Monday, 30 September 2019

Major Religious Groups in Scotland

Most people in Scotland are irreligious, with Christianity coming in a close second.

Scotland is one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom. After irreligion, Christianity is the largest religion in the country with the 2011 census indicating 53.8% of the population identifying with Christianity. A comparison of census statistics from 2011 and 2001, however, reveal that Christianity has been on the decline (from 65.1% recorded in 2001).

Major Religious Groups In Scotland

Church of Scotland

An estimated 32.4% of the population in Scotland identify with the Church of Scotland. The church was founded in 1560 as a result of the Reformation and efforts by John Knox among others. Over the years schisms from the church led to the creation of several other churches.

Roman Catholic

The Roman Catholic Church was initially the dominant denomination before the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian Protestant Churches were established. Currently, the Church has a following by an estimated 15.9% of the Scottish population.

Islam

The Islam religion is professed by an estimated 1.4% of the population. The arrival of Islam in the country can be traced back to the 1800s.

Hinduism

The number of Hindus in Scotland in 2001 was just 5,600 representing 0.1% of the Scottish population. The proportion, however, rose to 0.3% in 2011. The figures indicated that the number of Hindus tripled in just a decade.

Buddhism

Buddhism is regarded as a recent phenomenon in
Scotland . It is professed by about 0.2% of the population.

Other Religions Practiced In Scotlan

Other religions found in Scotland include Sikhism, Judaism, Rasta, Neopagan, and Baha’i Faith.

Major Religious Groups in Scotland

Rank Religion Population (%)

1 No religion 36.7
2 Church of Scotland 32.4
3 Roman Catholic 15.9
4 Religion not stated 7
5 Other Christian 5.5
6 Islam 1.4
7 Hinduism 0.3
8 Other religion 0.3
9 Buddhism 0.2
10 Sikhism 0.2
11 Judaism 0.1

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

What Is the Capital of Scotland?

The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh.
The capital city of Scotland is Edinburgh.

Where is Scotland?

Scotland is one of the countries forming the United Kingdom. Scotland initially existed as a sovereign state before coming to an agreement to join other nations in forming the United Kingdom. The country played a major role in the First World War facilitating the British militia with the necessary resources required during the war. Education has become a major distinguishing characteristic for the Scottish nation as they embrace a practice different from the rest of the United Kingdom.

The country capital has been based in the city of Edinburgh since the early 15 th century. The country’s legislative house is located right in the city. Edinburgh is the second most populated in the country. The capital is always a center of attention as it hosts several activities which are of national interests. The majority of institutions are based here in the capital with the most significant ones being the country’s national museum, country’s national library and the country’s national art gallery. The old town of Edinburgh is documented by the UNESCO as a world heritage site due to its rich history.

Landscape of the City

The capital was set up around the shore of the sea. The prominent castle rock is associated with the early emergence of the capital together with the hills commonly referred to as "seven hills". Land forming processes in the capital have given rise to a volcanic plug in the city. Another predominant feature that came along with the land forming activities is a crag and tail. The glacial erosion triggered during earth movements has led to formation of Calton Hill together with Corstorphine hill.

Economy

The capital is well placed in matters of economic empowerment as it is recorded as the most stable economy for all the cities located outside London in the entire United Kingdom. The capital is unmatched for people qualified to work in different professions. This makes it to be the most among the most competitive cities economically in the UK. The major sectors that shape the economy of Edinburgh include banking, brewing, financial services, research, education, tourism and publishing. The capital attracts many foreigners coming second after London for the most visited cities in the United Kingdom. Tourism activities have been a major boost to the economy of Edinburgh owing to the numerous heritage sites and beautiful sceneries that tourists can come and enjoy.

By Chelangat Faith

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

The Largest Cities in Scotland

Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen are the largest cities in Scotland.

Scotland is a country in the United Kingdom. Scotland is known for its lush, mountainous landscapes and modern cities. The population of Scotland is approximately 5.29 million people, which is 8.3% of the total population of the United Kingdom. The following is a list of the largest cities in Scotland.

Scotland's Largest Cities By Population

Glasgow

The largest city in Scotland by population is Glasgow. Glasgow has a population of 590,507 people. Glasgow is a popular city for tourists who are visiting Scotland. It has a relatively high population density. Historically an industrial city, Glasgow today is mostly known for its vibrant art scene and unique style.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh, which has a population of 459,366, is the second most populated city in Scotland after Glasgow. Edinburgh is especially famous for its old town, which attracts numerous tourists every year. Edinburgh is home to a number of educational institutions.

Aberdeen

Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland. It has a population of 195,021 people. It is found in northeast Scotland. Although Aberdeen is known for its chilly climate and cloudy weather, it has also held the designation as the "happiest city in Scotland".

Dundee

Dundee has a population of around 147,285 people. It is the fourth largest city in Scotland by population. Like Glasgow, Dundee was once known as a major industrial centre within Scotland. Today it has been re-branding itself as a cultural destination.

Development of These Cities

The cities mentioned above have grown over the years thanks to many factors such as education, culture, and economic development. Various industries including textile industries also contribute to their development.

The Largest Cities in Scotland

Rank City Population

1 Glasgow 590,507
2 Edinburgh 459,366
3 Aberdeen 195,021
4 Dundee 147,285
5 Paisley 76,834
6 East Kilbride 74,395
7 Livingston 56,269
8 Hamilton 53,188
9 Cumbernauld 52,270
10 Kirkcaldy 49,709

By Salome Chelangat

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Religious Beliefs In San Marino

Christianity is the religion of the majority in San Marino.

San Marino is a microstate located within Italy. Only the Vatican and Monaco are smaller. With an area of only 23.6 square miles, the country also has an equally small population of only 31,500 (as of 2009). Most of this population is made up of Sammarinese (84.95% of the population), Italians (14.6%), and other ethnicities. Although correct religious data is not readily available, estimates are available. It is likely that around 97% of the population is Roman Catholic.

Religious Beliefs

Just like Italy, San Marino is a nation that is predominantly Catholic. Data shows that 97% of the small population is Catholic although Catholicism as a religion has not been established due to the absence of an Episcopal See. In addition, despite its dominance, the state constitution does not acknowledge Catholicism as the national religion. Interestingly, the dominant portion of the population, the Sammarinese, have always been against the control of the Vatican. However, they still practice Catholicism and accept the authority of the pope on matters to do with religion. The parishes in the country have always been divided between the Italian dioceses of Montefeltro and Rimini. Today, at least twelve parishes exist as well as a number of Catholic groups like the Society of Our Lady of Consolation, the Institute of Our Religious Teachers, and others. Convents and monasteries also exist such as the Monastery Santa Chiara, Convent of the Friars Minor Capuchin, and others.
Due to the dominance of Catholicism since historic times, it is not a surprise that there are historic religious buildings as well. An example of such a place of worship is the Basilica di San Marino, which is the main church in the capital city, which shares a name with the country.

Situated on the Piazza Domus Plebis, the church has been mentioned in documents going as far back as July 1113. However, over the years, it has seen some renovation work to improve its condition.
Another iconic church is the Chiesa di San Pietro, which is situated at San Marino’s Basilica. The small church goes as far back as 600. Inside, it has an alter inlaid with marble, a statue of St. Peter, and a crypt. Inside the crypt are recesses that served as beds for San Leo and San Marino as well as a monument in honor of Pope John XXIII. Other churches include Church di San Francesco, Church di San Paolo apostolo, Church di Sant'Andrea, and others.

Other Religions

Aside from Catholicism, Jews have been present in San Marino for more than 600 years. Documents mentioning a Jewish presence date as far as the 14 th century. The government, despite offering them protection, required that they follow some rules and put on special badges. Today, however, the number has diminished greatly. In addition to Judaism, there is a minority population of Protestants who are mostly part of the Waldensian Church of Piedmont.

By Ferdinand Bada

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

The Culture Of San Marino

The culture of San Marino is strongly influenced by Italian culture.

The European microstate of San Marino is surrounded by Italy on all sides. Thus, it is not surprising that its culture is strongly influenced by the culture of Italy.

Ethnicity, Language, and Religion in San Marino

San Marino hosts a population of only around 33,779 individuals. Sammarinese and Italian are the two largest ethnic communities residing in the country. Italian is the official and most widely spoken language in San Marino. Nearly the entire population is affiliated to the Roman Catholic Church.

Sammarinese Cuisine

The cuisine of San Marino is heavily influenced by Italian cuisine. Cheese is an integral part of the diet and cheesemaking is an important economic activity in the nation. A wide variety of meats are also consumed. Bacon soup and bean, a baked pasta dish with smoked meat, and a dish of garlic and rosemary flavored noodle and chickpea soup are some of the popular dishes of the cuisine. Flatbread with various fillings called piada is also eaten. Many other delicious desserts are part of the country’s cuisine. The Cake of the Three Towers and the Torta Titano are the hallmark desserts of the country. The traditional Sammarinese Christmas cake is called Bustrengo. A number of wines are also produced in San Marino.

