Estonia - Russia I, Värska Area


Värska Area

The start of this Baltic Border Tour. After driving 275 kilometers from Tallin Airport, I arrived in the late afternoon in this area. I think this is the highest point of the land border between Estonia and Russia.
Between Värska and Popovitsa, the most north point, I saw some tourist hotels and a sanatorium. You would not expect this here.
The border between Estonia and Russia is only demarcated on Russian side. The real border is not agreed on yet, so there is only a temporary border here. I read however there are plans to make the border more visible, the open space wider. The Estonian governement also started to mark the border to avoid situations like happened September 2014 when Eston Kohver was arrested by Russians, being accused of spying. Basis is the border agreement of 1920, but after that there were some changes. I don't know any details.

III-1 20140407 Piirkantor Värska
Some kilometers from the landborder Estonia - Russia I saw the first office of the Border Guard Cordon. They are never far away. One of the very few cars that I saw in this area was also a green MPV of them.
III-1 20140407 Old land house Popovitsa
A sandy road led to Popovitsa, where you can find about 5 houses. I stopped about 100 meter from the border at an old house. The gate on the picture has nothing to do with the border. It says Era maa which means 'private ground'. A man came out of the door and saw me with my camera. He only spoke Estonian and Russian but he understood that I came for the border. He was very friendly and joined me.
Towards the border
It was only a small distance between his house and the border. He told that this ground until the border belongs to him. So when you visit this place to see the border, it's recommended to meet him first. Don't be afraid, he is very friendly and polite.
III-1 20140407 Border pole 538 with strip
First we went to the last border pole 538. Here the land ends and the swamp with reed and the Värska lake starts. The sand strip goes in a circle around the border pole.
III-1 20140407 Border pole 538
As you see, there is only a Russian pole. It's made of stone, it looks rather old. I wonder what the pin on the top is for. Maybe it's to avoid that birds sit on it and pollute the Russian shield.
III-1 20140407 Narrow sandstrip
The strip is rather narrow here, not more than two meters. No fence, no Estonian border marker.
III-1 20140407 Border pole 537
This one is located near the end of the road in Popovitsa near the house and the fence of the man I met. Here is an extra strip. Not clear to me why.
III-1 20140407 Borderpole 536
Then we went a bit more south and we found 536. After that we went back. Later I thought it would have been good to walk a bit further to the south-east. Maybe there were one or two more border markers between the Värska Lake and swamp that isolates Dukbi from Russia.
But I didn't and went back to the car.
Just after leaving this area and driving away a green partol car of the Värska Cordon was arriving on the sand road. Although I didn't expect troubles, I was glad he didn't come some minutes earlier.
III-1 20140407 Borderpole 499
Now I went to the little village Kostkova, only 15 minutes driving from Popovitsa. I parked my car about 400 meters from the border. A muddy road led to the border. Similar situation as I had seen. A narrow open border zone, a small but well maintained strip and only Russian borderpoles.
III-1 20140407 Desolated house
A few meters from the border between 499 and 498 I found this desolated house. I think it was inhabited until the separation from Russia. The house is now in Estonia, the shed on the left is in Russia. I saw some more abandoned houses on Russian soil nearby.
III-1 20140407 Going south
The nice maintained strip. It's actually too narrow to look like a real border between the EU and Russia!
But it is.
III-1 20140407 Border pole 498
I went down to 498 You can hardly recognise an inspection road here, it's a bit muddy. Chopped trees and branches on the border area make it not very clear to perceive the border line.
III-1 20140407 Border pole 497 I continued to 497. There is some open space here.
III-1 20140407 Border pole 496
I finished at 496. Here the border makes a 90 degree angle. On the Estonian side there was a small road leading to a luxury house at 50 meters from the border.

I finished here and then went to Lutepaa.

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