Domestic Borders of Europe

Tommaso Rada

2016 - 2020

Since the creation of the European Union (EU) one of the goal has been the unification of the different countries belonging to the EU and the abolishment of the frontiers between these countries. The Schengen treaty stipulated in 1985 have had the aims to gradually create an EU without borders, later in 1990 with the Schengen Agreement finally eliminate the borders between European countries allowing the free movement of people across the several European countries and the abolition of internal border controls.In the last decade separatist movements grow up all across Europe, the economical differen- ces between the European countries increased, the foreign politics aren’t common for all the countries, in a period in witch Europe should consolidate his union new obstacles and challenges appear.The domestic borders of Europe, now – after the Schengen Treaty and with the European unification — are gone. Just mountains, rivers and imaginary historical lines, are what have left: a liquid frontier between apparently distinct countries. The rivers, the mountains, the history trapped in the places define the communities, the interaction and the contacts between the people of two neighbouring countries, where the territory and the communitiesshape reciprocally around a specific space – physical, human and cultural – that get dis- solved in the same rivers, mountain places that divide them. Empty of its political value, from a strange limbo made of controls and checkpoints the domestic borders become just aline on a map. The emptiness of the frontier, that have should fill of new life and new dynamics after the unification, get reflected in the territory, the time get stopped and while the world around is changing, on the border the space is assuming a proper physiognomy, and the time is sometimes frozen. “Domestic Borders” becomes a route where each photos is a stop on the way, not searching for answer but interrogating the social reality, the relations between habitants and the territory and the meaning of Europe today. “Domestic Borders” ends up being an unusual and unexpected trip, a dystopian portrait of the relationships between and across the border, showing the challenges of living in an unique space with a different passage of time.

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  • Bulgaria, Nikopol. A view of Turno Magurele industrial area. Turno Magurele industries caused a massive pollution of the area. At the beginning of the 2000s, many inhabitants of the Bulgarian town Nikopol owned gas masks because the high air pollution caused by the fertiliser factory on the Romanian side of the Danube.

  • Romania, Giurgiu. A man working as security guard stand on a barrack in front of an abandoned factory that he watch.

  • Bulgaria, Rupite. Thermal bath facilities. Close to the thermal facilities was built the mausoleum to Baba Vanga, laso called the "Nostradamus of the Balkans", a very famous Bulgarian clairvoyant. Today the place is a renowned tourist attraction.

  • Portugal, Vilanova de Santo Antonio. The Guardian River trace the border between Spain and Portugal for around 110 km, along this distance there are only 2 bridges and 2 ferry services that make possible the border crossing.

  • France, La Mongie. A view of a building belonging to a ski resort. According to the European Environment Agency, Europe’s mountain regions may suffer some of the most severe impacts of climate change. Increasing temperatures can change snow-cover patterns and lead to water shortages and other problems such as reduced ski tourism.

  • France, Strasbourg. A tent of a protester is mounted on the other side of the river of the European Parliament.

  • Germany, Seebad Prora. Germans visit the Sea resort complex under renovation in Seebad Prora. The complex was built by Nazi Germany between 1936 and 1939 as a beach resort. It consisted of eight identical buildings and was 4.5 km in length parallel to the beach, with the surviving structures stretching 3.0 km.
    Although the buildings were planned as a holiday resort, construction was not completed and they were not used for this purpose. During the Allied bombing campaign, many people from Hamburg took refuge in one of the housing blocks, and later refugees from the east of Germany were housed there. By the end of the war, these buildings housed female auxiliary personnel for the Luftwaffe. The Soviet Army’s 2nd Artillery Brigade occupied block 5 of Prora from 1945 to 1955. After 1956 the buildings became a restricted military area housing several East German Army units. After the German re-unification the building was first supposed to be demolished and them it became a landmark building. In 2013, a German company bought the rights to refurbish Prora and market the units as summer homes, refurbished apartments in complex were on sale for as much as 700,000 euros ($900,000) apiece.

  • Italy, Ponte San Ludovico. A local beach close to the border with france surveilled by camera to prevent migrant to cross the Italian/French border.

  • Belgium, Bastogne. American tourists shoot picture at the Mardasson Memorial that commemorate the Battle of the Bulge happened during the Second World War in which between 63000 and 98000 German soldiers and 89500 American soldiers were killed, wounded, missing or captured.

  • Greece, Serrai. Abandoned petrol station. The Greek Macedonia is one of the poorest region of the country.

  • Czech Republic, Frantiskovy Lazne. A view of a luxury hotel room of Frantiskovy Lazne Spa town read the paper inside the thermal structure. The town was founded in 1793 and until World War I it hosted aristocrats, writers and others notable people. With the great depression Frantiskovy Lazne the town lost most of its patronage and started the decline of the place; after World War II most of the Germans living in the town were expelled under the the Benes decrees and the spa was nationalised under the rule of the Communist Party. After the Velvet Revolution and the fall of the Communist Party, a company named Lazne Franzensbad, owned mainly by one family, bought the the Spa facilities. Today most of the tourist visiting Frantiskovy Lazne are Germans.

  • Bulgaria, Svilengrad. A petrol station with photos of Putin and Harley Davidson. A percentage of Bulgarian is not happy with the entrance of Bulgarian in the European Union and would prefer a closer alliance with Russia. In the last years several European Countries opened to a closer alliance with Russia.

  • Lithuania, Druskininkai. August, 2020. A view of a simulated stage used during the URSS government is seen in Grutas Park, a private museum showcasing URSS monuments.

  • Spain, Badajoz. A water park built with the shape of a middle age castle.

  • Romania, Orsova. A communist style monument with a wrote welcoming refugees.

  • Portugal, Castro Marim. A golf court in Algarve close to the Spanish border. If on one side golf clubs didn’t felt the economical crisis on the other hand been close system they don’t promote the local economy and local business except the club itself.

  • Lithuania, Plokščiai, August, 2020. The entrance of Plokštinė missile base. In September 1960, the Soviet Union started the rapid construction of an underground military base. It was one of the first in the Soviet Union, near the village of Plokščiai in the Lithuanian SSR. In 1960, more than 10,000 Soviet soldiers started to secretly work in the Žemaitija National Park for over two years. The base was regarded as one of the top Soviet military secrets, only to be revealed by U.S. reconnaissance in 1978. The Plokštinė nuclear missile launch site started operating around three years after it was established. Lithuanians discovered the existence of the base only after the URSS military forcer left the country. After twelve years of operations, the site was shut down. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the site was abandoned and not maintained, now hosts the Cold War Museum, opening one of the four existing silos for visitors.

  • Bulgaria, Bardaski Geran. A MIG plane, Russian Cold War jet fighter aircraft in front of the Town Hall. In Bulgaria are still present several war-related monuments. These Russian Military monuments, standing in the places where they are displayed, are slowly deteriorated by the weather recalling an era that already ended. Most probably if tomorrow they would desassear the people wouldn’t notice the difference.

  • Germany, Boxberg. A view of Boxberg Power Station, a lignite-fire power station. Before the German unification, it was part of the so called “Black Triangle”, a border region shared by Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, long characterized by extremely high levels of pollution. Despite Germany is planning to be a removable energy country, lignite and coal power station are still active.

  • Italy, Ventimiglia. A migrant stands in fron of the Mediterranean Sea close to the Border between Italy and France. France intensify the controls on the border with Italy suspending the Schengen Treaty. The migrants that try to cross illegally the border between Italy and France have to hike several hills and ford at least one river; the trails is quite difficult and, according to the NGO Anafé, in 2018 at least 30 migrants died trying to cross the border.

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