stdClass Object ( [image_intro] => [float_intro] => [image_intro_alt] => [image_intro_caption] => [image_fulltext] => [float_fulltext] => [image_fulltext_alt] => [image_fulltext_caption] => )
Evros river has some islets, the most important of which is "Islet A", which is near Dikea and is divided among Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. In the middle of the islet there is the "tri-national", which is the point where the borders of the three countries meet. This is marked by a concrete triangular pyramid, one meter high, on the sides of which the three flags are painted. The islet covers an area of 340 acres, 170 of which belong to Turkey, 85 to Greece and 85 to Bulgaria.
Access to the tri-national is only allowed to military officers, who arrive there by floating military means. Even though there has never occurred any border incident at that point, soldiers don't even think of being unarmed during their patrols, or not taking the security measures provided by the regulations.
The image of the armoured soldiers into the islet's voluminous vegetation that seems to be tropical, is really impressive. Sometimes, they jokingly tell each other: "Let's go on patrol in Vietnam", implying not only the dense vegetation and the river's green waters reminding of countries of the Far East, but also because at nights when mosquitoes fall like a cloud on everything that's breathing, a real war between the soldiers and the insects takes place.
Despite the difficult conditions, most of the soldiers at the area have happy faces. Most of them are next door guys, who are taking over an important mission for the first time in their lives.
Here they can see the border, they look at the opposite side and understand what their part is. They also forge their relationships and make long-lasting friendships.
Experiencing the river at Evros is also a great profit for the soldiers, as it is an earthly paradise,a real shelter for animals, birds and plants.
There are soldiers coming from the urban areas, who have never seen eagles, pelicans, snakes or badgers before.
Watches and patrols may tire them, but they are being rewarded with magical images.
TEXT-PHOTOS: GEORGE ZAFEIROPOULOS