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World's most amazing border towns

Photos logoPhotos 24/02/2019

Most times, towns and cities rarely have visible borders, apart from the usual “Welcome” or “Thank you for visiting” signboards. However, there are some places – like the town of Derby Line, which straddles the U.S.-Canada border – with unusual and complicated borders. Scroll down for some such places around the world.

Ceuta (Spain and Morocco)

© Getty Images An autonomous enclave belonging to Spain, Ceuta is on the northern coast of Africa and surrounded by Morocco. The Strait of Gibraltar separates Ceuta from the Iberian Peninsula and it lies on the border of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Since Morocco lays claim to the territory, Spain has built a 20-foot-high (six meters) border fence, topped with barbed wire, around the city.

Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau (Belgium and Netherlands)

© frikde/Getty Images The former is a municipality of Belgium while the latter is in the Netherlands. The two share a complicated border due to medieval treaties and land swaps between the Lords of Breda and the Dukes of Brabant. There are Dutch enclaves within the Belgian enclaves that are within the Netherlands, as well as regions with shared borders. In fact, there are houses that straddle the border. White crosses and metal studs indicate where the streets are divided.

Longwa village (Myanmar and India)

© Thierry Falise/LightRocket via Getty Images Of the 11 districts in the Indian state of Nagaland, Mon is the northernmost and its Longwa village is one of the largest of the district. The village intersects the India-Myanmar border; in fact, the house of the village chief, who is also the king of the Konyak Naga – the indigenous community of the region – lies between the two countries. The villagers do not need visas to venture into Myanmar.

Derby Line (US and Canada)

© Walter Bibikow/The Image Bank/Getty Images The town of Derby Line is shared by Canada and the U.S. Due to its peculiar location, there are houses that are divided between the two countries. Haskell Free Library & Opera House (pictured), which was purposely built on the border, is a unique building since its entrance falls in the U.S. while the stage is in Canada. In fact, it has two mailing addresses – one for each country.

Cooch Behar District (India and Bangladesh)

© Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images It is one of the most complex border regions in the world, with both India and Bangladesh having several enclaves inside each other’s borders. Dahala Khagrabari was especially a complex territory, being a third-order enclave – an Indian territory inside Bangladesh, which is surrounded by an Indian territory, which is again surrounded by a Bangladeshi territory. However, it was simplified in 2015, when India ceded the region to Bangladesh under the Land Boundary Agreement – Bangladesh transferred 51 enclaves to India while India transferred 111 to Bangladesh. Even after the land swap, there are still several areas in Cooch Behar with ambiguous geography. 

(Pictured) New Indian citizens hold their voter identity cards at the Dinhata Enclave settlement camp in Cooch Behar on May 4, 2016. The elderly pair are among many who became Indian citizens after the 2015 deal. 

Daeseong-dong and Kijong-dong (South and North Korea)

© Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images Daeseong-dong and Kijong-dong (pictured), the two villages located inside the 160-mile-long (258 kilometers) and 2.5-mile-wide (four kilometers) strip of land known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), belong to South Korea and North Korea respectively. The DMZ was demarcated after the 1953 armistice and is heavily militarized on both sides. In Daeseong-dong, only the residents who lived there before the Korean War, or their descendants, are allowed inside and some special rules and privileges apply to them. According to North Korea, Kijong-dong houses 200 families whose main livelihood is farming.

Diomedes Islands (US and Russia)

© Planet Observer/Getty Images Located in the middle of the Bering Strait, the Diomedes Islands (known in Russia as Gvozdev Islands) consist of two rocky islands: the Russian island known as Big Diomede, which is uninhabited, and the American island known as Little Diomede, which has a population of around 150 natives. The International Date Line – the imaginary line that demarcates the change of a calendar day – passes between the two islands, meaning that Big Diomede is 21 hours ahead of Little Diomede. The former is locally called "Tomorrow Island," while the latter is known as "Yesterday Isle."

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