Geografický stred Európy (ďalší) / Another One Geographical centre of Europe

Geographical centre of Europe (purnuskes) Travel Blog

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In 1989, scientists of National Geographic Institute of France gave the description of the European geographic centre and, applying the scientific method of gravitation centres, appointed that this centre is located in the North from Vilnius (26 km), near Purnuskes village.

The coordinate of the European geographic centre is 54 degrees 54 minutes North latitude and 25 degrees 19 minutes East longitude. The following coordinate was newly described after the marginal points of the European continent were determined: in the North – in Spitsbergen (80° 45’N – 20°35’E), in the South – in Canary Islands (27°38’N – 17°58’W), in the East – the top of the Urals (67°59’N – 66°10’E), in the West – the Azores (39°27’N – 31°16’W).
The continent line runs along the Kara River, the highest crest of the Urals, the Urals River, the Caspian Sea up to the Apsheron Peninsula, the highest crest of the Caucasus up to the Kuban Bay, the Black Sea over the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, Eastern coast of the Aegean Sea (the boarder between Greece and Turkey), the Mediterranean, the Gibraltar channel. Determining the marginal points of the continent the Canary, Madeira and the Azores, as well as Iceland, are assigned to Europe, Newfoundland is not assigned. The position of Malta Island in the middle of the Mediterranean was ignored; however, this alters the place of the European geographic centre only by 100 metres. Considering the accuracy of the measurement, the European geographic centre can be considered any point in the territory, which is a cartographic trapezium, approximately 1100 meters in the direction of North South and 800 metres in the direction of West East.

After the position of the centre was determined the proper marking became an issue of discussion. The first mark of the geographic centre – the stonework with a slab – was built in 1991 on the hill near Bernotai. However, this monument has not remained. Later with the help of the Association of Lithuanian geographers a local stone found in the fields and weighing 9 tons was put at the place of the centre. A metal slab with an inscription was fixed on the stone.

In 1992 the Lithuanian Supreme Council established the cartographic conservation area of the European centre in order to preserve the environment of the European geographic centre. It covers Girija Lake, mound Bernotai and Alkakalnis (an ancient pagan burial ground), as well as surrounding woods and other land.
Mound Bernotai is one of the oldest mounds in Lithuania. It is presumed that in the 1st-5th century a defensive castle stood at that place. Archaeologists have found there moulded and thrown ceramics with the lined surface.

Since 1994, the International Institution for the History of Surveying and Measurement of the International Federation of surveyors (FIG) has a goal to perpetuate Geodetic Arc of a well-known astronomer geodesist F.G.W. Struve as UNESCO World Heritage Site. National Land Board under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania and Institute of Geodesy of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University have suggested perpetuating Struve’s geodetic arc point at Meskoniai village, near the European geographic centre. In 1818, here was established a temporal astronomic station, the amplitude of which the astronomer C.
Tenner determined according to the multiple measurements of zenith distance of the stars close to the North Pole.

With the increase in the tourist flows to Lithuania every year, the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economics, Vilnius County Head Administration and PI ”Europos geografinis centras” took the initiative to revive the European geographic centre, to prepare and implement the project of the Centre’s marking and tourism infrastructure.

To carry out the programme of the infrastructure arrangement means, the most talented Lithuanian architects and artists were involved: the sculptor prof. Gediminas Jokubonis, the architect prof. Jonas Anuskevicius, the landscape architect Alvydas Mituzas. PI “Europos geografinis centras”, the contractor UAB “Melinga”, carried out the organizational work for the management and constructions of the object.
náš prvý kemp / our first camping

On May 1st, 2004 a solemn presentation of the European geographic centre was organized. The event was intended to commemorate the integration of Lithuania into the European Union. In commemoration of that event a professor Gediminas Jokubonis created a composition – a pillar of white granite, the top of which is surrounded by the star crown. This once more confirms the connection of Lithuanian history with Europe and a meaningful return of Lithuania into the family of European nations.

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náš prvý kemp / our first campi…
náš prvý kemp / our first camp…
náš prvý kemp / our first campi…
náš prvý kemp / our first camp…
Geographical centre of Europe (purnuskes)
photo by: drobec