Amazing Borders that’ll change your notion of Borders
A border is defined as a line or boundary separating two political or geographical regions such as countries and states. But sometimes, defining these boundaries can be rather difficult, resulting in some unusual, confusing and amazing borders. Defining a border, particularly an international border, is not easy due to various reasons- such as when the two regions or countries are separated by natural bodies like oceans and mountains or when the political jurisdictions are complex and hard to ascertain. Often, to get around such difficulties, a geometric border comprising of a line or arc are used or the natural bodies themselves are used as natural borders. Depending on the political state of the regions, these borders may be unguarded, where crossing from one side to another is open or may be partially or fully controlled, where crossing legally can happen only at designated checkpoints and border zones.
In this article, we look at some of the unique and interesting borders defined by countries around the world.
Interesting & Amazing Borders between Countries
Baarle, a village with a population of about 9000 people, is the setting for this rather complex border story. Baarle is comprised of two parts- Baarle-Hertog (Belgian territory) and Baarle-Nassau (Dutch territory). Now (and this is where it starts getting interesting), Baarle-Nassau contains 22 separate enclaves of Belgian territory, which in turn surround 7 Dutch enclaves. The border line runs in such a way that, at certain places, it passes through buildings, shops and restaurants, which, in effect, span both countries. To avoid confusion in such cases, the “front door policy” applies i.e. their address lies in the country that contains their front door! To better understand the layout, you can check this map.
A tripoint or a trijunction is a geographical point at which borders of 3 countries meet. Contrary to what you might expect, tripoints are not that rare; in fact, there are about 176 international tripoints, of which about half are situated in water bodies such as rivers and seas. China has the maximum number of tripoints with 16. The tripoint in the image is where the borders of Slovakia, Austria and Hungary meet. Located near a village named Cunovo, this table is just the spot if you want to experience picnicking in 3 countries at the same time!
The Triple Frontier: Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay Border
The Triple Frontier is an example of a river-based tripoint or triple border. Created by the convergence of the Paraná and Iguazú rivers, the Triple Frontier is a natural triple border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. At the convergence of the borders, each of the 3 countries has erected an obelisk, painted in the national colors of the respective country. The obelisks are positioned in such a way that all 3 countries that can see from each of them.
The Poland-Ukraine border is one of the external borders of the European Union (EU), with Poland being a member of the EU, but not Ukraine. It is also the most crossed eastern border of the EU. While there are several border crossings between Poland and Ukraine, the border shown in the picture stands out for its artistry. Two giant images of fishes were created with 23 different types of crops by Polish artist Jaroslaw Koziara with a twin purpose- to symbolize the unity between the two nations and to spread the message that art and nature know no boundaries. From a bird’s eye view, it creates the impression of two fishes swimming across the border.
Mount Roraima: Brazil-Venezuela-Guyana Border
Yet another triple border featuring Brazil! This time it is Mount Roraima, the highest of the flat-topped mountains of the Pakaraima mountain chain, that forms the triple border between Brazil (5%), Venezuela (85%) and Guyana (10%). Mount Roraima represents one of the oldest mountain formations on Earth, dating back to about two billion years! The surface of the plateau’s summit is almost entirely made up of bare sandstone but Mount Roraima is also home to several endemic species of flora and fauna.
Lotus Bridge: Mainland China-Macau Border
The Chinese Government assumed formal sovereignty over Macau in 1999, but under the policy of “one country, two systems”, Macau functions as an autonomous territory. Known as the ‘Monte Carlo of the Orient’ (thanks to its gambling-based economy), Macau shares 4 border crossings with mainland China. One of these, the Lotus Bridge, is architecturally peculiar. The unique structure of the Lotus Bridge (as seen in the picture) was born out of the need to accommodate Macau’s rule of driving on the left and mainland China’s rule of driving on the right!
PC: Ira Block
Diomede Islands: Russia-USA Border
The Diomede Islands are located in the middle of Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia. Comprising of two rocky islands, the Diomede Islands act as the border between Russia and the USA. Big Diomede (the larger island) is part of Russia while Little Diomede (the smaller island) is part of the USA. The international border runs between the two islands and is part of the International Date Line. Due to this, Big Diomede is 21 hours ahead (not 23 because of local time zones) of Little Diomede, even though they are just 3.8km apart! Hence, Big Diomede is also called Tomorrow Island while Little Diomede is called Yesterday Island.
PC: Ira Block
Northern – Southern Hemisphere Border
Quito is the capital of Ecuador and the highest official capital city in the world. It holds another distinction- it has the Equator passing through it. In fact, to commemorate this distinction, a monument was built (called the Monument to the Equator unsurprisingly) and a line drawn to highlight the exact location of the Equator. So, if you stand along the line with one leg on either side of the line, you’ll literally be standing in both the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres at the same time! No mean achievement that, right? By the way, the country Ecuador actually takes its name from the Equator!