2017 / O’Border – Three times to anticipate the reunion of a cross-border territory between Turkey and Bulgaria / A – Ideas

​___________ O’ BORDER ___________

Three times to anticipate the reunion of a cross-border territory between Turkey and Bulgaria


Who has never believed that two countries, separated by a physical border would become, by small and invisible actions, so interdependent than the wall would fall down by itself? In the year 2014 to 2017,162 km of grids, barbed wire and concrete have made a wall erected between Bulgaria and Turkey. This wall has been traced on the base of the old Iron Curtain. The ancient Thracian territory have been separated by an impenetrable border, to answer to the refugees crisis, but also to increase the security inside the Union.

The province of Svilingrad, located at the extreme West to the border, is a door to this European Union. The main checkpoint, situated on the ancient silk road is now one of the most frequented of Europe. The province was crossed by the fence of the Iron Curtain, still visible, and the new wall, surrounded by all the border police infrastructures. But more than a military place, this hilly plain is an important agricultural area marked by seasonal streams, valley and hills. The territory is punctuated by hills sides catchment reservoirs, used for the agriculture and the everyday life needs as much as swimming places for summer.

But this thin balance is threaten. The hydric stress, caused by the lake of water is dramatically increasing.

__________ From Rival to Riparian

Riparian : from Latin rivus : stream

Someone who takes his water into a stream. Someone who live on a bank.

Rival : from Latin rivus : stream

Someone who takes his water into the stream of someone else.

Here between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece, two Europeans actions are taking place. The first one is the Green Band. Along the Iron Curtain border, this organization promote an ecological ribbon from the Black Sea to the Baltic sea with the creation of protected areas on the old no man’s land. The second one is the EuroVelo bicycle road, which is on development and will follow a cross-border trail along the ancient Iron Curtain. This two actions are already a base to start a project.

______ Three times to unite

I chose to work with three successive times. The last time is uncertain and is linked to the fall of the wall and to the reestablishment to a permeable border with exchanges and interactions. The two previous times are made to enable and to anticipate this event. The project start with two entries. The water, resources of this territory and the Eurovelo project. This road allows the passing though and the European visibility. With this strategy, three projects area have been chosen. All linked to the water but also to the border. The project is here to heal and to join.

_ Time 1 : To light up

This time is immediate and announce the two next times. This is a simple work of trim. The locals knowledge are used to light up a dyke of an existing hill catchment area. Trunks are pull up to let the white stone visible. The dyke become an important point of the EuroVelo road. This work could be realized with the local people of the both sides during a few days workshop.

_ Time 2 : To Share

The second project area is located into a valley which cross the wall. At this time, the EuroVelo Iron Curtain trail is finished, and every year a lot of cyclists are riding here. Now day a Turkish dam exist really cloth to the border. The project will allow a cross-border cooperation about the water. A series of four reservoirs are created each one linked to the surrounded context. The up-streamer is a trough located into the common meadow. The second one is a resevoir for the agriculture. The third one highlight the fruit trees alignment. The fourth one is a wetland linked to the Turkish dam. They can, with the weather, form only one entity. This wetland could be a new protected area of the Green Band.

This series could be the first cross-border cooperation about the water between this two countries.

_ Time 3 : To Meet

And then the third time is an utopia. The wall has fall done and the cross-border territory start its exchanges again. This time is a meeting time. Situated downstream the first time. This project is more design and heal the two old borders. It’s a crossing point and a symbolic site. Maybe from here will start the next EuroVelo of the old European wall.

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IFLA Europe
VESTRE Hunter Industries

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