Literature and the Arts in San Marino

Most of the literature of San Marino is in Italian and considered as part of the Italian literature. The country is yet to develop a distinct literary identity of its own. Sculptures are an important part of San Marino’s art scene. Sculptures depicting the country’s history, culture, and important people can be seen in many places. Ceramics and stone carving are important crafts in San Marino.

Performance Arts in San Marino

San Marino has a rich classical musical heritage dating back centuries. The famous 20th-century composer C.F. Tassini and the 17th-century composer F.M.M. di Pesaro are from the country. The national anthem of San Marino is a wordless composition by Federico Consolo. Some metal bands are also active in the country.

Sports in San Marino

Football (soccer), volleyball, and basketball are the most popular sport in San Marino. The country has a national football team that is yet to make a mark in international competitions. The country also has a professional basketball team that plays in the top division of Italy. It has also participated in the European Cup tournament. Although athletes from San Marino have participated in several Olympic Games, they have not won any medals so far.

Life in the Sammarinese Society

Today, both women and men enjoy equal rights and freedoms in San Marino. The country’s women received the right to vote and the right to hold office in 1960 and 1973, respectively. However, some gender-based differences can still be seen in the sphere of education and employment where men have made greater advances than women. The scenario is, however, changing fast as more women are getting the opportunity to showcase their skills and talents outside the home.

Domestic units in San Marino are usually smaller than they were in the past, a change that followed the transition of the country’s economy from an agrarian to an industrialized one. The family continues to be an important part of an individual’s life. Children often live with their parents until they start their own families or have completed higher education. Elderly parents might also move in with their sons or daughters when they are unable to care for themselves. Divorce rates are relatively low in San Marino than in other neighboring European nations.
Infants are cared for by both the parents and often placed in public daycare facilities or nursery schools if both parents are working outside the home. Education is free and compulsory for all until the age of sixteen.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Largest Ethnic Groups In Russia

Four-fifths of the country's residents are ethnic Russians, with Tatars and Ukrainians being the largest minorities.

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Demographics Russia

Russia is one of the countries with the largest numbers of ethnic groups in Europe. It is a multinational state with around 185 ethnic groups or nationalities. These groups have varied population from millions of people forming one ethnic group to just ten thousand forming the smallest group. The ethnic groups or nationalities are spread across the country and represented in all the levels of government. In Russia, there are over 185 ethnic groups and more than 100 languages spoken with Russian being the official state language. Some of the largest ethnic groups in Russia include Russians, Tatars, Ukrainians, and Bashkirs. The majority of Russians identify with Orthodox Christianity.

Russians

Ethnic Russians account for 81% of the entire population of the country. Russians belong to the East Slavic ethnic group who are natives of Eastern Europe. The population of Russia is 129 million people as of 2012 with over 86% of them living in Russia while the majority of the 14% live in the former Soviet Union states, especially Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Russians are mainly polytheists and the culture varies and unique in many ways. The culture has a long history in art, literature, painting, philosophy, architecture, and classical music. 41% of the Russian population identifies with Russian Orthodox Church, and other people are Old Believers, Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventists, and Evangelicals.

Tatars

Tatars belong to a Turkic language speaking group, and are found living mainly in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Tatars originated from the Tatar confederation in Gobi Desert in the 5th century. The Tatar language forms part of the Kypchak language. Tatar has three dialects. Namely, these are Misher spoken by the Mishar, the central dialect spoken by the Astrakhan, and Kazan and Sibir spoken by the Siberian Tatars. Most of the Tatars are Volga Tatar and Crimean Tatar. Tatars are the second largest ethnic group in Russia forming 3.9% of the population. Most of the Tatars are Muslims while they also identify with the old literature.

Ukrainians

Ukrainians comprise the third largest ethnic group in Russia, accounting for 1.4% of the population. Ukrainians belong to the East Slavic ethnic group and are of Ukraine origin. Te Ukrainian ethnic group is more populous in Ukraine where they make over 75% of the population. 1.9 million People in Russia belong to this group. There are several sub-ethnic groups among the Ukrainians including Lemkos, Hutsuls, Boykos, and Volhynians. Ukrainian culture mainly exhibits the European influence because of the Ukraine’s geographical location. Strong Christian culture dominates the ethnic group with Catholic and Orthodox also dominating. An element of Islam is also evident in the group. Ukrainians are also known for their music and dance.

Bashkirs

The Bashkir belong to the Turkic group of peoples, and make up 1.2% of the Russian population. The group lives in Perm Krai, Orenburg, Kurgan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Bashkirs speak the Bashkir language and share cultural practices with other Turkic peoples. Bashkirs are mainly Sunni Muslims. The ethnic group primarily practices agriculture and cattle beekeeping. Some of their favorite dishes include oyra and a cheese called qorot.

The other main ethnic groups in Russia include the Chuvash, making up 1.1% of the Russian population, the Chechens at 1.0%, and Armenians at 0.9%. Orthodox Christianity is the most widespread religion in Russia, while visual art dominates the culture of the country. With so many ethnic groups in the country, the minority groups have been justifiably recognized through legislation.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Russia

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Russian Population

1 Russian 80.9%
2 Tatar 3.9%
3 Ukrainian 1.4%
4 Bashkir 1.2%
5 Chuvash 1.1%
6 Chechen 1.0%
7 Armenian 0.9%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

What are the Republics of Russia?

The Federation of Russia is divided into republics.

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Russia

The Federation of Russia is divided into 85 constituent units known as federal subjects. Of the 85 federal subjects, 21 are republics (22 if Crimea is included). The republics of Russia differ from other federal subjects in that they operate under their own constitution and have a right to establish own language. The republics are also granted extensive autonomy, though the level of the autonomy varies. Before 2010, the chief executives were being referred to as presidents. However, the federal laws were amended which reserved the title exclusively to the head of state. The republics also have their own assemblies that have often passed laws that are at odds with the federal laws.

The Republics of Russia and Their Populations

Adygea

Population: 440,388
District: Southern Federal District (Europe)
Capital city: Maykop
Languages: Russian, Adyghe

Altai

Population: 206,195
District: Siberian Federal District (Asia)
Capital city: Gorno-Altaysk
Languages: Russian, Altay

Bashkortostan

Population: 4,072,102*
District: Volga (Europe)
Capital city: Ufa
Languages: Russian, Tatar, Bashkir

*Most populated republic in Russia.

Buryatia

Population: 972,658
District: Siberian Federal District (Asia)
Capital city: Ulan-Ude
Languages: Russian, Buryat

Chechnya

Population: 1,103,686
District: North Caucasus (Europe)
Capital city: Grozny
Languages: Russian, Chechen

Chuvashia

Population: 1,251,599
District: Volga (Europe)
Capital city: Cheboksary
Languages: Russian, Chuvash

Crimea *

Population: 2,284,769
District: Southern Federal District (Europe)
Capital city: Sevastopol
Languages: Russian, Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar
*The Crimean peninsula is considered to be a part of Ukraine by most members of the international community.

Dagestan

Population: 2,576,531
District: North Caucasus (Europe)
Capital city: Makhachkala
Languages: Russian, Dargwa

Ingushetia

Population: 467,294
District: North Caucasus (Europe)
Capital city: Magas
Languages: Russian, Ingush

Kalmykia

Population: 289,464
District: Southern (Europe)
Capital city: Elista
Languages: Russian, Kalmyk

Karachay-Cherkessia

Population: 478,517
District: North Caucasian (Europe)
Capital city: Cherkessk
Languages: Russian, Abaza, Cherkess, Karachay, Nogai

Kabardino-Balkaria

Population: 859,802
District: North Caucasian (Europe)
Capital city: Nalchik
Languages: Russian, Kabardian, Karachay-Balkar

Karelia

Population: 643,548
District: Northwestern (Europe)
Capital city: Petrozavodsk
Languages: Russian

Khakassia

Population: 532,403
District: Siberian (Asia)
Capital city: Abakan
Languages: Russian, Khakas

Komi

Population: 901,189
District: Northwestern (Europe)
Capital city: Syktyvkar
Languages: Russian, Komi

Mari El

Population: 696,357
District: Volga (Europe)
Capital city: Yoshkar-Ola
Languages: Russian, Mari

Mordovia

Population: 834,819
District: Volga (Europe)
Capital city: Saransk
Languages: Russian, Mordvin

North Ossetia-Alania

Population: 712,877
District: North Caucasian (Europe)
Capital city: Vladikavkaz
Languages: Russian, Ossetian

Sakha Republic

Population: 958,291
District: Far Eastern (Asia)
Capital city: Yakutsk
Languages: Russian, Yakut

Tatarstan

Population: 3,786,358
District: Volga (Europe)
Capital city: Kyzyl
Languages: Russian, Tatarstan

Tuva

Population: 307,930
District: Siberian (Asia)
Capital city: Elista
Languages: Russian, Tuvan

Udmurtia

Population: 1,522,761
District: Volga (Europe)
Capital city: Izhevsk
Languages: Russian, Udmurt

Status of the Republic of Crimea

The Republic of Crimea was annexed by Russia as one of its federal subjects in March 2014 following a takeover by the Russian Armed Forces. An unconstitutional referendum was conducted in 2014 with a large majority of Crimean expressing their desire to join with Russia. While Russia and some of the UN member countries recognize it as part of Russia, most of the international community and Ukraine do not recognize the accession and considers the Republic of Crimea as part of Ukraine. Some of the citizens of Crimea have also refused to get Russian citizenship with about 9,000 Crimean residents receiving Ukrainian passport between March 2014 and October 2016.

