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Major Geographic Qualities of Europe Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jun 29th, 2020

One thing that struck me the most was the immense variation in relatively small areas of the continent. Although the southern regions are well known for their rough terrain and mountainous features like the Alps; there are still a wide variety of other features that occur in relative proximity to one another (DeBlij and Muller, 2009).

Many sub regions that contribute to the complexity of the Europe exist. For example, one can find river valleys or even plateaus in these areas so this is quite surprising. Furthermore, even though one would expect the south to be a general lowland area, there are still several characteristics that can be found in different regions that defy these expectations and those are what make the continent quite unique.

Why the physical regions of Europe support so many culture variations

This can be attributed to the events in the history of the continent. First, the collapse of the Roman Empire was one of these(DeBlij and Muller, 2009). Once the latter society ceased to exist, then new people began filling up that vacuum. For instance tribes of Germanic descent established small hegemonies like the Saxons of Britain, the Ostrogoths of Italy and the Franks in Gaul.

The latter groups later formed their owned identities and later became what we now know today. However, in some areas Roman land owners were allowed to stay as long as they accepted the rule of another overlord. These groups maintained Roman characteristics and were responsible for the cultures in modern Italy and Spain(DeBlij and Muller, 2009).

There were also several kingdoms formed after the collapse of the Roman empire such as Neustria and Austrasia in Gaul. Leaders of these latter kingdoms were in constant wars against one another thus leading to intermingling of cultures. Additionally, this period in history was responsible for numerous migrations. In certain circumstances those migrations led to serious clashes.

Examples of groups that latter came to leave their mark in the continent of Europe include Magyars, Angles, Franks, Vandals, Petrarch, Slavs and many others. A series of empires followed after and because most of them were established based on lineages then frequent conflicts arose that often led to separation and amalgamation of various groups. These historic political events contributed to current patterns of European culture.

Also, the European continent was home to most intellectual developments and contributed to the agrarian as well as the industrial revolutions(DeBlij and Muller, 2009). These factors gave many people of the world a reason to stay in Europe. They knew that they could benefit more from the continent if they remained hence the reason for such a wide array of cultures.

On the other hand, there are still ethnic minorities within the continent who have forged an identity for themselves. These groups can be understood owing to the latest set of immigrations into the continent. Examples include persons from Africa, Asia and the Middle East (DeBlij and Muller, 2009).

Where the Eastern boundary should be fixed

The issue of boundary fixing can be a complex one especially because modern understandings of boundaries have been redefined. In the past, geographical features were sufficient to determine the most appropriate boundaries. However, all this has changed after cultural elements began taking precedence. Consequently, regions should be defined by the perceived similarities in cultures.

One particular element that can assist in this process is language. In terms of the actual physical features, The Ural mountains largely belong to the eastern side of the continent and can therefore be an important determinant of the outer boundary of the eastern realm. On the other hand, the western part may require a deep analysis because the cultures and religions are quite similar.

One way of making sure that overlap does not occur in defining the Eastern region is by excluding countries that are already considered members of the western realm. This can refer to all those Baltic countries as well as those who emanate from Central Europe. These latter countries can be excluded because their histories, economies and even their politics are very distinct from those of the traditional European states (DeBlij and Muller, 2009).

Elements of the landscape that make up European infrastructure today

During the 12th century and beyond, Europe witnessed immense number of infrastructural developments that still remain until present times. At this time, Europe underwent a lot of urbanization and it was here when populations began growing in towns. The inhabitants needed to clear land in order to do so. Furthermore, it was at this point when invading societies such as the Magyars and Scandinavians were converted to Christianity.

Consequently, there was a need to establish infrastructure that responded to this rising number-here Cathedrals and other religious institutions were built. Furthermore, the increasing number of cities in the 12th century also created a need for more linkages since citizens needed to transport themselves. Many roads were built at that time especially because a lot of trade also took place between these cities (DeBlij and Muller, 2009).

An example of a structure that still exists today is the Carcassonne fortress which was built during the flourishing twelfth century in France. Other cities in Italy, Hungary and Spain continued to develop their towns through formations of City states that were essential in their growth. Some of the growth witnessed at this time continues to be witnessed today through roads and infrastructure within the continent because it paved the way for continual improvement.

