

Main Regions in Crete, Greece

Main Regions in Crete, Greece

Crete – Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is a miniature resort town with a charming promenade for walking and a lake in the center of the town. Numerous cafes, restaurants, fish taverns, souvenir shops are located near the lake and above it. Located in the largest bay in Crete – Mirabello, this town is suitable for lovers of a relaxing holiday and romantic trips. Recently, boat trips to the island of Chrissi (golden island) have been very popular, where huge Cedars grow on the north side, and on the south side you will find the turquoise sea and a magnificent white sand beach.

Crete – Amoudara

Amoudara is a resort just a few kilometers from Heraklion with sandy beaches, nightlife, numerous bars, taverns and discos.

Wide sandy beaches stretch for almost five kilometers in length. Basically, these are municipal beaches, with the exception of some belonging to hotels. Umbrellas and deck chairs, showers, volleyball courts are available for rent. Approximately thirty meters from the shore, under water, there is a stone ridge, a kind of breakwater, which comes in handy in the bay of the village of Amudara, open to all winds.

The resort along the beach has many traditional Greek-style taverns with live music, cafes, restaurants. Here they cook and treat wonderful fish and seafood dishes, and in bars, pizzerias – delicious pizza. There is no sleep here at night either. Modern nightclubs and discos are very popular among tourists. Young people walk until dawn, and after dancing they go to meet the sun.

Along the main street of the village there are many small shops selling souvenirs and everything that can be useful on vacation, there are also several supermarkets.

In addition, Amoudara is an excellent starting point for exploring central and eastern Crete. The main sights worth visiting are the palaces of Knossos, Malia and Phaistos, the village of Fodele, the Lassithi plateau, the city of Agios Nikolaos, the island of Spinalonga, the village of Anogia, the cave of Ideon Andron, the ruins of the Venetian castle located in Paleokastro.

Crete – Bali

Bali is a small resort located in a beautiful bay with rocky grottoes and caves, so the sea is always calm here. The first mention of this place dates back to the reign of the Venetians on the island. Bali is an Arabic word and means honey. We recommend this resort to lovers of a serene holiday alone with nature, family and friends.

Crete – Georgioupolis

Traveling east from the city of Chania, 33 km. on the way to Heraklion, there is a small town surrounded by greenery called Georgioupolis. This place has only sandy beaches, many taverns and restaurants with seafood, bars, and discos. On the city beach you can see the Church of St. Nicholas, built right in the sea. A thin path of stones leads to it, but you can also swim.

4 km from Georgioupolis there is a small village that has turned into a resort area – Kavros. This place has become quite popular for those who like to combine luxury holidays in good hotels with car travel. From Kavros, every hour, a “children’s” train with open trailers leaves for the mountains, which moves along different routes, one of which is a visit to a fresh lake in Crete – Lake Kournas. This lake is located in the foothills, 4 km from the tourist resort of Georgioupolis.

Lake Kournas is of volcanic origin. Its perimeter is about 3.5 km. and there is a lake at 23-25 ​​m above sea level. Here water is collected from mountain springs. The waters of both springs come from a deep abyss at a place called Dafnomadara. The depth of the lake is 26 meters. An underwater river emerges from it through a cave after 4 km and flows into the sea.

Some believe that the name of the lake comes from the same name of the village of Kournas. The ancient name of the lake was different – Korissia. Subsequently, the Arabs renamed it Kurnas. Kurnas means lake in Arabic. There are no fish in the lake, but freshwater turtles are in large numbers. After visiting Lake Kournas, you can rent a water bike, ride along the lake and swim.

Attention should be paid to visiting Argyroupolis, famous for its fresh springs, which were artificially decorated by locals into small ponds, small waterfalls, magnificently descending cascades of water. 2 km from the springs of Argyroupolis is the ancient city of Lappa, famous for its well-preserved Roman baths with colorful mosaics and avocado groves.

Crete – Ierapetra

Lassithi is the eastern part of the island, the greenest in comparison with Heraklion, with a population of about 70 thousand people. The name Lassithi comes from the ancient Greek word “lastos” – densely overgrown. The main part of the population is engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. This area is home to the famous palm-fringed Vai Beach, where the Bounty commercial was filmed. Of the historical monuments, the following are of interest:

  • Guria is one of the most remarkable excavations of the Minoan period;
  • Kato Zakros – famous Minoan palace
  • Lato or Etera – the ruins of an ancient city founded in the 7th century BC
  • Church of Our Lady of Kera with murals from the 14th-15th centuries
  • Toplou Monastery, where ancient frescoes of the 14th century and valuable icons have been preserved
  • Small nunnery Kritsa; an ancient fortress on the island of Spinalonga, in the former serving as a fortification.

In addition to historical and archaeological monuments, you can visit a lot of interesting places here, such as the Lassithi Plateau, famous for its numerous windmills, the Dikteon Andron cave, in which Zeus was born; the city of Ierapetra is the southernmost, warmest of the well-known resorts of the island. The Lassithi area is known for its magnificent beaches, beautiful bays, beautifully indented coastline, hospitable villages.

Main Regions in Crete, Greece


Val di Fassa, Italy

Val di Fassa, Italy

In the heart of the ancient Dolomites, surrounded by mountain peaks covered with eternal snow, there is a valley of fabulous beauty – Val di Fassa. The region includes 13 resort towns – each with its own history, its own characteristics and picturesque landscapes, ancient architecture and modern comfortable hotels, restaurants with varied cuisine and bars serving fine wine from the province of Trentino. 1,200 km of ski slopes, sparkling snowy slopes, dense green forests, emerald sun-drenched plains, clear lakes and fast-flowing rivers… Val di Fassa, an entire state with its own traditions and culture, is a real paradise for skiers and mountain lovers.

Information about the weather in the resort in the coming days:

Val di Fassa is located in the heart of the Dolomites, in the northeastern part of the province of Trentino, on the border of the regions of Bolzano and Veneto.

Getting there
The nearest international airports are Bolzano (50 km), Verona (180 km), Venice (175 km).

Slopes, slopes, lifts

The Val di Fassa region has three main ski areas, each of which combines towns and adjacent slopes:
The first ski area includes the towns of Canazei (1460 m), Campitello (1460 m), Alba and Penia. This is the most prestigious and beautiful part of Val di Fassa, part of the famous carousel “Sella Ronda”, the length of the tracks here is 120 km. In addition to Val di Fassa, this includes three more resorts: Alta Badia, Arabba and Val Gardena.
The second skiing region combines the cities of Pozza di Fassa (1320m) and Vigo di Fasa (1390m), occupying a central position in the Fassa valley.
The third skiing region, Tre Vali, includes the resort towns of Moena and San Pellegrino, as well as the Alpe di Luzia, Passo San Pellegrino and Falcade valleys.
The variety of slopes of Val di Fassa allows you to ski for a week without ever repeating the route. 200 km of pistes (20% beginner, 70% intermediate, 10% expert) are located in the Faça valley alone. Beginners will enjoy the training slopes in Canazei, but most skiers will be happy that the bulk of the slopes in the valley are red. There are also many serious black slopes and beautiful off-piste slopes. The world famous carousel Sella Ronda passes through 4 passes and valleys of the region. You can ski here with the Dolomiti Super-ski ski pass, which gives you access to 38 ski centers in 11 valleys in the Dolomites.
All pistes are equipped with snow cannons, which guarantee perfect coverage of the slopes. You should definitely ski in the Arabba region (1636-2550 m), where there are black and red slopes for experienced skiers. Skiing on the Marmolada glacier (3340 m) – the famous peak of the Dolomites, covered with eternal snows – will also be unforgettable.
Above the towns of Pozza di Fassa and Vigo di Fassa, there is a skiing region of medium difficulty – Ciampedie. You can get there from Vigo di Fassa by cable car. In Pozza di Fassa there is a superbly lit night track, open 4 times a week.
The Alpe di Luzia area has excellent pistes that can be reached from the Ronchi station (10 minutes drive from the town of Moena). From here you can take the cable car to the Palais di San Martino and Civetta. The area is home to the Alpe Luzia ski carousel, which attracts intermediate skiers.
For snowboarders, there are 3 board parks and 3 halfpipes in the region.

Ski schools and kindergartens
Kindergartens, parks and mini-clubs from 18 months old are open in many towns of Val di Fassa (Alba di Canazei, Canazei, Pozza di Fassa, Vigo di Fassa, Moena, Passo San Pellegrino, etc.), they also work ski schools for children and adults.

Val di Fassa provides ample opportunities for all kinds of winter and all kinds of summer sports: mountain and flat skiing, snowboarding, skating, climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, rafting, fishing, paragliding, hiking trails, golf and much more. Also, many resorts have sports centers, swimming pools, tennis courts, squash courts and other conditions for sports for every taste.

The most popular resort towns
Canazei is one of the most famous towns and resorts of the valley, located at an altitude of 1460 m and surrounded by the mountain slopes of Marmolada and Sella. Canazei became a popular resort in the 1950s, there are numerous ski slopes, various winter and summer sports are offered, and in July there is a festival with wine, local dishes and folk music, and in August the Gran Festa da d’Istà.

Campitello di Fassa – the town is located at an altitude of 1450 m, at the foot of Mount Rodella (2400 m). One of the quarters of the city – Plan is an ancient Roman settlement, which is under the protection of the state. The delicacy local cheese Ciampedel de Fascia is also produced here.

Moena – the town is located at the entrance to the valley, in the center of the Tre Valli ski area and is surrounded by the Catinaccio, Sassolungo, Monzoni and Latemar mountains. The city is home to ancient churches, such as the church of San Vigilio with a Gothic tower or Sal Volfango with baroque ceilings. It also hosts the Val di Fassa Bike cycling race, which attracts cyclists from all over the world, and produces Puzzone di Moena cheese, the production of which is under the strictest control.

Pozza di Fassa – the name of the place comes from the Latin word Puteus. Surrounded by the peaks of Undici and Dodici, the resort is a great place for all kinds of winter sports, with a picturesque ski stadium with night lighting – Ski Stadium Aloch. Also here is the local Institute of Arts, where sculptors and artists learn their skills.

Soraga is one of the oldest towns in the valley, located on the banks of the Avisio River. The resort is great for families and is known for its handicraft traditions.

Vigo di Fassa – the resort is located in a sunny place, in the center of the valley, at an altitude of 1390 m, at the foot of Mount Catinaccio. At one time, the town was the administrative and religious center of the Val di Fassa, and today there is an institute where the Romansh language and culture are studied. This place is an ideal starting point for hiking trails through the Dolomites, and there is also an amusement park for children.

Mazzin is a picturesque town located in a sunny corner in the center of the valley. Mazzin became famous thanks to archaeological excavations, during which traces of the settlements of the ancient Reti tribes were discovered. Also in the town is the Casa Batte castle, decorated with ancient frescoes, and not far from the resort is the beautiful lake Antermoia, mentioned in Romansh legends.

San Pellegrino is a picturesque place located 11 km from Moena and surrounded by forests and mountain peaks. There is an amazingly beautiful lake and ancient buildings – the pilgrims’ shelter and the church of St. Anthony.

Restaurants, bars, shops The
resorts of Val di Fassa abound with restaurants representing local cuisine, cozy bars and lively nightclubs. Here you can taste Tyrolean cuisine, Italian delicacies, freshly baked pizza and excellent wines from the province of Trentino, and visit gastronomic festivals in Canazei and Moena. The region’s shops sell all sorts of souvenirs, local artisans, and local produce, including rare cheeses such as Puzzone di Moena or Ciampedel de Fascia.

Val di Fassa, Italy

Serbia Despotia (1389 – 1459)

Serbia Despotia (1389 – 1459)

The consequences of Kosovo were disastrous. However, it was still possible to avert the complete enslavement to Turkey, thanks to the skilled policy of Queen Milica, widow of Lazarus, who maneuvered so as to make the Serbs appear sympathetic and natural allies of the Turks against the Christians. The vassalage was accepted, tributes were paid, troops were supplied, fortresses were handed over; the youngest daughter of the fallen king, Oliviera, went to shut herself up in the sultanial harem of Brussa. Under these conditions the framework of the state could be maintained. Lazarus was succeeded by Stefano Lazarević who fought valiantly on the side of the Turks, a first time in 1394 against the Romanian prince Giovanni Mircea, a second time in 1396 in Nicopolis, deciding with his intervention the defeat of the crusaders of Sigismund of Luxembourg, a third in 1398 against Bosnia, a fourth in 1402 in Angora against Tamerlane. Angora, in which Sultan Bāyazīd I was defeated, marks a halt in Turkish expansion. Stefano was ready to take advantage of this to restore Serbia’s independence. Returning, after the route, to Italian galleys, and passing through Constantinople, he stopped at the court of Giovanni Paleologo from whom he had the title of despot which he then always carried and passed on to his successors. He oriented his policy towards Hungary, declaring himself a vassal, and obtained Macsó with Belgrade, where he fixed his residence. He skilfully exploited the Turkish dynastic struggles by throwing himself now from one to the other side and always deriving some advantage, at least moral. He helped Sigismund against the Bosnians and had Srebrnica in 1412. In 1421, after the end of the Balsa of Montenegro, it had the Zeta. At one time in bitter struggle with the Brankovići family, descendants of King Lazarus through his mother, he made peace with them, appointing Giorgio as his successor in 1426. Under George (1427-1456) the definitive collapse begins. Belgrade returns to Hungary as the price of George’s recognition as a despot. The Turkish offensive resumes, making Serbia a double vassal state: Hungary and Turkey. Squeezed between these two powers, in constant war, the country is every moment trampled by enemy armies, the fortresses occupied and ruined, the population suspected, the vacillating policy of the despot accused of treacherous duplicity. The fortunes rose a little in 1442, when the troops of George, in union with those of Giovanni Hunyádi, under the aegis of the papacy, they move victorious against the infidels up to Sofia, but the Christian defeat of Varna (1444) aggravates the situation more and more. Giorgio is now more inclined to the Turks than to the Magyars. His troops collaborate with the infidels in the capture of Constantinople. Turco-loving currents are also emerging among the nobility and the people. All sense of nationality, race and religion is lost. There remain only the miseries and tribulations of the people and the relentless struggles between nobles and rulers, always greedy for power and obsessed with the frenzy to overwhelm themselves. Giorgio Branković died in 1456. Unrealizable plans for the merger of the despotia with Bosnia were dreamed of. However, the Turkish pacifist current prevails, which in 1459 handed over Semendria, the last Serbian stronghold, to the forces of Mohammed II.

