Articles tagged:


Beating the border: the Catholic dioceses of the island of Ireland

by Nicky Gardner

The boundaries of ecclesiastical provinces, dioceses and parishes often show scant regard for secular administrative boundaries. We discover a French Roman Catholic diocese where the bishop’s pastoral responsibilities extend to parishes on both sides of the Atlantic. And in Ireland we see how, since the UK left the European Union in early 2020, there are now Catholic parishes which are bisected by the outer edge of the EU.

What colour is your flag when it burns?

by Nicky Gardner

Kosovo is arguably Europe's newest country. Most nations now recognising the leadership of the territory as being a legitimate national government, though even some European Union members are still withholding recognition. Kosovo still has internal divisions - just as there were over 100 years ago when Edith Durham first set foot in Kosovo.

A village torn in two: Slemence

by Nicky Gardner

The fall of the Berlin Wall was way back in 1989. But the community of Slemence remained divided until 2005. For sixty years, there was no link between the two halves of the village which lies astride the border between Ukraine and Slovakia. A new crossing point for pedestrians has eased the situation, allowing renewed contact between the two parts of the village. We take a walk through one of Europe's most unusual villages.

By the razor’s edge: western Poland

by Nicky Gardner

The Polish village of Siekierki on the east bank of the River Odra is a good spot to reflect on European borders. We visit the Western Territories, the area ceded by Germany to Poland at the end of the Second World War.

Papal exits

by Nicky Gardner

The Holy See and the Italian Republic tussled for years over which country owned one contested section of the Passetto di Borgo. That's the name given to the elevated footpath that links the papal apartments in the Vatican with the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome. That path has been for centuries the exit of last resort for popes in trouble. Now the passetto is to be opened to the public.

Where the wild things are: a Polish Arcadia

by Nicky Gardner

The forest reserve at Bialowieski in Poland extends over the border into neighbouring Belarus. This great wilderness is the most important refuge for European bison. So it is no surprise that it is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It's also inscribed on the Polish heart — these border landscapes are the gateway to an imagined Arcadia which helped shape the narratives and images of Polish Romanticism.

The road to Latte

by Nicky Gardner

Border regions in Europe are always fascinating. Travel east from the French town of Menton and in no time you reach the Italian frontier. The first place of any size on the Italian side of the border is Latte di Ventimglia. We follow the road to Latte, looking at how the Italian village has been framed in the Menton imagination. In a time of cholera, Latte housed a large border internment camp. Now it is a favoured spot for discount shopping.

Disquiet in Kaliningrad

by Nicky Gardner

Is it no wonder that citizens of Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad are feeling a little jittery these days? Kaliningrad's inhabitants feel that they are a long way from Moscow, and also increasingly distant from the European Union countries that border onto the Russian exclave.

That half a rood of sand

by Nicky Gardner

The delineation of international borders within shared waters is never easy. In Lough Foyle, where Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland both have territorial interests, the two parties have left the border undefined. hidden europe reader Bill McStay explains why.

On the edge: Rezovo (Bulgaria)

by Nicky Gardner

With Bulgaria joining the European Union on 1 January 2007, hidden europe drops in one of the countries more unusual communities - the tiny village of Rezovo that lies right on the Turkish border.

What makes a country?

by Nicky Gardner

World history is daintily decorated with picturesque polities that were nipped in the bid by greater powers. But modern Europe still has some remarkable small territories. San Marino, the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Faroe Islands and the Principality of Monaco. We examine some of the badges of nationhood.

Europe's fading borders

by Nicky Gardner

With the expansion of the Schengen zone to encompass nine more countries, Europe's borders are fading fast. Communities once divided by international frontiers are happily united. But there is a downside, for fading borders within the European heartland are creating some formidable frontiers further east in Europe.

A town united: Valga / Valka

by Neil Taylor

The Estonian half of the town is called Valga and the Latvian side Valka. During the days of the Soviet Union, Moscow imposed a civic unity on the dual community. Now, with the extension of the Schengen area to include the Baltic States, that unity has returned.