The 10 strangest cities in the world
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The world in general is a very strange place. And when it comes to cities, you can’t guess in advance what might be waiting there. Here is an overview of the strangest cities you may encounter while traveling – from the city drowning in garbage to the city where retired circus workers live.
10. Manshiat Nasir, Egypt. Trash City.
In the suburbs of American cities, many people explore landfills looking for things they need, such as pieces of furniture or things that cost money to dispose of. Garbage collectors, who have access to such things primarily because of the nature of their work, call such things “mungu’s.” But in no city does garbage play such an important role in the economy as in Manshiat Nasir, a suburb of Cairo.
Residents collect and sort the garbage of Cairo’s 10 million people. It’s a hard life. The city has no running water, sewage or electricity, and every inch of the streets is covered with garbage. Pigs that were not killed during the swine flu in 2009 have taken root here in unsanitary conditions. Living in terrible poverty, families specialize in a certain kind of trash, such as bottles, metal, or anything that can be burned and get heat.
9. Thames Town in China. Abandoned England.
Strangely, the most overpopulated country in the world has ghost towns, China’s zeal for building far exceeds the demands of its population. Many cities are entirely empty, with a 20 percent shortage of new housing. One such city is Thames Town. The city is 32 kilometers from Shanghai and was built as a replica of an English market town with terraced houses, paved streets, bars and cafe-bistros.
From the time it was built until today, the city stands empty. The only thing it is known for is that newlyweds have photo shoots here. This is not the only abandoned city in China, for example, Tianduchen, a copy of Paris with the Eiffel Tower.
8. Gibsonton, Florida. The place where freaks spend the winter.
Everyone knows that itinerant circus and amusement parks are seasonal jobs, and during the winter, employees are forced to travel to the south. Here’s one such place in Florida is Gibsonton, a Tampa bedroom community. “Gibtown” is known for its temporary residents, who live isolated by their own laws, keep exotic animals and own huge swings. The post office even offers discounts to circus dwarfs. Today, most of Gibtown’s residents are dead, and it resembles a ghost town.
7. Zarechny, Russia. Closed Cities Dedicated
After World War II, Russia began to actively build closed cities in which the service personnel of a number of defense enterprises lived. They were not even on the map, and today they are becoming known, for example, in Zarechny, where 60,000 people live. The city’s website says it is a “closed administrative-territorial unit,” behind the walls of which the components of nuclear weapons were produced, under Rosatom. A limited number of people can move in and out of the city, as it is officially closed and there is a strict permit system.
6. Ren-le-Château, France. Church secrets
Rennes-le-Château is a small Catholic village located in the French Pyrenees. In 1885, the priest François Beranger Sonnier came to the village, which was home to 300 people. Soon the priest became very rich and began reconstructing the local 11th-century church dedicated to Mary Magdalene. One of the strange exhibits was a statue of a devil trying to block the sacred spring. At the entrance to the church there was an inscription, “This is a terrible place.” It was believed that the priest belonged to a secret society and was therefore wealthy. Others suspected that he had found crusader treasure or had secret ties to the Vatican. It was said that the priest knew secrets about the life of Jesus Christ.
The whole story was described in Dan Brown’s book “The Da Vinci Code”, thanks to which the village attracted tourists who were interested in the grave treasures. Because of this, in 2004, the body of the priest was exhumed and reburied in a cement sarcophagus. Real estate prices in the area have risen because of the story associated with Saunier. But many now consider this story fictitious and nothing to do with the mystery of the Holy Grail.
5. Chess City, Elista, Kalmykia. The fantasy of a madman.
In Kalmykia, in the steppe, there is a strange landmark – a huge glass building, next door to which is built a block in the Californian style. This city of Chess, the dream of former President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is a place of pilgrimage of chess players. The village has many sculptures dedicated to the ancient game. For years, the town has hosted major chess championships to amuse the president’s ego. Today the building is completely empty.
Also associated with this place are stories of aliens, whom Ilyumzhinov met, as prophesied to him by Vanga. The fortune teller said he would be president of Kalmykia and president of the World Chess Federation. In 1993 Ilyumzhinov became both first and second. From that time on, he began to dream of building Chess Country. Despite the poverty of the republic, money for the construction of 30-50 million dollars appeared. As Ilyumzhinov claimed, the Kalmyks had nothing to worry about, because soon aliens would come to earth and take everyone to other places.