Serbia Despotia (1389 - 1459)

Estonia Early History

Estonia Early History

Very late is the precise historical information on Estonians who, even though they were already several centuries before the Common Era, were settled in present-day Estonia and in the northern part of Livonia. They lived independently, but in separate communities, and it was this lack of political unity of the Estonians that allowed their warlike neighbors in the late Middle Ages to invade their territory and even subjugate them for a time.

The main danger for the independence of the Estonians was constituted by the Germans, who at the end of the century. XII came to Livonia, founded a series of fortified cities (Riga was founded in 1201) and the religious-knightly order of the Sword-holders. The full affirmation of the Germans in Livonia began at the beginning of the century. XIII during the life of the third bishop of Livonia Albert (1199-1229). Around 1206, the Germans conquered the Livi, who lived south of the Estonians, and in 1207 they invaded Estonia to conquer it and necessarily convert it to Christianity. For 20 years the Estonians fought a heroic struggle with the Germans, but ultimately their resistance was broken. The Danes came to the aid of the Germans, who landed in 1219 in northern Estonia and founded the fortified city of Reval there; in 1224 the subjugation of the Estonians on the continent was accomplished, and in 1227 the island of Ösel (Saaremaa) was conquered. The conquered Estonian population had to embrace the religion of the victors (during the Reformation both Estonians and Germans embraced Lutheranism) and lost its independence: it was burdened with heavy taxes and obligations in favor of the conquerors, and the German knights gained legal power over the rural population of Estonia. The conditions of the population of northern Estonia were particularly hard, where therefore in the first half of the following century (1343-45) a revolt broke out, crushed with great cruelty by the conquerors.

The dominion of the Teutonic Order in the Baltic countries put an end to the Livonian war, which began in 1558 by the Russian Tsar Ivan IV. In 1561 Estonia was occupied by the Swedes and remained under their dominion (in the 16th century Livonia, which was previously occupied by Poland, also passed into their power). The Swedish government followed in the century. XVII in Estonia this policy: to defend the interests of the Estonian rural population and gradually reduce the rights of German nobles; the obligations of the peasants are determined and disciplined (in the so-called Vakenbuch), they were granted recourse to the courts of the state, and a large number of landholdings of the nobles were requisitioned by the government. In 1710 Estonia was conquered by the Russian armies and in 1721, as a result of the Treaty of Nystadt, it was definitively ceded by Sweden to Russia. In the century XVIII there is a new increase in the influence and power of the German nobility in the Baltic countries, and as a consequence the agricultural population of the Latvi and Estonians falls into a condition of absolute dependence on the German barons, without restraint of legislative norms, and descends to the lowest degree of misery and oppression.

During the reign of Alexander I, the question of the conditions of peasants in the Baltic countries was raised, and in 1816-19 the abolition of the slavery of the peasants of Estonia and Livonia was decreed. However, the right of land ownership was still left exclusively to the nobles, and therefore the material conditions of the peasants could not improve in a really noticeable way, since in order to use the land they were obliged to do an enormous amount of work for the benefit of the lords.

The movement of emancipation of the peasants could not achieve practical results until the second half of the century. XIX, when, with successive reforms, the peasants managed to obtain the ownership of land and freely dispose of it. Similarly, the struggle for public education was tough, because the centuries-old opposition of the elements of Germanic culture (nobility, clergy, upper class) to the development of an Estonian national culture was replaced by that of the Russian authorities, who had as their program the radical Russification of the country. The national patriot FR Kreuzwald deserves the merit of having, towards the middle of the century. XIX, collected most of the Estonian legends and folk songs, thus giving his country the great national epic of Kalewipoeg (in about 20,000 verses). At the same time JW Perno Postimees, and literary societies arose in the various study centers (and above all in the university of Tartu) for the broader and more fruitful development of a national culture.

A first peasant uprising in Mahtra, near Tallinn (Reval) had been crushed by the Russians (1858); so are other successive ones, and the corresponding manifestations of the new workers’ movement. But the Estonian people showed tenacity and faith, endured the miseries deriving from the reactionary regime of Alexander III, and of the governor for Estonia, Prince Sachovskoj (1885), and made their struggle against the rich feudal classes a struggle on a patriotic political basis for national independence.

With the advent of the new century, in fact, the Estonian people succeeded in conquering the municipal administrations in the most important centers, including Tallinn, and the union workers reached the number of twenty thousand in the capital alone. It was natural that the Estonians would profit from every favorable circumstance for the triumph of their cause, and, in particular, from the turbulence that occurred in Russia at the end of the war with Japan (1905), which therefore had immediate repercussions in Estonia. The reaction of the Russian authorities was violent (1906-07), especially due to the support given to them by the German-Baltic nobility, which rightly predicted that the overthrow of the Tsarist regime would also mark the end of its ancient caste privileges.. In each of the Baltic provinces the nobility had their own diet, political rights were reserved. And when the council of the empire (duma) was established in Russia, the Baltic nobility managed to obtain the right to as many seats as were granted to the remaining Baltic peoples, but obtained them for the exclusive benefit of their own caste.

Naturally, at the declaration of war between Russia and Germany in 1914, the nobility declared themselves unreservedly loyal to the Russian cause. On the other hand, how much value was attached in Germany to the affinity of race, language and culture with the Baltic nobility is evident, among other things, from the fact that various organizations for the defense of the German-Baltics arose there, also threatened by the reaction of the Russian authorities and their program of radical Russification of the Baltic provinces. The twofold struggle against Germans and Russians characterizes the history of the Estonian revival, whose youth, opposed in its initiatives by the large local banks, set up their own cooperatives and consortiums, and also enrolled in foreign universities, with the dual intent of gaining sympathy for the national cause., and to broaden their culture. The military regime, established during the war, it made it impossible to realize other immediate national aspirations; but the establishment of an Estonian National Council permitted by the Duma (12 April 1917), together with the extension of the borders of Estonia, according to the wishes of the population, to the northern part of Livonia (Estonian-speaking), was a first important step towards the longed-for autonomy that was achieved on July 14, 1917 when the National Council effectively took over the administration of the country.

Estonia Early History

Switzerland Trade and Communications

Switzerland Trade and Communications

Switzerland is a true international crossroads: roads and railways, from Italy to the North Sea, from France to Austria and Germany, cross and cross it, causing an intense movement of travelers and goods.

With the development of motoring, roadways have regained importance, but railways still absorb most of the passenger and especially freight traffic. Roads and railways follow two main directions, transverse and longitudinal, of which especially the first of international importance. The central Plateau, especially to the NE., Is the region where they most intersect and thicken; the main traffic center is Basel, where the currents coming from the Alps and the Altipiano flock to flow into the upper Rhine Plain.

Switzerland, with 5,854.5 km. of railways (1933) is among the best equipped states in Europe; 3604 km. of lines are standard gauge; 1531 km. narrow gauge (to which must be added 248 km. of rack railway), more suitable for overcoming the steep slopes of mountain areas. Almost all narrow-gauge railways and 1600 km. of the standard gauge ones are electrified. In 1933 the railways of Switzerland transported a total of 158,904,000 passengers and 21,356,000 tons. of goods, very large quantities compared to the extension of the country and its population. The Basel railway junction is enriched by the traffic that flows from the Rhine valley and therefore from the Ruhr areas and the ports of the North Sea, Geneva of that coming from France, Brig and Bellinzona than that coming from the Po Valley and therefore from Genoa, from the Adriatic ports and from the East. In E. the Swiss railways are connected with those coming from Germany to Munich and from Austria to Arlberg; to NO. the railway lines that cross the Jura continue on French territory. The line with the greatest traffic, of the crossings, is that of the Gotthard.

Civil aviation depends on the railway department, under the direction of the federal aviation office. The air transport companies are Swissair, Alpar, Ostschweiz-Aëro-Gesellschaft and Aëro-Trafic. Swissair was formed by the two companies Ad Astra Aëro and Balair, and operates the following airlines: Basel-Zurich-Munich-Vienna; Geneva-Basel-Mannheim-Frankfurt-Cologne-Essen-Amsterdam (in conjunction with the German Luft-Hansa); Geneva-Berne-Zurich-Stuttgart-Halle-Berlin (id.); Zurich-Basel-Paris (in conjunction with Air-France); Geneva-Paris (id.); Basel-Cherbourg-Le-Havre (id., Postal only); Lucerne-Zurich. The company also carries out leisure flights over the Alps, hunting flights, for Africa, rental of equipment to individuals, aerial photography services, etc.,

Alpar operates the following airlines: Basel-Berne-Lausanne-Geneva; Bern- (Bienne) -Basilea; Basel-La Chaux de Fonds-Lausanne-Geneva; Lausanne-Bern. It also carries out special services and private flights. Ostschweiz-Aëro-Gesellschaft operates the Altenrhein (St. Gallen) -Zurich-Bern line. Aëro Trafic operates Geneva airport for leisure and private flights.

The Swiss 1st class airports are in Basel (Birnsfelden), Geneva (Cointrin) and Zurich (Dübendorf); those of 2nd class in Bern (Belpmoos), Lausanne (Blecherette) and Altenrhein (St. Gallen); a 3rd class airport is in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Customs waterways are in Geneva, Lausanne-Ouchy, Locarno, Lugano, Rorschach, Romanshorn, Zurich, Ermatingen, Kreuzlingen, Arbon and Altenrhein. An airport for internal traffic is in Bienne; a seaplane base for internal traffic is in Horgen. Private airports are in Porrentruy, Alle, Gland and Courtelary. Over twenty other airports are accessible with special permission. Even with a special permit you can access the winter airports (on frozen lakes) of Arosa and Saint Moritz.

At the end of 1933 Switzerland possessed 21,230 cars, 18,830 trucks, 34,514 motorcycles. Numerous public automobile services operate, especially those of a tourist type.

As for navigation, apart from the tourist one, only the services that take place on Lake Constance are of importance. Navigation on rivers has almost no importance today. We have already mentioned the project to redevelop the Rhône-Rhine waterway. The Rhine has risen up to Basel, which has a well-equipped river port, with boats loaded with cereals, metals and fuels.

Switzerland, where the International Postal Union is based in Bern, boasts an excellent postal service, and telephone and radio services are increasingly developed there.

With around 850 million francs on export and around 1500 on import (1934), that is 204 and 346 respectively. per resident, Switzerland ranks first in Europe in terms of trade intensity. To the special trade we must then add that of direct and indirect transit (about 2.5 million tons of direct transit in 1934).

The mirror in the following column gives the statistics of the special trade in the last ten years (value expressed in thousands of Swiss francs).

The balance of special trade therefore closes to the detriment of Switzerland, which despite the export of high-cost industrial products, has never managed to balance the expenses it encounters to procure food and industrial raw materials. However, the deficit is bridged by income from transit trade, the tourism industry, the export of electricity, income from companies set up by Swiss abroad and from Swiss capital employed abroad. The imbalance between imports and exports is much greater if we consider weight rather than value: Switzerland imports food and raw materials, exports high-cost industrial products in relation to weight and volume.

The articles affecting imports are: food, beverages and fodder, coal and mineral oils, iron and other metals, raw and already processed; silk, cotton, wool, rubber, as raw material or already worked; wood; glassware, chemicals, hides and skins, paper, tobacco, building materials.

Exports consist for the most part in manufactured products of the textile industries (silk fabrics and ribbons for about 100,000,000 francs, cottons and embroidery for over 100 million, straw braids), of the mechanical and watchmaking industry (machines and equipment, watches: a total of around 250 million francs), of the chemical industry (123 million francs), to which must be added aluminum; footwear, manufactured food products (cheese, condensed milk, chocolate, a total of 63 million francs, also in 1934).

The countries with which trade is most intense are: France, Great Britain, the United States, Italy, etc. The main suppliers are: Germany (388.5 million francs in 1934, over ¼ of the total value), France (230.4 million), Italy (116 million), Great Britain, United States, Argentina, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Austria, etc. Exports have a very vast range, extended to the whole world; However, a group of states and absorbs most are Germany (182 500 000 fr. in 1934; a bit ‘more than 1 / 5 of the total), France (121 600 000), Great Britain, Italy, United States.

