Have you ever stared at a map and contemplated the border lines between different countries? How did they get there? What history, geography, and politics helped shape those borders and make them look the way they do? Here are 23 photos from borders around the world that show the reality behind those lines on the map.
1. A NASA satellite image shows the border between Haiti, which is quite barren, and the much greener Dominican Republic.
2. The border between Israel and Egypt as seen from the International Space Station, one of the few that is so clearly visible from space.
3. The Bering Strait, which separates the Seaward Peninsula of Alaska on the left and Chukotskiy Poluostrov of Siberia to the right. The border between Russia and America is in between the Big and Little Diomede Islands, seen in the center of the photo.
4. The Iguazu Falls between the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones.
5. The border between Tijuana, Mexico (right) and San Diego, California (left).
6. The border fence between the U.S. and Mexico, pictured here in Nogales, Arizona.
7. The U.S. and Canada share one of the longest international borders in the world, roughly 5,500 miles. Here we see Niagara Falls, perhaps the most iconic border monument between the two nations. Canada is on the left in this photo, and America is on the upper right.
8. The town of Baarle-Nassau is situated along the border between the Netherlands and Belgium.
9. This single-lane bridge over the Sixaola River is the border between Costa Rica and Panama.
10. The reading room in the Haskell Library, deliberately built along the U.S.-Canada border. The official border line is marked on the floor, with Canada on the right and the U.S. on the left.
11. The border between Germany and the Netherlands is marked along the floor of the Eurode Business Center by a metal strip (and also some thematic clogs, apparently). On one side is a German mailbox and policeman, with Dutch counterparts on the other side. Although they're separated by a few feet, it still takes a week for a letter from the German side to reach the Dutch side.
12. The border has been marked off in the town using special pavement stones indicating whether you're in Belgium or the Netherlands.
13. This subtle change of paving in the road indicates the border between the Republic of Ireland (left) and Northern Ireland (right) in the border town of Pettigo.
14. This photo from the International Space Station shows the border between India (to the north) and Pakistan (to the south). The border is the bright orange line, which is visibly illuminated due to spotlights placed by the Indian government to deter smugglers.
15. The Wagah border ceremony between India and Pakistan is performed daily, and has been since 1959. Every night before sunset, the flags are taken down in a highly choreographed ritual and parade.
16. Torkham is one of the major border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
17. This shot from the International Space Station shows the leftover fortifications from the Iran-Iraq War. The diagonal line at the top is the border between the two nations, with Iraq on the bottom.
18. In 2013, Bulgaria constructed a 15-foot fence with barbed wire along the Bulgarian Turkish border in an effort to deter refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
19. Another image of the Torkham Gate separating Afghanistan (in the background) and Pakistan.
20. The Svinesund Bridge separates the Swedish municipality of Strömstad from the Norwegian municipality of Halden. The official border is marked by this line.
21. The border between Scotland and England runs for 96 miles between England's Marshall Meadows Bay to the right and Scotland's Solway Firth to the left.
22. The "Sino–Korean Friendship Bridge," which spans the Yalu River, connects China and North Korea.
23. The Guadiana River forms a natural border between Spain and Portugal for around 62 miles. This photo shows an unused police station in the Portuguese town of Vila Real de San Antonio.
Marcelo Del Pozo
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H/T: Business Insider