Stand by for a geography lesson with a difference – because this geography is at its strangest.
New book The Atlas of Unusual Borders (Collins), from Serbian Zoran Nikolic, is a truly astonishing compendium of & # 39; intriguing borders, territories and geographical sights & # 39 ;. And a timely book in view of the growing interest in international border issues after the Brexit.
Here we present a selection of the amazing revelations of the book – and the cards they illustrate – including the German city that is not in the EU, the Franco-Swiss border that runs through the double bed in a honeymoon suite and the controversial areas of Spain in Morocco across the street from Gibraltar – one of which has the shortest land border in the world.
We also bring messages about the city divided in two by the border between the US and Canada and the capital that is a ghost town.
You may also be interested in the piece of Kentucky that once merges with Missouri.
Scroll down for a fascinating odyssey through a world of enclaves, counter-enclaves and lusy territorial meshes.
Medurjecje – it is in Serbia, but it belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina
The small village of Medurjecje is firmly on Serbian territory, but it actually belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina
The small village of Medurjecje has 270 inhabitants, covers an area of just under 400 hectares and is located in Serbia.
Except that it's not important in one important respect.
Although firmly on Serbian territory, it actually belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is just over a kilometer away.
Mr Nikolic explains: "According to a popular story from the time of the Ottoman Empire, a Bosnian local ruler gave one of his women 400 hectares of land and forests near Priboj in Serbia. When the border between Austria-Hungary and Turkey was established, this country was attached to Bosnia, then occupied by the Habsburg empire. Since then, this country has been classified as part of the municipality of Rudo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Meanwhile, the village of Medurjecje was built there. "
In terms of practical matters, the consequence of this is that, since Serbia supplies the infrastructure – roads and power supply, etc. – energy bills are paid to Priboj in Serbia, but taxes to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Children from the village, says Mr Nikolic, follow lessons with Serbian children in the primary school of the enclave – and follow a Serbian curriculum.
He added that Serbia proposes an exchange of areas with Bosnia and Herzegovina to "correct" the border, while Bosnia believes that setting up a corridor between Rudo and Medurjecje would be a better solution.
Llivia – it's in France, but it's part of Spain
Llivia is located in France, just east of Andorra. But it belongs to Spain – thanks to a whim of a 17th-century treaty
The inhabitants of Llivia – there are around 1500 – often regard their city as the & # 39; birthplace & # 39; of Catalonia & # 39;
Llivia is located in France, just east of Andorra and just over 800 meters from the French-Spanish border.
But it belongs to Spain.
Why? Mr Nikolic explains: "An important factor was the granting of city status to Llivia as early as the early Middle Ages. It had been the old capital of one of the Catalan countries, Cerdanya. When a border agreement between Spain and France was drawn up in the 17th century, Spain had to transfer all villages of North Cerdanya to France. Because Llivia had the status of a city, Spain retained this detached piece of land. & # 39;
He adds that the inhabitants – there are around 1500 – often consider their city as the & # 39; birthplace of Catalonia, because their medieval ruler, Count Sunifred, ruled from Llivia himself, laid the foundation for the contemporary Catalan identity & # 39; .
Busingen am Hochrhein – the German city that is not part of the EU
The city of Busingen am Hochrhein is German but is part of the Swiss customs territory
The local football club shown in Busingen am Hochrhein is the only German club participating in the Swiss league
The city of Busingen am Hochrhein is German.
But that is about as simple as it goes with regard to its territorial status.
It is separated from Germany by Swiss territory that surrounds it and that is only 700 meters wide at the narrowest point.
And it's not in the EU.
But it is part of the Swiss customs territory and the Swiss franc is the most commonly used currency, although it is possible to make payments in euros.
"Since the First World War, a few referendums have been held in Büsingen in which almost 100 percent of the population have expressed the wish to join Switzerland," says Nikolic. "Each time Switzerland refused this request because it did not have a suitable territory to offer Germany in return."
The local football club, he adds, is the only German club participating in the Swiss league.