Switzerland Trade

Italy Geopolitics

Italy Geopolitics

Italy constitutes the fourth state of the European Union (Eu) in terms of population and economic wealth. By virtue of its geographical location, the country is at the intersection of two strategically important regional areas: continental Europe to the north and the Mediterranean to the south. The country’s geopolitical position has thus contributed to shaping its foreign policy guidelines. In particular, at least since the second post-war period, Italy has followed three main axes, aimed respectively at the United States, Europe and emerging countries. The relationship with the United States was defined starting from the ‘Western choice’ of Italy, namely the entry into the Atlantic Alliance in 1949. In relations with Washington, the country’s strategic position – placed exactly on the border between the two ‘blocs’ – resulted in a geopolitical importance destined to persist throughout the Cold War period. On the other hand, the protection guaranteed by the American ally involved the installation of military bases on the territory of the peninsula and, perhaps more importantly, not negligible repercussions on internal politics – which resulted in the exclusion of the Communist Party from the governing coalitions.. After the Cold War ended, and the Soviet threat vanished, Italy maintained a fundamental partner in the United States and in the non-negligible repercussions on domestic politics – which resulted in the exclusion of the Communist Party from the governing coalitions. After the Cold War ended, and the Soviet threat vanished, Italy maintained a fundamental partner in the United States and in the non-negligible repercussions on domestic politics – which resulted in the exclusion of the Communist Party from the governing coalitions. After the Cold War ended, and the Soviet threat vanished, Italy maintained a fundamental partner in the United States and in the Born the main strategic alliance, as evidenced by participation in major military operations and peacekeeping Alliance. The second priority in Italian foreign policy is evidenced by the country’s propensity to support (albeit with some limitations) the European integration project. Italy is not only among the six founding members of the original European communities, but sees in the Eu(of which he held the rotating presidency in the second half of 2014) the main tool to amplify its international influence. Despite some inevitable tensions with Brussels, in recent years there has been a substantial convergence with the Community institutions. Two brief (but acute) disagreements in 2009 are exceptions: the first concerned the policy of refoulement of immigrants from Libya, the second the request submitted by Italy to the European Commission to review the EU commitments relating to the reduction of harmful emissions. As regards the third line of action of foreign policy, Italy has developed a series of bilateral relations, in particular with the countries of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Balkans. The Libyan crisis of 2011, which, moreover, has led to strong friction with the European partners promoting military intervention such as France and the United Kingdom, does not seem to have entailed strong repercussions in bilateral relations between Rome and Tripoli. Moreover, despite the climate of chaos and the latent civil conflict that rages in Libya, at the end of 2014 Rome was the only major European capital to keep its diplomatic headquarters open in Tripoli. Equally important is the axis with Turkey, a country with which Italy has intense entertainments Rome at the end of 2014 was the only major European capital to keep its diplomatic headquarters in Tripoli open. Equally important is the axis with Turkey, a country with which Italy has intense entertainments Rome at the end of 2014 was the only major European capital to keep its diplomatic headquarters in Tripoli open. Equally important is the axis with Turkey, a country with which Italy has intense entertainments economic relations, even if from 2013 onwards bilateral relations have undergone a slight cooling due to the more general frictions of Ankara with the European Union following the Turkish policy in Syria and Iraq and the criticisms of Brussels of Turkey due to the worsening of the condition of civil and political rights in the country. With respect to the Middle East, Italian foreign policy has maintained a position of substantial equidistance in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute (albeit with different accents depending on the color of the government in office), which has allowed it to maintain friendly relations both with Israel and with the Arab countries. On the occasion of the Gaza crisis of summer 2014, for example, Rome argued for the legitimacy of Israel’s action as defensive, at the same time criticizing certain aspects of Israeli military action.UnifilII of the United Nations, and towards Egypt, with which it has entered into a privileged relationship. During 2013 and at the beginning of 2014, Italy, through the action of the former foreign minister Emma Bonino, had also become the protagonist of the rapprochement between Iran of the new president Rouhani and the international community, above all for this which concerns relations with the European Union. Finally, towards the Balkans, Italian foreign policy is aimed at promoting stability, in particular with the aim of easing ethnic and national tensions (especially in Kosovo and Serbia) and fighting organized crime. In this theater Italy has shown a particular interest in Serbia and Montenegro, as well as in Albania. In addition to having committed to devote substantial investments to these countries,Eu. Finally, Italy shows a high propensity for multilateralism, as evidenced by its membership and active participation in the main international institutions, such as the United Nations, the G8, the WTO and the aforementioned EU and NATO. In particular, as regards the United Nations, of which the country is one of the first contributors in the world, Italy is committed to the difficult process of reforming the organization. The proposal put forward by Rome, which on the issue is opposed both to great powers such as Germany and Japan and to emerging states such as India and Brazil, is to increase the number of non-permanent seats on the Security Council. Finally, as regards the country’s foreign relations, 2014 saw Italy, together with other countries such as Germany, at the center of a heated debate within the European Union about relations with Russia. If, on the one hand, Brussels – like the United States – has tried to take a common position and we firmly condemn Moscow because of the crisis in Ukraine, on the other hand, not all member countries agreed on how to respond to Russia and on the sanctions to impose, although in the end joint action was reached. Rome has been criticized by the most extremist European actors, such as Poland or the Baltic countries, because of its relations with Russia, a very important partner both for energy supply and for economic and commercial relations. Relations with Russia also risked compromising Federica Mogherini’s candidacy for the post of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union.

Italy Geopolitics

Greece Economy, Energy and Environment

Greece Economy, Energy and Environment

The macroeconomic data of Greece restore the image of a country not only in an economic crisis, but also with structural characteristics that make the exit from this crisis a difficult process. Greece has a rather low per capita GDP, equal to just $ 25,762 measured in 2015 purchasing power parity. To this is added an unemployment rate of 27.3% (2013 data, World Bank), which rises to 58.4% among young people. The debt / GDP ratio, equal to 196.9%, is also very serious. The country’s trade balance is also suffering and records a negative trade deficit which in 2014 amounted to 26,425 million dollars.

Although a privatization program has been in place since the 1990s, the state still plays a significant role in the national economy, the underground has vast dimensions and the industry, which accounts for 13.3% of GDP, does not seem structurally capable. pulling the country out of the crisis.

Greece mainly produces cement, aluminum, olive oil, beer, tobacco, refined oil and has a developed telecommunications sector. Textile production, like what happens in other Western countries, is in decline, penalized by competition from countries with very low-cost labor such as Asia and Eastern Europe. The service sector, on the other hand, contributes positively to 82.8% of GDP and is dominated by tourism. In 2013, the sector contributed over 28 billion euros to the national GDP (about 16.3% of the total), employing almost 320,000 people, or 8.9% of the employed population.

After an average annual growth of 4.6% between 2000 and 2008, starting from 2009 the country entered a very serious economic recession (-8.9% GDP growth in 2011). Athens avoided bankruptcy only thanks to successive tranches of loans of 110, 130 and 30 billion, granted by the so-called troika, in exchange for an austerity policy. The latest rescue plan, agreed between Greece and creditors in August 2015, provides for a loan of 86 billion euros over three years. In a more dramatic re-release of what happened in 2012, Germany agreed to the unpopular lending only after the Greek commitment to take drastic measures to reduce debt. The debate centered on two options: to save Greece even if it did not respect the stability pact, or to let it default with unknown consequences for the whole region, also in consideration of the fact that the Greek sovereign debt is largely held by French and German banks. However, the conditions under which the loan was granted are so harsh that many analysts doubt their applicability. According to the weekly The Economist, Greece could exit the euro in the next five years.

Among the main causes of the financial distress, in addition to corruption and public finances that have been effectively rigged for years, was the huge growth of the debt in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Although Greece joined the eurozone in January 2002, declaring that it respected the Maastricht parameters on debt (debt / GDP ratio at 60%) and deficit (deficit / GDP ratio at 3%), a subsequent Eurostat revision showed how the declared data did not correspond to the actual ones. Consequence of the state of crisis in which the country finds itself, in June 2013 the decision to close the state television, the Ert. The closure was strongly opposed by the employees, who had initially occupied the premises and then reorganized themselves through an alternative and self-financed online information channel ( After about two years of closure, on 11 June 2015 the ERT resumed its broadcasts regularly, after the approval in parliament of its reopening.

The energy requirement Greek is weighing on the accounts, as Greece is forced to import over 75% of the energy it consumes. National oil production is not significant and for this reason most of the crude oil is imported, especially from Russia, for about 38%. Historically, Greece has tried to replace oil with brown coal, to exploit its fields and reduce dependence on imports. However, this policy is limited by commitments in favor of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to achieve which the government has favored the use of the gas. Even the latter is largely imported: while in the 1990s it came almost exclusively from Russia (still the main supplier today), due to a policy of diversification, it now also comes from Algeria and Azerbaijan.

Greece Environment

Greece Crisis

Greece Crisis

The eurozone’s response

The first reaction was political. The heads of state and government of the member countries have been extremely eloquent in expressing their common commitment to maintaining the stability of the euro area. Their aim was to reassure the markets, but they were not convincing enough, also because the only tools at their disposal were the aforementioned ‘assistance through sanctions’ mechanisms. International markets have pointed out the obvious contradiction between the legal system of the Treaty’s no-bailout clauses and the political statements of the Eurogroup on the granting of guarantees and have begun to question not only the reliability of Greece’s credit rating., but also the credibility of the entire eurozone system.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Greece could be considered an exceptional case of lack of solidity and bad management, to the point of justifying the Eurogroup if it had decided not to intervene to avoid its bankruptcy and in the end to exclude it from the euro. Various opinions were expressed to this effect, however the exact opposite has occurred. Not only has Greece been supported, but financial assistance measures have been taken that go well beyond the non-bailout provisions foreseen in Maastricht: € 80 billion, in the form of a bilateral loan, has been secured in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, which offered an additional 30 billion. The total amount of € 110 billion is unprecedented in such assistance. Furthermore, the European organizations they ascertained that the ‘over-indebtedness virus’ was not exclusively Greek, but was affecting various other nations, leading to accumulating competitiveness deficits. This resulted in the creation of a € 750 billion support plan. According to the agreed measures, in the event of activation, the IMF will pay € 250 billion, the other European states 440 billion, again through bilateral loans; a further 60 billion will be allocated to the creation of a community assistance mechanism for states in the event of extraordinary events. The European Central Bank has endorsed these decisions and relaxed its policy on indirect financing of public debt by accepting as collateral debt instruments of commercial banks of the Member States,

In doing so, the political will has been resolutely demonstrated to tackle the eurozone’s first structural problem, the bailout from bankruptcy. The second problem, that of the loss of competitiveness, is a longer-term challenge. The question of economic direction (in the German terminology) or of economic governance (in the French expression) is, however, on the agenda. A commission headed by the President of the European Council has been set up to examine the problem. There are, of course, different approaches and divergent opinions, as has always been the case in the history of European integration, but it is a real challenge and a great moment.

Greece’s response

The government that took office following the October 2009 national elections faced an unprecedented set of problems. In addition to the two huge deficits, it had to manage a notable loss of credibility both nationally and internationally: in the domestic sphere, the promises that had been made during the electoral campaign necessarily had to be disregarded, while abroad it was necessary to rebuild trust and prestige.. The first indication of the government’s intentions was expressed through the 2010 budget and the review program of the Stability Pact. Failing to convince the markets, a few months later the government accepted an unprecedented program of fiscal consolidation and structural changes in exchange for the IMF-eurozone bailout.

The first measures applied were drastic. The salaries of the oversized Greek public sector have been cut by 25-30%; the social security system has been restructured through substantial reductions in pensions, increases in contributions and raising the retirement age; finally, the labor market has been reformed. These spending cuts and tax hikes led to a significant 45% deficit reduction in the first half of 2010. However, confidence in international markets is far from being regained. The difference in the yield of Greek bonds in the secondary market remains very high, thus preventing the government from resorting to primary long-term financing. The forecast that the measures indicated will lead to a sharp recession for at least the next two years leads markets and investors to question whether the Greek government will be able to implement the program and at the same time serve its debt. Without a doubt, the months to the end of 2010 will be crucial for Greece, as well as for the eurozone as a whole.


The governments of the eurozone states, including Greece, have taken very important decisions that have exceeded initial forecasts. Political leaders, regardless of their ideological connotation, national interests and public opinion pressures, have united to save not only Greece but, more importantly, the future of the euro. Through these decisions, the governments of the Eurogroup have shown how the concept of solidarity is not constituted by a moral approach to ‘good and evil’, but is rather represented by a criterion of political realism. It is equally important that these decisions have gone beyond the provisions of the Treaty, the result of the political equilibrium of past decades, and that in many countries they have been adopted with the approval of national parliaments;

It would be wrong to view these measures solely as decisions made in a state of emergency, as a way of handling an extraordinary event, without expecting them to take the form of permanent institutional changes. As in the case of every crisis, the global one has corrected and recalibrated the overall functioning of the international economic and financial systems and the patterns of production and consumption. An effective and lasting reform of the functioning of the eurozone must therefore be expected, especially if the aim is to strengthen its position in the increasingly competitive global market. In this sense, the debate on the future of the eurozone and the euro, and indirectly of the Union as a whole, has only just begun.

Finally, what conclusions can be drawn from the relationship between Greece and the euro? Due to the size and strength of its economy, Greece has so far not been a driving force or a major player in the European integration process. It has generally limited itself to queuing up, often with some difficulty and very late. In the establishment of the European support mechanism, however, Greece’s weakness managed to make it occupy a central position, something similar to what happened in the mid-1980s, when the Greek fragility within the common market was while forming he played a key role in the creation of the Mediterranean Integrated Programs, precursors of the economic policy of the Union and of the policy of social cohesion.

