Thursday, October 01, 2015

Word of the Day -- Balkans

The Balkan Peninsula, popularly referred to as the Balkans, is a geographical region of Southeast Europe. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch from the east of Serbia to the Black Sea at the east of Bulgaria. The Balkans are generally considered to include, in whole or in part, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo,[a] the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, and the European part of Turkey.

The region is inhabited by Albanians, Aromanians, Bulgarians, Bosniaks, Croats, Gorani, Greeks, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Serbs, Slovenes, Romanians, Turks, and other ethnic groups which present minorities in certain countries like the Romani and Ashkali. The largest religion on the Balkans is Orthodox Christianity, followed by Roman Catholicism and Islam.

The total area of the Balkans is 666,700 square km (257,400 square miles) and the population is 59,297,000 (est. 2002). The Balkans meets the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea on the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala 2,925 metres (9,596 ft) on the Rila mountain range in Bulgaria. The Balkans have been inhabited since the Paleolithic and are the route by which farming from the Middle East spread to Europe during the Neolithic (7th millennium BC). The Balkans are also the location of the first advanced civilizations. The Vinča culture developed a form of proto-writing before the Sumerians and Minoans, known as the Old European script, while the bulk of the symbols had been created in the period between 4500 and 4000 BC, with the ones on the Tărtăria clay tablets even dating back to around 5300 BC.

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