Lithuania - Belarus, Medininkai

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June 30th 2014 was my first visit to the Lithuanian Belarusian border. I had to be in Vilnius for my work the day after and I could take a direct Wizz-air flight from Eindhoven to Vilnius that arrived there at noon. So I had the afternoon to visit the border and to find some boundary stones. From Vilnius to the border at Medininkai is only 35 kilometers and my rental car took me there in 35 minutes. I planned to start at the old border crossing Medininkai and then walk to the new border crossing at the A3. It's only 1,6 Kilometers. After that I wanted to visit the place where the railroad crosses the border, some kilometers north of the Medininkai border.
Things went different: when I reached the new bordercrossing at the A3, I was arrested by the customs and border guards. It's forbidden to enter the so called 'yellow zone', a zone of about 200 meters from the border without a special permission. I wasn't aware of that.
The border guards kept me for about three hours, and after paying the mildest penalty of 75 Litas (22,00) for this mistake I was a free man. They were even so kind to bring me back to my car.
Next time I will arrange to get a permission.
Anyway, I started my hike at the former border crossing at border stones 1070.

III-1 20140407 Old road Vilnius - Medininkai - Minsk
From Vilnius I drove to the old border crossing via the small village Medininkai. The old road ends at the former border crossing. Here, about two kilometers before the old border crossing it's announced yet.
III-1 20140407 Dead end of the road
In the end you already see the fence. No traffic here anymore. Grass and weet take possession of the area.
III-1 20140407 Old customs area
Here, I assume, was the customs area in the time that Lithuania was still part of the Russian influence. It was like an open, internal border where there was no need to stop.
Nowadays all small border crossings are closed. It takes much space and people to handle the traffic that wants to cross the border.
III-1 20140407 Old customs area II
No traffic, no activity. The 'no entrance' sign lost its meaning completely.
III-1 20140407 Closer to the fence
Now a 2,50 meter high fence is placed across the former border crossing. The road is cut and continues behind the fence, the strip 'nomansland' and the fence at the Belarusian side.
Notice in the middle a mast with cameras and on the left the first boundary poles! I'll come back to them soon!
III-1 20140407 The strip
I put my camera over the fence so I had an overview over the strip between the countries.
At the left the Lithuanian fence, about 2,50 meters high and payed by the European Union to prevent trespassing: in fact it's the EU fence;
Than some 20-30 meters empty space with a simple road for partolling on the border.
And than the Belarusian fence, not so high and sophisticated as the EU-fence.
The old road in the strip is still there, partially.
As if this rude cut was only made a few days ago...
III-1 20140407 The fence
A closer look at the fence. It's rather new and high. Not so easy to cross for smugglers.
I only noticed later that only few parts of the border are protected by such a fence.
Such fencses are desastrous for the animals that pass through the land.
Sparsely populated areas have not so much fences. These areas are mainly used by smugglers.
III-1 20140407 Border poles 1070
In front the Lithuanian border pole 1070 with colors of the Lithuanian flag. Lithuanians weapon should be on the other side, only visible from the Belarusian side. I probably will never see it!
At the background the Belarusian border pole. It's painted in the Belarusian colors: red and green. The waepon is visible from this side. For a detail, see 1072.
III-1 20140407 Border poles 1071
On the other side of the road, only 10 meters from the 1070-pair, the 1071-pair is situated.
Notice the small borderstone in the middle that indicates the real border. A same situation I found at the Austrian / Slovakian border that was once also a border between East and West.
Notice also the small mast with two cameras on the left. I was asking myself: who is watching the pictures of all those cameras?

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