Greece Crisis

Germany During The Frankish Period: Charlemagne (768 – 814)

Germany During The Frankish Period: Charlemagne (768 – 814)

Of particular importance was the subjugation of the last Germanic people who, on the right of the Rhine, had still managed to maintain their independence: the Saxons. Established between the Ems, the Harz and the lower Elbe, the Saxons were divided into the four tribes of the Vestfals, between the Lippe and the Ems; degli Angri, on the Weser and on the Hallep; degli Ostfali, between the Weser and the Elbe; of the Nordalbingi, who had pushed into Holstein beyond the Elbe estuary. With independence, the Saxons had essentially preserved intact the ancient economic, social and political structure of the Germans, and the ancient pagan beliefs. This material and spiritual patrimony they, led by their national hero, the Westphalian Vitichindo, defended in thirty years of terrible struggles, sustained with desperate fury against the tenacity and the fervent impulse of Christian propaganda, which animated the conqueror. The enterprise, which began in 772, could only be said to have been completed in 804 (see carlomagno). But after the conquest the country took on a completely new aspect. By the tens of thousands the Saxons had either fallen fighting or executed, or had been transferred to other regions. The survivors and those who remained had had to receive baptism, and the administrative and religious institutes of the Frankish kingdom had been extended to the occupied territory, centering those on the counties, these on the bishoprics.

The definitive subjugation of Bavaria was also of great importance. The dukes who ruled it, of the national dynasty of the Agilolfingi, carried out their own internal and foreign policy. This one, oriented towards the Lombards, to whom the Bavarian dukes had also tightened with parental ties, sought in their friendship a useful counterweight to the threatening influence of the Franks, and had recently had a new seal from the marriage of Duke Tassilone III with Liutperga, daughter of king Desiderio. But there was no lack of a party in favor of the Franks; and the clergy, in the forefront the bishops of Salzburg and Freising, felt attracted to the Carolingians by their merits towards the Church of Rome. Two years (787-788) were enough for Charlemagne to extinguish Bavarian independence. Tassilone III was deposed and locked up in a monastery; the same fate had the wife and children. After the Agilolfinges were broken up, Bavaria was first ruled by a brother-in-law of Charlemagne, Geroldo; and after his death (799), it was divided into counties.

The subjugation of Bavaria brought the Frankish kingdom into direct contact with the Avars of Pannonia. It was the end of this people of predatory raiders. Between 791 and 796 with a series of expeditions the Franks went as far as their main fortified camp (Ring), near the Tisza and conquered it. The Avars submitted; from the beginning of the century. IX their name also disappeared. Thus, even in the Middle Danube basin the work of Charlemagne created relations with Germany, which would not have been without effect for its future history. The conquest of Saxony had similarly brought the Frankish kingdom into wider and more direct contact with the Slavs to the north-east. No ground was gained over them, because Charlemagne did not wage real wars of conquest against them, and on the contrary ceded to the Abodites, who had been his auxiliaries in the struggle for the occupation of Saxony, part of the lands taken from the Nordalbingians on the side of the Baltic. But equally important, for future events, was the arrangement to defend the eastern border. Land was instead gained to the north,

Charlemagne had succeeded where Rome, after a few attempts, had had to abandon his work. Germany up to Elba definitively became part of the Western civil world, and received the order from which its further life would be carried out with that greater awareness of its own strengths and mission, which certainly before the Frankish conquest populations could not hear.

Also in Germany, the basis of the administrative order were the counties, in which Saxony, Alamannia and Bavaria were divided, and which had a particular military organization on the north-eastern and south-eastern borders. Here the marches of Nordalbingia or Danese, Sorabica, and Pannonia or Orientale (the future Austria) were formed, conveniently garnished with cores of selected troops, who leaned on a line of fortresses. In this way, the valid embankment was raised that would put an end to the centuries-old westward movement of the barbarian world.

Germany During The Frankish Period

Amarante and Marvao, Portugal

Amarante and Marvao, Portugal



Amarante is a wonderful city in the north of Portugal. To the east, the huge mass of the Serra do Marão protrudes, while the Tâmega Valley is lined with high hills covered with a forest. The postcard picture in Amarante is the bridge of São Gonçalo on the Tâmega next to the Renaissance monastery of the same name. Amarante is a city that brought many important artists and writers to Portugal, especially at the beginning of the 20th century, and whose works are presented in the magnificent city museum. Nearby are Romanesque churches, picturesque mountain villages and cycling and hiking trails to immerse yourself in the picturesque landscape of the Tâmega Valley.


“Amar” is the Portuguese verb for love, which is very apt as the first part of the name of this attractive city. Amarante, a 4th century BC settlement BC, lies in the rich agricultural areas of the Minho region, the northern part of the country that is responsible for the grapes of Vinho Verde, the young, sparkling, “green” wine that is unique in Portugal. The river Tâmega flows through the city, which you cross over the striking arched bridge Ponte São Gonçalo. It is said that this bridge helped local heroes fend off a French attack in the early 19th century. Nowadays, neat cafes and restaurants make the most of their dreamy location on the river.

A famous son of Amarante was the artist Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, who created some of the internationally acclaimed Cubist paintings in his short life at the beginning of the 20th century. His work is on display at the local museum, although in his day he exhibited alongside artists such as Modigliani and much of his work is still in Paris, where he spent his most productive years.

A very cozy, typically Portuguese town, Amarante is the ideal destination for those looking for a relaxing holiday and the opportunity to discover the northern region of Portugal as it is very close to Braga, Porto and Vila Real. Even today, Amarante is known beyond its borders for its handicrafts. Knitwear, pottery and wickerwork are still traditionally operated. Vacationers shouldn’t miss out on trying the city’s sweets in the cafes and patisseries.


impressive fortress city

The small town of Marvão, surrounded by fortress walls, is located deep in the hinterland of Portugal, only a stone’s throw from the Spanish border and is nicknamed the Eagle’s Nest, which is hidden in the hills. The place is located on a large granite rock with a wonderful view over the wide plains of the Alentejo region and is one of the most beautiful areas in all of southern Europe. The 13th century fortress walls are almost completely intact and Marvão is accessed through a narrow medieval archway, near which is a strange-shaped Moorish-looking building known as the Jerusalem Chapel. Steep stone-paved streets meander past whitewashed, flower-decked houses, with the most beautiful wrought-iron balconies that can be seen in this part of Portugal.

Marvão was founded in the 9th century by Ibn-Marúan, a Muladi (Iberian who converted to Islam) who plays an important role in Al Mossassa, the Islamic festival held in Marvão every October. At the center of this lovely postcard village is the old castle, which seems to rise from the living rock on which it was built. Perched on a granite base, the walls are home to countless kestrels and offer breathtaking 360-degree views of one of the most strikingly picturesque parts of Portugal. The 865 meter climb to Marvão, the highest place in Portugal, starts near Portagem, which is itself a place with a long and exciting history. The four-arched Roman bridge marks the place where Jews who fled Spain at the time of the Inquisition,

The Portuguese village of Marvão today has fewer than a thousand inhabitants, but was of great importance in the Middle Ages and a vital defensive bastion during the frequent battles with neighboring Spain. But not only with Spain. During a checkered history, the Portuguese also fought against Moors and French here. The view from the keep is impressive; to the south are the Serra de São Mamede and the beautiful city of Estremoz, while in the north the mountains of the Serra da Estrela with Castelo de Vide in the northwest and finally Spain in the northeast. There is also a lot to discover in the area, after all, Marvao is part of a nature park of the same name.

Marvao Portugal

Sights in Liechtenstein

Sights in Liechtenstein

Take a group tour through Liechtenstein, a sovereign miniature state in the Alpine region. The close coexistence of lived village traditions and the intensive international exchange that characterizes Liechtenstein forms the basis for an extraordinarily diverse cultural life. Visit the numerous cities in Liechtenstein such as the capital Vaduz; the largest and highest situated community Triesenberg; Schellenberg or Eschen. Admire the most important sights such as Vaduz Castle, the art museum, the government building or the Noldi Beck ski museum in Vaduz; the Walser Heimatmuseum, the Malbun Peace Chapel or the town hall in Triesenberg; the parish church, the nunnery, the castle ruins and the Biedermannhaus in Schellenberg; the Holy Cross Chapel, the benefice house or the mill in Eschen. Enjoy Liechtenstein on a study trip and get to know its culture!

Castle Vaduz

The surrounding area

With only 160 km², Liechtenstein is only a very small area on the maps between Austria and Switzerland. Vaduz is on the right bank of the Rhine. To this day it is the capital and seat of government of the principality. Vaduz Castle is one of the most important sights in Liechtenstein, along with many interesting buildings and regions. It rests about 120 meters above the city.

The way to the castle

The imposing castle is best conquered on foot from the city of Vaduz.
The moderate ascent takes about three quarters of an hour at a leisurely pace.
The signposts in the village offer good orientation for the ascent. But the city’s residents are also happy to point you in the right direction. On the footpath to the castle, visitors learn a lot about the history of the complex and can enjoy a unique natural landscape. But you can also easily get to the car park above the castle by car.

Once at the top

Once at the top, you will be rewarded with a wonderful view of the picturesque Rhine Valley, the city of Vaduz and the mountains of neighboring Switzerland.
The oldest parts of the castle complex probably date from the twelfth century. However, some historians suspect that the first settlements go back to the time of the Romans. It was first mentioned in a document in 1322. At the beginning of the 20th century, the castle was saved from final ruin and fundamentally renovated. It has been the permanent residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein since 1939. Vaduz is the capital of the Principality, which with just under 37,000 inhabitants is the sixth smallest state in the world.

Liechtenstein Art Museum

The Liechtenstein Art Museum is a state museum for modern and contemporary art. It is located in Liechtenstein’s capital, Vaduz.

The Liechtenstein Art Museum – an ideal destination for a study trip

The Liechtenstein Art Museum is one of the largest and most interesting sights in Liechtenstein’s main municipality, Vaduz. It is an ideal destination for a visit, especially as part of a study trip. It enables its guests to travel through 130 years of art history.

The creation of the Liechtenstein Art Museum

Together with the government of Liechtenstein and the municipality of Vaduz, several private donors built a Liechtenstein art museum in the 1990s. In November 2000 the inauguration of the modern building, which was conceived by the Swiss architects Morger, Degelo and Kerez, took place. The important collection contained there also represents the state art collection.
From the outside, the museum as a black cube made of cast basalt stone cannot be overlooked and in turn is a work of art. Visiting it means an unforgettable art experience on a trip to Vaduz.

The sights of the museum

The collection of the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein includes international contemporary and modern works of art that range from the 19th century to the present day. The profile of the museum is determined by sculptures, installations and objects. One of the focal points of the exhibitions is the works of art from Arte Povera. The estate of the Swiss painter and draftsman Andre Thomkins (1930-1985) is also managed in the building.
In 2015 the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein was expanded to include a new exhibition building from the Hilti Art Foundation. The works of art range from classical modernism to current contemporary art trends.


The Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein presents changing solo exhibitions by Andy Warhol, Gottfried Honegger, Paul Klee, Otto Freundlich, Georg Malin, Joseph Beuys and Bill Bollinger, among others. The group exhibitions include, for example, “The Ricke Collection”, “Lust for Life” or “Knockin ‘on Heavens Door”. In addition, special exhibitions with works from the collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein are presented at regular intervals.

Sights in Liechtenstein

Berlin, Germany Politics and Culture

Berlin, Germany Politics and Culture


In order for Berlin to become the capital of Germany again by law, a vote had to be held in the Bundestag in June 1991, where it was decided to transfer the institutions from Bonn to Berlin. The transfer of the Federal Government and the Chancellery took place in 1999.

Following German reunification, several enthusiasts have launched the project to officially return the name of Prussia to the region made up of the states of Berlin and Brandenburg. In a referendum in 1996, the majority of the residents of Brandenburg and East Berlin spoke out against the merger of the two states, while those of West Berlin spoke in favor. Despite the setback, the merger initiative continued.

Since the 1990s, according to Allcitycodes, Berlin has been undergoing a serious economic and financial crisis, due, on the one hand, to the consequences of reunification (which, among other things, doubled the number of civil servants that the City Council had to pay), and for another, to the bankruptcy of a state banking company in 2001.

This latest scandal led to a change in the regional government and the replacement of the conservative Eberhard Diepgen by the Social Democrat Klaus Wowereit, who was the first leader of his party to agree to a government in coalition with the Left Party (since 2007 renamed Die Linke), heir to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in the GDR.


Museums and art galleries

The Bode Museum at the northern tip of Museum Island. Berlin is home to 365 museums. The ensemble on the Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is situated in the northern part of the Spree Island between the Spree and the Kupfergraben.

Already in 1841 it was named “district dedicated to art and antiquities” by a royal decree. Consequently, the Altes Museum (Old Museum) in the Lustgarten, the Neues Museum (New Museum) showing the bust of Queen Nefertiti, the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), the Pergamon Museum and the Bode Museum were erected there. The names of the buildings did not necessarily correspond to the content of the collections they exhibited.

In the Museumszentrum Berlin-Dahlem (Dahlem district), there are several museums of world art and culture, such as the Museum of Indian Art, the Museum of East Asian Art, the Ethnological Museum, the Museum of European Cultures, as well as the Museum of the Allies (a museum about the Cold War), the Brücke Museum (an art museum).