The Republics of Russia

Rank Republic Name Population

1 Bashkortostan 4,072,102
2 Tatarstan 3,786,358
3 Dagestan 2,576,531
4 Crimea (disputed as part of Ukraine) 2,284,769
5 Udmurtia 1,522,761
6 Chuvashia 1,251,599
7 Chechnya 1,103,686
8 Buryatia 972,658
9 Sakha Republic 958,291
10 Komi 901,189
11 Karbardino-Balkaria 859,802
12 Mordovia 834,819
13 North Ossetia-Alania 712,877
14 Mari El 696,357
15 Karelia 643,548
16 Khakassia 532,403
17 Karachay-Cherkessia 478,517
18 Ingushetia 467,294
19 Adygea 440,388
20 Tuva 307,930
21 Kalmykia 289,464
22 Altai 206,195

By John Misachi

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Monday, 23 September 2019

Biggest Cities In Romania

Bucharest, with more than 2 million metro residents, is Romania's capital and largest city.

Romania is a sovereign country in the south-eastern parts of Europe. Bucharest is the capital and the largest city in the country. The official language in the country is Romanian while Albanian and Armenian are some of the recognized regional languages. The Romanians are the predominant ethnic group and make up 88.9% of the total population. By 2011, the country was highly urbanized with 54% of the population living in urban areas, but most people are relocating to the countryside. In this article, I will discuss some of the major cities in Romania.

Major Cities In Romania

Bucharest

Bucharest is the largest city in Romania, and is the capital, cultural, industrial, and financial center of the country. Some of the ancient buildings in the city center were heavily damaged by war, earthquakes, and the Nicolae Ceausescu’s systemization program. There has been an economic and industrial boom in the city in the recent past. Currently, the city has an estimated population of 1.8 million residents. The quality of life in Bucharest is not appealing. Living conditions have been deteriorating with time and was ranked 108th in 2009 of 235 cities. Notable landmarks in the city include; the Triumphal arch, Carousel bookstore, and the statute of Ion Luca Carnegie.

Constanta

Constanta is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the country after being formed in 600 BC. It has a population of 283,872 people which makes it the fifth-largest city in the country by population. Constanta is a coastal town and receives a large number of tourists annually. In the 1930s during the inter-wars, the city was the country’s commercial hub. Like many coastal cities, Constanta experiences one of the warmest temperatures in the country. The main economic activities are tourism, industrialization, and fishing. In the first half of 2008, 3,144 companies were established in the city. The most notable landmarks in the city are; the Genoese Lighthouse, Carol 1 Mosque, the House with Lions, the cathedral of saints, and the Ottoman Hunt chair mosque.

Cluj-Napoca

Ranking third among the biggest cities in Romania, Cluj-Napoca is locally referred to as Cluj. It was founded in 1213 and is the second most populous city in the country. The city is surrounded by forests and grasslands with rare species such Venus slipper. There are animals such as boars, badgers, foxes, rabbits and squirrels in the nearby forests of Faget and Hoia. There are reports of human and aliens encounters in the Hoia-Baciu forest. Others have also alleged the presence of a monster in the nearby lake of Tarnita. There are many huge castles in the neighboring countryside surroundings built by medieval families living in the city. The Statute of Matthias Corvinus and the Fountain of Central Park are some of the city’s landmarks. There are a large number of visitors in the city with a majority of them coming on a one day visit.

Iasi

This city is the cultural capital of Romania and is a symbol of the Romanian history. It is a home to the country’s oldest university and the first engineering school. It is an important education and research centers n Romania and accommodates more than 60,000 students in five public universities. The fourth biggest city in Romania is home to some of the oldest churches and monasteries which date back to more than five hundred years ago. Significant buildings in the city include; Central Hall Square, Cuza Place, Dosoftei House, and the Rozvanu Palace.

Problems Affecting The Biggest Cities In Romania

The common problem affecting cities in Romania is the provision of social amenities such as transport, health facilities and housing. The living conditions are poor and is forcing people back to the the rural areas. The shrinking of population in the cities is affecting urbanization and economic growth. Poor architectural designs are also found in these cities and the cities in Romania are described as structurally unattractive compared to other cities in europe.

Rank Biggest Cities in Romania Metro Population

1 Bucharest 2,272,163
2 Constanta 425,916
3 Cluj-Napoca 411,379
4 Timisoara 393,321
5 Iasi 382,484
6 Brasov 369,896
7 Craiova 356,544
8 Ploiesti 266,457
9 Galati 249,432
10 Oradea 245,537

By Kenneth Kimutai too

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Largest Ethnic Groups In Romania

Around 8 in 9 residents are ethnic Romanians, while Hungarians and Roma constitute the largest minorities.

Romania is a country situated in Southeast Europe bordering Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, Moldova, and the Black Sea. It covers an area of 92,043 square miles with an estimated population of 19.5 square miles with its capital and the largest city being Bucharest. Romania came into existence in 1859 and was officially named Romania in 1866 and become the largest country in southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest in Europe. It consists of over 33,000 animal species, large forest cover, and 3,700 plant species. The country has four seasons yearly with a temperate and continental climate. Below we look at the ethnic groups of Romania in detail.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Romania

Romanians

Romanians are the natives of Romania sharing a common culture, ancestry and the language of Romania. The origin of the Romanians have been accounted for in two theories; the first one states that the Romanians are the descendants of Romans, Romanized and live in Dacia, the Roman province. The second theory states that Romanians are descendants of Romans, Romanized indigenous populations of the former Roman provinces whose ancestors migrated to the area they inhabit today. Due to the election of the same ruler by both the Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859 led to the unity which led to the formation of the Kingdom of Romania. The kingdom, therefore, led the war of independence against the Ottomans. Romanians form 88.9 % of the entire Romanian population where 90% consider themselves to be religious.

Hungarians

Hungarians, also known as the Magyar, are the largest minority ethnic group in Romania situated at the Szekely land in the Transylvania region. Hungarians originated from Asia and arrived Romania in the 9th century and settled in the Republic of Moldova, South Ukraine.At the end of the first world war, a treaty was signed that recognized Sovereignty over the Kingdom of Romania over its counterpart Transylvania, this led to the precise definition of the borders between Hungary and Romania and as a result of this, more Hungarians ended up in the region. They form 6.5% of the countries entire population.

Roma

The Roma, also known as the Romani people, originated from the northern side of India as their Languages have morphological characteristics of the Indians. There have been a recommendation by the prime minister of India to the Government of India to recognize them because they are children of their nation. The Romani people account for 3.3% of the entire country’s population with a higher percentage being Orthodox Christians, followed by the Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, and lastly the Seventh-Day Adventists.

Other Ethnic Groups Inhabiting Romania

There are several other ethnicities in Romania which form 1.3% of the entire Romania’s population. Before the Second World War, they formed up to 28% of the whole population but this reduced at the end of the war mainly due to the loss of areas near the borders after the signing of the treaty. Some of these ethnic groups are Ukrainians, Transylvanians, Russians, Turks, Serbs, Slovaks, Greeks, among others. In the act of goodwill, the government, and the election law grants a seat to each recognized ethnic group in the Chamber of Deputies.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Romania

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Population in Romania

1 Romanian 88.9%
2 Hungarian 6.5%
3 Roma 3.3%
Other Ethnicities 1.3%

By Kenneth Kimutai too

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

The Romanian People - Cultures of the World

A historically agricultural society with roots in Ancient Rome and Dacia, the peoples of the Romanian lands can count many cultural contributions today.

Description

Romanians, who live in what is today the country of Romania , are said to be descendants of the ancient Dacians who lived in the region and their Roman conquerors. Former Romanian Communist leaders stressed Romanians' Dacian ancestries in order to highlight the uniqueness of their people. They speak Romanian, a Latin-based language in contrast to their Slavic and Finno-Ugric speaking neighbors. In large, the Romanian people identify themselves as adherents of the Greek Orthodox faith. However, the beauty of Romanian people and their culture lies in the diversity of its traditions. The large number of ethnic minorities in the past (Hungarians, Germans, Jews, Serbs, and Bulgarians, among others) contributed to the richness seen in Romanian culture today.

