12-Oct-2006 -- Story starts at 37N 137E
I left the confluence N55 E25 and stopped at the nearest gas station to fill
up the motorbike. The road to the Geographical Center of Europe was quite
pleasant. After riding for about ten kilometers, I noticed an old church among
the trees and pulled over to take a few pictures. Unfortunately my Nikon D70
wasn’t around my shoulder any more. I went back to the gas station without
too much hope to see it again. Luckily for me, the camera was still waiting
for me near the pump.
Several countries claim to be at the heart of Europe, but according to the
research made by the French National Geographic Institute (IGN), the “real
and only” geographical point is in Lithuania near the village of
Purnuškės, 26 kilometers north of Vilnius. The map references of their
version of the center of Europe are 54°54’N and 25°19’E. These
references were defined after a re-estimation of the boundaries of the
European continent: Spitsbergen as the northern point, the Canary Island as
the southern point, the crest of the Ural Mountains as the eastern point and
the Azores as the western point.
Taking into account the precision of these calculations, Europe’s
geographical center could in fact be located at any point in Lithuania, having
the form of an irregular square approximately 1100 meters north-south and 800
meters east-west. A reserve was arranged in 1992 and on May 1st 2004, the date
Lithuania entered the European Union, a column of white granite was unveiled.
School children had formed a circle in front of that column when I arrived and
I was welcomed with a few English words.
Story continues at 54N 19E