4. Noiva do Cordeiro, Brazil. Matriarchal City.
Many believe that the world would be a much better place if it were run by women. In southeastern Brazil, in 1891, Signorina de Lima, who was kicked out of her community for cheating on her husband, founded the matriarchal town of Noiva do Cordeiro. It is now home to about 600 women. Only some have husbands who work in the town of Belo Horizonte 100 kilometers away and spend time with their wives only on weekends. The town is surrounded on all sides by the Amazon jungle and fields, which the women themselves cultivate. Women manage every aspect of their life in the city, from city management to religious matters and holidays. Many women are deprived of romance in life, as the appearance of a man would disrupt the life in the community, which has been settled for so long. Everyone in town dreams of falling in love and getting married, but men must be willing to accept their way of life.
3. neft daslari, Azerbaijan. Oil Rocks.
When oil was discovered in the Caspian Sea in the late 40’s, the USSR built the world’s first drilling platform. Infrastructure – roads, bridges, piers, apartment buildings and even a movie theater – was built over many years to service the platform and personnel. At one time, the region was the main supplier of oil, but other fields were later discovered.
Today, Neft Daslari demonstrates people’s attempt to rebuild the city after the apocalypse. Most of the structures are inaccessible because they are flooded and the bridges are going under water. Google maps don’t even show the area. In 1999 an episode of the James Bond movie “The world is not enough” was filmed here.
2. Najaf, Iraq. Necropolis
For those who are not superstitious, living near a cemetery is not a bad idea: the neighbors will definitely not ask for a loan! But for the squeamish, life in Najaf is a real nightmare. The town is home to the enormous Wadi Al-Salam cemetery, the largest in the world. It’s twice the size of Central Park in New York. Five million people have been buried in the cemetery over the last 1,400 years, and they are still buried here today. Families are forced to bury their dead in secret or even under the sidewalks, as it costs $10,000 to place them.
1. auroville, India. The City of Dawn
Auroville is another attempt to bring utopia to life. The city was created in India in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa. Today it is home to more than 2,000 people from all over the world. No one in the city owns anything, there is no money, no leader, no rules. Auroville is a city beyond politics, a city where the main ideas are peace and respect between all nations. The main goal is to unite all mankind. The heart of Auroville is the huge Matrimandir building, the symbol of Alphassa – a building for prayer and meditation regardless of religious preference. It looks like a ball that is covered with golden disks. Auroville is free to be visited by tourists and visitors, who can stay in guest houses and eat in restaurants. Who knows, maybe someday they will turn into ruined and vanished ancient cities, and the chance to visit them will be gone.
15 of the strangest cities in the world
In one of the most northern settlements in the world, the town of Longyear, Svalbard, it is officially impossible to die. There is a cemetery in the city, but it has not accepted the deceased for 70 years. All because the bodies do not decompose because of the constant cold and can attract wild animals. People who are about to die are transported by plane to other cities in Norway.
A city that is in two countries.
There are not a few cities that are in two countries at the same time. But this one is the most unusual. Büsingen am Hochrane is a German exclave in Switzerland. Economically it is part of Switzerland, administratively it is part of Germany. It is the only city in Germany where people mostly use the Swiss franc. There are two zip codes: Swiss and German. Residents use both German and Swiss telephone numbers. The soccer club Büsingen is the only German team playing in the Swiss championship.
The city is a copy of China.
The Chinese have learned to copy everything. How about copying the city? So that Chinese citizens could walk through European streets without leaving the country, it was decided to build a replica of the Austrian town of Hallstatt. First the church was built, then the streets, which looked exactly like the original. By the way, real estate in Chinese Hallstatt is more expensive than in Austrian Hallstatt.
The last free city.
Slab City is a place in California where mostly vagrants, retirees, hippies, and those who have no place to go live. People in this city live in trailers and makeshift shacks without running water, electricity, or addresses. There are no utilities in Slab City, nor are there taxes or rents. It all sounds strange, but many who have been here say it’s very comfortable to be here. Residents call their town “the last free place in the United States.”
