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East Europe

East Europe

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Published by: Ryan Shimojima on Feb 21, 2010
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Republic of Poland Rzeczpospolita Polska

Capital (and largest city) Warsaw
52°13′N 21°02′E

The Polish People's Republic covers an area of 312,000 square kilometers between the Baltic Sea in the north and the Carpathian Mountains in the south. After World War II Poland received back the lands which had been seized from her by the German feudal lords in the Middle Ages. Today its western border runs along the Odra River.( http://www.netook.org/polandgeo.html)

Geographical Features: • Poland is advantageously placed for the development of trade. II has a broad outlet into the Baltic Sea and a long boundary with the U.S.S.R. It is surrounded on all sides by friendly Socialist states and is a focus of rail routes leading from the Soviet Union to Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, and further on, to the capitalist countries of Western Europe.

The greater part of the surface of Poland is flat. To the north lies the vast Polish Plain, marshy in places. Ridges of hills and numerous lakes stretch along the coastal licit of the Baltic Sea.

Poland’s territory extends across several geographical regions. In the northwest is the Baltic seacoast, which extends from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdansk. This coast is marked by several spits, coastal lakes (former bays that have been cut off from the sea), and dunes. The largely straight coastline is indented by the Szczecin

Lagoon, the Bay of Puck, and the Vistula Lagoon. The center and parts of the north lie within the North European Plain.

The longest rivers are the Vistula (Polish: Wisła), 1,047 kilometres (651 mi) long; the Oder (Polish: Odra) which forms part of Poland’s western border, 854 kilometers (531 mi) long; its tributary, the Warta, 808 kilometres (502 mi) long; and the Bug, a tributary of the Vistula, 772 kilometres (480 mi) long. The Vistula and the Oder flow into the Baltic Sea, as do numerous smaller rivers in Pomerania. • Poland has 21 mountains over 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) in elevation, all in the High Tatras. The Polish Tatras, which consist of the High Tatras and the Western Tatras, is the highest mountain group of Poland and of the entire Carpathian range. In the High Tatras lies Poland’s highest point, the northwestern peak of Rysy, 2,499 meters (8,199 ft) in elevation. At its foot lies the mountain lake Morskie Oko.

Republic of Latvia Latvijas Republika
Capital (and largest city) Riga
56°57′N 24°6′E

Geographic Features: • The physiography of Latvia and its neighboring areas was formed, to a large degree, during the Quartenary period and the Pleistocene ice age, when soil and debris were pushed by glaciers into mounds and hills. Undulating plains cover 75 percent of Latvia's territory and provide the main areas for farming; 25 percent of

the territory lies in uplands of moderate-sized hills. About 27 percent of the total territory is cultivable, with the central Zemgale Plain south of Riga being the most fertile and profitable. The three main upland areas--in the provinces of Kurzeme (western Latvia), Vidzeme (central Latvia), and Latgale (eastern Latvia)--provide a picturesque pattern of fields interspersed with forests and numerous lakes and rivers. In this area, the extensive glacial moraines, eskers, and drumlins have limited the profitability of agriculture by fragmenting fields and presenting serious erosion problems.

Located on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, Latvia lies on the East European Plain, however in vegetation is much different than the rest of the plain and shares many similarities with the boreal biome. It consists of fertile, low-lying plains, largely covered by forest, mostly pines, the highest point being the Gaiziņkalns at 311.6 m (1,022 ft). Phytogeographically, Latvia is shared between the Central European and Northern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, the territory of Latvia belongs to the ecoregion of Sarmatic mixed forests. The major rivers include the Daugava, the Lielupe, the Gauja, the Venta, and the Salaca. An inlet of the Baltic Sea, the shallow Gulf of Riga is situated in the northwest of the country. Latvia's coastline extends for 531 kilometers.

