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Borders are nothing more than imaginary lines drawn across the map in order to distinguish where one country or territory starts and another stops. Borders are everywhere; property lines distinguish who owns what, city borders dictate where you're paying taxes and what by-laws you have to follow, state lines also dictate laws and taxes (as well as pride), and of course there are the international borders which are much more significant.
People and countries have been warring over borders from time immaterial, and we continue to war over these imaginary lines. That being said, some international borders are stunningly beautiful, insanely dangerous, wildly creative, and sometimes desolate wastelands. Let's have a look at 20 of the most unbelievable international borders across the globe.
1. Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
These two countries share the same, and you can tell the stark differences between them just by looking at this photograph. Haiti has been continually devastated by natural disasters, but it is their major lack of deforestation laws that really allows you to see the stark border line.
2. Australia and the rest of the world.
When you are both a continent and a country set on an island, you have one of the most beautiful borders imaginable. The entire island is surrounded by the turquoise blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. It is also patrolled by a variety of deadly creatures so I don't think they are too worried about an invasion via water.
3. Macau and China.
This border is interesting to look at, but it serves a very functional purpose. When drivers cross over into the other country, they have to make this pit-stop in order to change sides of the road. In China you drive on the right side of the road, while in Macau you drive on the left.
4. South and North Korea.
One of the most dangerous and tense borders in the entire world. It is constantly guarded by members of both armies. It wouldn't take much to set this entire region on fire, so having an international border incident here would not be a good idea.
5. Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
South America is a beautiful wilderness punctuated everywhere by rushing rivers, most noticeably, the Amazon river. Water runs everywhere across the continent, so many countries are divided by the water's edge. Take this instance where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay all meet at a fork in the river.
6. Vatican City and Italy.
Sitting as its own sovereign state in the middle of Rome, Italy. The Vatican marks the entrance to its border with St. Peter's Square. This makes it one of the most unique borders in the world, simply with the logistics of it all.
7. The U.S. and Mexico
A long and contested border that has the most legal crossings than any other countries in the world, it is routinely in the news due to illegal crossings. In some places the contrast in way of life is so stark you will wonder if you woke up in the twilight zone.
8. Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
The only place where four countries come together at the same point is right here, in Africa. This must make for a very complicated boat ride down these series of rivers.
9. Slovakia, Austria and Hungary.
Wanna have lunch in three separate countries at the same time? Well you can here, they even set up a picnic table to make it happen. The border is so loose between these three countries that they don't care about guards or walls, just sit down and have a quiet lunch with whoever you want.
10. Nepal and China.
This is another hotly contested part of the world, but there are no need for walls here, the top of Mt. Everest acts as a natural border between the two counties. It might be a little difficult to sneak into either country going this route.
11. Belgium and the Netherlands.
There is absolutely no border control what so ever between Belgium and the Netherlands. There is a ceremonial line drawn between the countries, at times quite literally. This particular section of border runs through a local pub. Ever wanted to take a shot in two countries at the same time?
12. Spain and Portugal.
Rivals in almost every sense of the word, there was a time when these two countries were always at war with each other. Things have seemingly calmed down over the centuries, now you can take a zip line from one side to the other. Recreational border jumping.
13. India and Pakistan.
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Should you want to see the image, please click here to see the work of Kristen Elsby, called 'Parting of the clouds'.
These two countries do not get along. If this picture is to be believed (it's real), the border is so hotly contested that even clouds avoid filling the space between them.
14. Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.
This beautiful mountain above the clouds manages to separate these three countries. I wonder if standing a top of the formation would feel like you were staring off of the edge of the world?
15. Argentina and Chile.
These two countries have their borders watched over by a statue of Jesus Christ.
16. Germany and Poland.
Several decades ago this would not have been possible, but now with Europe having changed significantly, borders are less stressful places. Why not take a stroll down this wooden boardwalk between the two countries?
17. U.S. and Canada.
This border is heavily secured at legal crossing points, but most of the longest natural border in the world is not guarded. A good chunk of the border goes through untamed wilderness, which during the winter gets especially hostile. Most of it is just marked by a clear cut strip through the forests.
18. Zero Degrees Latitude.
Nope, this isn't an international border, but it is still worthy of being mentioned. This monument in Ecuador marks the exact point the equator cuts through the country. Quite literally the middle of the world.
19. Austria and Slovenia.
Before we had the ability to build impressive walls and other fortifications, people often used natural formations to mark the boundaries between countries. The Karawanks Mountains acts as the border between these two countries.
20. Norway and Sweden.
Neither country seems to care if you bounce back and forth between the two nations. They simply cut a swatch of trees out of the forests so that there is a visible line. The border line also doubles as one of the coolest and most beautiful snowmobile trails in the world.
Has anything you have seen here surprise you?