While most of the time we only hear about the most important cities, or those with the most breathtaking architecture, there are many quirky and bizarre cities hiding in spots you wouldn’t ever imagine all over the world. Some of these cities have reached their situations organically, ending up in the most ridiculous predicaments, with little idea of any way out. Others were the incredibly ambitious dreams of people or governments who saw fit to do something beyond what most people would consider normal or necessary. For your enjoyment, below are 10 of the world’s weirdest cities.
10. The Small Island City Being Overrun by Rabbits
The city of Langley on Whidbey Island, which is up near Seattle, has a very unique and very adorable problem on its hands. It all started back in 2001 when a bunch of rabbits got loose from a fair. At first nobody expected much to happen, but then the rabbits started breeding like… well, rabbits. Before long, the citizens had a very ridiculous problem on their hands, with the little critters running amok and happily eating from people’s vegetable gardens. Part of the reason they were able to thrive so easily is because it was a small island without a lot of natural predators for the rabbits.
While some are concerned about the growing problem with the rabbits in the thousands, and that number likely to increase, most people are against the wholesale city sanctioned slaughter of rabbits. City officials don’t want to spend their days hunting down rabbits by the bushel, and many of the citizens actually find them adorable and would prefer to exploit it at least a little bit for tourism. Still, the city is not entirely okay with the issue, and has considered bringing in more natural predators to thin them out. Of course, as we all know, that doesn’t always work so well, and may only add more problems.
9. The Floating City That Doubles as an Oil Rig
The city of Neft Dashlari (also spelled Neft Daslari) is a gigantic floating city in the Caspian Sea that has acted as a huge oil operation for many decades now. It was officially property of Azerbaijan, and was built by the Soviets back at the height of their power. The city isn’t incredibly far from land, but it is the most massive city in the sea ever built, and was a testament to Soviet engineering at its most ambitious. It was built on the spot after the Russians discovered incredible oil reserves in the area, after hearing legends from history that oil would often bubble up in the water near that area.
The city still stands today, and is still being used to gain oil. However, the days of this incredible construction are numbered. Before too long, the area will be dried up, and even before then, the city may not be able to operate for too much longer. The reason is because the city is starting to fall apart. While it once boasted, among other amenities, its own park with trees and soil imported from the mainland, its own soccer pitch, movie theater, library, gardens for fresh food and more, it is now a shadow of its former glory. The massive floating city has been ravaged by floods and the deterioration of time, and many of the roads and apartments are submerged – this of course also means that the workforce is much smaller than before. While some people still find it to be a desirable job because of the high pay, the city itself may not be around for much longer.
8. The Highest Altitude City in the World
La Rinconada is a city in Peru known for being the highest altitude city in the world, and practically being a country unto itself because of how differently people live there. There is no running water and no sewage three miles up above the ground, where the people of La Rinconada scratch out a very difficult living. The men spend all day in the mines, hoping they will be able to make some real riches one day, and many of the women also spend all day breaking rocks to look for gold, and enlisting their children to help with the task.
And unlike many places in the world, there really isn’t an expectation about going to school, so many kids just help their parents wherever they are needed. This means most children do not get an education, and end up also working in the mines, hoping they will be able to get lucky and strike it rich somehow, someday. There are also no laws and there wouldn’t be any police to enforce them if they were. While it is technically in Peru, it is really a place all its own, and doesn’t follow the rules of the rest of the country.
7. The Town in Brazil With a Very High Rate of Twin Births
There is a strange town in Brazil called Candido Godoi that has an abnormally high rate of twin births. The rate is a whopping 10%, compared to 1% for the rest of Brazil. As you could imagine, it would be quite a strange experience to happen unknowingly across this town, and some might suddenly think they were transported into a horror movie. Many have speculated that it was the work of the evil Nazi doctor Joseph Mengle, who was known for doing vile experiments on twins, and trying to make the perfect Aryan baby.
However, one scientist who decided it was time to put this theory to the test, took the time to run some DNA tests on many of the women in the village and found something a bit more banal. Essentially, she discovered that the women who were having twins had a similar gene, and she also found that there was a high rate of inbreeding in the area between all the German immigrants. In other words, only a couple people with the gene arrived at the village at first, but with a lot of inbreeding, it quickly spread among the future women of the village – creating a creepy town full of way too many twins.
6. In Florida, There’s a City With a Huge Concentration of Sex Offenders Called “Miracle Village”
In Florida, there is a bizarre village that houses only sex offenders, and it is very strangely named “Miracle Village”. Now, we should be quick to point out that while they have taken in people who were found with child pornography, or people who had consensual sex with a minor, they do not take in people with violent crimes, or those who are “diagnosed pedophiles”. This last part seems kind of unclear, but they may actually be adhering strictly to whether it was diagnosed by an official psychiatrist.
The village is run by Matthew 25 Ministries, a group specializing in helping people get back on their feet after getting out of prison. Richard Witherow, the minister who created the village, did so because of the restrictive sex offender laws for how close you can live to children and certain other public buildings, which were making it hard for nonviolent offenders to get back on their feet and reintegrate into society. Some of the people there are more normal than you would ever imagine. One of them had to register as a sex offender after someone called the police on him because he was urinating in public, while trying to be discreet. And a couple others were there for having consensual sex with a 16 year old girlfriend when they were 18 years old. It is definitely one of the strangest cities in the entire world.
