hidden europe 9

Border business in Kuznica

by Nicky Gardner


Four times a day the small border village of Kuznica Bialostocka comes alive. hidden europe looks at cross-border trade at the Poland-Belarus frontier.

Ivan cracks open yet another hazelnut with his teeth, and moves to find a little shade under the lime tree. The old minibus with Belarus licence plates has a wheel missing, and the vehicle's once white bodywork is stained to sticky brown with sap that has dripped down from the lime tree above. A dog lies in the hot sun and declines to move as a car with curtained windows drives slowly into the station forecourt. Kuznica Bialostocka is about to come alive.

Four times each day this small village on Poland's eastern frontier becomes a sudden hive of activity. Kuznica is an amiable enough spot, a way station in this region of rolling forests and heath lands that would be unremarkable were it not for the border.

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