Overland from Athens to Budapest

Fortress Europe is a series documenting the plight of migrants & refugees trying to reach Europe in search of a better life.

On the 14th June 2015 Europe celebrated the 30 anniversary of the signature of the Schengen agreement which offered 400 million Europeans citizens the freedom of movement within the newly created single space. This unprecedented move by which a set of countries have abolished their internal borders has seen many opportunities but also created many challenges. The project is an attempt to recognise the genuine difficulties of complex human geographies, while also acknowledging that borders can obstruct much that is good in the spirit of a modern Europe.

I started the journey in Athens and followed the migratory routes used by refugees in the Balkans up to Hungary when refugees reach the European Union but also the Schengen Space.

Everywhere I went I saw and met refugees. I engaged and talked to them to understand what they were escaping from and where they wanted to go. The project went from Piraeus port to Victoria park in Athens, North up to the main transitory hub of Thessaloniki in the Macedonia region of Greece.

I crossed the border of Greece with FYRO Macedonia, up to Skopje, and entered Serbia up to Belgrade (Beograd) where I witnessed the appalling conditions refugees are living in. I followed the route and headed to Northern Serbia to the city of Subotica and Kanjiza which became the main hub to enter Hungary and the EU. I crossed the border to Hungary and met refugees who crossed into the EU and went with them up to Budapest, the gateway to the rest of Europe.

Along the journey which takes as little as one week, I met many refugees who told me their stories. I kept in touch with some of them to monitor their progress whilst traveling through the Balkans. This series provide an insight into ever changing migratory routes used in the largest refugees crisis that Europe has known since the end of WWII.