The boundary cross at Jungholz
This site is about the extraordinary geographical curiosity that sits on top of the mountain Sorgschrofen near Jungholz, Austria.  
Boundary crosses or "quadripoints"

National boundaries usually "meet" or fork in bounadry tripoints. A tripoint is thus a point where the boundaries of three countries converge. Although interesting, tripoints are not too rare; there are more than 40 of them in Europe. Points where four or more boundaries meet are much harder to find. In fact, there is no point where the borders of five countries meet. There is also no point where the borders of four countries meet.

There exist, however, at least three points where four borders, belonging to two countries meet. We call them bi-national quadripoints, or,  casually, boundary crosses.

One of these rare points is situated near the alpine village of Jungholz. Jungholz in itself is an interesting area, in that it is part of Austria, almost completely but not entirely, surrounded by Germany. The Jungholz area is connected to the rest of Austria in one point only - the boundary cross.

The existence of such artifacts as boundary crosses can give rise to all sorts of philosophical and mathematical ponderings. For example, is Jungholz really connected to the rest of Austria, the boundary cross being a point and thus infinitely small? For the same reason, does Germany completely surround Jungholz or not? Certainly, it is not possible to travel from Austria to Jungholz through the point.

The second of the three known boundary crosses is at Baarle-Hertog/Baarle-Nassau and involves Belgium and the Netherlands. The third cross is in Cooch Behar in east India where a Bangladeshi exclave is connected to the rest of Bangladesh in one point only.

 
The definition
The border between Germany (Freistaat Bayern) and Austria (Land Tirol) in this patricular area was defined by the treaty of 1844, which was complemented in 1850; "Grenzberichtigungsvertrag vom 30. Jänner 1844, mit dem Ergänzungsvertrag vom 16. Dezember 1850".

Here are facsimiles from the Consolidated Treaty Series, with the text of the treaty of 1844 and the treaty of 1850.

 
Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39
Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45
Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51
Page 52 Page 53


In an appendix the entire border is described in words, from one border stone to the next and so on. The critical part is where the border between Austria and Germany reaches border marker number 110. The description of this takes place on  page 94 (to the right).

The text says
   In gerader Linie (über 2 Untermarken) zum Mark im Felsen Nr. 110 (welches wegen Westen sieht) auf den höchsten Zinken des Steinberges.
   Hier schliesst sich die Grenze der Gemeinde Jungholz an, worüber der Gränzbeschreib unten im Anhange folgt.


This would translate to:
   [From marker 109, the border follows] a straight line, via 2 intermediary markers, to marker 110, which is cut into the rock (looking west) on the highest peak of the Steinberg [now the mountain Sorgschrofen].
   Here the border of the Jungholz community forks off, which is described in the appendix below.

 
So let us take a look at the appendix.

The appenidx is covered in Page 114, Page 115, Page 116, Page 117 and Page 118.

From page 114 we have:
   Die Landesgränze längs des, nur auf dem höchsten Zinken des Steinberges mit Tirol zusammenhängenden und sonst überall vom baierischen Gebiet umschlossenen, zu Tirol [...] gehörigen Bezirkes der Gemeinde Jungholz beginnt mit dem Mark im Felsen Nr. 110 [...].

   The border around the community Jungholz, which connects to Tirol only on top of the highest peak of the Steinberg and is otherwise completely surrounded by Bayern (Bavaria), begins at marker 110.

Then follows a description of the entire border of Jungholz, which ends on page 118, with the following paragraph:
   dem scharfen Gebirgs- und Felsengrathe nach bis auf den höchsten Zinken des Steinberges zum Mark im Felsen Nr. 110 [...]

   [The border then follows] the steep ridge to the highest peak of the Steinberg at marker 110.

So now we know the following

* The border of Jungholz begins and ends at marker 110.
* The border of Jungholz is connected to the rest of Austria at marker 110, and only there.

Ergo, there exists a boundary cross at marker number 110.
 
 
The modern description
Here is a 1:50 000 topographic map extracted from the web showing the entire Jungholz area. Here is a copy of the Bavarian cadastral mapping.  
 
This is a facsimile from the Austrian offical Boundary Description. Note the cute litte diagram describing the conditions around marker 110. Here is an excerpt from the official border maps.  
The expedition
For the good of all, a group of brave men ventured to visit the boundary cross
to examine and document it. Here is a brief report of the expedition..
 
This is the way.    
We are warned that we are entering Austrian territory.    
Grenzübergang at the bridge.    
Can you see the small stream behind the trees? That's where the border is.    
At another road leading to Jungholz there is this beautiful Tirol-rock.    
At the center of Jungholz, outside the tourist office, there is this bronze symbolic border marker.    
The bordercross is on top of Sorgschrofen    
On the way to the top this panorama over Jungholz was taken.  
The border follows the ridge north-east of the peak. The hiking is fairly easy, at least in the warm season.    
On the way we stop to admire border stone number XXXVI. We are standing on the T side (Tirol). The letter on the other side states B for Bavaria. The year 1844 is cut into the fourth side.    
We have almost reached the top, and encounter a different type of border marker. It is in the center right of the picture.    
Here is a close-up. The metal plate, border marker XXXVI/I is fastened onto the rock with concrete. Note the line tracing the border, and the letters D for Deutchland and Ö for Österreich. There is no year on this one.    
And finally, the "hightest peak of the Steinberg." The men looking down at Jungholz belong to another party, and are totally unaware of the significance of the location. They came for the view... Unbelieveable. The boundary cross is on the rock to the right.    
Here we come a little closer, and marker 110 is clearly visible on the rock to the right.    
Here is the view that they came for. Not much to see.    
Whereas here, right behind us, is one of only three boundary crosses in the world.    
This is just to confirm, to those who concern themselves with such matters, that the expedition to the Jungholz boundary cross really constituted a class a visit. The index finger belongs to the supreme commander of the expedition.    
Challenge
There are two other boundary crosses in the world.

Go and visit them.


Questions and input on this web service should be sent to Ernst Stavro Blofeld