5. Taos, New Mexico Plays Host to Dozens Of Special “Earthships”
Michael Reynolds is a man with a dream, and that dream is to create completely sustainable homes all over the world, using only junk. His creations he labels Earthships, and he literally builds them using old cans, tires and other junk lying around. He is a former architect who decided that living needed to be more sustainable and started working on just one to start. Since then interest has blossomed all over the world, and in Taos, New Mexico alone he has built a staggering 75 of his earthship constructions.
These structures are designed to use solar power, have their own food sources, and sewage and everything else totally independent of anything around them. Reynolds believes earthships are superior to modern architecture, as modern structures are often made with less care and rely on the city for everything. However, modern zoning has been his biggest headache, as New Mexico fought him over whether he could have a city with buildings that didn’t rely on each other or any main central source. Despite many hurdles, he continues to build them all over the world, to help others live a simple and sustainable lifestyle.
4. Aircraft Carriers Are Their Own Gigantic Floating Cities With Thousands of People
Aircraft carriers are absolutely massive, with the largest ones being able to carry crews of about 5,000 people at a time. Because they are so gigantic and must take care of so many people for months at sea, they pretty much have everything a floating city would need – you can even mail packages to them, although the shipping is a bit high. However, what many people may not realize is that life onboard an aircraft carrier isn’t really anything like going on a cruise. The truth is that unless you have good reason to go above deck, you’re never going to be up top like you see in the movies. Most of the time you will be below deck, assigned to some menial job, and after a long shift, you will go back to a very cramped bunk area.
And that is the other rather big drawback to life on an aircraft carrier. On top of essentially no fresh air except for select personnel, there is also little to no privacy. Some sailors have even reported seeing nearby bunkmates masturbating, and just shrugged it off as humans doing what they need to do. The proximity is so close some people don’t even feel they can wait for that many months, and there is hardly any secrecy at all. Night and day blend together with most people never getting to see the outside, which can seriously mess with some people psychologically, and make it hard for them to cope with the situation.
3. Monkeys Are Overwhelming the City of Delhi, India
In the city of Delhi, India, they have a problem that you would expect to find only in some very strange, wacky comedy film. However, it is very much a reality for them, and a big problem they don’t have any apparent handle on – they are infested with wild monkeys. As the city expanded and continued to encroach on their habitat, the monkeys started interacting more with the humans. Normally, this wouldn’t lead to a full on infestation. However, many of the Hindus in Delhi believe that the monkeys are sacred. For religious reasons, they feed the monkeys on Tuesdays and Saturdays. While public officials have tried to discourage this, it is hard to convince people to stop doing something when it involves their religious beliefs, and there are too many people doing it to enforce it by law.
The monkeys are also an absolute terror, and it really isn’t funny to the residents anymore. They steal candy from children and bread from people walking home, they gang up on people to steal food and will perform nasty bite attacks. To make matters more sinister, a small girl and even a deputy mayor of Delhi have fallen from terraces and died while being attacked by multiple monkeys at a time. Despite the city trapping over 13,000 monkeys in the last decade, the problem is still going strong and if anything, seems to be getting worse.
However, while a couple accidental deaths have happened, the monkeys are not homicidal freaks from a horror movie and aren’t out for blood. They are only grabbing food because they have been trained by humans to think humans are bringing food for them, and many people are exacerbating the problem by continuing to willingly feed them.
2. Coober Pedy, the Australian City Where Most of the Inhabitants and City Are Underground
The town of Coober Pedy, Australia is one most people may not have heard of, but it is significant for multiple reasons. The first reason is that there are more opals in Coober Pedy than anywhere in the world, accounting for roughly 70% of them and most of the best ones ever found. The second has to do with the general hellish living conditions of the area. The miners back in the day were dealing with ridiculously hot temperatures in order to live near the mines, so they decided to get creative and built underground homes called dugouts that helped keep them at a consistently comfortable temperature.
Over time, their enthusiasm for this type of architecture caused them to continue to expand their underground structures, and now there is an underground church, museum, half of a hotel and many local businesses as well to add a touristy flavor to the place. Roughly half of the denizens of Coober Pedy are living underground in these dugouts today, and have turned the place not just into an opal mine, but a real attraction for anyone who is checking out Australia and wants to see a truly unique city. They have prepared themselves to weather the storms of time – even after their opal mine has run out, people will want to see the underground city.
1. The Spanish Village of Juzcar was Painted Blue for The Smurfs and Became a Permanent Tourist Spot
Several years ago The Smurfs 3D came out to rather mediocre reviews. However, it still did fairly well in terms of numbers as the Smurfs have always had a pretty dedicated fanbase. Knowing the popularity of the Smurfs, Sony had decided to try for a publicity stunt and find a town that would allow their whole town to temporarily be painted blue for the movie. The tiny 221 person town of Juzcar, Spain accepted the offer with the knowledge that they would have it changed back free of charge afterwards.
However, what the residents of Juzcar decided after it was over was that they would rather keep their village blue. See, what they found is that after their village turned blue for the movie, they went from 300 tourists in a year to eighty thousand, which was a huge boon to their economy. They now regularly host Smurf-themed events, and have touted their similarity to the Smurfs. They like to point out that they are known for their mushrooms and fungi, and that the Smurfs are as well, so the whole thing was a happy coincidence to them that made perfect sense in the end. For the residents of Juzcar, being the Smurf village has given them a much brighter future than they ever imagined they would have as a city.