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A question Eurovision's GEOGRAPHY!!

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1. Posted by kombizz (Full Member 1416 posts) 8y

A question Eurovision's GEOGRAPHY!!

My son has asked me a question that I can't answer.
I wonder if you could help me to answer him correctly.

If Israel is part of Europe (because it takes part in the Eurovision Song Competition) WHY isn't Lebanon or Egypt?

Is Israel in Europe or in the Middle East?

[ Edit: Edited on May 24, 2008, at 11:40 PM by kombizz ]

2. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 8y

Wow Kombizz you never fail to surprise!! A son and a half sensible question too!!!

Good question though and l havent got a clue about the answer - or its too early in the morning here to engage my brain!

3. Posted by spongehead (Full Member 119 posts) 8y

Quoting kombizz

A question Eurovision's GEOGRAPHY!!

WHY isn't Lebanon or Egypt?

I guess that's because Egypt sits firmly on a clearly defined land mass (Africa)? No?

4. Posted by Magnus J (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

Azerbaijan is in as well and that's even further east (beyond Turkey)

5. Posted by sapphyre (Respected Member 418 posts) 8y

Quoting Purdy

Wow Kombizz you never fail to surprise!! A son and a half sensible question too!!!

Ha I'm more of shocked he has a son!!

I think it depends on how you want to define the geography. Middle east is not a continent itself. Egypt geographically lies in Africa, like spongehead said. The western most point of Asia is Ankara, Turkey so anything east of that is considered in Asia.

Sometimes it's more practical to define regions according to cultural similarity, political interests etc. Some organisations list Israel under their Asia sub-regions. And I guess this is also related to why Turkey is facing opposition in it's bid to join the EU.

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 8y

If Israel is part of Europe (because it takes part in the Eurovision Song Competition)

The simple answer to that is that Israel is not and never has been part of Europe.

It takes part in many European sporting events/qualifying (such as Football) because many Asian (Muslim) nations refuse to recognise Israel's existence, and thus refuse all contact with it. Thus in order to be able to compete and allow the integrity of the competition to continue, the compete in the European sections.

As for Eurovision, Israel is a member of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) who produce Eurovision, and thus is allowed to enter, and has done since the early 70's. There are other non European EBU members (including both Lebanon and Egypt, and most of northern Africa and the Holy land), and thus they are also allowed to enter, but never have done. In a large part this is due to Israel's presence, as Lebanon etc will have no part in a competition which Israel is also part of. Thus because Israel DOES choose to enter, none of the Arab nations will.

Azerbaijan is in as well and that's even further east (beyond Turkey)

That is a bit different, because part of Azerbaijan is in Europe, geographically.

The western most point of Asia is Ankara, Turkey so anything east of that is considered in Asia.

I would disagree. All of Turkey West of Ankara, BUT south of the Bosphorus is normally considered Asia. It is only the sections of North Istanbul north of the Bosphorus which is European.

Also, East is irrelavant - if you were to use that definition that anything East of Ankara is Asia, the sections of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan actually within Europe would be considered Asia, by you, and large swathes of both Ukraine - which is entirely within Europe - and European Russia, including Moscow, would suddenly be in Asia.

I wouldn't personally want to have to break the news to roughly 120million people that they now live in Asia, and not Europe as they have long thought.....

I guess that's because Egypt sits firmly on a clearly defined land mass (Africa)? No?

Not entirely. What about the Sinaia peninsula...?

7. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 8y

Quoting Gelli

part of Azerbaijan is in Europe, geographically.

That is a very well answered question Gelli!! I am impressed, BUT, how can part of Azerbaijan be European geographically, as surely the different continents are only differentiated politically.

8. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 8y

This reminds of the Middle East discussion in the travelguide.
Still one question, is part of Kazakhstan European? That is, geographically? Is that like drawing a line south from the Ural Mountains?

And aren't Georgia, Armenia and Azer within Europe entirely. O, I really like these discussions, and I never seem to understand it entirely to be honest

[ Edit: Edited on May 25, 2008, at 1:13 PM by Utrecht ]

9. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 8y

Quoting sapphyre

Quoting Purdy

Wow Kombizz you never fail to surprise!! A son and a half sensible question too!!!

