Sarpi Border Checkpoint – Georgia - Atlas Obscura

Sarpi Border Checkpoint

A gleaming white and undulating tower marks the border between Georgia and Turkey. 


Usually, checkpoints at land borders around the world are among the least inspired buildings imaginable. With an architectural style that in most cases would be considered dull even for functional buildings, the lack of creativity at border checkpoints is quite surprising given the fact that a land border often gives visitors their first impression of a country. While architects around the globe are quick to turn air and sea borders into showcases of progressiveness, land borders have largely been excluded from this trend.

The border checkpoint at the village of Sarpi, which marks the boundaries between Georgia and Turkey, is a refreshing exception to this rule. Located directly on the shingle beach of the Black Sea, this iconic gleaming white and futuristic structure gives visitors a first glance at the progressive boom country that is bursting with energy and creativity.

The lofty building houses a cafeteria, staff rooms, and a conference room, while the undulating tower is used as a viewing platform. The interior of the building is light and airy, just like the exterior. Altogether, the Sarpi Border Checkpoint is the perfect antidote to the well-known, often depressing border checkpoint buildings found anywhere else on Earth.

The building was completed in 2011, and was conceived by Berlin-based architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, who is also responsible for the much-acclaimed Metropol Parasol in Sevilla, Spain.

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