Eastern Europe is a region of the European continent sandwiched between Western Europe and Asia. The area it covers is not precisely defined, due to the geopolitical, geographic, ethnic, cultural and socio-economic connotations implied by the term. According to the Center for Educational Technologies at Jesuit University of Wheeling, there are "roughly definitions of Eastern Europe by the number of researchers in the region". A UN paper adds that “every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and cultural construct.” One definition describes Eastern Europe as a cultural entity, the region in Europe with major characteristics coming from Slavic, Greek, Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox and some Ottoman cultural influences. Another definition emerged during the Cold War and is sometimes used as a synonym for the term Eastern Bloc. A similar definition exists that places formerly communist European countries outside the Soviet Union within Eastern Europe. Such definitions are usually seen as outdated, but are sometimes used for statistical purposes.
Today there are several definitions of Eastern Europe but they are inaccurate, too general, or outdated. These definitions are discussed across cultures and among experts and political scientists, as the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations. Described as a "foggy" term, the very idea of Eastern Europe is subject to constant reformulation. The establishment of the idea of "Eastern Europe" dates back to the (French) Enlightenment. There are "roughly definitions of Eastern Europe by the number of researchers in the region". A star paper on the United Nations adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and cultural construct."
The eastern geographical borders of Europe are well defined, but the borders between eastern and western Europe are not geographical but historical, religious and cultural and are difficult to define.
Europe is bordered by land to the east by the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, and the Caucasus Mountains. Part of Kazakhstan, which is mainly in Central Asia and the western parts of which lie west of the Ural River, is located in Eastern Europe.
In the West, the historical and cultural boundaries of 'Eastern Europe' overlap little and, more importantly, have experienced historical fluctuations, which makes defining the western geographic boundaries of Eastern Europe and the geographic center of Europe somewhat difficult.
The East-West schism (which began in the eleventh century and continues to the present day) divided Christianity in Europe (and the world) into Western Christianity and