Other museums

  • Bauhaus-Archive: is an architecture museum of the integrated design school founded by Walter Gropius.
  • German Museum of Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin) in Kreuzberg: has a wide collection of historical technical artifacts.
  • Egyptian Museum in Berlin: Across the street from Charlottenburg Palace, it houses one of the world’s most important collections of objects from Ancient Egypt, including the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti.
  • Beate Uhse Erotic Museum near the zoo: it claims to be the largest erotic museum in the world.
  • Humboldt Museum of Natural History near Berlin Hauptbahnhof: It has the world’s largest assembled dinosaur skeleton and the best existing specimen of an Archeopteryx.
  • Jewish Museum of Berlin: it has a permanent exhibition of two thousand years of German-Jewish history.
  • Stasi Museum, in Lichtenberg, on the grounds of the former East German Ministry for State Security (Stasi).
  • Story of Berlin Museum: combines new audiovisual technologies with the history of the city. In it you can also visit one of the 23 underground bunkers that remain in the city.
  • Filmmuseum, museum of German

Main events

  • Berlin International Film Festival: Every year in February, the Berlinale festival evokes the magic of the film world between the towers and glass palaces of Potsdamer Platz. An international jury chooses the winners of the Golden and SilverBears.
  • Love Parade: Every summer the biggest parade of techno music lovers that goes through the Tiergarten park in the city center. More than a million people come together every year in the midst of floats and colorful clothing. This festival was held again in 2006 after being suspended for two seasons.
  • Berlin International Literature Festival: Draws large audiences annually to ecumenical trends in contemporary prose and lyric. In the first fortnight of September, a hundred authors meet in the German capital who not only share their texts with the audience, but also express their opinions and vicissitudes on current political or cultural issues of the countries of origin in which symposia organized for this purpose.


The city has three airports:

  • Schönefeld (airport that began operating in the 1930s and after the division of Germany had remained in the territory of the GDR), Tegel and Tempelhof (closed on October 31, 2008), although between all of them they register less traffic than the Frankfurt am Main and Munich
  • The Berlin Metro (in German Berliner U-Bahn) is one of the most functional and practical in Europe. Together with the suburban train (S-Bahn) it forms a dense urban transport network that facilitates travel around the German capital. The metro is managed by the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) to which buses and trams also belong, the S-Bahn by the Deutsche Bahn (DB).
  • Berlin Central Station (in German Hauptbahnhof) is a 900 million euro project started in 1992, which began to be built in 1995 and was inaugurated in May 2006, just in time for the celebration of the Soccer World Cup in Germany.

Twinned cities

Berlin has established a brotherhood since 1967 with nineteen cities:

  • Los Angeles, United States (1967)
  • Paris, France (1987)
  • Madrid, Spain (1988)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (1989)
  • Moscow, Russia (1990)
  • Warsaw, Poland (1991)
  • Budapest, Hungary (1991)
  • Brussels, Belgium (1992)
  • Jakarta, Indonesia (1993)
  • Tashkent, Uzbekistan (1993)
  • Mexico City, Mexico (1993)
  • Beijing, China (1994)
  • Tokyo, Japan (1994)
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina (1994)
  • Prague, Czech Republic (1995)
  • Windhoek, Namibia (2000)
  • London, UK (2000)
  • Seville, Spain (2008)

Berlin, Germany Politics

Why are Norwegian Soldiers in Iraq?

Why are Norwegian Soldiers in Iraq?

In April 2015, the Norwegian government sent 120 soldiers to Iraq . There, they were to “help train Iraqi security forces.” Some of the soldiers were stationed in the Kurdish provincial capital of Erbil under the security forces of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq (KRG). Other Norwegian soldiers were stationed in the capital Baghdad.

  • What are the main rules of international law for military operations on foreign soil?
  • What is the basis for the Norwegian military presence in Iraq from 2015?
  • How does this presence stand against the rules of international law for the use of military force?
  • What international law challenges does the presence face?

The Norwegian military will support the Iraqi central and regional authorities in recapturing territory from Islamic State (IS), which in 2015 controlled approx. 1/3 of Iraq. Norwegian participation is part of a loosely led American coalition with the goal of “crushing” IS.

The Norwegian presence in Iraq represents a break with the tradition of Norwegian military operations abroad after the year 2000. The presence also raises at least three challenges : uncertainty about what the mission is, insufficient legal certainty for the soldiers, and questions about whether the soldiers can perform their tasks so efficiently as provided.

2: International law: barriers to the use of military force in other countries

A central international agreement – the UN Charter ‘s Article 2 (4), non-interference court as a “cornerstone of the UN Charter” – and international legal custom prohibits the use of military force in interstate relations (power ban). Threats of such use of force are also prohibited.

Military use of force in the territory of another state violates the principle that every state is sovereign in its own territory. The prohibition on force also applies to the use of force against non-state actors in the territory of another state. However, the ban on power has two exceptions that can make military use of force in other countries legal: Chap. VII mandate and self-defense . In addition, another state may be invited by the government of a country to operate militarily in that country. Every sovereign government is free to do so.

3: Chapter VII mandate

One exception to the ban on power is military operations adopted by the UN Security Council . The Security Council may authorize (grant the right to) the use of military force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if there is a threat to peace, a breach of peace or an act of aggression (Article 39 of the Covenant).

In addition, a resolution may clarify the legality of an ongoing military operation to which it has been invited. In 2015, the president of Yemen lost control of the capital and state-owned institutions. He then invited a group of states led by Saudi Arabia to help put down the rebels. Eventually, the Security Council confirmed that the President had the competence – stood strong enough – for such an invitation. Resolutions that confirm the legality of ongoing use of force do not change the basis of international law. The operation in Yemen is based on an invitation and not on a mandate from the Security Council.

A related clarification of legality can be found in the Security Council’s call from November 2015 for permission to use “all necessary measures” against groups in IS-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq to prevent terrorism.

The Chapter VII mandate nevertheless sets clear barriers to the use of force under international law . The operations must be carried out within the framework of the mandate. A Chapter VII mandate authorizes the use of all necessary means to achieve the purpose, but no more.

The use of force must also be proportional to the purpose of the use of force. Military operations for purposes that are outside the mandate or that are disproportionate to the purpose of the use of force, represent a violation of the prohibition of force . In Libya in 2011, removing Gaddafi’s regime (regime change) was not part of the mandate.

A state may not invoke the right to self-defense against military operations based on a mandate from the Security Council. The legality of the operations in Syria has been repeatedly disputed by the Assad regime . When Resolution 2249 confirms the legality of these, Assad can not claim that the operations are acts of aggression that trigger Syrian right to self-defense. The Security Council has stated that self-defense against IS (and certain other non-governmental groups) in Syria (but also in Iraq) is not contrary to international law.

4: The right to self-defense

The second exception to the ban on power is access to military operations for national self-defense (Article 51 of the UN Charter). A country thus has the right – individually / alone or collectively / together with other states – to defend itself against attacks contrary to international law. Other states can then assist in self-defense. The right to self-defense is triggered by an “armed attack”. Most states and international law lawyers have interpreted this exception strictly. In the case of collective self-defense, a country that has individual self-defense rights asks for help from other states.

Self-defense outside its own territory will not order the other UN countries to cooperate with other states, such as a Chapter VII mandate. Other states can then take a stand for or against the use of force or invoke neutrality. If the right to self-defense is confirmed by the Security Council, they must still comply.

Also in self-defense, military operations must be necessary (for defense) and proportionate . That is, the operations’ damage (scaling) must be in proportion to the purpose of the attack. When Israel attacked Lebanon after Hezbollah’s attacks on Israeli territory and a subsequent ambush in Lebanon in 2006, the operation was in line with Israel’s self-defense law. The purpose was to prevent similar future attacks. But the extent of Israel’s response was criticized by many, such as France, Russia, the EU and the United States, for being disproportionate to this purpose – and therefore contrary to international law.

The self-defense rules in Article 51 do not apply to a state power that exercises authority in its own territory, e.g. maintains or restores peace and order. Iraqi authorities can not invoke self-defense against Iraqi IS in Iraq. Here, it is the state’s right to exercise authority that is the hook under international law. International law does not give a state power the “right” to wage war against its own people when warfare is based on arguments about self-defense. This type of self-defense right also does not apply in occupied territory. Rules and barriers to what an occupying power can afford in the use of force differ both from self-defense against external enemies and from the rules on the exercise of power in one’s own country.

The situation in and around Syria and the lack of a Chapter VII mandate (cf. the use of the right of veto) has led to a number of allegations of self-defense for other states’ military use of force on Syrian soil: US airstrikes on Syrian territory began on 22 September 2014. The United States has stated several various self-defense bases for its operations on Syrian soil: Self-defense against IS, collective self-defense to safeguard the self-defense rights of Syria’s neighbors, self-defense against a non-governmental group and defense of US allied groups (insurgents) on the ground in Syria.

The right to self-defense is the most obscure of the legal bases for the use of force. The core consists of a basic right to self-maintenance. However, the vast majority of military operations can be presented as a version of self-defense. Therefore, international law has always sought a narrow framework for this exception to the prohibition of power. However, the right to self-defense seems to have been interpreted somewhat more broadly since 2001. The situation in Syria and Iraq also seems to push the states’ practice of self-defense even a notch further.

5: Invitation to military assistance

A third legal basis for the use of military force on foreign soil consists of an invitation or consent from state authorities in another country. These authorities then invite one or more other states to assist them in maintaining or restoring order internally, in practice to retain state power, defend the territory or to prevent the territory from being exploited by non-state actors for violence that may threaten national or international Safety.
This legal basis is no exception to the prohibition of power in the UN Charter. Such military operations have a background in the sovereignty of the inviting government . Thus, they do not violate the ban on power.

Government authorities may invite other states or non-governmental organizations to assist them in the use of force in their own territory. The Assad regime, which is thus the ruling power in Syria, can invite other states such as Iran and non-state actors such as Lebanese Hezbollah to assist the Syrian authorities with the use of force on Syrian territory. Russian soldiers in Syria have also been invited by the Assad regime.

However, if the use of force by invitation extends beyond the inviting state and into the territory of another sovereign state, the prohibition on force requires a decision by the Security Council. Iraqi forces or other states’ armed forces at the invitation of Iraq can not simply use military force against IS on the Syrian side of the border. It requires a different basis of international law.

Security Council Resolution 2249 provides a kind of “cloak of international law legality” for various types of military operations in Syria and Iraq.

An invitation must be clearly expressed . It cannot be assumed that the state would have consented “if it had been asked”. Other states may also question how real a consent is. In addition, the invitation must come from authorities that (still) are strong enough to be able to invite, e.g. still has central state-supporting institutions.

The Security Council can confirm whether the government in a country has the capacity to invite , as in Yemen, or it can cut off such a right. When the Security Council recognized the opposition in Libya as “the legitimate representative of the Libyan people” in 2011, Libyan authorities could no longer invite others to help them.

If the use of force by an invited state (the sending state) should affect the consent, the use of force is contrary to international law. If it can be characterized as an armed attack, it even triggers the consent state’s right to self-defense against the sending state (Article 51).

The purpose of the invitation will depend on what an inviting government wants, or the agreement between it and the sending state. Such agreements normally take the form of agreements on the legal status of forces (SOFA). They clarify the purpose of the military contribution, and they give military personnel criminal immunity for their presence and for actions that fall within the scope of the mission. It provides visibility and clarity (notoriety) to the outside world. And it provides security for the soldiers and predictability within.

6: Rules for the actual use of force

Even if the legal basis for an operation is in order, violations of international law can still occur as a result of the way the operations are carried out. The use of force must take place within the framework of the legal basis. Also: Is a military operation in accordance with the rules of international law for warfare – including the protection of war victims and the ban on using rules that prohibit certain types of weapons?

There are four different sets of rules in international law that set general barriers for different types of military operations, rules for:

  • intergovernmental conflict
  • occupation,
  • non-intergovernmental conflict,
  • for military operations in situations below the threshold of armed conflict

The first situation is governed primarily by humanitarian law (the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions), the latter by human rights . Occupation and non-international conflicts are extensively regulated by both humanitarian law and human rights, but in different ways.

On a couple of important points, these sets of rules differ from each other, and impose different rights and obligations . Thus, the use of force that is legal under one set of rules may be a violation of international law under another. The use of expanding bullets or tear gas is, for example, permitted by law enforcement internally in a country, but if these means are used in combat, it will be classified as war crimes. Persons who have committed war crimes must either be prosecuted by their own authorities or extradited to states or courts abroad with the right to prosecute them. Furthermore, the demarcation between military targets and civilians is clearer under the first two sets of rules than in non-international conflicts / civil wars.

7: By invitation – Norway is in Iraq

In the summer of 2014 , IS conquered important strategic areas in northwestern Iraq. They declared an Islamic caliphate and committed massive war crimes against Iraqi soldiers and religious minorities, including the so-called Camp Speicher massacre . More than 1,500 Iraqi Shiite cadets and soldiers were executed by IS during one afternoon. Abuses against the Kurdish Yezidi minority received a lot of attention in the late summer of 2014, with acts that according to several may be genocide .

In the autumn of 2014, the Norwegian authorities decided to send military forces to military advice and training in Iraq. Norway is now contributing militarily to fighting IS. The mission will “help to better enable the Iraqi forces to meet the ISIL threat”. Norwegian personnel will not participate in military operations, but will be part of the military support apparatus for Iraqi security forces.

There is not any Chapter VII mandate from the Security Council which are entitled to Norwegian military presence in Iraq. After IS conquered parts of four Iraqi provinces and declared an Islamic State on Iraqi and Syrian territory in June 2014, the Security Council in August 2014 ruled that IS was a threat to Syria, Iraq, the Middle East and to international peace and security. But the Security Council has not adopted the right to use force under Chapter VII in extension of this, even though the Security Council has unanimously condemned IS ‘conduct.