Architecture

Romania is historically an agricultural society but, with the rapid industrialization that occurred under communism, people increasingly moved to the cities. Each region has its unique architecture, and the Dimitri Gusti Village Museum in Bucharest displays buildings to represent each ethnographic zone in the country. From the wooden and stone based cottages of Sibiu County in the west, to the thatched roofs and clay houses of Vaslui County in the east, all regions are represented at the rustic village museum. Though during the Communist era block apartments came to dominate the living spaces of many towns and cities, the beautiful medieval and modern castles and monasteries, with their sculptured and hand-painted exteriors, remain European treasures.

Cuisine

The diet of the country is varied, but most Romanian households will consider a type of Polenta (akin to corn grits in the US) as their staple dish. This is the famous Mamaliga , which is often served with fresh cow's or sheep's cheese or homemade pork sausages. Sarmale, or cabbage rolls, are also very popular, and a requirement at traditional Romanian weddings, with variations of the dish being seen from region to region. In the Moldova region, for example, they use grape vine leaves stuffed mostly with rice, while in the west cabbage leaves are stuffed with a higher minced pork to rice ratio. Stuffed peppers are a common dish in the country as well, with their insides filled with minced meat, rice, and tomatoes, and often celery as well.

Cultural Significance

On the cultural scene, Romanians have contributed to all areas of society, and they prove to have more to offer the world than images of Prince Vlad the Impaler, who was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula . Philosophers like Mircea Eliade and Titu Maiorescu contributed to European thought and politics. The sculptures of Constantin Brancusi are found in major foreign museums, from the Washington DC Smithsonian to the Detroit Institute of Art. The Romanian poet Tristian Tzara started the Dada art movement, while playwright Eugene Lonesco’s absurdist plays were made into feature films in the US. The gymnast Nadia Comanenchi remains a renowned figure for her record-breaking perfect score of 10, and her three Olympic gold medals. Recent Romanian films have captured the attention of international critics, marking their impressions throughout the sphere of "New Wave" cinema.

Threats

Across their large foreign diaspora, the Romanian community abroad seeks to maintain and protect their culture outside of their home country. This is evidenced by the many Romanian cultural institutes active across the globe today. However, as in all cultures, the traditional skills and crafts inherent to Romanian rural life are slowly being lost, as younger generations flock to the cities. Most no longer learn how to weave the traditional wool blankets or sew the national dress. The exodus of young and old Romanians for employment in Western Europe resulted in negative attitudes towards them, to which Romanians have responded to with creative campaigns to stand their ground and demand respect for their cultural identities.

By Lemima Ploscariu

•culled from www.worldatas.com

Sunday, 22 September 2019

What Is The Meaning Of The Name Portugal?

The word Portugal is derived from a Roman-Celtic place name.

Portugal is a European country located on the Iberian Peninsula . Popular for being among the world’s best golf destinations, the country is decorated with magnificent cities, medieval castles, and great culture. Lisbon is the capital as well as the largest city in Portugal. Inhabitants of the country officially
speak Portuguese with most of them (81%) subscribing to the Christian faith. As of 2018, the estimated population of Portugal was 10.3 million. Portugal is one of the oldest states in Europe as it can be traced back to 400,000 years ago when the Homo heidelbergensis inhabited the area where the country stands today. The name Portugal originally came from two Latin words: Portus and Cale.

Meaning Of The Name Portugal

Portugal was named after the country’s second largest city, called Porto. The Latin name for the city was Portus Cale. The word “Cale” is believed to have come from a Celtic word meaning “port.” In other contexts, it means “tranquil port.” Cale also referred to a group of early settlers who occupied the area around Douro River in present-day Portugal. The word was an ethnonym of the Castro people who were also called Callaeci or Gallaeci. Some historians believe that Cale originated from a Greek word meaning “beautiful.” The word described the magnificence of the Douro River. On the other hand, Hector Boece - a Scottish historian – argued that the name Portugal came from Porto Gartelli. Other people believe that Cale was a Latin word meaning warm. Consequently, “Portus Cale” means “warm port.” Portus Cale evolved into Portugale between the 7th and 9th Century.

Therefore, the name Portugal means tranquil, beautiful, or warm port as per the varied explanations of the root words Portus and Cale.

By Sharon Omondi

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Saturday, 21 September 2019

The Largest Ethnic Groups in Portugal

The majority of Portugal's population are ethnic Portuguese (95%).

Portugal is a nation located along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. The country has a total of 10.3 million people, the majority of whom are of Portuguese descent. Ethnic Portuguese account for 95% of the population, while the remaining 5% are composed of minority groups of Brazilians, Han Chinese, and people from Portugal’s former colonies in Africa and Asia. The ethnic Portuguese and minority groups are united through the national language (Portuguese), culture, and religion (Roman Catholicism). Portugal's government promotes ethnic unity and homogeneity by claiming that identifying people based on ethnic backgrounds promotes discrimination.

Ethnic Groups in Portugal

Ethnic Portuguese

Portugal is the first unified-state in Western Europe since its population is homogenous. Since the Paleolithic period, Portugal’s population has remained remarkably homogeneous and exhibited little ethnic diversity. The vast majority of people in Portugal belong to the Portuguese ethnic group. This lack of ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity is attributed to the country's geographic location. Portugal is isolated from the rest of the western European countries, and requires travel through Spain or by boat. Until the 15th century, few European countries, except Portugal, sailed outside of the Mediterranean region, and therefore other ethnic groups were unable to reach the country. Despite the country's homogeneity, there are regional differences exhibited in the traditions of each region based on the ancestry of the people. For example, the northern region tends to have conservative Catholics, while the west has been influenced by Islam and Protestantism.

Minority Groups

All minority groups make up 5% of Portugal’s population, and therefore no single ethnic group plays a major role in the country’s society. The largest minority population are Africans from Cape Verde, which is located off the west coast of Africa. Cape Verde was Portugal’s oldest colony, and after gaining independence in the 20th century a vast majority of its residents resettled in Portugal. Other minority groups include Brazilians, Han Chinese, and Marrano populations. There is also a Gypsy population who live in the Algarve region. Despite government efforts to integrate the Gypsy population into Portuguese society, they remain a seminomadic group that earns their living by begging, fortune-telling, handicrafts, and trading.

Government efforts to assimilate minority groups into the broader Portuguese society have remained futile due to the disparity in settlement patterns. Additionally, the small number of minority groups has prevented racial discrimination and cultural prejudice from being a pronounced issue in the country.

Promoting Ethnic Diversity in Portugal

Although not officially affirmed at the constitutional, legislative, or parliamentary levels, Portugal is transitioning from a country with significant rates of emigration to one that promotes immigration. Intercultural dialogues at various legislative levels are ongoing in a bid to promote social cohesion, cultural inclusion, and respect for cultural diversity in Portugal. With globalization aided by modern technology, more regions have opened up and allowed the integration of both ethnic Portuguese and minority groups.

The Largest Ethnic Groups in Portugal

Rank Ethnicity Percentage of Population (%)

1 Ethnic Portuguese 95
2 Other minority groups 5

By Molly John

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Friday, 20 September 2019

The Culture Of Portugal

Located in the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is a sovereign nation with a culture that is an amalgamation of cultures of the various civilizations that inhabited the country over a period of centuries.

Located in the Iberian Peninsula , Portugal is a sovereign nation with a culture that is an amalgamation of cultures of the various civilizations that inhabited the country over a period of centuries.

Ethnicity, Language, And Religion

Portugal is home to a population of around 10 million. The majority of people living in Portugal identify as being ethnically Portuguese, while minority ethnic groups make up around 5% of the population. Portuguese and Mirandese are the official languages of the nation. The latter is, however, only locally spoken. Roman Catholicism is the religion of 81% of the country’s population.

Portuguese Cuisine
Portuguese cuisine is famous for its seafood. A wide variety of spices like saffron, black pepper, cinnamon, and piri piri are used to prepare the most popular dishes. Olive oil, herbs, garlic, bay leaf, and parsley are also extensively utilized. Breakfast in the county includes bread with butter, cheese, ham, or jam. Espresso coffee is also a popular breakfast beverage. Cereal mixed with yogurt and fruit is also widely eaten. The caldo verde is a Portuguese soup made with potato, greens, and spicy Portuguese sausage. Portugal has the highest fish consumption in Europe. Fish is prepared by boiling, grilling, deep-frying, roasting, or stewing. The bacalhau (cod) is the most consumed fish. Prawns, shrimp, octopus, squid, crabs, clams, oysters, etc., are also eaten. Beef and pork are the most common meats eaten in Portugal. Wine is the traditional drink of the country.

Literature And Art

Portuguese literature dates back to the 12th century. Literary works were initially inspired by oral traditions and religion. Fictional works in the form of plays and poetry began appearing in the later centuries. Gil Vicente is often regarded as the father of Portuguese theatre. He produced work that often criticized the society of his time. Luís Vaz de Camões is regarded as the greatest poet of the country. His work Os Lusíadas, the national epic of Portugal, is a book about Portuguese history. In the 19th century, Realism and Romanticism inspired writers in Portugal. José Saramago is a Portuguese writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998.
Portuguese art was initially restricted to religious paintings in churches and convents and decorative art in the palaces. However, the expansion of Portuguese art began in the 15th century when national borders were established and a Portuguese identity was developed. More humanistic art was now produced and kings of the time sponsored royal painters. Flemish art influenced Portuguese artists during the Golden Age of Portugal. During this time, artworks from the country gained international fame. Naturalism and realism inspired artists in the 19th century. Today, numerous museums and art galleries across the country preserve the works of notable Portuguese artists and painters.

