Europe is a continent located in the northern hemisphere, bounded by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It is the second smallest continent in terms of surface area but has a rich cultural and historical heritage. Europe is comprised of 44 countries, including Russia, the largest country by land area, and Vatican City, the smallest. The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states, with a population of over 447 million people. The continent is known for its diverse languages, cuisines, art, music, and architecture, as well as its contributions to science, technology, and philosophy.