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Portal:Geography

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Geography is the science that studies the lands, the features, the inhabitants, and the phenomena of the Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC). Four historical traditions in geographical research are the spatial analysis of the natural and the human phenomena (geography as the study of distribution), the area studies (places and regions), the study of the human-land relationship, and research in the Earth sciences. Modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical science". Geography is divided into two main branches: human geography and physical geography.

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Qunaitra.jpg
Quneitra (also known as Al Qunaytirah, Qunaitira, or Kuneitra) is the largely destroyed and abandoned capital of the Quneitra Governorate in south-western Syria. It is situated in a high valley in the Golan Heights at an elevation of 1,010 metres (3,313 feet) above sea level. Quneitra was founded in the Ottoman era as a way station on the caravan route to Damascus and subsequently became a garrison town of some 20,000 people, strategically located near the ceasefire line with Israel. Its name is Arabic for "the little bridge". On 10 June 1967, the last day of the Six-Day War, Quneitra came under Israeli control. It was briefly recaptured by Syria during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but Israel regained control in its subsequent counter-offensive. The city was almost completely destroyed before the Israeli withdrawal in June 1974. It now lies in the demilitarized United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone between Syria and Israel, a short distance from the de facto border between the two countries, and is populated by only a handful of families. Syria refused to rebuild the city and actively discourages resettlement in the area. Israel was heavily criticized by the United Nations for the city's destruction, while Israel has also criticized Syria for not rebuilding Quneitra.

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Zhang Heng
Zhang Heng was an astronomer, mathematician, inventor, geographer, cartographer, artist, poet, statesman, and literary scholar from Nanyang, Henan, and lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25–220) of China. After beginning his career as a minor civil servant, he eventually became Chief Astronomer, Prefect of the Majors for Official Carriages, and then Palace Attendant at the imperial court. His uncompromising stances on certain historical and calendrical issues led to Zhang being considered a controversial figure, which prevented him from becoming an official court historian. Zhang applied his extensive knowledge of mechanics and gears in several of his inventions. He invented the world's first water-powered armillary sphere, to represent astronomical observation; improved the inflow water clock by adding another tank; and invented the world's first seismometer, which discerned the cardinal direction of an earthquake 500 km (310 mi) away. Furthermore, he improved previous Chinese calculations of the formula for pi. His fu (rhapsody) and shi poetry were renowned and commented on by later Chinese writers. Zhang received many posthumous honors for his scholarship and ingenuity, and is considered a polymath by some scholars.

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National Palace of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake
Credit: Photo: Logan Abassi, UNDP Global

This photo, taken the day after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, shows the damage it caused to the National Palace of Haiti. The palace's collapsed cupola has become a symbol of the devastation caused by the quake. The Haitian government is currently in the process of demolishing the remains in preparation for reconstruction.

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