Rating Russia’s infrastructure compared to Europe’s

Russia is currently paying the price for belonging to the Soviet Union because during its membership in this Union, priorities were directed towards other issues which did not encompass infrastructure development. This is the reason why other countries in Europe seem to be quite far ahead. There were also plenty of mistakes made by the Russian government.

For instance, the country chose to invest plenty of its stock in industries that were unlikely to lead to its competitiveness. Most of that capital was of poor standards. What’s more, remote areas were chosen for these investments and it eventually led to poor capacity utilization by the latter body. Furthermore, poor property rights may also have led to this poor performance.

Roads in Russia are currently a big improvement from what had been seen witnessed some ten years ago. However, this is still a far cry from what Europe has accomplished. Part of the problem was brought on by the immense levels of bureaucracy inherent in the Soviet. The other area that is still different from Europe’s infrastructure is housing. Instatement of privatization may have assisted but Russia is still playing catch up to what the rest of Europe has accomplished (DeBlij and Muller, 2009).

My favorite European region

South central Europe is my favorite European destination because it has the Alps Mountains (DeBlij and Muller, 2009). This major geographical landscape can be found in a serious of countries ranging from Herzegovina, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, France to even Switzerland. This region stretches for approximately 700 miles. There are plenty of geographical features that can be found in this location and they include valleys, lakes, glaciers and other surrounding regional features.

For example, when one visits Italy, one is likely to find preserved planes and valleys. The Aosta valley has gained great recognition in this area owing to the many activities available to visitors. One can do mountain climbing, skiing through circuit and other sporting facilities found there. Alternatively, one can decide to visit the Crania which is composed of the Julian Alps. This area provides a unique opportunity to engage with nature because it has not been tampered by human settlements.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect about the Alps is the rich and the diverse culture that one will find beside it. Because the mountains pass through various countries then chances are that one can interact with several diverse communities. For instance, one can meet French speakers in the outer region especially from the region known as Monaco. Italian people are particularly known for their warm hospitality. Several other communities like Slav speakers can also be found. One can also get a chance to meet some minority groups in Croatia and the like (DeBlij and Muller, 2009).

Most striking qualities of Russia

One of the qualities that struck me most about Russia was its water features. It is interesting how these water features are not located in regions where inhabitants can be found. In fact, the largest population concentration is prone to warm weather which implies frequent evaporation. It is also interesting how this country is actually home to one of the most vast water surfaces within the continent.

Most of the water surfaces are mostly located near the Urals and drain into the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Examples of some long rivers in Russia include Lena and Yenisei. These water bodies often flow northwards thus making them vulnerable to thawing. In the end, several swamps can be found in the country like Vasyugan. In fact, swamps are responsible for a tenth of the entire Russian area (DeBlij and Muller, 2009).

Most water transport occurs through Russian rivers. This is evident because a large number of the rivers actually drain into other countries like Ukraine and the People’s Republic of China. In this regard, the water system is vital link between Russia and the rest of its neighbors.

Surprises and discoveries on Russia

I was so surprised by how vast Russia really is-17, 100, 000 square kilometers. It is interesting to note that it is actually double the size of China and the United States and that the territory covered by this nation’s borders actually accounts for about thirteen percent of the earth’s territories. In fact, in terms of its square miles, this country can be considered as the largest in the world (DeBlij and Muller, 2009).

This implies that there are several things to be learnt from this eastern European nation. Almost all types of vegetative features can be found here including tundra, grassland, forests, mixed forests, semi desert and other types of vegetations. Furthermore, one can learn that having a large size does not necessarily translate into a large population. Compared to its land mass, the inhabitants of Russia actually occupy a small fraction. They are also not that many since there are less than 145 million people.

This is a far cry from population figures reported in dense countries like the People’s Republic of China. It is also interesting how this country shares its borders with fourteen other countries thus explaining why security concerns have been such a challenge for them. The vast size of this country is also essential in understanding the nature of climatic conditions that members have to endure (DeBlij and Muller, 2009). The presence of vast amounts of land tends to draw warm currents that eventually translate into warm climate in areas where people live.


DeBlij, H. and Muller, P. (2009). Geography – Realms, Regions, and Concepts, 14th edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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