hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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The hill community of Zakopane, in the shadow of the Tatra Mountains, hardly seems the sort of spot for revolution. But 100 years ago it was a self-styled independent republic (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

When Empires Crumbled

  • 13 Nov 2018
The dignified commemorations marking one hundred years since the end of the First World War masked the details of what actually happened in November 1918. The aftermath of the Great War was a messy business, with conflict continuing in some areas ...
The Ludwigsplatz with the baroque Ludwigskirche in the heart of Saarbrücken, capital of the German state of Saarland (photo © Sergey Dzyuba / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Saarland, January 1957

  • 15 Jan 2017
We walk down the lane between two villages. Each takes its name from the River Gailbach. The higher community is Obergailbach. It's a wee slip of a place. Just a couple of kilometres down the valley lies Niedergailbach which is rather larger. This ...
photo © Radius06 / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

After the referendum

  • 4 Jul 2016
For millions of Brits of my generation, the EU gave an exit route, a chance to escape. It gave me a chance to feel truly European, to be truly European. It has given me the opportunity to explore other languages, other faiths, other freedoms, that ...
Young men in Prishtine, Kosovo (photo © Malik5 / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

What colour is your flag when it burns?
  

Kosovo is arguably Europe's newest country. Most nations now recognising the leadership of the territory as being a legitimate national government, though even some European Union members are still withholding recognition. Kosovo still has internal ...
Magazine article

Kosovo travel notes
  

It's perfectly sensible to travel from Budapest to Thessaloniki through Kosovo. But it's unwise to attempt the journey in the reverse direction. Find out why in our notes on travelling through ...
The ‘temple’ of Walhalla in the Danube Valleyappeals to classical style in its homage to the German nation (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

No space for Marx
  

A mock Greek temple on a bluff above the River Danube turns out to be a good spot to reflect on what it means to be German. Walhalla is a national hall of fame - a sort of Bavarian version of the Panthéon in ...
Letter from Europe

Liberland: Bring your wellies

  • 26 Apr 2015
Have you applied for Liberland citizenship yet? Probably not. Though by all accounts lots of folk have been begging the Liberland government to give them passports.Liberland may yet turn out to be merely a publicity stunt, but President Jedlicka ...
Letter from Europe

From the Barents Sea to Gagauzia

  • 11 Nov 2014
The ebb and flow of life in Brussels, London and Paris is well covered in mainstream media. We have instead opted for the road less travelled. hidden europe 44, which is published today, carries reports from offbeat and unsung communities right ...
The streets of Komrat, capital of the autonomous territory of Gagauzia, with a poster suggesting Moldovan national unity (photo © Marco Fieber).
Magazine article

What next for Gagauzia?
  

It is worthwhile to keep an eye on the national elections in Moldova in late November 2014. They could provide the cue for Gagauzia to start thinking again about secession. Could Gagauzia be the next ...
View from Calton Hill over the city of Edinburgh (photo © Shaiith / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Divided Islands and all things Scottish

  • 9 Sep 2014
Just imagine, for a moment, that Scotland really does vote yes to independence next week. Scotland will then become a new nation state, bidding for a place in European league tables of size and status. We reflect on border issues and look at how ...
Magazine article

The idea of ‘good’ borders
  

The Curzon Line, which for so long marked the approximate western border of the Soviet Union is named after Lord Curzon. His Lordship has strong ideas on borders, seeing them very much as zones of demarcation. But ideas have changed since Curzon's ...
Teetering on the brink: the capital of San Marino clusters around the summit of Mount Titano (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

La Serenissima: San Marino
  

No other country in Europe can boast so beautiful a name: La Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino. But to experience the serenity of San Marino, you really need to stay overnight in the capital, which clusters around the summit of Monte Titano. ...
Letter from Europe

A duo of diarchies

  • 12 Jul 2012
Europe boasts an engaging mix of microstates, some less acknowledged internationally than others. The mainland of western Europe numbers five independent nation states that are all among the smallest in the world. Andorra, Liechtenstein, San ...
Magazine article

The Russian Federation
  

Kalmykia is the only political unit in Europe where Buddhism is the dominant religion. You think we jest! But it is true. We take a look at some of the lesser known republics within the European part of the Russian ...
photo © Jostein Hauge / dreamstime.com
Magazine article

Viva football
  

World Cup year! Again! We shall be eagerly following the 2010 Viva World Cup as teams from Padania, Gozo, Lapland, Monaco and other small territories compete for football ...
Letter from Europe