Performance Arts

Portuguese music covers many styles and genres that can be broadly divided into folk, classical, and popular music. The musical genres of fado and Cante Alentejano belonging to the folk music style, are both quite popular. In popular music, rock, pop rock, hip-hop, experimental electro-rock, etc., remain a favorite of the Portuguese. Other modern genres of music that have a significant following in Portugal include reggae, ska, zouk, house, kizomba, etc.

Portugal has many folk dances like the Circle dance, Corridinho (Estremadura and Algarve region), Fandango (Ribatejo region), Vira (Minho region), Schottische, and others. The dance costumes vary widely and range from normal, work apparel to elaborate dresses.

Sports

Football is Portugal’s most popular sport. It was introduced by Portuguese students who returned from England. Football clubs are present all across the country with the oldest one being the Boavista Futebol Clube. It was founded in 1903. FIFA ranked the national football team of Portugal as the 3rd best out of 207 countries in April 2010. Other sports played at the professional level in Portugal include basketball, volleyball, tennis, futsal, athletics, judo, martial arts, gymnastics, etc. Volta a Portugal is a famous cycling race held in the country. Portugal has won the most world titles in rink hockey.

Life In A Portuguese Society

Women and men enjoy equal rights and freedoms in Portugal. The society is generally modern in outlook. Many women work outside the homes, especially in the urban areas. However, the majority of the household chores are still managed by women. Men do participate in childcare activities. Today, a significant section of the Portuguese women are educationally highly qualified and employed in various sectors like academics, research, healthcare, management, administration, etc.

Marriages are mostly based on consensual choice. The age of marriage is generally later in the north than in the south. Households in southern Portugal are generally nuclear in nature while in the north, they tend to be complex, often with more than two generations sharing the same household. Either the married couple jointly heads the household or only the man is the dominant figure in the family. Both male and female children can inherit the property of their parents. Children are adored in Portuguese society and are taught to socialize since an early age. Politeness is highly valued.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Largest Ethnic Minorities In Poland

While almost 98% of the Polish population identify as ethnic Poles, thousands of others call the country home as well.

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Demographics

While almost 98% of the Polish population identify themselves as ethnic Poles, thousands of others call the country home as well. The Polish census of 2011 found that 1.44% of the 39 million Polish people are descendants of different ancestry. The major ethnic minorities groups recognized by the Polish government are the Germans, Belorussian, Ukrainian, Lemko, Roma, and the ethnic Jews. 39.5% of the majority of the ethnic minorities lives in Salesian, 28.3% in Opolskie Voivodship, and 11.7% in Podlaskie Voivodship. Recognized minorities in Poland take a 0.3% of the total population and are of a single ethnicity.

Germans

The Germans are the largest ethnic minorities in Poland with a population of about 49,000. However the number is estimated to be higher, but the small turn up is due to the complication of multi-ethnicity identity and concealment during the communist regime. Most of the German minority, 92.9%, lives in Opole Voivodeship where a trace of the German language exists. The case is similar in schools where no single school in Poland is entirely German though some German-polish schools exist. Most of the German minorities practice Roman Catholicism and Lutheran Protestantism. The Germans started migrating to Poland during the medieval period. By the Middle Ages, their number was substantial in regions of Upper Silesia, Posen, and Pomerelia. After the WWI, most Lutheran Germans remained east of the Curzon line. The number dwindled during the second Polish Republic. The ethnic Germans sided with Germany in the prewar period and were involved in the massive massacre of the 450000 Poles and Jews during Adolf Hitler reign.

Belorussian

The Belorussians are the second largest ethnic minority group in Poland with a population of about 37,000 despite claims that the number maybe 3 or 4 times higher. Most of them live in Podlaskie Voivodeship and the active assimilation process to the Polish culture in the recent decades facilitated the decline. In the late 18th century, Poland took control of some eastern territories of Ruthenians, the ancestors of Belarusians. During this period many of the people were Polonized and lost the Belarusian identity. By 1921 under the Second Polish Republic their number was more 1 million. They had political influence largely in the lower chamber of the Polish Council. Schools operating entirely in The Belarusian language opened up, but since the government failed to support them, they eventually closed down. The lack of support from the central government led to years of oppression by the Polish government with no policy of protecting the minorities. The Polish aligned with the Nazi rule in Belarus regions, while the Soviet Union executed the war refugees.

Ukrainian

The presence of Ukrainians dates back to the late middle ages. At this time Poland ruled the Galicia and Western Volhynia, which the Ukrainian occupied. The Polish dynasty introduced the Ruthenian culture and oppressed the Orthodox faith. For years the Ukrainians were oppressed and forced to assimilate the Polish way of life. This annexation of Ukraine regions facilitated Polanization, and the people lost their identity. Today the relationship between the Ukrainians and the Poles is way calmer, and they coexist peacefully. However, the Polish government has restricted migration of the minorities group in the region. Even so, the Ukrainians have easy access to immigration permits though their number is about 36,000.

The Lemko of Poland

This minority ethnic group has faced a difficult time in Poland. Before the 20th century, the Lemko lived in the Lemkovyna, southeast of the country. When the interwar era erupted, the Lemko were forced to identify as either Ukrainian or Polish. Towards the end of the war, a misunderstanding occurred, and the Lemko identified as Ukrainian cooperatives leading to massive depopulation of villages hence scattering the Lemko. The effect lasted to this today. The scattering of the Lemko led to culture loss. Fear of ridicule of identifying as a Lemko facilitated the loss of culture. The fact that the community was once torn between two nationalities led to a lack of a national self-identity; the Polish assimilated them quickly. Presently, the Commonwealth Poland protects the rights of its citizens. The different ethnic groups coexist peacefully with each other.

Largest Ethnic Minorities In Poland

Rank Ethnic Minority Group Estimated Population in Contemporary Poland

1 German 49,000
2 Belorussian 37,000
3 Ukrainian 36,000
4 Roma 12,000
5 Russian 8,000
6 Ethnic Jewish 7,500
7 Lemko 7,000

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

The Biggest Cities In Poland

Poland's national capital city of Warsaw has more than 3 million metro residents, which amounts to around 8% of the nation's population.

Poland is a country found in central Europe bordered by Germany, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Lithuania. With a total population of around 38 million, just over half of whom live in urbanized areas. There are 16 cities in Poland that have a population of more than 200,000. In this article, we will examine the unique attributes belonging to ten of the largest cities in Poland in terms of population.

10. Katowice - 298,111
Katowice is a city in southwestern Poland. Although its greater metropolitan area, known as the Silesian Metropolis, has a population of around 2.2 million, the population of Katowice itself is just under 300,000. Nonetheless, the city is well-known for science, culture, and other industries, particularly chemical industries. It experiences a temperate-continental climate with a mean annual temperature of 8.2° Celsius (29° Fahrenheit). Katowice is known as a UNESCO City of Music, an honour it shares with other cities like Kingston, Jamaica and Glasgow, Scotland.

9. Lublin - 340,466

Lublin is the ninth largest city in Poland with a population of 340,466. It is found close to the border with Ukraine and Belarus, in the southeast of the country. Lublin experiences a humid continental climate. It is a regional center of information and computer technologies (ICT) as well as vehicle assembly manufacturing. Lublin is also regarded as a regional cultural capital. In 2010, it was nominated as the "European Capital of Culture", partly thanks to the 30 festivals it hosts every year.

8. Bydgoszcz - 353,938

Bydgoszcz is located in north-central Poland with a population of 353,938. The city experiences a continental climate. It is known for its financial and insurance services. Bydgoszcz is Poland’s capital of cultural music, and is home to the famous Pomeranian Philharmonic concert hall. Bydgoszcz is served by a reliable transport system, and finds itself at one of the largest railway crossroads in the country.

7. Szczecin - 404,878

Szczecin is Poland’s seventh largest city with a metro population of 404,878. It is found in the north of the country near the German border. The city is located on the shore of Baltic Sea and is a very important port for the country, as well as Europe as a whole. Szczecin experiences an oceanic climate. It is known for its unique architectural style, as well as for its local cuisine which includes pasztecik szczecińsk, a deep fried dough filled with meat or vegetables.

6. Gdańsk - 463,754

Gdańsk is a city located on the shores of the Baltic Sea with a metro population of around 463,754. It experiences an oceanic climate with a mean annual temperature of 8.7° Celsius (48° Fahrenheit). The main economic activities in the city are shipbuilding, petrochemical, and food processing. It is the largest region within Pomerania. It has been a city in some form since the year 980.

