Europe 🌍


I lived both in Western and Eastern Europe: born in the East near the Black Sea, and moved to the West (Germany, Luxembourg, France). And then even further west.

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern and mostly the Eastern Hemispheres. Europe has fifty sovereign states with a total population of over 740 million. European culture is the root of so called Western civilization: ancient philosophy, Renaissance humanism, exploration and colonization, revolutions and wars, Enlightenment and industrialization, art and science, fall of dictatorships and the European Union (EU).


Europe is the western part of Eurasia with Asia to the east they are separated by Ural Mountains and River and the Black Sea.

Eurasia is the largest continental area on Earth. I've never been to Asia.

  • Germany


    A Country in Western Europe

     Bundesrepublik Deutschland / The Federal Republic of Germany

    Germany lies between the Baltic and North seas and the Alps. It is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, with over 80-million inhabitants and with the world's 4th-largest economy -  the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany has social security and a universal health care system, environmental protections, and a tuition-free university education.

    Its capital is Berlin, and the largest urban area is the Ruhr(Ruhrgebiet), where I lived, as well as in merged in Düsseldorf, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the center of Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.

    It borders Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Luxembourg - I lived in the latter two as well, Paris was 4 hours away on a high-speed train.

    Important historical facts about Germany:

    • Humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. Germanic tribes inhabited parts of modern Germany since antiquity.
    • About 2,000 years ago till 9 CE, Roman Empire invaded its lands. By 100 CE, Germanic tribes occupied most of modern Germany.
    • Around 260 - 375 CE, Germanic peoples broke into Roman-controlled lands. The Franks took Saxony and Bavaria. The areas of eastern Germany were inhabited by Slavic tribes.
    • In the 10th-18th centuries, Germany was a central part of the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806), which absorbed northern Italy and Burgundy. Great Famine of 1315-17 followed by the Black Death bubonic bacterial plague of 1348–50, the most fatal pandemic in human history that killed 30-60 percent of the European population.
    • In 15th century, a German inventor Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable-type printing.
    • During the 16th century, northern Germany want through the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther began the standardization of German language.
    • Protestant-Catholic Cologne War (1583–88) and the Thirty Years' Wars, started as a religious civil war and escalated into a contest for European dominance of Austria and Spain against France and Sweden (1618–1648) - devastated German lands: population in some areas declined in half.
    • During the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), France, Russia, Prussia, and Austria competed for power in the German states. In 1815, the German Confederation was formed, a league of 39 sovereign states.
    • In 1871, most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire (1871–1918). Germany claimed several colonies. The German Colonial Empire included several African countries,Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Namibia, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, New Guinea, numerous West Pacific islands, and holdings in China.
    • World War I (1914-18) with Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Germany, Russia, France, Britain, Italy, Ottoman Empire, and the United States involved, resulted in one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with 9,000,000 killed in combat and over 5,000,000 civilians dead. Spanish flu pandemic spread by the movement of combatants caused many millions of additional deaths worldwide.
    • In the German Revolution of 1918, Germany was declared a federal republic. It accepted defeat in the war, the Empire was replaced by the semi-presidential Weimar Republic (1919-33) with the democratic constitution. For a short while, communists seized power in Bavaria, and autocratic arm forces with nationalists and monarchists attempted coup in 1920, the Kapp Putsch in Berlin. It followed by street fighting in the major cities, by the occupation of the Ruhr by Belgian and French troops, and by hyperinflation.
    • The new currency of 1924 and debt restructuring allowed Golden Twenties with artistic innovation and liberal cultural life.
