Over the last decades, observations with increasing quality have revolutionized our understanding of the general properties of the Universe. Questions posed for millenia by mankind about the origin, evolution and structure of the cosmos have found an answer. This has been possible mainly thanks to observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background, of the large-scale distribution of matter structure in the local Universe, and of type Ia supernovae that have revealed the accelerated expansion of the Universe. All these observations have successfully converged into the so-called "concordance model". In spite of all these observational successes, there are still some important open problems, the most obvious of which are what generated the initial matter inhomogeneities that led to the structure observable in today's Universe, and what is the nature of dark matter, and of the dark energy that drives the accelerated expansion. In this chapter I will expand on the previous aspects. I will present a general description of the Standard Cosmological Model of the Universe, with special emphasis on the most recent observations that have allowed to establish this model. I will also discuss the shortfalls of this model, its most pressing open questions, and will briefly describe the observational programmes that are being planned to tackle these issues.