5. Poznań - 540,372

Poznań is located in central-west Poland and hosts a population of 540,372, making it the fifth largest city in Poland by population. Poznań experiences a transition of humid continental and oceanic climate. Poznań is a cultural city, well-known for its renaissance buildings. The city also boasts one of the best transport systems in the country.

4. Wrocław - 637,683

Wrocław is located in western Poland and has a population of around 637,683. It is classified as a "global city", with some of the best living conditions in Poland. It experiences a humid continental climate with a mean annual temperature of approximately 9.8° Celsius (51° Fahrenheit). It is home to many manufacturing and technological companies. The population growth rate is around 10% per decade.

3. Łódź - 696,503

Łódź is the third largest city in Poland with 696,503 residents. It experiences a humid continental climate with an annual mean climate of 8.7° Celsius (48° Fahrenheit). In the recent past, the city was more focused on the production of textiles, though it is currently more well known for its technological industries. Łódź has traditionally been known as an industrial center of Poland.

2. Kraków - 765,320

Kraków is the second largest city in Poland. Around 765,320 people are found in its borders. Krakow experiences an oceanic climate with a mean annual temperature of 8.7° Celsius (48° Fahrenheit). In 2000, it was named the official European center of culture by the European Union. The city has an ancient history and today enjoys a status of the second most important cities in all of Poland.

1. Warsaw - 1,753,977

Warsaw is the largest and the capital city of Poland. It is located in east-central Poland and has a population of 1,753,977. It is Poland’s leading tourist attraction and is home to thousands of multinationals. Warsaw experiences a humid continental with a mean annual temperature of 8.5° Celsius (47.3° Fahrenheit). Parade Square in Warsaw is known for being one of the biggest city squares in the world.

The Biggest Cities In Poland

Rank City Population

1 Warsaw 1,753,977
2 Kraków 765,320
3 Łódź 696,503
4 Wrocław 637,683
5 Poznań 540,372
6 Gdańsk 463,754
7 Szczecin 404,878
8 Bydgoszcz 353,938
9 Lublin 340,466
10 Katowice 298,111

By Kenneth Kimutai too

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

The Culture Of Poland

The culture of Poland is influenced by the position of the country at the confluence of various regions of Europe with their distinct cultures.

The Polish culture has greatly evolved over the years having been influenced by the geographic location of the country at the confluence of European regions with their distinct cultures. The earliest culture of Poland traces its origin to the culture of the Early Slavs who settled in the country. The Poles have always welcomed artists from abroad and adopted cultural trends of other countries to enrich their own lively cultural scene.

7. Social Beliefs And Customs

The society in Poland exhibited a high degree of stratification before 1939. The killing of a large section of the Polish intelligentsia by the Nazis and the Communists during and after World War II greatly reduced the rigid social stratification in the country. During communist rule, educational and economic advancement of the Polish worker and peasants were fostered. During this time, large-scale migration of the rural population to Polish cities was observed. Currently, the Polish society has 6 groupings. The peasants and workers constitute the majority of the population. There is also an intelligentsia whose population is steadily increasing as is the population of workers. The ruling class or nomenclatura that held the ruling power during the Communist rule in Poland is striving to regain power in the country. Around 10 to 15% of the Polish population is composed of the nobles or the gentry called the szlachta. However, their significance has nearly been eliminated in the modern Polish society.
Marriage plays an important role in the Polish society. In the past, men and women who crossed their “marriageable age” (twenty for women and late 20’s for men) were subjected to mockery. Most marriages were arranged and divorces were rare and looked down upon. However, over the years, the traditional views have changed and marriages are now based more on the consent of couples than the family and divorces have also become more common than before. Traditionally, the Polish households have been large with three generations living under the same roof. However, nuclear families are more common now and so are families with single parents. Historically pregnant women are expected to observe a number of taboos like not looking at fire, mice and the disabled to avoid harm to the baby. Pregnancy is kept secret as long as possible to guard against the evil eye. However, many of these beliefs and observances have currently vanished from modern Polish society but are still prevalent in the conservative households in the country. Children are taught to be polite and the Polish society stresses a lot on polite behavior. The father holds absolute authority and must be obeyed by the children. The Poles place great importance on gentle manners and graceful behavior.

6. Cuisine

As the cities in Poland grew during the Middle Ages, the food markets of the country flourished and culinary exchange of ideas also grew. Vodka became a popular alcoholic drink since then. Poland is also one of the largest beer producers in Europe and a beer consumer in Poland drinks 92 liters of beer annually. Another popular alcoholic drink is the Polish mead which is a honey wine produced in the country since the Middle Ages. Among the non-alcoholic beverages, the Kompot is an indigenous drink that is produced by boiling one or more types of fruits with or without the addition of sugar and spices. It can be served hot or cold. Some everyday Polish foods include kiełbasa (a type of sausage), pierogi (filled dumplings), pyzy (dough balls filled with meat), kopytka (potato dumpling), gołąbki (cabbage leaves wrapped around meat and rice), bigos (stewed meat and cabbage), etc. Several types of soups like rosół , flaki, and zupa ogórkowa are also part of the Polish cuisine. Wigilia is a popular Christmas Eve supper consumed in Poland.

5. Clothing

The traditional clothing of the Polish people varies greatly with their location in the country. Although most people in the country wear modern Western outfits in their daily lives, the traditional attire is worn during cultural festivals, weddings, religious events, harvest celebrations, and other special occasions. In the Kraków region of Lesser Poland, women wear elaborate traditional dresses that comprise of a white blouse, an embroidered vest, an apron, and a full floral skirt. Lace-up boots and a coral bead necklace complete the look. The headgear consists of a floral wreath in the case of unmarried women while the married ones tie a white kerchief. Men also dress well and adorn a heavily embroidered waistcoat, striped trousers, and an ornamented
krakuska cap. Other regions of Poland have their own folk costumes with most involving a display of vibrant colors, embroidery, ornamentation, lace aprons, beaded jewelery, and elaborate headgears.

4. Music And Dance

Poland has a lively music scene with the roots of the country’s music being traced as far back as the 13th century. Mikołaj z Radomia was the first noted Polish composer who lived in the 15th century. Bóg się rodzi, Bogurodzica are some of the oldest musical compositions originating in Poland. Witold Lutosławski and Henryk Górecki are two of the most famous Polish classical Modern Composers. Krzysztof Komeda was a famous Jazz musician from the country who composed several movie soundtracks. Poland is also known for its electronic dance music with Vader being the most famous band performing this genre of music.
Polish folk dance has a long and rich tradition and is associated with several historical or religious events of the country. In the modern times, the folk dances are usually performed by dance companies on special occasions like cultural and religious festivals or four tourism purposes. The national dances of the country are Oberek , Mazurek, Krakowiak, and Kjawiak. The dances evolved from a peasants’ style of dancing to ballroom style dancing by the addition of ballet flavors following the annexation of Eastern Europe by Napoleon.

3. Literature And Arts

Polish literature developed and evolved since the arrival of Christianity in Poland. The earliest literature produced in the country was in Latin. Wincenty Kadłubek, Gallus Anonymus, and Jan Długosz were some of the famous Middle Age Polish authors. The Renaissance period also witnessed the production of great literary works by the Polish authors and poets. Jan Kochanowski was a renowned Polish poet of the time. After the country lost its sovereignty in the 19th century, Romantic literature flourished in the country. A number of poets and authors produced works that focussed on patriotism and the revival of the country. During this time, three poets, entitled the “Three Bards” (Zygmunt Krasiński, Adam Mickiewicz, and Juliusz Słowacki) acted as the spiritual leaders of the nation. Outstanding Polish literature was produced in the 20th century and the Avant-Garde experimentation played an important role during this time. In 1924, the novel Chłopi won Władysław Reymont a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Polish art has been a blend of European trends with indigenous influence. The history and customs of the country are well reflected by the Jan Matejko inspired Historicist painting of Kraków school. Jozef Chełmoński was a famous Polish painter belonging to the realist school. Modern Polish art was associated with heavy experimentation and was born with the Młoda Polska movement. Currently, Polish art is enjoyed and recognized worldwide.

2. Religions And Festivals

Christianity is the dominant religion in Poland with about 92.2% of Poles being Roman Catholics. Catholicism plays a significant role in the lives of people living here and around 65% attend Church services regularly. Other religions practiced in the country include Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

Since Christianity is the religion of the majority in Poland, Christian festivals are celebrated with great pomp and glory in the country. Concerts are held and carols are sung throughout the country on New Year’s Day. The Drowning of Marzanna is a festival held to bid farewell to winter and welcome spring. An effigy of Marzanna is drowned in the river to signify the end of the ills of the winter season. Easter is also celebrated with great fun in the country. During Christmas in Poland, the Poles hold grand Christmas feasts at their homes and share the food with family members. The St. Stephan's Day is celebrated the next day. The Polish version of Santa, Mikolaj visits children on Christmas Eve or on December 6th to shower them with gifts. The St. Andrew's Day is a traditional holiday in the country and is celebrated on November 29. Several other festivals and holidays are also celebrated in Poland.

