Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Geographical centre of Europe
There is an ongoing debate as to where the Geographical Centre of Europe really is. The differing opinions are based on different measurements, and different ways of calculating the final result.
Among locations currently claiming to be the centre of Europe are:
In 1775 royal Polish astronomer Szymon Antoni Sobiekrajski published a report in which he stated that the exact geographic centre of Europe is located in the village (now town) of Suchowola. The methodology was to calculate the four furthest points (the corners) of the continent and to ascertain where the lines crossed.
The small town of Rakhiv (Rakhov) in the Transcarpathian region of Galicia contains a historical marker, and a large stone believed to mark the exact Geographic Centre of Europe as measured in 1887 by geographers from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The town today is a part of Ukraine. The interpretation of the worn Latin inscription on the monument is debated, with some claiming that the marker is merely one of a number of fixed triangulation points for surveying purposes established around the territory of the former empire.
The Germans, not to be outdone, at the beginning of the 1900s did their own geographic analysis and concluded that the Austrian measurements were incorrect. The German scientists stated that the "actual" Geographic Centre of Europe was in the Saxon capital city of Dresden, near the "Frauenkirche" church . The Nazis capitalized on this claim by proclaiming that Germany was the "heart of Europe." They claimed that as the centre of Europe they were also the centre of European culture, and thus had a predestined right to rule.
Measurements, however, done after World War II by Soviet scientists, contradicted the German claim and again proclaimed Rakhov the Centre of Europe. The old marker in the small town was renewed, and a major campaign to convince everyone of its validity was undertaken.
Current analysis, using a combination of latitude and longitude measurements from the "geographic extremes" of Europe, places the centre in Western Poland. This is supported by calculations based on the Centre of mass method, which uses a combination of population and area analysis, placing the Geographic Centre of Europe near the city of Toruń, about 250 km east of the border with Germany and 200 km west of the Polish capital Warsaw.
After a re-estimation of the boundaries of the continent of Europe in 1989, scientists at the Institut Géographique National (French National Geographic Institute) determined that the geographical centre of Europe is located at .
This point is located in the country of Lithuania, specifically 26 kilometres (16 miles) North of its capital city Vilnius, near the village of Purnuškės. To mark the location, a new monument was erected in 2004 at this centre by the efforts of sculptor Gediminas Jokūbonis. The monument is a column of white granite with a crown of stars on top.
An area around the geographical centre was set aside as a reserve in 1992. This reserve includes Girija Lake, Bernotai Hill, an old burial ground, and surrounding woods and fields. The State Tourism Department at the Ministry of Economy of Lithuania considers the geographical centre and the reserve to be a tourist attraction.
Geographic centre of European Union
Other locations have claimed the title of geographic centre of Europe on the basis of calculations based only on those states with membership of the European Union.
The 25-member Union, dating from 2004, has a centre calculated by the Institut Géographique National to be at 50° 31′ 31″ N 7° 35′ 50″ E situated in the village of Kleinmaischeid , Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details