Lonely Planet Writer

You'll soon be able to catch a cable to cross the border between Russia and China

There are many ways of crossing a border, whether by plane or train or car or even ship, but there’ll be a new one very soon – a cable car over a river.

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This cable car line will be the first in the world crossing a border. Photo courtesy of PYXID

Dutch design firm UNStudio just presented the designs for the very first border-crossing cable car, after they won the competition to project the line and its Russian terminal. It will connect the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk with the Chinese city of Heihe, located on the two opposite shores of the Amur River.

In winter, the Amur freezes over, and it has always allowed for communication, trade and transport to move from one nation to the other. UNStudio has kept this historical fact as a sort of guiding light for the project, especially when it comes to the design of the Russian terminal of the line. “The building takes this historical connection as an inspiration for the organisation of programmes, materialisation, spatial quality and curated views of both cities,” it reads in a statement. “Much like the ice on the river, the building becomes an engine for creating social connections between two cultures and a beacon for a joint prosperous future between the two nations”.

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The Russian terminal was designed very much like a "beacon" uniting the two sides of the river Amur. Photo courtesy of PYXID

The Russian terminal of the cable line will also feature “a new shared urban space” called the Urban Tribune, which will connect the terminal to the existing Blagoveshchensk Cultural Centre, located nearby. The aim is to make this new space a “cultural focal point” for the city, by connecting it to the river and providing it with a new area for events and performances.

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Next to the Russian terminal, there will also be a new cultural space for performances and other events. Photo courtesy of PYXID

The line will have a total of four cabins, each able to transport up to 60 passengers and the overall ride will take less than ten minutes. If you’d like to know more about the project, you can check out UNStudio’s website here.