    • The worldwide Great Depression hit Germany in 1929. Policies of fiscal austerity and deflation caused unemployment of over 30% by 1932.
    • The Nazi Party won a special election in 1932 and Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of The Third Reich in 1933, with unrestricted legislative power. Basic civil rights were abandoned, a centralized totalitarian state established, concentration camps opened, the persecution of minorities (Holocaust) started. In total, about 17,000,000 people were murdered, including:
        • 6,000,000 Jews,
        • 130,000 Romani,
        • 275,000 disabled people,
        • 2,700,000 Poles,
        • 1,300,000 Ukrainians,
        • 1,000,000 Belarusians,
        • 3,500,000 Soviet prisoners of war,
        • thousands of political and religious opponents, homosexuals.
      • In 1938, The Third Reich annexed Austria and Sudetenland and occupied Czech lands in 1939.
      • In 1939, Hitler–Stalin pact divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence across Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Moldova. The Third Reich invaded Poland, beginning World War II (1939-45). Soviets invaded Poland after a Soviet–Japanese ceasefire.
      • In 1940, Nazis invaded Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. Britain repelled German air attacks. Soviet Union took parts of Karelia and  Finland, followed by annexation of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Romania and now Ukraine (Bukovina, or Chernivtsi, Bessarabia).
      • In 1941, Nazis invaded Yugoslavia, Greece, and the Soviet Union.
      • In 1942, The Third Reich controlled most of continental Europe and North Africa.
      • In 1943, Nazis invaded Italy. After the major battle in Southern Russia, German forces suffered repeated military defeats.
      • In 1944, the Soviets pushed Nazis into Eastern Europe. The Western allies entered Nazi Germany from France.
      • In May 1945, The Third Reich surrendered after Hitler's suicide.
        • 5,300,000 German military casualties,
        • 900,000 German civilians dead.
    • After Allied occupation, Germany was divided by the United Nations into
      • the Federal Republic of Germany on the West;
        • FRG was a founding member of the European Economic Community and the European Union, and received significant reconstruction aid.
        • West Germany was a federal parliamentary republic with social capitalism, in which free-market coexisted with social policies and enough regulation to establish fair competition and a welfare state.
      • the German Democratic Republic in the East.
        • GDR was an Eastern Bloc state and member of the Warsaw Pact. East Germany claimed to be a democracy, power was exercised by leading members of the communist-controlled Socialist Unity Party, supported by the Stasi, one of the most repressive intelligence and secret police agencies ever existed, closely partnered with KGB, and lead by a murder.
        • The Stasi used operational psychology (Zersetzung) and its extensive network of over 170,000 informal collaborators for personalized psychological attacks like gaslighting, smear campaigns, property damage, sabotage of cars, purposely incorrect medical treatment, provocation, psychological warfare, wiretapping.  Its goal was defined as the fragmentation, paralysis, disorganization, and isolation of the hostile and negative forces. In complete operational secrecy, collaborators  gathered details of victims' private life and disintegrated their careers, reputations, and close relationships, and undermined their self-esteem. They damaged mental health of about 10,000 individual. They targeted artists, youth subculture groups, human rights activists, people who wanted to travel abroad...
        • The Berlin Wall (1961 to 1989), a guarded concrete barrier that cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany, prevented East German citizens from escaping to West Germany.
    • They reunited in 1990 and become a federal parliamentary republic. United Germany was considered the enlarged continuation of West Germany, Berlin again became the capital, while Bonn obtained the unique status of a federal city (Bundesstadt).
    • German 16 States and Capitals:
      1. Bavaria (Munich)
      2. Lower Saxony (Hanover)
      3. Baden-Württemberg (Stuttgart)
      4. North Rhine-Westphalia (Düsseldorf)
      5. Brandenburg (Potsdam)
      6. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Schwerin)
      7. Hesse (Wiesbaden)
      8. Saxony-Anhalt (Magdeburg)
      9. Rhineland-Palatinate (Mainz)
      10. Saxony (Dresden)
      11. Thuringia (Erfurt)
      12. Schleswig-Holstein (Kiel)
      13. Saarland (Saarbrücken)
      14. Berlin (Berlin)
      15. Hamburg (Hamburg)
      16. Bremen (Bremen)
    • In 2005, Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor.
  • Ukraine

