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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 May, 2005, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Places That Don't Exist
There are almost 200 official countries in the world. But there are dozens more unrecognised nations determined to be independent. Simon Reeve set out to visit several of these lesser-known places.


Somaliland

Simon Reeve with Yusuf Abdi Gabobe (front right), his guide in Somaliland, and a few guards
Places That Don't Exist
Wednesday, 4 May, 2005
1930 BST on BBC Two (UK)
In comparison to the anarchic, gun-filled streets of the Somali capital, Simon travels to the relative safety of the breakaway neighbour, Somaliland.

Here he finds mass graves, a foreign minister who delivers babies and some of the oldest cave paintings in the world.


Trans-Dniester

Simon Reeve in front of the Transdniestrian flag in the capital, Tiraspol
Places That Don't Exist
Wednesday, 11 May, 2005
1930 BST on BBC Two (UK)
Simon Reeve travels to Moldova where he goes on a drunken fishing trip with the president, before meeting a village so poor that 32 men there sold their kidneys.

He then crosses over to the breakaway state of Trans-Dniester to find a region where Lenin statues still take pride of place and "independence day" is celebrated with a show of force by thousands of troops.

He also gets arrested for trying to film a secret Soviet base.


Taiwan

Simon Reeve with an aboriginal tribal chief in Taiwan
Places That Don't Exist
Wednesday, 18 May, 2005
1930 BST on BBC Two (UK)

Despite its wealth, the United Nations still insist Taiwan is officially part of China.

Simon meets the Taiwanese army preparing to defend itself against Chinese attack and is invited to a concert by Taiwan's equivalent of Take That, who sing patriotic pop songs.

And finally on the agenda is a trip to the top of the tallest building in the world (although the Chinese have announced their plans to build an even taller one).


South Ossetia

Simon Reeve in Georgia with Russian peacekeepers at the border with South Ossetia
Places That Don't Exist
Wednesday, 25 May, 2005
1930 BST on BBC Two (UK)

South Ossetia declared independence from the former Soviet state of Georgia.

Simon crosses the front line, past Russian tanks and into this breakaway state, where paranoia greets his every step.

He is shown graveyards in a school playground and joins a birthday drink with troops returning from the front... before being chased out by the local KGB.


Nagorno Karabakh

Simon Reeve entering Nagorno Karabakh
Places That Don't Exist
Wednesday, 1 June, 2005
1930 BST on BBC Two (UK)

Situated in south-western Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is a richly fertile area of striking beauty scarred by its violent history.

Soldiers still face each other in trenches only 100m apart.

He goes out with a team of de-miners who fail to convince locals to take a detour around a minefield, before ending his journey at a local wedding.


Reporter: Simon Reeve
Series producer: Will Daws
Executive producer: Karen O'Connor


SEE ALSO:
Somaliland's missing identity
03 May 05 |  This World
Trans-border Trans-Dniester
10 May 05 |  This World
Taiwanese in all but name
18 May 05 |  This World


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