Baarle – where the & # 39; citizenship & # 39; of a house is determined by the position of the front door
Baarle consists of two parts – the Dutch Baarle-Nassau and the Belgian Baarle-Duke
In Baarle, where the border intersects a house, citizenship is determined on the basis of whose territory the front door is confronted
Baarle is located in the south of the Netherlands, close to the border with Belgium, but has a split personality – it is partly Belgian, partly Dutch.
Mr Nikolic says: "The city consists of two parts: the Dutch Baarle-Nassau and the Belgian Baarle-Duke. The Belgian part comprises more than 20 enclaves within the Dutch part of the city, while within these Belgian enclaves there are approximately 10 Dutch counter-enclaves. This means that the border crosses several streets several times, while some houses are partly in Belgium and partly in the Netherlands.
"In cases where the border intersects a house, it becomes & # 39; citizenship & # 39; determined on the basis of whose territory the front door is. Throughout history – and with numerous changes in tax rates in the Netherlands and Belgium – moving the front door was not unusual, so the owner could pay less tax. & # 39;
The "mini Gibraltars" of Spain and the shortest land border in the world
Spain has its own little "Gibraltars" across the water from Gibraltar in the UK on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco – and Morocco is not happy with it
The rock fort of Spain, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, in the photo, is the place where you'll find the world's shortest land border – it's only 85 meters
The Spaniards do not like the fact that the rocky Gibraltar peninsula belongs to the United Kingdom.
But Spain has its own little "Gibraltars," across the coast from Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea – and Morocco is not at all happy with that.
They are essentially remnants of the Spanish war with Muslim troops in the 15th and 16th centuries, when Spanish generals occupied strategic tracts of land as their enemies withdrew to Africa, partly for surveillance purposes.
Mr. Nikolic explains that it is a & # 39; few small islands and peninsulas & # 39; is known as Spanish sovereign territories (plazas de soberanía).
He continues: "Their collective name refers to the fact that they have been part of Spain since the founding of the modern Spanish state in the 15th and 16th centuries.
"The sovereign territories are completely Spanish and are therefore part of the European Union and the Schengen area.
& # 39; One of those sovereign territories, the rock fort of Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera (peñón means rock), was a small, natural, rocky island until the 1930s, when a storm deposited large amounts of sand between the island and the mainland, it is in a specific type of peninsula, known as a tombolo or "bound island". The shortest land border in the world is at that point, only 85 meters long (278 feet). & # 39;
He added: "The Moroccan authorities consider all these areas as the remains of the Spanish colonial occupation and that they must be returned immediately."
Oddities on the border between Canada and the US – including the city that splits it in two
The border between the US and Canada is the longest in the world and it is usually a straight line. But there are a few oddities. One is the Northwest Angle
The American border with Canada runs through the middle of the main street of a settlement, with the Canadian Stanstead on one side and the American Beebe Plain on the other (photo)
The border between the US and Canada is the longest in the world (5,524 miles) – and it is usually a straight line.
But there are a few oddities.
One is Northwest Angle, the only territory of the United States, except Alaska, which is north of the 49th parallel, Nikolic notes.
He reveals that the border crossing between "the Angle," as it is known, and Canada is "unusual."
He says: "When someone crosses the border and enters the Angle from Canada, he has to call US customs officials by videophone from a small booth and vice versa."
Another notable peculiarity is in the east, where the border runs through the middle of a main street, with the Canadian Stanstead on one side and the American Beebe Plain on the other.
A library and an opera house were built directly on the border to bring the two countries together.
Mr. Nikolic says: "Because almost all books and the stage are on the Canadian side, it is often said that this is the only American library without books and the only American opera without a stage. The border is marked with a black line along the inside of the building. & # 39;
Diomede Islands – separated by 2.5 miles of water, just one day apart
The archipelago of the Diomede Islands in the Beringstraat apparently defies time and space
On a clear day you can stand on Little Diomede (top left) and see the next day on the neighboring island
The archipelago of the Diomede Islands in the Beringstraat apparently defies time and space.
Big Diomede belongs to Russia and Little Diomede belongs to Alaska.
But only 2.5 miles of water separates them.
That is remarkable enough, but what adds to the intrigue is the fact that the international date line runs between them.