For a long time, wood has been a basic source of energy. The utilization of wood as fuel has increased dramatically in the 1990s, even in cities, because of the numbing price hikes on other forms of energy. Local wood is also an important resource for the pulp and paper industry and for specialized plywood and furniture manufacturers. A great concern today is the unregulated cutting of timber for the foreign market. Prices paid by European wood buyers are phenomenally high by local standards, and there is much pressure to utilize this opportunity for cash accumulation, even without legal permits. By 1992 the problem had become so serious that Latvian forestry officials were given the right to carry firearms.

Latvia has an abundant network of rivers, contributing to the visual beauty and the economy of the country. The largest river is the Daugava, which has been an important route for several thousand years. It has been used by local tribes as well as by Vikings, Russians, and other Europeans for trade, war, and conquest. With a total length of 1,020 kilometers, the Daugava (or Zapadnaya Dvina in its upper reaches) originates in the Valday Hills in Russia's Tver' Oblast, meanders through northern Belarus, and then winds through Latvia for 370 kilometers before emptying into the Gulf of Riga. It is about 200 meters wide when it enters Latvia, increasing to between 650 and 750 meters at Riga and to 1.5 kilometers at its mouth.

More than 60 percent of the annual water volume of Latvia's six largest rivers comes from neighboring countries, mainly from Belarus and Lithuania. These adjoining resources create obvious needs for cooperation, especially in pollution control. The dangers from a lack of cooperation were brought home to Latvians in November 1990, when a polymer complex in Navapolatsk, Belarus, accidentally spilled 128 tons of cyanide derivatives into the Daugava River with no warning to downstream users in Latvia. Only the presence of numerous dead fish alerted Latvian inhabitants to the danger.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosna i Hercegovina (bs / hr / sr) Босна и Херцеговина (bs / sr cyrillic) Capital (and largest city) Sarajevo 43°52′N 18°25′E Geographical Features: • The country's name comes from the two regions Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have a very vaguely defined border between them. Bosnia occupies the northern areas which are roughly four fifths of the entire country, while Herzegovina occupies the rest in the south part of the country.

Eastern Bosnia is heavily forested along the river Drina, and overall close to 50% of Bosnia and Herzegovina is forested. Most forest areas are in Central, Eastern and Western parts of Bosnia. Northern Bosnia contains very fertile agricultural land along the river Sava and the

corresponding area is heavily farmed. This farmland is a part of the Parapannonian Plain stretching into neighbouring Croatia and Serbia. The river Sava and corresponding Posavina river basin hold the cities of Brčko, Bosanski Šamac, Bosanski Brod and Bosanska Gradiška. Various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Coast of Neum, Igman mountain, landscape near Ivan mountain. Vlašić (mountain), part of Dinaric Alps Kravice waterfall on the Trebižat river - karst jewel of Bosnia and • • • • • • There are seven major rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina Sava is the largest river of the country, but it only forms its northern natural border with Croatia. It drains 76%[46] of the country's territory into the Danube and the Black Sea. Una, Sana and Vrbas are right tributaries of Sava river. They are located in the northwestern region of Bosanska Krajina. Bosna river gave its name to the country, and is the longest river fully contained within it. It stretches through central Bosnia, from its source near Sarajevo to Sava in the north. Drina flows through the eastern part of Bosnia, and for the most part it forms a natural border with Serbia. Neretva is the major river of Herzegovina and the only major river that flows south, into the Adriatic Sea.

Phytogeographically, Bosnia and Herzegovina belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region and Adriatic province of the Mediterranean Region. According to the WWF, the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Pannonian mixed forests, Dinaric Mountains mixed forests and Illyrian deciduous forests.