1. Sports

Speedway is extremely popular in Poland and the Polish Extraleague attracts the greatest number of spectators among all sports played in the country. The Polish also love playing volleyball and the country has a history of participation in several international competitions of this game. Formula One Racing was first introduced to Poland by driver Robert Kubica. Hiking, skiing, ski jumping, and mountain biking are popular activities enjoyed by both amateur and professional sportsperson visiting the mountains of Poland. The beaches and coastal waters of the country offer aquatic sports and beach activities like canoeing, kayaking, sports-fishing, etc. A variety of other sports like basketball, hockey, swimming, weightlifting, boxing, etc., are played in the country.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Biggest Cities In Norway

Oslo, the capital and most populous city of Norway, is the principle hub of industry, shipping, banking, and trade in the country.

Norway is a sovereign, unitary monarchy located in northern Europe where it occupies a total area of 385,252 square km and a population of 5,213,985 as of 2016. The country shares borders with Sweden, Finland, and Russia while Denmark lies across the Skagerrak Strait to the south of the country. Norway’s coastline faces the Barents Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The cities of Norway are all well-developed with modern infrastructural facilities, housing, educational institutions, and hospitals. Thus, the population of these cities enjoys high standards of living. Here we describe the five biggest cities in Norway.

The Five Biggest Cities In Norway

Oslo

Oslo is Norway’s biggest and capital city that was founded in 1040 and established as a trading place in 1048. Currently, the city is the hub of industry, shipping, banking, and trade in the country. Oslo has been ranked as a "Beta World City” and is regarded as a global city. A 2011 survey by ECA International classified the city as the world’s second most expensive city after Tokyo. The population of Oslo is increasing at record rates, and it is Europe’s fastest growing city. Relatively high birth rates and high rates of international immigration have influenced the population growth in Oslo.

Bergen

Bergen is located in Hordaland on Norway’s west coast. It ranks second among the biggest cities in Norway. Bergen is divided into eight boroughs and is the administrative center of Hordaland. According to tradition, the city was established by King Olav Kyrre in 1070. Bergen was Norway’s largest city until the 1830’s when Oslo replaced Bergen as the biggest city. Currently, the Bergen Port serves over half a million passengers every year. Thus, it is the busiest port in the country. The Bergen Airport, Bergen Line terminus, and Bergen Light Rail are located in the city.

Trondheim

Trondheim, located in Sør-Trøndelag country at the mouth of the river Nidelva, is the third most populous city in Norway. It is the administrative center of the Sør-Trøndelag county. Trondheim features the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), St. Olavs University Hospital and other renowned technology-oriented institutions. The city was founded as a trading post in 997 and during the Viking Age it served as the capital of Norway till 1217. Trondheim currently serves as the seat of the Nidaros Cathedral and the Lutheran Diocese of Nidaros.

Stavanger

Stavanger is the administrative center of the Rogaland county and the fourth biggest city in Norway. The city, considered to have been established in 1125, houses many 18th and 19th-century heritage buildings which are regarded as the city’s cultural heritage. The oil industry is a key industry operating in the city, and thus Stavanger and the surrounding areas are known as the Oil Capital of Norway. The city also hosts a number of higher education institutions, the largest being the University of Stavanger.

Bærum

Bærum is located in Norway’s Akershus county and ranks fifth among the biggest cities in Norway. The city was founded relatively recently on January 1, 1838. The city has the highest proportion of university-educated individuals and also the highest income per capita in the country. Bærum is one of the most expensive residential municipalities in Norway and is known for its fashionable residential areas. It is regarded as the best place to live in the country.

Which Are The Biggest Cities In Norway?

Rank City Population (in thousand inhabitants)

1 Oslo 658.39
2 Bergen 277.39
3 Trondheim 187.35
4 Stavanger 132.64
5 Bærum 122.35
6 Kristiansand 88.45
7 Fredrikstad 87.97
8 Sandnes 74.82
9 Tromso 73.48

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

••culled from www.worldatlas.com

Sunday, 15 September 2019

The Culture Of Norway

Norwegians value independence and self-sufficiency.

Norway is a Scandinavian nation with a population of around 5 million. Ethnic Norwegians constitute the largest ethnic group in the country and account for 83.2% of the total population. Other European ethnic groups and others comprise 8.3% and 8.5% of the total population of Norway, respectively. The vast majority of Norway’s population adheres to Christianity. 71.5% of the population is affiliated to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. Roman Catholics account for 2.8% of the population. The rest of the population comprises of followers of other Christian denominations, Islam, Hinduism, etc.
6. Cuisine Of Norway

Traditional Norwegian cuisine is based primarily on the raw materials that are available in the mountains, wilderness, and coasts of the country. Fish and game are the most important constituents of this cuisine. Modern cuisine of the country is, however, largely influenced by international cuisines and includes pizzas, tacos, pasta, etc. Some of the famous dishes of Norwegian cuisine include smalahove (dish made from sheep’s head), pinnekjøtt (a mutton or lamb dish), Rakfisk (a dish made from char or trout that is stored for up to a year with salt and the fermented fish is then eaten raw), etc.

5. Music and Dance

The folk music and dance of Norway includes a number of traditions and many indigenous musical instruments. The Hardanger fiddle, Swedish bagpipes, lur, and kari are some examples of such instruments. In the modern-day, the country is famous for black metal. Although this genre of music originated elsewhere, the musicians and bands of the country played a major role in developing the genre. Venom, Mercyful Fate, and Bathory are some famous Norwegian black metal bands. Leif Ove Andsnes from Norway is one of the world’s most renowned pianists. The pop music and jazz scene in Norway are also thriving.

4. Art In Norway

The art scene in Norway truly began in the 19th century. Portraits and landscapes were produced as popular works of the time. Johan Christian Dahl, Kitty Kielland, and Harriet Backer were some of the famous artists from Norway. Another internationally famous artist from Norway is Edvard Munch whose work The Scream, painted in 1893, is globally famous.

3. Norwegian Cinema

The cinema industry in Norway is notable for some of its excellent works. The first domestic production of the Norwegian film industry was released in 1907. It was named Fiskerlivets farer and is a story about fishermen. The first feature film was released in 1911. Tancred Ibsen and Leif Sinding are some of the most noted film directors of the Norwegian film industry in its early years. As of 2011, the industry has produced about 900 films with about a third of them being produced in the 21st century.

2. Sports In Norway

Norwegian culture includes sports as an integral part of it. Association football, ski jumping, biathlon, etc., are some of the popular sports in the country. The biggest indoor sport in Norway is ice hockey. The women’s handball team in Norway is internationally renowned for having won several international titles including two Summer Olympics gold medals in 2008 and 2012. The women’s football team of Norway is also one of the best in the world having won the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup and other international tournaments. Chess is also a popular game in Norway and the country has produced about 10 Grandmasters. Another famous sport played in Norway is Bandy. It is a traditional sport that is the world’s second-biggest winter sport in terms of the number of licensed athletes.

1. The Society In Norway

Women and men enjoy equal rights in a Norwegian society. Large numbers of women are part of the workforce in the country. Education is gender-neutral. Parental leaves are available for both men and women. The armed services are also sexually integrated. Marriages are dependent on independent choice of the couple and are based on romantic love matches. Divorce rates are high in the Norwegian society. Families are small comprising of both parents and usually not more than two children. Single parent families are also on the rise. Marriage leads to the joint ownership of all material goods owned by the couple. Children, both male and female, equally inherit the property of their parents. The national culture of Norway tends to be child-centered. Many welfare systems exist to ensure that children receive adequate care and protection during their childhood.

Norwegians tend to be private, noncompetitive, and egalitarian in their attitude. They value independence and self-sufficiency. Thus, they tend not to meddle in the affairs of others. Norwegians are highly punctual both in their work and personal life. They like maintaining a comfortable distance while conversing. Personal space is highly valued. Although they appear to be reserved among strangers, they are warm and friendly once a relationship has been established. Norwegians respect the dignity of others.
Norwegians value independence and self-sufficiency.

Norway is a Scandinavian nation with a population of around 5 million. Ethnic Norwegians constitute the largest ethnic group in the country and account for 83.2% of the total population. Other European ethnic groups and others comprise 8.3% and 8.5% of the total population of Norway, respectively. The vast majority of Norway’s population adheres to Christianity. 71.5% of the population is affiliated to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. Roman Catholics account for 2.8% of the population. The rest of the population comprises of followers of other Christian denominations, Islam, Hinduism, etc.

6. Cuisine Of Norway

Traditional Norwegian cuisine is based primarily on the raw materials that are available in the mountains, wilderness, and coasts of the country. Fish and game are the most important constituents of this cuisine. Modern cuisine of the country is, however, largely influenced by international cuisines and includes pizzas, tacos, pasta, etc. Some of the famous dishes of Norwegian cuisine include smalahove (dish made from sheep’s head), pinnekjøtt (a mutton or lamb dish), Rakfisk (a dish made from char or trout that is stored for up to a year with salt and the fermented fish is then eaten raw), etc.

