Grenzen | Borders

My top 7 borders of 2015 and 2016

Border travels of the last years…

 
#1 Panmunjeom (South Korea/North Korea)

The last real cold war border in the world. Even in 2017, crossing it would probably lead to a minor international crisis. A much visited place, nevertheless: On both sides, bus loads of tourists are brought daily just to stare over to the enemy – be it communist or capitalist.

#2 Phuentsholing/Jaigaon (Bhutan/India)

From the alpine tranquility and sense of order of the Bhutanese (right hand) side of the street, looking across the border into the Indian chaos on the left hand side of the street provides kind of a cultural shock. The divided town is the commercial hub of Bhutan. Phuentsholing is the second biggest town of Bhutan. Jaigaon, with twice as many inhabitants, is rather insignificant for Indian standards.

#3 Berdzor/Laçin (Armenia/Nagorno-Karabakh)

The border post between Armenia and the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is located on the territory of a third state: Azerbaijan. The reason for that is that Armenia and Karabakh actually have no common border. Therefore in the aftermath of Karabakh’s war for independence in the beginning of the 1990s, it occupied some adjacent regions of Azerbaijan in order to ensure a direct access to the Armenian mainland. These lands now include several ghost towns, and also this strange border posts. The link between Armenia and Karabakh has since become known as „Lachin corridor“. The same area once had an autonomous status as „Red Kurdistan“ within the Azeri Soviet Republic.

#4 Mount Everest (Nepal/China)

On a Druk Air flight from Delhi (India) to Paro (Bhutan) I was keen in getting a seat on the left side, for good reasons: The flight along the Himalayas was spectacular, and even Mt. Everest clearly visible. Mt. Everest is not only the highest peak in the world, but also the highest international border: The peak is divided between Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.

#5 Udrytsk/Rechitsa (Ukraine/Belarus)

A top rural Eastern European border with all what belongs there: Small-scale border traders, grim looking border guards with enormous hats, money changers and a lot of people complaining about their own country (Ukraine) which is apparently that much worse than its neighbour (Belarus). Udrytsk, the Ukrainian border village, is a sleepy and colourful place with the ruins of a Kolkhoz just outside the built-up area. Worth a discover.

#6 Aras Valley (Azerbaijan/Iran/Armenia)

Aras Valley around the border tripoint of Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan’s Naxçivan exclave not only offers spectacular landscapes. Crossing from the former Soviet countries into Iran feels like going directly from Europe to the Middle East. The remoteness of the area adds to its attractivity.

#7 Diepoldsau/Lustenau (Switzerland/Austria)

I still like my local border crossings, especially the minor ones like „Schmitterzoll“ in the picture which rather look like a local recreation area (there is an annual open-air music festival and a bath right hear) than the external borders of the European Union.

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