hidden europe 63

Where Europe meets Asia

by hidden europe

Picture above: The ambiguity as to where the border between Europe and Asia lies has led to a proliferation of markers and monuments. This one, on the western outskirts of Ekaterinburg, is one of them (photo © Sergey Zavyalov / dreamstime.com).


Pull off the main highway just west of Ekaterinburg and you'll find a fairly new monument that purports to mark the border between Asia and Europe. The design recalls the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a nice reminder that Ekaterinburg iron was used to construct the Paris landmark.

At Vershina, a wee slip of a place tucked away in the forest, a squat monument by the Transsiberian railway marks the alleged boundary between two continents: Europe to the west and Asia to the east. It’s a very modest affair, not at all like the various boundary monuments on the main highways in that area, where tourist buses stop to allow visitors to take selfies as they straddle two continents.

The train doesn’t stop at the Vershina monument, and most passengers surely don’t even notice the stone marker by the tracks. It was erected in 1957, on the occasion of the World Festival of Youth and Sport in Moscow — presumably a way of welcoming delegates from Asia to Europe. In truth, in this part of the Ural region, it is extremely hard to be precise about the exact line of the boundary between the two continents. Further north, the Urals have a distinct, though still never very high, ridgeline and there it is possible to say “Here to the west lies Europe, and there to the east is Asia.”

Not so in the area between Kungur and Ekaterinburg.

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