    Ukraine, Україна

    A Country in Eastern Europe

    Ukraine is located by the Black Sea. It is the second-largest country by area in Europe with over 40-million population. Its capital is Kyiv. Its neighbors are Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Belarus, and Russia. Ukrainians created tens of thousands of folk songs.

    A few historical facts about Ukraine:

    1. The territory has been inhabited since 32,000 BCE. Prehistoric Ukraine, the Pontic–Caspian steppe, was the homeland of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language. As part of Scythia, it played an important role in Eurasian cultural contacts. Scythswere nomads of the Eurasian Steppe with urbanism, agriculture, and art.
    2. Settled by Gets in the migration period, Ukraine was the site of early Slavic expansion
    3. The medieval state of Kievan Rus emerged as a powerful nation in the Middle Ages. Several Slavic tribes were native to Ukraine: Polans, Drevlyans, Severians, Ulichs, Tiverians, White Croats, and Dulebes. In 882, Kyiv was taken from the Khazars by Viking Swed prince Oleg. In the 11th century, Kievan Rus was, geographically, the largest state in Europe. The name "Ukraine" first appears in historical documents of the 12th century.
      Then, conflicts among the principalities started: autonomy of Belarus in the north-west, Moscow of Suzdal gave rise to Russia in the north. Struggle between princes and worsened by Polovtsy (Turkic nomads) raiders. In 1240, the Mongols besieged and destroyed Kyiv, and many people fled to other countries.
    4. In 14th century, Ukrainian territories were under the rule of three external powers:
      1. Mongol, later Turkicized, khanate Ulug Ulus.
      2. Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth - from 1569. East Slavs who fled efforts to force them into serfdom came to be known as Cossacks
      3. Crimean Tatar Khanate - from the 15th century. In 1500–1700, the  Khanate exported about 2 million slaves from Russia and Ukraine to the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East.
    5. After a 1648 uprising of the Ukrainian Cossacks, the Cossack Hetmanate was formed, with elected Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The Zaporizhian Sich signed a peace treaty in 1658, but after 13 years Ukrainian territory was divided between empires. Under Russia, the Cossacks initially retained official autonomy and  maintained a semi-independent republic in Zaporozhia. Hetman Pylyp Orlyk’s Constitution was written in 1710 and established the principle of the separation of powers in government between the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches well before the publication of Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws. It also limited the executive authority of the hetman, and established a parliament General Rada.
    6. After the War for Ukraine, in 1686, the eastern portion of Ukraine (east of the Dnieper River) came under Russian rule, and Galicia fell to the Austrian Empire. After 1795, the Russian Empire and Habsburg Austria were in control of all its territories. After the Ukrainian National Revival in the mid-18th century and peasant revolts of 1768-69, in 1793 right-bank Ukraine was annexed by Russia, which imposed strict limits on the Ukrainian language.
    7. In 1917, Ukraine (including Crimea), Kuban, and portions of Don Cossack lands with large Ukrainian populations, tried to break free from Russia after the revolution in St. Petersburg. The Free Territory (Makhnovshchina) and the internationally recognized Ukrainian People's Republicformed during international and civil wars of 1917–1921. Six different armies - Ukrainians, Bolsheviks, Whites, French, Poles, and the anarchists – operated on Ukrainian territory. Kyiv changed hands five times in less than a year. Cities and regions were cut off from each other and from the outside world by the numerous fronts. The Bolshevik Red Army took control in 1919 and established the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which in 1922 became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union.
    8. In 1932 and 1933, millions of people in Ukraine starved to death in a devastating famine, known as Holodomor.
    9. Axis armies occupied Ukraine from 1941 to 1944. During World War II the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fought for Ukrainian independence against both Germany and the Soviet Union. Galicia, South Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, and Carpathian Ruthenia were added. In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the 51 founding members of the United Nations. Crimea was added in 1954.
    10. In 1990s, Ukraine suffered an eight-year recession with a corrupt government: the Ukrainian economy shrank by more than 10% yearly, with over 20% in 1994.
    11. Ukraine officially declared itself an independent country on 24 August 1991. More than 90% of the electorate expressed their support for the declaration of independence on December 1, 1991.
    12. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 21, Ukraine held about one third of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, the third largest in the world at the time, as well as significant means of its design and production.
    13. In 1994, Ukraine agreed to destroy the weapons, and to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) with security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.
    14. After a peaceful Orange Revolution against electoral fraud in 2004-5, Viktor Yushchenko was elected president and survived assassination by poisoning attempt.
    15. Mass protests for European integration Euromaidan or the Revolution of Dignity changed the corrupt government in 2013- 2014.
    16. In 2014, masked Russian troops without insignia captured strategic sites across Crimea, including the parliament, which led to the installation of the pro-Russian government and declaration of independence on 16 March 2014 and formal incorporation into Russia two days later.
    17. After the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Ukraine and many other countries condemned it as a violation of international law, which led to the other members of the then G8 suspending Russia from the group as a first round of sanctions.
    18. Russo-Ukrainian Donbas war begun between the Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian government. In August 2014, Russian unmarked military vehicles crossed the border in several locations of Donetsk Oblast. The majority of members of the international community and organizations such as Amnesty International have condemned Russian regime for breaking international law and violating Ukrainian sovereignty. Many countries implemented economic sanctions against Russia, Russian individuals or companies.
    19. In 2016, the United Nations reaffirmed condemnation of the temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine—the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
    20. As of 2019, 7% of Ukraine's territory is under occupation.
Another Uncle June 2019
Cousin February 2018
Paternal Grandmother February 2018
Paternal Grandfather February 2018
Maternal Grandfather February 2018
Maternal Grandmother February 2018
My Father February 2018
My Mother February 2018
Birthplace - Donetsk February 2018
My Parent's Wedding February 2018