On 24 September 2014, the Security Council decided in Chapter VII to order states to fight foreign fighters (Res. 2178). But it did not give the green light for the use of force against IS. The loosely organized US operation is mainly based on arguments about self-defense (see above) in the face of a serious threat to international security. The Security Council has established that IS is. Thus, it has clarified that states can invoke self-defense law even if IS is a non-state actor.

However, Norway has not stated self-defense for our presence in Iraq. Collective self-defense is derived from the right of self-defense to countries that are under attack and asking for help. Norway is helping Iraq (primarily) against Iraqis in Iraq. Norway can not claim to help Iraq to self-defense in Iraq as international law does not contain any self-defense rule for the exercise of power in its own territory. The Iraqi authorities, on the other hand, can state self-defense for operations on the Syrian side of the border, where Norway may assist based on collective self-defense, but then on behalf of Baghdad. The Norwegian authorities can thus justify their presence in Iraq by saying that they are there to help the regime retain state power. Operations in Syria will have the same justification.

With Resolution 2249 behind it , outside states can conduct military operations in Syrian and Iraqi territory. It clarifies that means of force can be used to prevent terrorist attacks by IS (and certain other groups) from the area that IS controls in Syria and Iraq. The resolution is not a UN mandate to operate militarily on Syrian or Iraqi territory without coordinating with the governments of Baghdad and Damascus. Iraqi authorities remain in the driver’s seat of operations in Iraq.

The UN Security Council confirmed the invitation and thus also the Iraqi authorities’ competence to invite. Iraq could need such confirmation as the situation was in Iraq in the summer of 2014. At that time, the Iraqi security apparatus went up in limbo in northern Iraq in the face of an advancing IS. In addition, Kurdish forces from Erbil occupied many controversial and strategically important places. When the invitation came, Baghdad practically controlled less than 40% of the land. The Security Council acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Iraqi government.

Iraqi authorities may impose conditions on the use of force on those invited, or withdraw their consent at any time. As early as October 2014, the Iraqi authorities stated that the letter to the Security Council in September had restrictions. “We asked for help, but it was about air force.” Among other things, Baghdad announced that neighboring Arab countries (read: Sunni Muslims) were not wanted on the ground in Iraq.

In August 2015, Iraqi authorities asked the Security Council to allow Turkish troops to leave Iraq, a demand Iraq repeatedly made in the fall of 2015. Iraqis do not consider ground forces from countries in the region to be covered by the Security Council’s request.

Outside this requirement is neighboring Iran, which has a separate defense agreement with Iraq. It gives Iranian soldiers the right to operate on Iraqi soil. Iran has also carried out airstrikes against IS in Iraq since December 2014, independent of the international coalition. The close military cooperation between Iraq and Iran means that Iran has a different and broader mandate for its presence in Iraq.

It is thus not obvious that the Norwegian military in Iraq is covered by the invitation Iraq handed over to the UN Security Council in September 2014. According to the Iraqi authorities, the request only includes air force . But it is not air force Norwegian soldiers in Iraq are engaged in. The legal basis for the Norwegian military presence in Baghdad is an invitation , in Norway’s view. What this invitation entails is very unclear . Norwegian soldiers have been invited to Iraq to take part in an air offensive against IS, an air offensive in which they are not participating.

8: Counters at the legal basis

As with the Norwegian operation in Iraq in 2003–2005, no special Norwegian restrictions were placed on military participation in 2014 – except that «Norwegian forces will not participate in direct combat operations».

However, there is a big difference between Norway’s Iraq operations in 2003–2005 and in 2015. In 2003–2005, there was a clearer organization and a much clearer legal basis (see below). When the international law basis for military presence in a foreign country is weak, unclear or controversial, it becomes all the more important with clear agreements that regulate the nature of the mission and the situation of the soldiers.

Invitation as a legal basis is usually regulated in more detail by a defense agreement. The United States has a political agreement, and Iran has a defense agreement with Iraq. Norway does not have that.

GENERAL RULES: If the legal basis and the nature of the assignment is somewhat unclear, the general rules of international law apply. Since the summer of 2013, the Iraqi authorities have been involved in a civil war-like situation against Sunni Muslim areas, ie the same areas where IS eventually took control.

The term “non-international conflict” is not limited to armed conflicts that take place only in the territory of one country. The fight against IS extends over two countries, and involves more than 60 nations on one side and a non-state actor on the other.

Iraq is today neither in a situation of occupation nor in an international armed conflict. Here, the rules of a country’s sovereign law enforcement and internal armed conflicts apply.

This means that the rules of humanitarian law for non-international armed conflicts apply to Norwegian soldiers to the extent that they have a military function linked to one of the parties to the conflict.

9: Norway in Iraq: Three challenges

Since the turn of the millennium, Norwegian soldiers have been involved in several military operations on foreign soil. Many of them have not been UN operations in the sense of peacekeeping operations (after the ceasefire agreement has been reached) under the UN mandate – Afghanistan (2001–2016), Iraq (2003–2005) and Libya (2011). All three operations were launched following a mandate from the Security Council.

After the year 2000, Norway has had clear legal bases for its military foreign operations. But Norway’s military contribution to Iraq from 2015 represents something new . The backing of international law for Norway does not seem controversial, since the Iraqi authorities do not consider Norwegian soldiers to be enemy soldiers, as they do with certain other coalition countries. Nevertheless, the invitation appears to be deficient . It does not provide clarity (notoriety) about the purpose of the contribution or framework around the activities of Norwegian soldiers in Iraq in 2015.

By invitation to assistance, we lend military capabilities to another state. A recipient state will normally have other motives and interests than ours. And it will probably be involved in power struggles and conflicts that are beyond the control of Norway, but where we can still be drawn in. Consequently, it is important to have a clear framework for such lending. The somewhat vague basis of international law for Norway’s military contribution to Iraq therefore represents challenges on three levels:

1 Around notoriety – it is difficult to prove purpose, document or control who has done what and when. There is neither a UN mandate nor a self-defense authority for the contribution. No defense agreement or SOFA (agreements on forces’ legal status status of forces agreements, SOFA) has been negotiated that can clarify the purpose of the mission.

Why has Norway sent troops to Iraq? At home, it can be important to clarify what Norwegian soldiers do on land far away, including with atypical, perhaps dubious, partners. To other countries, it may be appropriate to clarify why troops have been sent to Baghdad to help a coalition that works closely with the military in Tehran, Damascus and Russia. Also: Can soldiers we train in Baghdad want to use their new military skills to fight soldiers we train in Erbil?

2 Norwegian soldiers’ legal security . Norwegian soldiers in Iraq are so-called administrative employees at a diplomatic post (embassy) Norway does not have. The agreement between Norway and Iraq is not very specific. Diplomatic immunity does not include the right to engage in military activity practiced by soldiers. The legal protection of Norwegian soldiers in Iraq does not match the tasks they have or the conflict landscape in which they operate.

3 Efficiency of the operation . How effectively can Norwegian soldiers carry out their mission when assisting security forces that have reportedly been involved in many and serious violations of international law? How effectively can they operate in one of the world’s most corrupt countries, which is also struggling with major disciplinary challenges in the security apparatus?

According to THEMAKEUPEXPLORER, a small country like Norway will always have a strategic interest in respecting international law. Then it is important that the use of military force in foreign operations appears – at home and abroad – as predictable, predictable and even principled.

Why are Norwegian soldiers in Iraq

Russia Recent History

Russia Recent History

Gorbachev’s reforms and the extinction of the USSR

After the death of Leonid Brezhnev and after the rapid succession of Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko, Mikhail Gorbachev was appointed leader of the USSR. Gorbachev began to implement significant changes in the economy, Perestroikaand Glásnost politics, unleashing opportunistic forces that with the encouragement of the West worked to disintegrate the USSR and the return of its members – especially Russia – to capitalism. The distancing of the Communist Party and its leadership from the workers favored this process.

The movement that definitely brought down the USSR came from Russia, the nation that had built the Tsarist empire, predecessor of the Soviet state. In May 1990, Borís Yeltsin, who had been expelled from the CPSU in 1987, was elected president of the Russian Parliament. From that position of power, Yeltsin promoted measures that precipitated the end of the Soviet Union.

Powerless and abandoned by almost everyone, Gorbachev resigned as President of the USSR on December 25, 1991. The Soviet red flag was lowered in the Moscow Kremlin, the Russian flag replaced it.

Russia took over from the USSR on the international scene: embassies, permanent post on the Security Council, and control of Soviet nuclear weapons. The end of the Cold War was announced, but the United States took advantage of it to impose its hegemony in a unipolar world.

Russian Federation

Although Yeltsin was applauded abroad for showing himself as a democrat to weaken Gorvachev, his conception of the presidency was very autocratic, acting either as his own prime minister (until June 1992) or appointing people he trusted to that position., regardless of parliament.

Meanwhile, the excessive presence of tiny parties and their refusal to form coherent alliances left the legislature ungovernable. During 1993, the dispute between Yeltsin and the parliament culminated in the constitutional crisis of October.

This reached its critical point when, on October 3, Yeltsin commanded the tanks to bombard the Russian parliament. With this momentous (and unconstitutional) step of dissolving parliament by gunfire, Russia had not been so close to civil strife since the 1917 revolution.

From then on, Yeltsin was completely free to impose a constitution with strong presidential powers, which was approved in a referendum in December 1993. However, the December vote also marked an important advance by communists and nationalists, reflecting the growing disenchantment of the population with neoliberal economic reforms.

Despite coming to power in a general atmosphere of optimism, Yeltsin would never regain his popularity after supporting Yegor Gaidar’s economic “shock therapy”: end of Soviet-era price controls, drastic cuts in public spending and openness to the economy. foreign trade in 1992.

The reforms immediately devastated the quality of life of the vast majority of the population, especially in those sectors benefited by controlled wages and prices, subsidies and the welfare state of the Soviet era. Russia suffered an economic recession in the 1990s more severe than the Great Depression that hit the United States or Germany in the early 1930s.

On the advice of Western governments, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, Russia would embark on the largest and fastest privatization ever carried out by a government in all of history. By the middle of the decade, commerce, services and small industry were already in private hands.

Almost all large companies were acquired by their former directors, spawning a class of nouveau riche close to various mafias or Western investors. At the base of the system, due to inflation or unemployment, many workers ended up in poverty, prostitution or crime.

According to, the Russian economy began a recovery from 1999 in part thanks to the rise in oil prices, its main export even though Soviet production levels are far behind.

After the financial crisis of 1998, Yeltsin was in the twilight of his career. Just hours before the first day of 2000, he resigned by surprise leaving the government in the hands of his prime minister, Vladimir Putin, a former KGB official and head of his successor agency after the fall of the USSR.

In the presidential elections of March 26, 2000, the new president easily defeated his opponents, winning in the first round. In 2004 he was reelected with 71% of the votes and his allies won the legislative elections.

In the Russian legislative elections of 2007, the United Russia party won 64.3% of the votes, which was seen as support from the Russians for the aforementioned political and economic course.

In Russia’s 2008 presidential elections, United Russia party candidate Dmitry Medvedev, supported by then-President Vladimir Putin, won by a wide margin over his opponents at the polls. Medvedev took office in May 2008.

Vladimir Putin again won the 2012 elections, and on his return to presidential power he appointed Medvedev as prime minister.

Russia Recent History

Ireland in the 21st Century

Ireland in the 21st Century

In a referendum on June 7, 2001 (in which only 33.7% of those eligible to vote took part), the Irish surprisingly rejected the Treaty of Nice, adopted by the EU states in December 2000, with 54%. In a new referendum on October 19, 2002, however, the Irish people approved the agreement with 63% of the votes, paving the way for EU enlargement. After several years of economic boom, the coalition cabinet formed by Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrats under Bartholemew P. Ahern became clearly confirmed in office in the parliamentary elections on May 17, 2002 (first re-election of a coalition government in the history of Ireland). The opposition Fine Gael lost 23 of its previous 54 seats (and thus much of its political influence).

The governing coalition of Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrats suffered a drastic drop in popularity in 2003. Fianna Fáil, in particular, was accused of misleading voters about the true state of public finances. In addition, the budgetary situation forced the government to take drastic and sometimes unpopular austerity measures against the opposition of influential interest groups (especially the public service unions). The referendum on changing citizenship law in 2004 was particularly controversial. With 79.1% of the vote, the citizens adopted a constitutional amendment that abolished the previously automatic right to Irish citizenship for every child born on the island. Regardless of this, Fianna Fáil again asserted itself as the strongest political party in the parliamentary elections on May 24, 2007. However, the great losses suffered by coalition partner Progressive Democrats (PD) made it necessary to expand the governing coalition. After successful coalition negotiations, the Green Party also took part in the new Ahern cabinet.

After a long phase of growth, in which GDP growth of 6% was achieved in 2007, the country plunged into a severe economic crisis in 2007/08. Worn down by a financial affair that had lasted for months, Ahern announced his resignation in April 2008. On May 7, 2008, the previous Finance Minister Brian Cowen was elected as the new head of government. He continued the coalition with the Greens and Progressive Democrats.

According to allcitycodes, the Lisbon Treaty negotiated by the EU member states was initially rejected in a referendum in June 2008, but was approved by a clear majority in a second referendum in October 2009. At the end of September 2008, several major Irish banks came to the brink of insolvency. As a result, the government was the first in Europe to issue a state guarantee for all savings deposits; on December 15, 2008 it announced a rescue package for the banks of € 10 billion. In January 2009, the government was forced to nationalize the Anglo Irish Bank, which was ailing by speculative real estate deals.