The cave town of Matmata is a town in southern Tunisia with many preserved Berber houses consisting of a dugout and several caves. In the 1970s, the town built above-ground dwellings, but many locals prefer to live in caves the old-fashioned way. Star Wars fans will recognize this place because it’s Luke Skywalker’s home.
A city under one roof.
The entire town of Whittier, Alaska is housed in a 14-story former army barracks building. The same building houses all the stores, the police station, the clinic and the church. This was done in order to save on heating, as it is cold and windy here almost all year round. By the way, the population of the town is only 220 people.
The bluest city.
In Morocco, there is an amazingly beautiful city of Chavin, the walls, doors and even stairs which are painted in shades of blue and blue. The fact is that the Jews once lived here and painted their houses blue, their holy color. The Jews are no longer in the area for hundreds of years, but the tradition has remained.
A town on the high seas.
Oil Rocks is an industrial city in Azerbaijan, which is located on metal trestles in the open sea. It grew up around the oil field. By the way, there is no permanent population in the city. About 2 thousand workers live here, who come here for several months to work on a rotational basis.
The town of Setenil de las Bodegas in Spain attracts tourists from all over the world. All because it is cut into a huge basalt rock and forms with it a single whole. There are streets, walking through which instead of the usual sky overhead you can see the overhanging cliffs. It seems to visitors that these rocks are about to collapse, but they have stood so for centuries.
A city where more are dead than alive.
The city of Colma, California, has as many as 17 cemeteries. There are more than a thousand dead for every living person here! All because the authorities once decided to remove all the cemeteries from nearby San Francisco and reburied all the dead here. Previously the city’s population was comprised only of gravediggers, florists, and monument makers, but in the 1980s people of other professions began to appear here as well. Today the town’s motto is, “It’s great to be alive in Colma!”
Kodinhi, India is the “City of Twins.”
The largest number of twins in the world is born here. Although science still can’t explain why this happens. Historians claim that the twins born here are the result of experiments of Josef Mengele, who fled the war, settled here in the 60s and worked as a local doctor and veterinarian for a long time. In India, the rate of twin births is one of the lowest in the world, making Kodinhi an even more remarkable case.
Huashi, China – “The Richest Village in China.
The village is adorned by the 328-meter skyscraper Longxi International Hotel, which is the 59th tallest in the world. Huashi Village in Jiangsu Province is the only village in the world with its own skyscraper. Huashi was founded in 1961 as an agricultural commune, but it quickly developed into an industrial center. All villagers enjoy free health insurance, free new cars for every adult, and live in luxurious homes.
Malana, India – “Mountain Village.”
In the mountains of Himachal Pradesh lies the village of Malana, which has been isolated for centuries. But even without laws, constitutions, or police officers, the 1,500 villagers live with each other in perfect harmony. Malana is considered one of the oldest successful democracies in the world. The Malanis first opened their village to visitors in 2009. There are strict rules in the village. In order not to anger the village god, Jamlu, visitors must not touch the walls of houses, people or their food. And these rules go far beyond their entirety. The villagers are shepherds and cattlemen, and they also grow the highest quality hashish in India.
Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation, New Mexico – The Ghost Town Test Site.
Unlike Thames Town, the CITO was never intended to be populated. So why spend a billion dollars to build a modern metropolis with no residents? CITO is like a huge Lego set: new infrastructures related to high technology and sustainable development will be tested here. It has all the attributes of a modern city, and only one thing is missing: residents.
Te-Villiges, Florida – “Disney World for Retirees.”
This village in Florida is home to the largest number of retirees in the world — more than 100,000. No one over the age of 19 is allowed to live here permanently, and children may only spend 30 days a year here. This village may seem like a huge retirement home. However, residents have been seen doing everything from drunk driving to having sex in public places to drugs. That said, the village is seen as one of the best places for retirees to live.
Coober Pedy, Australia – “The Invisible City.”
Ever thought about visiting the invisible city? Founded in 1915, Coober Pedy is alive with opal mining in the world’s largest deposit. But in the town itself, 846 km from Adelaide, you may feel lost: there are almost no houses. Houses, bars, churches, stores, even an art gallery – everything is underground. This region of Australia has one of the worst climates on Earth, with temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius. 3,000 miners came up with an ingenious plan: build a city underground.