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Living on the edge: World's most amazing border towns

Photos logoPhotos 20-03-2017

Most of the times, towns do not have any visible borders apart from welcome or thank-you-for-visit sign. However, there are some places that have unusual and complicated borders. Let’s have a look at some of such places across the globe.

Ceuta (Spain and Morocco)

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Ceuta is an autonomous Spanish city and exclave of Spain located in the north 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. As Morocco lays claim on the territory, Spain erected a 10-feet-high (3 meters) border fence topped with barbed wire around the city.

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

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The former is a Flemish municipality of Belgium while the latter is in the Netherlands. The two share an extremely complicated borders due to medieval treaties and land swaps done by 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 between the two countries.

Bir Tawil (Egypt and Sudan)

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The 795-square-mile (2,060 square kms) region, which literally translates to “tall water well,” lies between the borders of Egypt and Sudan but surprisingly neither country lays claims to it. Its current nobody’s land status arises from the irregular administrative boundary established between the two countries in 1899 and 1902. The area has a distinct quadrilateral shape and remains uninhabited. It is believed to be the only region, apart from Antarctica, in the world to be unclaimed by any government.

Longwa Village (Myanmar and India)

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Of the 11 districts in the Indian state of Nagaland, Mons is the northernmost and its Longwa village is 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, Vermont (US and Canada)

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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. The Opera House, 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 (Bangladesh and India)

© Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images

It is one of the most complex border regions in the world, with both India and Bangladesh having several exclaves and enclaves inside each other’s borders. Dahala Khagrabari was especially a complex territory, being a third order exclave — an Indian territory inside Bangladesh, inside India, inside Bangladesh. However, it was simplified when India ceded the region to Bangladesh under the 2015 Land Boundary Agreement, wherein Bangladesh had transferred 51 enclaves to India while India transferred 111 to Bangladesh. Even after the land swap between the two neighboring countries, there are still several areas in Cooch-Behar with ambiguous geography. (Pictured) New Indian citizens hold their voter identity cards at Dinhata Enclave settlement camp in Cooch-Behar district on May 4, 2016. The elderly pair are among many who became Indian citizens after the 2015 deal. 

Korean Demilitarized Zone (North and South Korea)

© Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

The 160 miles-long (258 kms) and 2.5 miles-wide (4 kms) strip of land, known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone, serves as the border between the two countries that remain at odds. The DMZ is the most heavily militarized region in the world and since the two countries never signed a peace treaty following the 1953 cease-fire agreement, they cannot actually agree upon a border.

The Diomedes (US and Russia)

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Located in the middle of the Bering Strait, the Diomede islands (known in Russia as Gvozdev Islands) consist two rocky islands: the Russian island known as Big Diomede, which is uninhabited, and the American island known as Little Diomede, which has the 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 even though the two are a mere 2.5-miles (3.8 kms) apart.

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