Ukraine Україна
Capital (and largest city) Kyiv (Kiev)
Geographical Features: •

50°27′N 30°30′E

At 603,700 square kilometres (233,100 sq mi) and with a coastline of 2,782 kilometres (1,729 mi), Ukraine is the world's 44th-largest country (after the Central African Republic, before Madagascar). It is the largest wholeEurope country and the second largest country in Europe (after the European part of Russia, before metropolitan France). The Ukrainian landscape consists mostly of fertile plains (or steppes) and plateaus, crossed by rivers such as the Dnieper (Dnipro), Seversky Donets, Dniester and the Southern Buh as they flow south into the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov. To the southwest, the delta of the Danube forms the border with Romania. The country's only mountains are the Carpathian Mountains in the west, of which the highest is the Hora Hoverla at 2,061 metres (6,760 ft), and those on the Crimean peninsula, in the extreme south along the coast. •

Ukraine has a mostly temperate continental climate, although a more Mediterranean climate is found on the southern Crimean coast. Precipitation is disproportionately distributed; it is highest in the west and north and lowest in the east and southeast. Western Ukraine, receives around 1,200 millimetres (47.2 in) of precipitation annually, while Crimea receives around 400 millimetres (15.7 in). Winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland. Average annual temperatures range from 5.5 °C (41.9 °F)–7 °C (44.6 °F) in the north, to 11 °C (51.8 °F)–13 °C (55.4 °F) in the south.

The Ai-Petri 1200 m above mean sea level

Capital (and largest city) Vilnius
54°41′N 25°19′E

Republic of Lithuania Lietuvos Respublika

Geographical Features: • Lithuania is situated in Northern Europe. It has around 99 kilometres (61.5 mi) of sandy coastline, of which only about 38 kilometres (24 mi) face the open Baltic Sea and which is the shortest among the Baltic Sea countries; the rest of the coast is sheltered by the Curonian sand peninsula. Lithuania's major warm-water port, Klaipėda, lies at the narrow mouth of the Curonian Lagoon (Lithuanian: Kuršių marios), a shallow lagoon extending south

to Kaliningrad. The main river, the Neman River, and some of its tributaries carry international shipping vessels.

Aukštaitija National Park near Ignalina

A cottage hotel in a rural area near Kretinga, a sign of increasingly popular agritourism.

• •

• •

Lithuania, Republic of, a country in eastern Europe. It is bordered by Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Russia, and the Baltic Sea. Glaciers formed most of Lithuania's physical features during the last ice age. The surface is generally flat and low. Glacial hills rise gradually to more than 900 feet (270 m) above sea level in the east. Peat bogs and small glacial lakes dot parts of the land. Sand dunes are numerous along the coast. The Neman (or Nemunas) is the country's principal river. It flows from Belarus and empties into Kurskiy Bay. The lower part of the river is navigable. Because of the sea's tempering influence, Lithuania's climate is moderately continental. Winters are cold and summers are cool—average temperatures being near 19° F. (-7° C.) in January and 63° F. (17° C.) in July. Precipitation varies from 20 to 24 inches (510 to 610 mm) a year.

Republic of Macedonia Република Македонија Republika Makedonija
Capital (and largest city) Skopje

42°0′N 21°26′E

Geographical Features: • Macedonia is has a total area of 25,713 km2 (9,928 sq mi). It has some 748 km (465 mi) of boundaries, shared with Serbia (62 km or 39 mi) to

the North, Kosovo (159 km or 99 mi) to the northwest, Bulgaria (148 km or 92 mi) to the east, Greece (228 km or 142 mi) to the south, and Albania (151 km or 94 mi) to the west. It is a transit way for shipment of goods from Greece, through the Balkans, towards Eastern, Western and Central Europe and through Bulgaria to the East. It is part of a larger region also known as Macedonia, which also includes a region of northern Greece known by the same name; and the Blagoevgrad province in southwestern Bulgaria.

Macedonia is a landlocked country that is geographically clearly defined by a central valley formed by the Vardar river and framed along its borders by mountain ranges. The terrain is mostly rugged, located between the Šar Mountains and Osogovo, which frame the valley of the Vardar river. Three large lakes — Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Dojran Lake — lie on the southern borders, bisected by the frontiers with Albania and Greece. Ohrid is considered to be one of the oldest lakes and biotopes in the world. The region is seismically active and has been the site of destructive earthquakes in the past, most recently in 1963 when Skopje was heavily damaged by a major earthquake, killing over 1,000.

