10 of the world’s shortest borders

Separation sections of international land or river borders, unconnected by territorial waters, clusters of exclaves are represented by their smallest unit.

ten of the world's shortest borders

1. PENON DE VELEZ DE LA GOMERA
74 m / 242 ft | SPAIN-MOROCCO
Originally a pirate island conquered and fortified by Spain in 1508. It got the world’s shortest border in 1934 when a sandstorm left a 74 meters wide isthmus connecting it to the mainland. The peninsula houses a Spanish army base manned by 60 soldiers and is accessed by helicopter.

2. KAZUNGULA
157 m / 515 ft | BOTSWANA-ZAMBIA 
This almost-quadripoint on the Zambezi River is intercepted by a tiny section of Botswana-Zambia border. Historically a busy crossing point, the border section was first defined in 2010 as preparations for a $260M bridge connecting Botswana and Zambia, scheduled to start construction in 2013.

3. DE WIT HAGEN
206 m / 675 ft | BELGIUM-NETHERLANDS
The smallest in a cluster of 30 enclaves on the Dutch-Belgian border, a result of medieval allegiances that carried over in the modern border treaty. This plot was disputed until 1995. Technically, parcels from this cluster make out the world’s 3rd  to 8th, 11th to 18th and 20th to 21st shortest national borders.

4.    PARANA RIVER ISLANDS
c 300 m / c 980 ft | ARGENTINA-PARAGUAY 
Since 1981,55 islands in the Parana River belong to Argentina while Paraguay owns the surrounding waters. The smallest islets have a circumference, i.e. an international border, of around 300 meters. Since the sandy islets are constantly washed downriver, no precise measurements exist.

5.    KING FAHD PASSPORT ISLAND
303 m / 994 ft | SAUDI ARABIA-BAHRAIN
Constructed specifically to hold the King Fahd Causeway and its mid-way customs office, this artificial island also houses a park, a mosque, two McDonald’s restaurants and the entirety of Bahrain’s 303-meter land border.

6.    MARKET
506m / 1,660 ft | SWEDEN-FINLAND
The Swedish-Finnish maritime border is separated by international waters In the Gulf of Bothnia before they connect again at Market Island. Originally a 105-meter border, it was adjusted in 1985 to curl around a Finnish lighthouse mistakenly built on the Swedish side.

7.    RUCKSLAG
510 m / 1,673 ft | GERMANY-BELGIUM
A remnant of the German areas given to Belgium as war reparations in 1949. Belgium, however, decided to accept only the railway cutting through the area and thus creating several German exclaves. The smallest plot contains one house and a garden. The railway was closed in 2001.

8. SOUTH YARADULLU
c 600 m / 2,000 ft | AZERBAIJAN-ARMENIA
This Armenian grain field was allocated to the Azeri SSR for “economic efficiency” in the 1920s and became an international border in December 1991. As the surrounding Armenian I lands were occupied by Azeri forces in May 1992, the border is recognized by the UN but not by Armenia nor Azerbaijan.

9. DHELEKIA POWER STATION
933 m / 3,061 ft | CYPRUS-B.O.T.
The smallest of four Cypriot enclaves inside the UK’s Dhekelia army base. The power plant, built by the British colonial government in 1955 next to the army base, became a part of Cyprus In 1960 although the UK retained the surrounding base area and the road through the planet.

10. BREZOVICA ZUMBERACKA
991 m / 3,251 ft | CROATIA-SLOVENIA
In 2009, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague fixed disputed parts of the Croatian-Slovenian border. However, the court declined to rule on this particularly WTF section, leaving a three house-parcel with inhabitants up to the parties themselves to work out. It remains a Croatian exclave.

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