To overcome the budget crisis, the Cowen government relied on drastic cuts in the social network and income cuts for employees in the public sector. The extensive austerity measures, which provoked sharp protests in the population and in the trade unions, were aimed at v. a. looking to maintain the country’s credit rating after rating agencies downgraded Ireland’s credit rating. After the self-dissolution of the Progressive Democrats, the government lost its majority in parliament. Because of the ongoing crisis in the banking system, threatening the stability of the euro zone, Ireland went under the euro rescue package in November 2010 and applied for aid totaling € 85 billion.

On January 23, 2011, the Green Party also withdrew from the coalition. Early parliamentary elections became necessary, in which Fianna Fáil suffered a dramatic drop in votes on February 25, 2011 and only won 19 seats (2007: 77). The Fine Gael party, led by Enda Kenny , was the strongest party with 76 seats, but missed an absolute majority. The Labor Party won 37 seats, and on March 9, 2011, Kenny became Prime Minister of a strong Fine Gael-Labor ruling coalition. For the first time in 100 years, a British head of state, Queen Elizabeth II , visited the country again in May 2011. On November 11, 2011, Labor Party politician Michael D. Higgins succeeded Mary McAleese sworn in as the 9th President of the Republic of Ireland.

A referendum on the European Fiscal Compact took place on May 31, 2012, in which 60.3% of those who voted were in favor of ratification. Ireland thus fulfilled a necessary condition for the later use of funds from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

After it was discovered in the 1990s that girls and women in Catholic reformatory institutions for prostitutes, rape victims and socially or psychologically conspicuous people, so-called »Magdalenenheimen«, as well as in so-called industrial schools (state and church institutions for orphaned and neglected children) had been exploited and mentally and physically abused for years, a committee of inquiry presented its report in February 2013. This also demonstrated the involvement of state institutions in the scandal. Between 1922 and 1996 there were a total of around 10,000 women and girls in Magdalenenheimen. The government then apologized to the victims and promised compensation. The passage of a law in July 2013,

The Kenny administration’s plans to abolish the Senate in order to save costs were rejected by a majority of the Irish in a referendum in October 2013. In the course of 2013, the general economic conditions improved slightly. On December 15, 2013, Ireland was the first country to leave the euro rescue package. In April 2014, an Irish head of state, President Higgins, visited Great Britain for the first time. In the European elections on May 23, 2014, the governing parties suffered heavy losses. Fine Gael lost 6.8% and was only able to win 22.3% of the votes, and the co-ruling Labor Party fell from 13.9% to 5.3%. Fianna Fáil came to 22.3% of the vote, a loss of only 1.8%. On May 22, 2015, a majority of 62.1% voted in a referendum for a constitutional amendment to introduce same-sex marriage. In the same month, the British heir to the throne, Prince Charles, met Sinn Féin President Gerard Adams on his visit to Ireland.

The meeting in Galway was interpreted by political observers as a signal of reconciliation between the British Crown and the Irish Republican movement.

In the parliamentary elections on February 26, 2016, the governing parties suffered another devastating defeat. Fine Gael only won 25.5% of the vote and 50 seats (2011: 36.1% and 76 seats). Your coalition partner Labor Party received 6.6% of the vote and 7 seats (2011: 19.5% and 37 seats). In contrast, Fianna Fáil improved from 17.5% of the vote to 24.3% and moved into parliament with 44 members (2011: 20). Sinn Féin also increased significantly with 13.8% of the votes and 23 seats (2011: 9.9% and 14 seats). Negotiations on the formation of a coalition government were unsuccessful. Finally, Enda Kenny came to an agreement with Fianna Fáil on the tolerance of a minority cabinet he had formed, made up of members of his party and independent politicians. On May 6, 2016, parliament confirmed him as head of government. The poor election result brought Kenny a loss of reputation in his party. Although he was able to win a vote of confidence in parliament on February 15, 2017, he finally announced his resignation from the party leadership and his resignation from the office of prime minister in May 2017. Successor in both functions became on 2.6. and June 14, 2017 Leo Varadkar . He vehemently advocated the legalization of abortion.

In the referendum on May 25, 2018, a clear majority of 66.4% of voters spoke out in favor of the right to abortion (turnout: two-thirds of those eligible to vote). Since then, abortion has been legal and not a crime. (The strict law in force since 1865 threatened women with up to 14 years imprisonment in the event of an abortion, even if the fetus was rape, incest or deformed.)

On October 26, 2018, President Michael D. Higgins became Presidentre-elected for a second term with 55.8% of the vote. On January 14, 2020, he dissolved parliament on the initiative of the Prime Minister. Varadkar justified this, among other things, with the changed majority in parliament and the near Brexit. In the early parliamentary elections on February 20, 2020, Sinn Féin achieved a surprisingly high victory (24.5% and 37 seats plus 1 seat due to a change of party). Fianna Fáil was the second strongest party with 22.2% and – due to the extremely complicated electoral system – 38 seats. Fine Gáil received 20.9% of the vote (35 seats) and Labor a minuscule 4.4%. The unexpected election results came about because the voters wanted to punish the government, among other things, for the health system, which is in dire need of reform, the unresolved housing issue and the abnormally high level of homelessness. Brexit, Sinn Féin, on the other hand, focused on social issues such as the housing crisis. Faced with this situation, Varadkar offered to resign. After the parliamentary elections in 2020, an unprecedented coalition of the bourgeois parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael with the Greens formed the government. On June 27, 2020, Fianna Fáil boss Micheál Martin (* 1960) was elected as the new prime minister.

On January 31, 2020, Great Britain under Boris Johnson declared the United Kingdom to leave the EU. The problems associated with this for the Republic of Ireland were not resolved, in particular the question of whether Brexit will take place with or without an agreement between Great Britain and the EU. A key issue for particularly hard hit Ireland was to politically redefine the border with Northern Ireland and to mitigate the economic and other consequences of this. This also includes the so-called backstop clause, which is intended to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in order to avoid the Good Friday Agreement put in danger. In addition, the handling of the EU Free Trade Agreement in relation to Ireland and the UK and the general reorganization of political, economic and cultural relations between the Republic of Ireland and the UK had to be clarified.

Ireland in the 21st Century

Austria Architecture and Design

Austria Architecture and Design

Before 1945: Based on historicism, and subsequently also committed to the Secession style, O. Wagner became a pioneer as an architect, urban planner (Viennese Stadtbahn with station buildings, 1894–1900) and furniture designer of a functional aesthetic that incorporated new materials. His opponent C. Sitte provided essential knowledge about modern urban planning. O. Wagner’s students, JM Olbrich and J. Hoffmann , were the leading representatives of Art Nouveau, both of whom were also intensively active in the field of applied art. J. Hoffmann founded the Wiener Werkstätte in 1903 with K. Moser whose products were made by leading artists and artisans (Carl Otto Czeschka, * 1878, † 1960; D. Peche; E. J. Wimmer-Wisgrill). Ceramists include Michael Powolny (* 1871, † 1954) and Berthold Löffler (* 1874, † 1960). The buildings and writings by A. Loos (including Vienna, Haus am Michaelerplatz, 1909–11) mark the dawn of objective, functionalist architecture. According to allcitycodes, Austria is a country located in western Europe.

After the First World War, C. Holzmeister oriented himself towards expressionist styles when building the Vienna crematorium (1921–22). A. Loos and F. Schuster worked for the Viennese settlement and garden city movement; Under the direction of Josef Frank (* 1885, † 1967) the Werkbundsiedlung (1930–32) was built in Vienna-Hietzing with 70 single-family houses by 30 well-known domestic and foreign architects. Among the numerous blocks of flats that were built by the Viennese city administration in 1923–34, including social facilities, the facilities according to plans by Hubert Gessner (* 1871, † 1943) and especially the Karl-Marx-Hof (1927–30) by Karl Ehn (* 1884, † 1959) emerged. The employment office in Vienna-Liesing (1930–31) by Ernst Anton Plischke (* 1903, † 1992), a transparent skeleton structure, is considered the main work of international modernism in Austria. Among the few private buildings, Lois Welzenbacher’s (* 1889, † 1955) houses integrated into the landscape in Tyrol, Salzburg and Upper Austria should be emphasized. The corporate state, the Nazi regime and World War II as well as the mostly final emigration of important architects (Frank; F. Kiesler; Ernst Lichtblau, * 1883, † 1963; R. Neutra, Plischke, R. M. Schindler and others) brought Austria’s progressive architectural creation to a standstill.

After 1945: In the early phase of the reconstruction, a pragmatism dominated the questions of architectural design. Before and after the war, C. Holzmeister was of great importance as a representative of moderately modern, more traditionalist architecture, but also as a teacher. R. Rainer, who also works as a Viennese city planner, realized future-oriented buildings and socially relevant concepts. Karl Schwanzer’s (* 1918, † 1975) Austria Pavilion for the World Exhibition in Brussels (1958; used as a 20th century museum in Vienna from 1962 ) is an important building of post-war modernism. The Holzmeister student G. Peichl (including Bonn, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1989–92; Vienna, Millennium Tower, 1997–99, together with Boris Podrecca, * 1941), W. Holzbauer (including church in Salzburg-Parsch, 1953–56; Bregenz, Landtag building, 1975–80; Linz, Hauptbahnhof, 2000–04) and H. Hollein (including Mönchengladbach, Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, 1972–82; Vienna, Haas-Haus, 1986–90) also achieved great international recognition.

In the spirit of the student movement of 1968, visionary-actionist groups of architects formed in Vienna. Haus-Rucker-Co, Coop Himmelb (l) au, Zünd Up, Missing Link. Around 1970 Ernst Hiesmayr (* 1920, † 2006; Vienna, Juridicum, 1968–84), Anton Schweighofer (* 1930, † 2019; Vienna, City of the Child, 1969–74) and Harry Glück (* 1925, † 2016; Vienna, Alt-Erlaa residential park, 1968–74) construct innovative buildings for public clients. The wide range of architectural possibilities is illustrated by the sculptural model by F. Wotruba built church on the Georgenberg in Vienna-Liesing (1974–76) and the “Haus Hundertwasser” (1983–86), a residential complex in Vienna designed according to populist-ecological ideas.

Josef Lackner (* 1931, † 2000) built functional church and school buildings in Tyrol. An independent scene also established itself in Graz in the 1970s and 1980s. Especially Günther Domenig (* 1934, † 2012; Vienna favorites, Central Savings Bank, 1975-79; Steindorf / Kärtnen, stone house, 1986 et seq.; Nuremberg, documentation center at the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds, 1999-2001) came forward with unconventional expressive buildings. The team Michael Szyszkowitz (* 1944, † 2016)and Karla Kowalski (* 1941) built schools and residential complexes; Florian Riegler (* 1954) and Roger Riewe (* 1959) built Graz Airport (1989–94) and Innsbruck Central Station (2001–03). The members of the »Vorarlberger Baukünstler Group« (Roland Gnaiger, * 1951; Karl Baumschlager, * 1956; Dietmar Eberle, * 1952) found autonomous achievements. In a culturally open climate in Vienna, numerous architects were able to distinguish themselves from the 1980s on in residential buildings and schools (Hermann Czech, * 1936; Carl Pruscha, * 1936; Roland Hagmüller, * 1941, † 2011; Helmut Richter, * 1941, † 2014; Luigi Blau, * 1945; Adolf Krischanitz, * 1946; Rudolf Prohazka, * 1947, † 2011; Elsa Prochazka, * 1948 and others). Coop Himmelb (l) au secured a leading position in the field of deconstructivist architecture (Munich, Academy of Fine Arts, 2002–05; Aalborg, Musikhaus, 2003 ff.). The government district in Sankt Pölten (1990-97), built according to a basic concept by Ernst Hoffmann (* 1949), set new standards in the 1990s with the cultural buildings built with the participation of various architects. Adaptations and new museum buildings have gained in importance since the late 1980s. Peter Noever (* 1941) and W. Pichler set striking accents in the restructuring of the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna (1989–92). Laurids (* 1941) and Manfred Ortner (* 1943), former members of Haus-Rucker-Co, realized one of the largest European cultural complexes (1990–2001) with the Vienna Museum Quarter in the area of ​​the baroque court stables. In Klosterneuburg, Heinz Tesar (* 1939) built a private art house for the Essl Collection (1996–99). In addition, important exhibition buildings were built by foreign architects: Kunsthaus in Bregenz (1990–97) by P. Zumthor, Kunsthaus in Graz (2000–03) by Colin Fournier (* 1944) and Peter Cook (* 1936), Lentos Art Museum in Linz (2000–03) by Weber + Hofer, Museum der Moderne in Salzburg (2002–04) by Friedrich Hoff Zwick. The new building of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York (1998–2002) by Raimund Abraham (* 1933, † 2010) attracted a lot of attention.

Austria Architecture

Georgian Literature

Georgian Literature

Georgian literature. Within the Caucasian culture, Georgian literature is the only surviving ancient literature. It has been tangible since the 5th century and initially dealt with religious issues. After Persian and Turkish rule in the 15th to 18th centuries, it was under Russian influence from the 19th century. Since Georgia regained independence in 1991, literature has played a key role in social and cultural discovery processes. According to Countryaah, Georgia is among countries that starting with letter G.


