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Jungholz, Austria

The Jungholz Quadripoint

Two nations form a rare four-sided border at the peak of a mountain, philosophical questions result. 

The are very few places so geographically curious as a single point atop Mount Sorgschrofen. Here, their borders meet at an infinitesimally small point at the summit of the mountain, extending in four directions down its slopes, forming quadrants of Germany (to the East and West) and Austria (to the North and South).

Geographers call these freak sociopolitical-cartographic features “quadripoints,” and there are just three of them in the world. When viewed from above, as on a political map, the borders look like crosses.  Though odd and inefficient, such quadripoints or “boundary crosses” would be exercises in inconsequential absurdity were it not for the town full of real, live Austrians going about their business in the most isolated quadrant of this political boundary. The silly thing, after all, about national borders is that once we draw them, even in a foolish manner, we tend to respect them.

Delightfully esoteric, almost Borgesian questions tumble forth once you start to think about the point uniting the Jungholz Quadripoint. Jungholz’s residents remain attached to their Austrian motherland tenuously at best. Were they to travel to and from the rest of their country through this point, it physically would require them to leave Austrian territory, thereby transgressing into German space in order to achieve such a trip.

So, while according to maps Jungholz is not officially surrounded on all sides by Germany thanks to this lone mountaintop, her human inhabitants cannot physically travel from their homes to the rest of their country without leaving Austria. While a border post at the Tyrol-Bavarian crossing (#110) exists for normal, non-philosophical quests, none exists at the very peak of Mt. Sorgschrofen, leaving the point itself a no-man’s-land.

Know Before You Go

Pass directly over the mountaintop. Do not veer to the east or west by so much as a hair.