Ha I'm more of shocked he has a son!!

Yes, that is Kombusy

10. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 8y

That is a very well answered question Gelli!! I am impressed, BUT, how can part of Azerbaijan be European geographically, as surely the different continents are only differentiated politically

Can. Worms. Open.

Here we go again

I think the base question there is "what is a continent"? Whether Azerbaijan is - or is not - in Europe depends entirely on how you define a continent. If you take it as being a case of physical geography, politics, natural borders, geology, history or other definition. There is no one definition of "continent" let alone which countries are in which continents. You could, for example, just accept the UN definition as to what is a country, what is a continent, and which country is on which continent, but you would probably be surprised just how many countries/people/often, those definitions are disagreed with. Virtually every country in the world (and that number is, of course, wildly variable, and impossible to agree upon) disagrees with at least one or two of the classifications.

There is not even an international consensus as to how many continents there are. It is generally accepted that there are between 4 and 7, but I have seen as low as 3 and up to 11, possibly more (and there are several schools of thought which say that not every country is even part of a continent at all - parts of which i agree with)). And there are, for example, a number of countries/societies that agree on their being 5 continents, but they have different names/Definitions/borders as to what those 5 are...

On to your original question about Azerbaijan, and whether it is entirely in Europe, Asia, both, or Eurasia depends upon where you stand on lots of arguments/discussions. But very few models claim that an entire political entity has to be in a single continent - there are many countries which are often/generally/occasionally (depends on the country) considered to be in two different continents. Russia, for example, is almost universally accepted to have parts in both Asia and Europe. the only time it is NOT accepted as being in 2 continents is when "Eurasia" is considered a single continent, as occurs under several models. And it is nowhere near the only example. Which brings us back to the Azeri question.

The Caucasus area is one which is particularly variable, though on the grand scheme of things it covers a fairly small area. Azerbaijan - like Georgia and Armenia - are in cases considered wholly within Europe, wholly within Asia, wholly within Eurasia, or split between Europe and Asia (though different ideas/models theories have the splits in wildly differing places, which can lead to the Asian or European portions being very small, very large or several places in the middle....). And, of course, not all 3 can be considered together. Sometimes 1 of the 3 countries will be in Asia or Europe, and 2 in the other. or one in Asia, 1 in Europe, 1 split. Or 1 in Asia or Europe, and 2 split. And lets not even begin to consider issues like Nagorno-Karabakh...

Confused yet? You aren't the only one. Fun, isn't it?!

Btw...

Still one question, is part of Kazakhstan European? That is, geographically? Is that like drawing a line south from the Ural Mountains?

Yes, it is (to my mind at least). It's not quite drawing the line south from the Ural mountains, but instead it follows the Ural river from the Ural mountains to the Caspian Sea. That is a fairly standardly accepted definition of the Europe/Asia boundary, and means that Kazakhstan roughly west of the cities of Uralsk and Guryev (sp) is European, though there is barely anything there except empty steppe.

and I never seem to understand it entirely to be honest

I wouldn't worry about that. I don't even pretend to understand or even know anywhere near all of the arguments/permutations (though i've heard some brilliant ones over the years), and anybody that says they know definitively is talking out of their arse. There is no definite definition of any of this stuff, and the best we can currently manage is to all agree that there are different ideas and thus differences of opinion, and thus to agree to disagree.

And with that i'll stop here and avoid hijacking Kombizz' thread any more (sorry Kombizz ).

((for the record and those that don't know me, I am a cartographer and geopolitical analyst/consultant. That does not always - or even ever - mean that that I am vaguely correct, but it does mean that I deal with these sorts of issues fairly regularly, often at vaguely official levels, so like to think that I have at least some basic understanding of some of the different thoughts/arguments out there, though I can't even guarantee that))

[ Edit: Edited on May 26, 2008, at 10:09 AM by Gelli ]