Sunday, October 17, 2010

Europe-Asia Continental Divide

Border crossing is an integral part of travel when you move from country to country. And on many land border crossing, it is an adventure itself eg. Kunjerab Pass between Pakistan and China (check out my article here)! However, along the Trans-Siberian Rail, you will not cross countries, but cross continents instead!

This is one of the attractions of Yekaterinburg (or Ekaterinburg), the city close to the Ural mountains in Russia where Europe meets Asia. A monument is placed to mark the site, and visitors often come here to have one foot in Europe and one foot in Asia! Some years ago, the authorities in Yekaterinburg decided that a new marker to be built and placed at a site nearer the city, more convenient for travelers to visit! According to the Lonely Planet guide, scientists have agreed that the new site is a more geographical accurate location for the continental rendezvous! An obelisk was unveiled in 2004, and it is constructed from stones from both continents - one stone was taken from the furthest point of the European part, Cape Rock; another was taken from the furthest point of the Asian part, Cape of Deghnev.

New border marker

Gimmick or not, the pull of being standing between 2 continents is strong. There are many "package tours" from hotels and travel agencies in the city that covers the Europe-Asia border site as well as various attractions in the city. You can also hire a taxi to go to the site, which is what I did. The driver also brought me to the old site where the old monument still stands. From my geotagged photos, you will see where Europe supposedly meets Asia (in Russia at least!)

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