Macedonia also has scenic mountains. They belong to two different mountain ranges: the first is the Šar Mountains that continues to the West Vardar/Pelagonia group of mountains (Baba Mountain, Nidže, Kozuf and Jakupica), also known as the Dinaric range. The second range is the Osogovo–Belasica mountain chain, also known as the Rhodope range. The mountains belonging to the Šar Mountains and the West Vardar/Pelagonia range are younger and higher than the older mountains that are part of the Osogovo-Belasica mountain group.

Solunska glava peak on Jakupica mountain in spring.

Panorama of Korab mountain, the highest mountain in the country.

Capital (and largest city) Tirana Geographical Features: •
41°20′N 19°48′E

Republic of Albania Republika e Shqipërisë

Albania has a total area of 28,748 square kilometers. Its coastline is 362 kilometers long and extends along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The lowlands of the west face the Adriatic Sea. The 70% of the country that is mountainous is rugged and often inaccessible from the outside. The highest mountain is Korab situated in the district of Dibra, reaching up to 2,753 metres (9,030 ft). The country has a continental climate at its high altitude regions with cold winters and hot summers. Besides the capital city of Tirana, which has 800,000 inhabitants, the principal cities are Durrës, Korçë, Elbasan, Shkodër, Gjirokastër, Vlorë and Kukës. In Albanian grammar, a word can have indefinite and definite forms, and this also applies to city names: both Tiranë and Tirana, Shkodër and Shkodra are used.

The three largest and deepest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula are partly located in Albania. Lake Shkodër in the country's northwest has a surface which can vary between 370 km2 (140 sq mi ) and 530 km2, out of

which one third belongs to Albania and rest to Montenegro. The Albanian shoreline of the lake is 57 km

(35 mi). Ohrid Lake is situated in the country's southeast and is shared between Albania and Republic of Macedonia. It has a maximal depth of 289 meters and a variety of unique flora and fauna can be found there, including “living fossils” and many endemic species. Because of its natural and historical value, Ohrid Lake is under the protection of UNESCO.

Over a third of the territory of Albania - about 10,000 square kilometers (2.5 million acres) - is forested and the country was very rich in flora. About 3.000 different species of plants grow in Albania, many of which are used for medicinal purposes. Phytogeographically, Albania belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Adriatic and East Mediterranean provinces of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the
European Environment Agency, the territory of Albania can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Illyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Dinaric Alpine mixed forests. The forests are home to a wide range of mammals, including wolves, bears, wild boars and chamois. Lynx, wildcats, pine martens and polecats are rare, but survive in some parts of the country.

Državna zajednica Srbija i Crna Gora Државна заједница Србија и Црна Гора State Union of Serbia and Montenegro

Geographical Features:
• Serbia and Montenegro had an area of 102,350 square kilometres (39,518 sq mi), with 199 kilometres (124 mi) of coastline. The terrain of the two republics is extremely varied, with much of Serbia comprising plains and low hills (except in the more mountainous region of Kosovo and Metohija) and much of Montenegro consisting of high mountains. Serbia is entirely landlocked, with the coastline belonging to Montenegro.

T he climate is similarly varied. The north has a continental climate (cold winters and hot summers); the central region has a combination of a continental and Mediterranean climate; the southern region had an Adriatic climate along the coast, with inland regions experiencing hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall inland. Belgrade, with its population of 1,574,050, is the largest city in the two nations: and the only one of significant size. The country's other principal cities were Novi Sad, Niš, Kragujevac, Podgorica, Subotica, Pristina, and Prizren, each with populations of about 100,000-250,000 people.

SOURCES: All are from Silliman University Library. (books) Hoffman, G. (1953). A Geography of Europe. Gottmann, J. (1954). A Geography of Europe, (rev). Wiley. (1977). Geography of Europe:

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