The Border Between Europe and Asia: Just an Imaginary Line
Posted on Aug 14, 2015 |
Where are the Mountains?
When Bimbino and Bambina were on the night train from Kazan to Ekaterinburg they got up early in the morning to see the Ural moutains, the natural border between Europe and Asia. After hours of waiting the monkeys arrived in Ekaterinburg. Surprisingly they had not seen any mountains on the way.
Something seemed to be wrong again. According to their guide book Ekaterinburg is located only some 40 kilometers East of the European-Asian border. That border is defined by the Ural mountains. How could it be that they had not even seen a single hill?
A Trip to the European-Asian Border
To find out what this mystery was all about the monkeys decided to visit one of the various monuments that was marking the border between the two continents. The monkeys ordered a taxi and after a ride of approximately 20 minutes their driver said told them that they had arrived. Bimbino and Bambina looked around. The only thing they saw here was a highway that led through a forest. There was no geographic indictaion that they were close to the border between two continents. No river, no valley, no mountains. Far and wide there were no Urals visible. The monkeys wondered around for a bit. They came through a little forest with a... well, what was it? A playgound? An art gallery? An amusement park? Everything here appeared a bit weird and strange. Again Bimbino and Bambina asked themselves if they had ended up in the wrong place. Then it suddenly arose in front of their eyes: the monument that marks the border between Europe and Asia. A miniature version of the tower, which eventually will be built here ascross the highway. Leading away from it a greyish line made from granite stone. On each side of that line there was a word written in russian-cyrillic letters: Europe on its West, Asia on its East. Now that the monkeys had come to visit this place they started taking pictures in front of the monument, but frankly... This place was nothing but a big joke.
Europe or Eurasia?
People who have been to Turkey and seen the Dardanelles or the Bosporus, the narrow straits which connct the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea might quickly believe what they were taught in school once: Europe and Asia are two different continets. People who have visited the borderclose to Ekaterinburg contrast can only admit that this perception must be the result of a Euro-centric worldview.
The heights of the Ural Mountains extend further in the North of Russia. There, close to Ekaterinburg the mountains are rather slight elevations which cannot be perceived by the untrained eye. To speak of a border between two continents seems to be far-fetched in this case.
After all, in big parts the border between Europe and Asia is not even clearly definied until today. Scientists argue to this day whether the South-Eastern frontier between Europe and Asia runs along the Caucasus Mountains or between the northern tips of the Caspian and the Black Sea. In half of the books you can find, Mont Blanc (in the French Alps) is listed as the highest peak in Europe. The other half shows Elbrus (Russian Caucasus) as the highest mountain of the continent.
From this moment on everything was clear for Bimbino and Bambina. Geopraphicaly, Europe and Asia are nothing more than two parts of one huge, single continent: Eurasia ...and the only reason why a traveller should visit the European-Asian border close by Ekaterinburg is so he can see its purely imaginativ character.