So, as Mr. Nikolic reveals, "on a clear day, from Little Diomede (also known as Yesterday Island), it is possible to see the next day on neighboring Big Diomede (also known as Tomorrow Island)."
Passport Island – the island made to connect two countries
Passport Island is located in the middle of the 15-mile-long King Fahd Causeway
The 1.5-mile artificial island houses border stations for both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain
Did you know that there is a land border between the island of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia?
You do that now. Called Passport Island, it is located in the middle of the 15-mile King Fahd Causeway, which connects the two countries.
The 1.5-mile man-made island houses border stations for both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, says Mr. Nikolic, along with the Causeway Authority buildings, two mosques, the coast guard towers of both kingdoms, and two restaurants.
Nikolic adds: & # 39; The idea of connecting Saudi Arabia and the small neighboring island of Bahrain was born in the mid-1950s and the construction of the bridge lasted from 1981 to 1986. The island was made in the form of the figure & # 39; 8 & # 39 ;, where one extension belongs to Saudi Arabia and the other to Bahrain. & # 39;
The Kentucky Bend – a peninsula that can one day become an island and become a member of another state
This peninsula can someday be cut off and turned into an island
The Kentucky Bend Peninsula exists due to the meanders of the Mississippi River
The most southeastern point of Kentucky is the Kentucky Bend peninsula, where about 20 people live.
But their peninsula can someday be cut off and turned into an island.
Mr. Nikolic says: "The bend was created as a result of large meanders of the Mississippi River. The only land link of the forty-five square kilometer (17 square mile) peninsula is to the south, where it borders Tennessee. It is quite likely that the Mississippi will soon break through this connection with Tennessee, making Kentucky Bend an island, after which it will gradually connect with its northern neighbor, the state of Missouri. & # 39;
The land border between Australia and Tasmania
A small rock called Boundary Islet forms a land border between the state of Victoria in Australia and the island of Tasmania
Mr. Nikolic describes Boundary Islet as a & # 39; bare rock, mercilessly beaten by wind and waves in Bass Strait & # 39;
Yes, you read that right. The land border.
It is a little known fact that a small rock called Boundary Islet forms a land border between the state of Victoria in Australia and the island of Tasmania.
Mr. Nikolic describes it as a & # 39; bare rock, mercilessly beaten by wind and waves in Bass Strait & # 39; which separates the two countries.
He continues: & # 39; When the sea border between Tasmania and Victoria was determined, it was decided that the line would be drawn along the latitude of 39 ° 12 & # 39 ;. It was only later that it was determined that Boundary Islet was not further north, as it was thought until then, but that it was exactly at that latitude, and therefore it was given the name and the shortest border between the Australian states, only 85 meters long. & # 39;
The hotel with an edge that runs through the double bed in the honeymoon suite
The border divides the streets of La Cure and even some buildings, as this map shows
La Cure is located on the border of France and Switzerland, about 18 miles north of Geneva. And the border situation attracts many tourists, not least because in Hotel Arbez the border dissects the bridal suite (photo)
La Cure is a small village on the border of France and Switzerland, about 30 kilometers north of Geneva, with part of the village in Switzerland and part in France.
The border divides the village, the streets and even some buildings, explains Mr Nikolic, with the most famous being Hotel Arbez.
What's more, the border, he reveals, even goes through the bridal suite, which divides the double bed.
The capital that is a ghost town
An enormous volcano eruption destroyed parts of Montserrat, including the capital, Plymouth
On the photo, Plymouth is technically still the capital, even though it has been abandoned since 1995
A huge volcano eruption destroyed the southern half of the Caribbean island of Montserrat in 1995, including the capital, Plymouth.
A new capital for this British Overseas Territory is being built in Little Bay, Mr. Nikolic explains, and the temporary headquarters of the local government is in the city of Brades.
Although it is deserted, Plymouth is still technically the capital, "making it the only ghost town that is officially the capital of a country or territory."
The Atlas of Unusual Borders – Discover intriguing borders, areas and geographic sights, written by Zoran Nikolic and published by Collins, is available on October 3 and costs £ 14.99.
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