5. Music and Dance

The folk music and dance of Norway includes a number of traditions and many indigenous musical instruments. The Hardanger fiddle, Swedish bagpipes, lur, and kari are some examples of such instruments. In the modern-day, the country is famous for black metal. Although this genre of music originated elsewhere, the musicians and bands of the country played a major role in developing the genre. Venom, Mercyful Fate, and Bathory are some famous Norwegian black metal bands. Leif Ove Andsnes from Norway is one of the world’s most renowned pianists. The pop music and jazz scene in Norway are also thriving.

4. Art In Norway

The art scene in Norway truly began in the 19th century. Portraits and landscapes were produced as popular works of the time. Johan Christian Dahl, Kitty Kielland, and Harriet Backer were some of the famous artists from Norway. Another internationally famous artist from Norway is Edvard Munch whose work The Scream, painted in 1893, is globally famous.

3. Norwegian Cinema

The cinema industry in Norway is notable for some of its excellent works. The first domestic production of the Norwegian film industry was released in 1907. It was named Fiskerlivets farer and is a story about fishermen. The first feature film was released in 1911. Tancred Ibsen and Leif Sinding are some of the most noted film directors of the Norwegian film industry in its early years. As of 2011, the industry has produced about 900 films with about a third of them being produced in the 21st century.

2. Sports In Norway

Norwegian culture includes sports as an integral part of it. Association football, ski jumping, biathlon, etc., are some of the popular sports in the country. The biggest indoor sport in Norway is ice hockey. The women’s handball team in Norway is internationally renowned for having won several international titles including two Summer Olympics gold medals in 2008 and 2012. The women’s football team of Norway is also one of the best in the world having won the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup and other international tournaments. Chess is also a popular game in Norway and the country has produced about 10 Grandmasters. Another famous sport played in Norway is Bandy. It is a traditional sport that is the world’s second-biggest winter sport in terms of the number of licensed athletes.

1. The Society In Norway

Women and men enjoy equal rights in a Norwegian society. Large numbers of women are part of the workforce in the country. Education is gender-neutral. Parental leaves are available for both men and women. The armed services are also sexually integrated. Marriages are dependent on independent choice of the couple and are based on romantic love matches. Divorce rates are high in the Norwegian society. Families are small comprising of both parents and usually not more than two children. Single parent families are also on the rise. Marriage leads to the joint ownership of all material goods owned by the couple. Children, both male and female, equally inherit the property of their parents. The national culture of Norway tends to be child-centered. Many welfare systems exist to ensure that children receive adequate care and protection during their childhood.

Norwegians tend to be private, noncompetitive, and egalitarian in their attitude. They value independence and self-sufficiency. Thus, they tend not to meddle in the affairs of others. Norwegians are highly punctual both in their work and personal life. They like maintaining a comfortable distance while conversing. Personal space is highly valued. Although they appear to be reserved among strangers, they are warm and friendly once a relationship has been established. Norwegians respect the dignity of others.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Friday, 13 September 2019

Aruba’s Holidays And Traditions

Aruba is a culturally active island where a number of holidays and traditions are celebrated throughout the year. While many of Aruba’s holidays and traditions are influenced by the cultures of other countries, such as Holland, Venezuela, America, and other Caribbean islands, others are by and large homegrown. The following holidays and traditions add depth and excitement to the lives of Arubans and to the vacation experience of island guests who take part in these celebrations.

Bon Bini Festival at Fort Zoutman

Every Tuesday evening of the year, whether rain or shine, the Bon Bini Festival regales island guests with a unique folkloric celebration at Fort Zoutman in downtown Oranjestad. The quaint, open-air courtyard within the fort’s antiquated stone walls provides the perfect setting to enjoy traditional Antillean dance performances, listen to the sweet melody of steel pans, browse a small bazaar of local arts and crafts, and sample plenty of tasty local foods and refreshments.

Caha di Orgel

The caha di orgel (organ box) is a traditional musical instrument typically played during national holidays and the occasional wedding or birthday celebration. Each organ has two or three barrels pegged with metal pins that move strings attached to hammers to create a song when the barrel is cranked. On Aruba, the caha di orgel is endearingly referred to as the tingilingi box for the teeng-ee-leeng-ee sound that it makes.

Carnaval

Carnaval is the event of the year on the Aruban calendar. Beginning after the new year with the Torch Parade and ending at midnight on the eve of Ash Wednesday, Carnaval serves as a last hurrah before the abstinent period of Lent. The Carnaval schedule features a handful of parades characterized by colorful floats, extravagant costumes, and rolling sound trucks that fuel the dancing crowd with roadmarch songs. Jump-ups (street parties), impressive steelpan drum performances, a tumba contest, a calypso and roadmarch contest, and king and queen elections round out the Aruban Carnaval season.

Dande

Aubans celebrate New Year’s Day with a special tradition known as Dande. Groups made up of five to six people visit the homes of their families and friends, wishing these loved ones success and happiness in the coming year through song. A drum, tambu, wiri-wiri (very traditional Aruban musical instrument), and raspa produce the festive upbeat rhythm and contagious chorus of Dande songs.

Dera Gai

On June 24, Arubans observe Dera Gai , a folkloric festival celebrated on the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Dera Gai is rife with both pagan and Catholic symbolism reflecting the influences of the Arawak natives and Spanish missionaries on the Island, respectively. Traditionally, blindfolded revelers, using a long pole, were given three tries to decapitate a rooster buried up to its head in the ground. Today, a more humane approach to the ritual involves trying to locate a flag staked into the ground while being blindfolded. Decked out in bright yellow-and-red costumes, folk groups perform harvest dances, and as in long-begone days, huge bonfires are burned all across the island to herald the arrival of Dera Gai.
Dera Gai Aruba - Bon Bini Festival at Fort Zoutman,

Dia Di Betico

This national holiday commemorates the birthday of G. F. “Betico” Croes, the charismatic political activist who engineered Aruba’s secession from the Netherlands Antilles, eventually occurring in 1986. Consequently, Aruba became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the power to establish its own constitution, parliament, police force, currency, national anthem, and flag. On January 25, Arubans gather at Plaza Betico Croes to honor their “Father of the Nation” with a special flag ceremony, a culinary festival, a sale of local goods, and a cultural show featuring Aruban folk and Carnaval dances. An island-wide Harley Davidson bike tour and marathons held in Betico’s hometown, Santa Cruz, also mark the occasion.

Flag & Anthem Day

On March 18, 1948, the Aruban politician Shon A. Eman presented the first formal proposal for the self-determination of the Aruban people to Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. In 1976, twenty-eight years later to the day, political leader Betico Croes declared the first Flag & Anthem Day. This patriotic holiday is celebrated with a scout parade, a classic-car parade, sporting events, a folkloric performance at Plaza Betico Croes, and special cultural activities at museums in downtown Oranjestad. Arubans are especially proud of their beautiful anthem, “Aruba Dushi Tera,” a waltz composed by three of Aruba’s celebrated artists: Juan Chabaya “Padu” Lampe, Rufo Wever, and Hubert Booi.

Gaita

Arubans adopted this Venezuelan Christmas music and turned it into their own holiday tradition. Gaita bands—typically made up of a line of female singers accompanied by musicians playing the furucu, cuarta, bass, piano, tambu, raspa, timbal, and conga—perform from October through December at shopping malls, other island businesses, and private residences.

Pagara

On the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day, local businesses and residences fire up
pagaras —long strings of Chinese firecrackers—in order to ward off evil spirits for the coming year. The length of a pagara sometimes reflects a business’s success in the previous year, and some pagaras can last as long as half an hour once lit! The lighting of a pagara is no small deal; the event is scheduled days in advance so that as many onlookers as possible can attend.

King’s Day

On April 27, the Dutch Kingdom celebrates the official birthday and coronation of its beloved king, King Willem Alexander. On Aruba, this special day is filled with activities including official ceremonies, kite-flying competitions, sporting events, parades featuring national music, and other family activities, all of which encourage and reflect national unity and togetherness.

Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas is the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus, and true to their Dutch roots, Arubans celebrate the tradition of this saint and his penchant for gift-giving. In mid-November, Arubans welcome Sinterklaas, his white horse, and his handful of helpers, called Zwarte Pieten, as they sail into Aruba’s harbor from Spain. On the days leading up to his feast day, December 6, Sinterklaas—with his long white beard, bishop’s robes, and golden staff—makes appearances at schools and stores all across the island; his ever-amusing Zwarte Pieten are always in tow, carrying sacks filled with treats for children. Most anticipated of all are the evenings leading up to and including the night of December 5, when Sinterklaas leaves chocolate letters and coins, gingerbread cookies, and small toys in the shoes of good Aruban boys and girls.

•culled from www.wheninaruba.com
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