A town is generally accepted as any region bigger than a village and smaller than a city. It has its own government, name, and boundary, complete with marketplaces and people spread throughout the area. Nothing unusual about any of that, right? Well, some towns have turned out to be very unique.
Some were built to look like other towns, while others were built and then not inhabited. Some towns have only one resident, while the residents of other towns all live under one roof. If that sounds odd, it’s because it is; feel free to scroll down and get more info on the subject.
10. The Villages, Florida
The Villages is a town in Florida that was built for retired people. It covers an area larger than Manhattan, and has over 100,000 inhabitants—most of whom move around in golf carts. It holds the Guinness World Record for assembling the longest golf cart parade in the world, with 3,321 total golf carts. Inhabitants are also known to drive under the influence (in golf carts), use illegal drugs, and engage in bar fights.
9. Busingen Am Hochrhein, Germany
Busingen am Hochrhein is a German town in Switzerland. The town is separated from mainland Germany by a narrow strip of land, which measures about 700 meters (765 yards) at its narrowest point. Considering its unusual location, Busingen am Hochrhein is more of a Swiss town than a German one. It also enjoys public services from both Switzerland and Germany. It has a Swiss postal code (8238 Busingen) and a German postal code (78266 Busingen). It also has two telephone codes: +49 7734 (for Germany) and +41 52 (for Switzerland).
8. Whittier, Alaska
Almost all of the 200-plus inhabitants of Whittier, Alaska live inside a single 14-story building called Begich Towers. The rest live in their vehicles, boats, or another, similar building. Begich Towers was built in 1956. Back then, it served as an army barracks, but today, it is a town complete with a police station, post office, store, church, video rental shop, playground, and health center—all located inside the building.
7. Colma, California
The town of Colma, California has more dead people than living people, with 1,500 living inhabitants and over 1.5 million dead inhabitants. The history of the town can be traced back to the Gold Rush of 1849 which led hundreds of thousands of people to migrate to nearby San Francisco. They brought diseases and, subsequently, death. By the 1880s, the 26 cemeteries in the town had been almost filled and, by the late 1880s, cemetery owners began constructing cemeteries in southern Colma because it was easily accessible.
6. Monowi, Nebraska
Monowi was founded by Czech migrants in northeast Nebraska, and it has only one resident: 77-year-old Elsie Eller. Population-wise, Monowi is the smallest jurisdiction in the US. Elsie runs the town’s only tavern and library, which is made up of about 5,000 books owned by her late husband, Rudy. She also serves as the town’s mayor, clerk, and treasurer. She also runs the council. In the 1930s, the town had a population of about 150 people, but by 2000, it had two: Elsie and her husband, Rudy.
5. Ordos, China
The city of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, has been called the largest ghost town in China. It was built to accommodate more than a million people, but only 2 percent of it was ever occupied. The remainder is unoccupied and was left to decay. The history of the town began more than 20 years ago during the coal rush of Mongolia. Investors soon began building apartments, hoping to rent them out. However, demand didn’t keep pace with the builders, and many investors pulled out or went broke before the buildings were even completed.
4. Longyearbyen, Norway
Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen in Norway is the northernmost city in the world. It contains the world’s northernmost church, ATM, museum, post office, airport, and university. In Longyearbyen, dying is forbidden. Anyone found ill or dying is immediately flown by airplane or ship to another part of Norway before he or she passes away. And, if someone suddenly dies there, they would not be buried. Dying is forbidden because bodies buried in the town’s cemetery do not decompose thanks to its extreme cold weather.
3. Asymmetric Warfare Training Center (AWTC), Virginia
The Asymmetric Warfare Training Center (AWTC) in Virginia is an uninhabited town built by the US Army to train its soldiers. The town is complete with a school, church, mosque, train station, and a five-story embassy that’s likely the tallest building in Virginia’s Caroline County, where it is located. It also has a gas station, football field, bank, subway, and bridge. The school is built to replicate schools in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the subway resembles that of Washington, D.C. Costing $90.1 million to build, it is run by the US Army Asymmetric Warfare Group.
2. Marloth Park, South Africa
Marloth Park is close to the Kruger National Park, which is filled with wildlife including lions, hippopotamuses, and crocodiles. What makes the town unique is that, despite the dangers of having these wild animals close by, residents are not allowed to build fences around their houses. The only fence that separates the townspeople from the park is a small 1.2-meter (4 ft) fence that was built more to keep humans out of the park than to keep the animals in. Cyclists are often the victims of attacks. Townsmen have nicknamed people riding bicycles at night “meals on wheels.”
1. Hallstat, China
The real Hallstat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Austria. The Chinese Hallstat is a similar mock-up town built in Guangdong province, China. The town, which cost about $940 million to build, looks like the real Hallstat, including its roads, church tower, and wooden houses. The town’s construction was sponsored by a Chinese millionaire, and it caused quite a stir among residents of the real Hallstat who were not aware of the project.
The company that built the mock-up town, called Minmetals, had sent several of its workers to Austria’s Hallstat where they took pictures of places to replicate.