Central Europe is the region lying between the variously and vaguely defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. In addition, Northern, Southern and Southeastern Europe may variously delimit or overlap into Central Europe. The term is geographic one, and has come back into fashion since the end of the artifical Cold War, which had divided Europe politically into East and West, with the also artifical Iron Curtain splitting "Central Europe" in half. The understanding of the concept of Central Europe varies considerably from nation to nation, and also has from time to time.
The region is usually used to mean:
Rather than a physical entity, Central Europe is a concept of shared history, in opposition to the East represented by the Ottoman Empire and Imperial Russia, as well as the associated religions of Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam—with Central Europe generally defined as an overwhelmingly Catholic area.