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Photographer's Note

The territory of Olivença / Olivenza is de facto under Spanish administration, but de jure it may be regarded as a Portuguese territory. The Spaniards keep it by means of different interpretations of the Treaty of Badajoz and the Treaty of Vienna (1815). As Portugal never recognized Spain's occupation of Olivença (Olivenza), the border in this area was never officially marked. The territory of Olivença (Olivenza), c. 750 km², is larger than a dozen independent countries.
The old Bridge of Ajuda was destroyed by the Spaniards before the occupation of Olivença (Olivenza). For two centuries there was no connection between the two banks of the river in this zone. In 2000 a new Bridge of Ajuda was built nearby (middle of this photo). It was undertaken by the Portuguese only, as Portugal could not accept an international bridge in a place where there is no agreement on the border limit.
Spain administers de facto the territory east of river Guadiana (foreground of this photo). Like most of nowadays borders between countries of the European Union, the Spanish boundary is marked by a simple blue plaque with the name of the country surrounded by yellow stars (see workshop), without any police control. So, there is the plaque of España (Spain; its gray back is at left in this photo) as you come from the Portuguese side (background of this photo) toward Spain (see workshop). By the other hand, as Portugal doesn't recognize the border here, there is no blue plaque with the word Portugal when you cross the river. The brown plaque is just the name of the river (Guadiana).
As a side effect of this diplomatic doggedness, when you come from Spain, there is no clue that your are entering Portugal (direction of this photo). A traveler, unaware of political geography and history, may conclude that Spain goes all the way to the nearest Atlantic shore.
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Today, December 1 st, Portugal celebrates the Restoration of Independence. It's a national holiday, but the Day of Portugal it's June 10 th.

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Additional Photos by Francisco Santos (xuaxo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4896 W: 319 N: 4874] (6846)
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