From the 5th century onwards, hagiographic works can be traced back to Jakob Zurtaweli’s »The Sorrows of Saint Shushanik«. Nonetheless, their design suggests narrative traditions that go back further. In these and subsequent works, religious, but also historical, national and philosophical questions are raised, human fates are described and descriptions of nature are provided. The 12th century shows a mature secular literature with high ideals. The economic boom accompanied by a lively literary translator activity was in the 13./14. Aborted in the 19th century by the invasion of the Mongols. Many works of Georgian literature were lost during this time, five writings from the 12th century alone have survived: inter alia. works by Mose Chonelis (12th century) and Sargis Tmogwelis (12th century) as well as by Schota Rustaweli “The Recke in the Tiger Skin” (around 1200; German).

15th to 18th century

From the 15th to the 18th century, Georgian literature developed in the context of Persian or Turkish rule. Your influence will include visible in the works of King Teimura I (* 1589, † 1663). King Artschil II (* 1647, † 1713), who also worked as a poet, already polemicized against the orientation towards Persian culture. S. S. Orbeliani published a Georgian dictionary and wrote the collection of fairy tales and fables “The Wisdom of Lies” (German) from 1686–95 with educational content. Dawit Guramishvili’s (* 1705, † 1792) compilation »Davitiani« contains poems and poems in which he addresses the deportation he personally suffered from his homeland and formulates the writer’s tasks. Besiki (actually Bessarion Gabashvili; * 1750, † 1791) was v. a. known as the author of love poetry.

19th century

After Georgia was forcibly incorporated into Tsarist Russia (from 1801), Georgian literature came into contact with Russian and, through this, with Western European literature. Aleksandre Tschawtschawadses (* 1786, † 1848) poems are oriental formulaic in the traditional sense and are characterized by the love of life and the melancholy of Romanticism. With N. Baratashvili, the most famous of the Georgian Romantics, Georgian literature finally broke away from exclusively Eastern influences. Baratashvili dealt with v. a. with questions of national identity. Giorgi Eristawi (* 1811, † 1864) revived Georgian theatrical art in the 1840s. I. Chavtschawadze and the poet Akaki Tsereteli (* 1840, † 1915) rekindled Georgian self-confidence in society and literature with, among other things, criticism of serfdom. In the 1880s, with the works of Aleksandre Qasbegis (* 1848, † 1893) and Wascha Pschawelas (* 1861, † 1915)a realistic literary current that, among other things, poetically generalized the life of Georgian mountain dwellers (so-called Georgian “mountain school”). In the course of this, the socially critical tendency of Georgian literature was further strengthened, especially since the Russian revolutionary movement raised hopes for national liberation.

Early 20th century

Galaktion Tabidze (* 1892, † 1959) became the most prominent poet among Georgian writers of the 20th century. In his poetry he sang, among other things. the ideas of the October Revolution. The different literary currents of this time combined with diverging political positions and found themselves in groups of writers such as the so-called Academic Association, in the union of proletarian writers as well as in the groups of the symbolists (who came to be known as the “blue drinking horns”) and the futurists again. From the mid-1920s, prose gained popularity while poetry lost its influence. Michail Dschawachischwili (* 1880, † 1937), K. Gamsachurdia and G. Robakidze In their novels they deal with coming to terms with the past and the preservation of national values.

After 1945

During the Second World War, many Georgian writers served on the front lines. They processed their experiences of violence and death v. a. in lyric. From the end of the 1950s, the literary topics expanded again. The narrative was increasingly discovered as a prose form, just as prose became the leading genre again from the 1960s onwards. Became known inter alia. the humorous works of Nodar Dumbadze (* 1928, † 1984) as well as the novels by Tschabua Amiredshibi (* 1921, † 2013) and Otar Tschiladze (* 1933, † 2009), which are created through the individual focus on their characters and excluding specific historical events describe social living environments.

After Georgia gained independence, novels appeared in the 1990s that deal with the Soviet era – for example in Chiladse’s »Awelum« (1995; German). At the same time, younger authors began including accompanied by the founding of her own publishing houses to print her poems and stories.

Georgian Literature

Denmark Literature

Denmark Literature

In Danish literature, runic inscriptions and legal books are the oldest surviving vernacular sources. The first literary references are in Latin.

The “Gesta Danorum” (around 1200) by Saxo Grammaticus offers a genealogical description of Danish history from its mythical beginnings to the time the book was written. In contrast, Anders Sunesen’s (* around 1167, † 1228) theological-allegorical didactic poem “Hexaëmeron” (circa 1200–28) provides an example of the international level of monastic literature of the Danish Middle Ages. The oldest book printed in Danish (1495) is the “Rimkroniken” (“Reimchronik”, finished in 1477).

Early modern age

Latin literature and handwritten records continued into the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. At the same time, printing and the Reformation marked a turning point. In Bible translations (New Testament of 1524 and the complete Bible “Christian III. Bible”, 1550) and the scientific examination of one’s own language, an increased appreciation of the vernacular was expressed. The interest in vernacular literature resulted in an early recording of medieval ballad poetry (Folkeviser). In addition to grammars and metrics, the first poetics appeared in Danish. With a rhetorically versed poetry, which was devoted to religious and secular subjects, attempts were made to tie in with European standards. So justified T. Kingo an independent Danish psalm poem. Leonora Christina Ulfeldt’s autobiography stands out from the memoir literature, which was still heavily influenced by Christian rhetoric.


In the 18th century, Danish literature emerged as the recipient of European enlightenment ideas. Impulses from French, English and German explanatory pamphlets were taken up in particular by L. Holberg. The historian, state theorist and moral philosopher wrote comedies from 1722-28 and institutionalized theater in Denmark. The satirical tradition of Holberg was continued by Charlotte Dorothea Biehl (* 1731, † 1788) and J. Wessel. In contrast, H. A. Brorson’s pietistic psalm poetry stands for an emancipation of subjective feeling that shaped the sentimental literature of the late 18th century. Next to Klopstock other central figures of German sensibility stayed in Copenhagen. Their influence made a. noticeable in the poetry and drama of J. Ewald and J. Baggesen. Both authors also contributed significantly to the final establishment of the novel in Denmark.

Romanticism – Biedermeier – Realism

In 1802/03, H. Steffens brought the ideas of German Romanticism to Denmark through lectures. The philosophical appreciation of art led to a new understanding of authors and art, which already shaped the early collections of poetry by A. Oehlenschläger and A. W. Schack von Staffeldt. The propagated aestheticization of the nation was expressed in the use of materials and forms from Norse, Old Danish and popular Danish literature, which reflected the poetry and drama of Oehlenschläger, N. F. S. Grundtvigs, C. Winthers and B. S. Ingemanns excels. The latter made a name for himself with extensive historical novels on Danish history. The second generation of Danish Romanticism was formed around the aesthetician and playwright J. L. Heiberg, who sought to reform Danish theater based on G. W. F. Hegel and French vaudeville. Henrik Hertz and Jens Christian Hostrup (* 1818, † 1892) followed this program. Like Heiberg, F. Paludan-Müller sought a philosophically inspired poetry of ideas. In contrast, E. Aarestrup anticipated modernist forms of symbolist poetry with his erotic poetry. With Thomasine Gyllembourg, S. S. Blicher, M. Goldschmidt, H. E. Schack and Vilhelm Bergsøe (* 1835, † 1911), who are considered representatives of poetic realism, an accomplished and ironic narrative art first blossomed. The philosopher S. Kierkegaard and the fairy tale poet H. C. Andersen also acted as novelists in this environment.

Modern breakthrough and decadence literature (1870–1910)

With his lectures on the “mainstreams of 19th century literature”, which began in 1871, G. Brandes (* 1842, † 1927) revised the concept of literature and literary criticism in Denmark. The literary program developed in close connection with the industrialization and urbanization processes. What was called for was a (political) tendency literature that critically deals with a bourgeois double standard (especially sexual morality). The reception of French naturalism coincided with the nihilistic and linguistically reflective radicalism of F. Nietzsche, the Brandes discovered for European literature. With the authors of the »Modern Breakthrough«, Danish literature gained European relevance. This is true v. a. for J. P. Jacobsen, H. Bang, H. Drachmann and H. Pontoppidan, who in their novels took up the problem posed by Brandes. The claim to modernity was also formally reflected in that these authors were guided by impressionistic methods. In addition to Amalie Skram, Thit Jensen and Agnes Henningsen (* 1868, † 1962), many female authors took part in the debates on emancipation and sexual morality.

At the same time as French symbolist poetry, as a country starting with letter D according to Countryaah, Denmark experienced a lyrical renaissance in the 1880s and 90s. J. Jørgensen, S. Claussen and V. Stuckenberg grouped authors around the magazine “Taarnet” (tower) who translated classical French modernism into Danish. They attempted to counter the depicted suffering from the loss of meaning in modernity and its social and industrial upheavals with exaggerated aestheticism and religious reorientation.

Ernesto Dalgas (* 1871, † 1899), J. V. Jensen (* 1873, † 1950) and M. A. Nexø wrote real decadence fantasies with doom scenarios. Jensen and Nexø  - like Marie Bregendahl, J. Aakjær and Johan Skjoldborg (* 1861, † 1936)  - later made a name for themselves as authors of popular breakthroughs and workers’ literature.

Interwar and wartime (1910-45)

Avant-garde tendencies were found among others. in the poetry and novels Emil Bønnelyckes (* 1893, † 1953) and A. T. Kristensens (* 1893, † 1974). Overall, however, traditional, realistic modes of representation prevailed, ranging from the bourgeois, naturalistic novels of J. Paludan (* 1896, † 1975) to the socially critical collective novels of H. R. Kirk to the psychoanalytic descriptions of H. C. Branner influenced by S. Freud. The 1930s were characterized by the dichotomy between a socialist-inspired cultural radicalism and conservative-bourgeois currents (including K. Munk) embossed. The main figure of the cultural radical wing was the architect, lighting designer and revue author P. Henningsen. For the concept he formulated of everyday poetry inspired by (proletarian) popular culture, prosaic (M. Klitgaard; Hans Scherfig, * 1905, † 1979) and dramatic implementations (K. Abell) can be found. Tania Blixen held an exceptional position, whose subtle narratives, written in English and Danish, are devoted to philosophical-aesthetic questions that raise fundamental political and religious problems (gender roles, power structures, etc.).

Post-war literature (1945-60)

The breakthrough of modernism only began with post-war literature. Authors, the aesthetic and v. a. ethical questions were taken up in a poetry that was at times hermetic and rich in metaphors. As a source of inspiration for the lyricists of this generation – i.a. T. Bjørnvig, O. Wivel, O. Sarvig and F. Jæger  - acted by P. La Cour. With his subtle short stories, M. J. A. Hansen provided the prosaic counterpart to this poetry. It was only V. Sørensen who founded a really modernist prose with his linguistically reflective and seemingly absurd stories. Also in the poetry and short stories of the boy Benny Andersens (* 1929, † 2018), the poetry of Ivan Malinowski (* 1926, † 1989), the prose of P. Seeberg and in the dramas and television plays of L. Panduros, language criticism stands alongside the thematization of an existence that is perceived as absurd.

Postmodern and Political Engagement (1960-70)

An overcoming of the symbolistically inspired post-war modernism was already indicated in the early, experimental poetry of K. Rifbjerg, who has shaped the literary life of Denmark as a novelist to the present day. It was only the representatives of system poetry (analysis of language material, text generation based on mathematical processes), inspired by French structuralism and post-structuralism, who finally turned away from modernist art concepts by turning against subject, authorship and the concept of the work in their autopoetically generated texts. Authors as diverse as Hans-Jørgen Nielsen (* 1941, † 1991), Klaus Høeck (* 1938), Peter Laugesen (* 1942), Dan Turèll (* 1946, † 1993) and v. a. Per Højholt and Inger Christensen contributed to the international reputation of the Danish post-war avant-garde. Corresponding prosaic experiments were provided by S. Å. Madsen, Vagn Lundbye (* 1933) and Henrik Bjelke (* 1937, † 1993). In contrast, T. Hansen and T. Skou-Hansen represent  the European documentary novel. In addition to experimental trends, the 1960s and 70s were characterized by political commitment. With (auto) biographical descriptions or confessional novels, Tove Ditlevsen (* 1917, † 1976), Jette Drewsen (* 1943), Vita Andersen (* 1942, † 2021), Dea Trier Mørch (* 1941, † 2001) and Suzanne Brøgger (* 1944) use literature for emancipatory purposes.

Contemporary literature (since 1980)

The 1980s were marked by a return to aesthetic issues and large narrative forms. The classic modern novel was linked, inter alia, to Poul Vad (* 1927, † 2003) and Peer Hultberg (* 1935, † 2007). P. Høeg celebrates European successes with his novels, which combine philosophical and ethical questions with popular forms of depiction of crime literature.

The youngest generation of Danish authors – i.a. Peter Adolphsen (* 1974), Solvej Balle (* 1962), Kirsten Hammann (* 1965), Helle Helle (* 1965) and Christina Hesselholdt (* 1962)  - is characterized by minimalist art concepts (mostly concentrated short prose). Whereas in the 1980s, with Henrik Nordbrandt (* 1945) and Pia Tafdrup, poetry found its way back to a metaphor-rich modernism or addressed the big city experiences (Søren Ulrik Thomsen, * 1956; Michael Strunge, * 1958, † 1986), contemporary poets are more concerned with philosophically distant language experiments (including Niels Lyngsø, * 1968; Simon Grotrian, * 1961).

So far, three Danish writers have received the Nobel Prize for Literature: K. Gjellerup, H. Pontoppidan (both 1917) and J. V. Jensen (1944).

Denmark Literature