Shortest national borders

Which two countries share the shortest common border?

I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the Vatican and Italy.

Apparently it’s the Spanish-Moroccan border. Penon de Velez de la Gomera is a former island owned by Spain. Landfill was used to turn it into a peninsula which is connected to the Moroccan mainland. The border is about 85 meters long.

But Spain has a couple of other exclaves that border Morocco: Ceuta and Melilla. Combined, their borders extend the border between Spain and Morocco by a few kilometers.

The border between Gibraltar and Spain is a little more than 1 kilometer long.

The boundary between Botswana and Zambia, discussed with a picture in this thread, is exceedingly short. Because of the river, you’d have a hard time determining exactly how short.

What about that little bit of Afghanistan that touches China? How wide is that?

Russia’s border with North Korea is rather tiny also.

Judging from Google Maps, I estimate the Afghanistan/China border at about fifty kilometers.

The land border between North Korea and Russia (which actually runs along a river) is about five kilometers long.

The Vatican/Italian border looks to be about two kilometers long.

The Botswana/Zambian border is about one and a half kilometers long.

Assuming you recognize the Sovereign Military Order of Malta as an independent country (its territory consists of two buildings in Rome but it’s recognized as a sovereign nation by 96 other countries) its border with Italy must be the shortest in the world.

It’s border with the Vatican…the SMOM is entirely inside the Vatican.

There’s also the short piece of China-Russia border between Kazakhstan and Mongolia, which I make out to be about 20 miles (although obviously there’s the much larger China-Russia border further east).

Denmark’s southern border looks to be about the same.

There’s also a pretty short border between China and Russia to the west of Mongolia, but China and Russia also have a significant border east of Mongolia as well. So whether you count that would depend on whether you consider China/Russia to be one border or two.

Which is moot anyway, since the Botswana/Zambia border still has it beat. It’s my understanding that there’s sufficient uncertainty in the length of that border that it’s not entirely clear that it’s more than a point (so it may even beat out the SMOM, if we count that).

In practical terms, I think we have to regard it as being at least as long as the width of a bridge, since Botswana and Zambia have gotten agreement to build a bridge across the Zambezi River. From the CIA Factbook:

Whatever facilities are built and owned by the two countries at either end of the bridge will probably tacitly imply ownership of a certain stretch of riverbank, and presumably, a border in the river between the two banks.

Certainly, the Google Earth representation of the boundary actually gives Botswana a small chunk of the “Zambia” side of the river, as well as a chunk of an island, and makes a border a about 1.6 miles long. Presumably, their border represents the claims of at least one of the disputants. If I believe THAT border, and the bridge goes between existing roads, it would actually appear to lie entirely within Botswana, with a crossing into Zambia a few hundred yards inland.

When I was there in '59 you had to cross an airfield runway to go from Gib to Spain, I forget the Spanish town, and they had crossing arms, much like you see at a RR crossing. Anyone know if that still exists?

Other interesting cases:[ul][]The border between Monaco and France looks to be about 5 km long, give or take.[]The land border between France and the Netherlands, existing entirely on the island of St. Martin in the Caribbean, is about 10.8 km long (not counting a lagoon that the border runs through.)[]The border between Croatia and Montenegro is about 17 km long.[]The land border between Turkey and Azerbaijan (specifically, its exclave of Nakhichevan) is about 15 km long.[/ul]None of these beat the Botswana-Zambia example, though.

I would say that the land frontier between Gibraltar and Spain is a little less than 1km.

Yes, it’s still like that - vehicular and pedestrian traffic is made to stop behind the barriers, which now also have traffic lights, for planes to land and take off.

The town on the Spanish side is called La Linea de la Concepción.

Interesting, thanks.

Hmm, I’ve been to that point on the Zambezi River, and at the time they told me it was “four corners”: Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. I just checked Google maps and that’s not quite how they draw it. However, if the Zambia-Botswana border is just one point, then it’s tied (at 0) with the Zimbabwe-Namibia border.

Are you sure of that? The information I found all indicate that the two buildings which compromise the SMOM are both in the Italian part of Rome, not the Vatican City.

They are in the Italian part of Rome; I remember passing in front of one of them every day during a work assignment in that part of the city.

You can safely ignore Google Maps’ version of the borders in the Botswana/Zambia case - they are wildly inaccurate, as you can see here. The border along the Zambezi legally follows the “thalweg”, or deepest channel. The Google Maps version shows a series of very poorly approximated straight lines – it’s nonsense.

I actually wrote a bit about this border set-up in this post a couple of months ago.

This photograph shows the location well. I have just drawn up an annotated version here to show the actual borders. Apologies for the shaky mouse-work, best I can do with the tools available!