Can’t get enough geography? We’re right there with you. The world is a big, beautiful, fascinating place. Here are a few interesting geography facts related to Europe.
1. Europe is home to two countries that are completely landlocked by Italy.
San Marino and Vatican City, two fully sovereign nations, are both completely surrounded by Italy. Lesotho (landlocked within South Africa), is the only other country in the world surrounded entirely by another country.
2. Vatican City is also the smallest country in the world.
Speaking of Vatican City, the home of the Pope is quite small. It doesn’t matter whether measuring by size (0.44 km2) or population (1,000), Vatican City takes the cake as the smallest country in the world.
3. Europe has some unique place names.
There are seven different villages in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway with the name Å, which means river in Scandinavian languages, making Europe home to some of the shortest named places in the world.
Conversely, a large village on the island of Anglesey in Wales is called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. The long form of the name was invented for promotional purposes in the 1860s, and with 58 characters, it is the longest place name in Europe
4. Rome was the first city in the world to reach a population of 1 million people.
The population of Rome exceeded 1 million in 133 B.C. The Romans certainly made their mark on world history. Today, there is a city called ‘Roma’ on every continent in the world, except for Antarctica.
5. Istanbul is the largest city in the world that is on two different continents.
Russia and Turkey both span from Europe into Asia, but Istanbul is unique in that it is a city that can claim both continents. The Bosphorus River in Istanbul separates the European and the Asian sides.
6. Finland and North Korea are separated by just one country.
We mentioned that Russia is also part of Asia. Did you know Russia is also huge? It spans a whopping 11 time zones! Due to its large size, Russia shares a border with Finland in the west, and shares a small land border with North Korea in the eastern part of the country.
7. Norway has a lot of fjords.
In total, there are about 1,190 fjords in Norway and the Svalbard islands. The Nærøyfjord (pronounced like ‘narrow’), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the narrowest fjord in the world at only 250 meters in width in some areas.
8. The Mediterranean Sea is home to many beautiful islands.
There are thousands of islands in the Mediterranean sea. Most of them are very small, and some of them are uninhabited. Many of these islands can be found in Greece, though Sicily in Italy is the largest of all Mediterranean islands with an area of 25,711 km2.
9. Monaco is the most densely populated nation in the world.
Located on the French Riviera in Western Europe, Monaco has an area of 2.02 km2, making it the second smallest country in the world. With a population of about 38,400, it tops the list of most densely populated countries.
10. Spain means ‘land of the rabbits’.
When the Greeks came to Spain around 600 B.C., they called the Iberian Peninsula ‘Hesperia’, meaning ‘land of the setting sun’. When the Carthaginians came in 300 B.C., they called the country ‘Ispania’, which means ‘land of the rabbits’. Roman coins from the region depict a female figure with a rabbit at her feet.
Mark Heald is an Associate Product Manager and Sporcle Admin. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and bemoaning the fact the Sonics left Seattle.