Origins: from Marie Curie to Tom Stoppard

  • 21 Feb 2010
It is always interesting to discover the places where famous folk were born. Who ever would have thought that Andre Agassi, the son of an Iranian-born boxer, should have first seen the light of our world in Las Vegas? hidden europe visits the home ...
The former Russian military hospital at Beelitz where Erich and Margot Honecker lived for a spell (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

East Germany: after the fall
  

Brandenburg's business corridor, an east-west strip south of Berlin, incorporates many preserves that featured in Cold War history. We take a look at some of the places outside Berlin that played the role in the political events of 1989 and ...
Magazine article

The Cretan question
  

We look at examples of how territories and countries have been internationalised through joint administration by foreign powers. From Crete to Kosovo, Europe has had many examples of shared ...
Letter from Europe

Kosovo and international politics

  • 24 Jul 2009
The Kosovo issue rumbles on. Contrary to popular opinion, the question of who has recognised the would-be state and who has not is far from being a simple east versus west divide. True, Britain and the United States both gave a positive nod to ...
Magazine article

The European flag
  

one flag: blue background with twelve stars. It flutters above buildings in over forty European capitals. hidden europe looks at the Council of Europe ...
Letter from Europe

By ferry to Russia

  • 19 May 2009
The whispers from Moscow last week that Russia will sanction visa-free travel to the country for visitors arriving and leaving on ferries is good news indeed. Cruise ship passengers have long benefitted from just such a dispensation, but only if ...
Magazine article

An icon of identity: the Faroese flag
  

Fámjin is all the better for being difficult to reach. It is a tiny place, a mere pinprick on the map of the Faroes. But Fámjin has something of the Faroese soul about it, for it here that the national flag was first flown. We look at some places ...
Magazine article

Know your gentilics
  

Lesbians don't necessarily come from Lesbos, not everyone from Bohemia is bohemian, and Alsatians are generally dogs. A letter to the editors from a hidden europe reader prompts a few thoughts on the knotty issue of ...
Letter from Europe

Greenland referendum

  • 26 Nov 2008
There has been a revolution overnight in Nuuk. In the early hours of this morning, referendum results showed that Greenlanders have voted overwhelmingly for much greater autonomy from Denmark. This is not the first time that Greenland has rocked ...
Letter from Europe

Rusyn aspirations in Ukraine

  • 4 Nov 2008
Father Dymytrij Sydor is a determined man. No-one quite believed him when he asserted that he could raise the funds to build a massive new cathedral at Uzhgorod. This southwesternmost province of Ukraine is hill country, and it is home to the ...
Letter from Europe

Thoughts on Russia

  • 31 Aug 2008
Russian perceptions of Europe are much in the news this month in the wake of Moscow's response to the Tbilisi government's ill-considered adventure in South Ossetia. And yet Russian popular perceptions are shaped not merely by Kremlin dictates but ...
Letter from Europe

Moldova

  • 15 Mar 2008
Moldova is not a country that figures much in the European imagination. Tucked away in southeast Europe, Moldova contrives to be not-quite-Balkan and not-really-Danubian. The country boasts a minimalist connection with the Danube, abutting onto the ...
Letter from Europe

The soul of Switzerland

  • 7 Jan 2008
To cross the threshold of the Wilmersdorf church today is truly to enter another world. For today, in the Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical calendar, it is Christmas Day. The twin virtues of ardent faith and a strong sense of attachment to a diaspora ...
Letter from Europe

Trieste connections

  • 18 Jul 2007
The slow train to Trieste hugs the Adriatic coast, giving gorgeous views of the Miramare, a fabulous folly of a fortress built on a rocky plinth by Archduke Maximilian, the younger brother of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I. The train brings the ...
Letter from Europe

Passports please!

  • 23 Jan 2007
There is an old Russian proverb that suggests that a man consists of a body, a soul and a passport. But passports are not such an age-old institution as the proverb might imply. A hundred years ago, travellers might wander hither and thither across ...
Letter from Europe

Adriatic republics - a stop on the iron road

  • 24 May 2006
Reports this week of Montenegro's imminent status as Europe's newest nation state have prompted us in hidden europe to take a look at some of the smaller republics that once featured on the shores of the eastern Adriatic. Who now remembers the ...
Letter from Europe

Andorra landscapes - uncertainty in Montenegro

  • 6 Feb 2006
Walkers heading for Spain on the footpath over the 2,500 metres col at Vallcivera come up the Madriu valley during the summer season, but few notice the remains of the old forge on the bank of the river that, with its characteristic Catalan design, ...