I like the new design, but I see a lot of complaints so I'll share an idea I had.
I actually really liked the Russian layout with the scrolling pictures at the top. On the r/books sub they have users recommend books once a week and then they change the banner to reflect that week's recommended reading. What if you do the same, but instead of pictures of book covers you use pictures from around Europe? The r/books banner is small enough that it's not intrusive and it only scrolls through the pictures when you hover your mouse over it so you don't have a seizure trying to read discussions which I think is better than the Russian layout which was massive and distracting. I think their layout is visually appealing and easy for idiots like me to use. The r/books sub also has a sticky that then discusses the chosen books/explains the book covers so people know what they are looking at. If you have pics at the top it would be nice to have a thread explaining what they are rather than "wow, look at these nice pictures with no context whatsoever!". From the Russia April's fools pictures I wanted to know the background on some, but there was no explanation. Obviously that was just a joke so there doesn't really need to be an in depth explanation, but if you do something like that permanently it would be nice to have some background information like the country, city, importance, and any other interesting facts.
I don't know how pictures would be selected - maybe users submit something in the recommendation thread with a little summary about why the picture is interesting, historical information, etc. and then other users vote and the highest upvoted ones are used? You could even do it once every 2 weeks or once a month rather than every week. Maybe even suggest themes and then people submit pictures related to the theme. For example - most beautiful cities in Europe, most beautiful natural scenery in Europe (pictures of forests, mountains, coasts, animals, whatever), sports scenes from around Europe, historical monuments from around Europe, folk clothing around Europe, and so on. I think it would be a cool way to learn about different places in Europe and learn a little history. It might be a pain in the ass to actually put it into action though.
Anyway, just an idea.