Once upon a time, people did not move by modern vehicles and aircraft, but on foot or on special animals. This method took a long time and was unsafe. But travel was a necessary condition for the development of civilization – the peoples exchanged goods and new knowledge.
People began to found cities at the crossroads of not only land, but also waterways. Many of the modern capitals are located on large rivers. This is Kiev on the Dnieper, Rome on the Tiber, Paris on the Seine, London on the Thames … It is believed that it is best to lay a city in the delta of a large river.
But there are several cities on the planet that, for various reasons, were built right on the water. Thousands of people live without soil under their feet. The most famous example is Venice, although this city was in this position only by the will of nature. We’ll tell you about the places that the person has deliberately built on the water.
Santa Cruz Del Islote, Colombia.
Near the coast of Colombia in the Caribbean is the island of Santa Cruz Del Islote. If you count the number of people living on it, then the island will be almost the most populated in terms of density of people. A total of about 1,250 people live in 97 houses in one hectare. On holidays to the islanders from neighboring settlements come their children, grandchildren and relatives. Then the population of the town increases by another third. Only here such a congestion of people on one island has several significant disadvantages. So, in the city there is no hotel, no beach, no pool. Bury the dead here also does not work, the dead are transported to neighboring islands. Even to play football, residents have to travel to their neighbors. The only source of fresh water on Del Islota is rain. To collect it, the townspeople made a whole system of pipelines and gutters. Water is needed for cooking and drinking. But for everything else, it is sorely lacking. Although Santa Cruz has serious problems, the town remains rather cozy, located away from gang warfare, from shootings of the army and illegal formations, which is common for the mainland. Even at night on the island do not lock the door, in the evenings the residents gather together to watch the next series of their favorite series.
This village is the largest “floating” in Africa. It is located on Lake Noquay in Benin. Ganvier was formed about 400 years ago, as an opportunity to protect themselves from militantly-minded neighbors. Even the name of the village is translated as “we survived”. Today the settlement represents about 3 thousand bamboo huts, erected on stilts and occupying an area of several kilometers. In total, about 20 thousand people live in this village. It is constantly changing its appearance due to the geographical features of the lake. Nevertheless, the tribe living on the lake, could develop its fairly complex culture. In general, the residents of Ganvier live safely, but there are also their poor areas here. Sometimes small islands appear on the lake, which Africans use as pastures. The inhabitants mainly feed on fish, and the main transport in the village are pies.
This fishing village in Thailand is a real paradise for those who love the water and the tropics. From a bird’s eye view, Ko-Pani seems like a wonderful island, suddenly appearing right in the middle of the bay. But the village was founded by representatives of only two villages. Today lives in Ko-Pani about 2 thousand people. The island is poorly adapted for life – vertical limestone rocks look lifeless. All buildings – huts, restaurants and houses are built on stilts over the bay. A small Muslim community has its own school, a mosque, and several souvenir shops. There are restaurants here, from which, unsurprisingly, there is an excellent view of the sea. And the most unusual in the water village is a floating football field.It was built by local kids from old fishing rafts and forest waste. Islet Loreto, Italy.
In northern Italy, on the island of Iseo, there is a small private island of Loreto. The area of the reservoir is 65 km2, its maximum width is 5 km, and the maximum length is 25 km. At the end of the 5th century a monastery was built on it, which existed here for several centuries. Finally, it was abandoned only in the 16th century. The place for the monastery was chosen successfully, because the island allowed to really retire to the holy fathers. In the early XX century after the change of several owners Loreto became the property of the captain of the Royal Navy Vincenzo Richieri. He built here in 1910 a Neo-Gothic castle, and a pier with two small lighthouses. A pine garden appeared around the castle. Not so long ago, the island started talking when it became known that George Clooney wants to buy it. The Hollywood star had a residence nearby, but eventually he refused to acquire Loreto.
Floating village of Halong Bay, Vietnam.
In the north of this Asian country is Halong Bay. This ancient geological formation has about 2500 islands. They are the remnants of limestone strata, which are already 300 million years old. Once upon a time, geological processes led to the rise of a piece of land from the sea, on which Vietnam now resides. Millions of years, these formations changed formally, the level of the sea rose or fell. There were ice ages, and warming was occurring. Over the islands, waves and wind work. As a result, these formations look as if they were created by a dragon. This is what the local legend says. For three hundred years in the bays of Halong, there are fishing villages, their inhabitants live in houseboats and in boats with a bamboo roof. Until now, only seven such settlements have survived. In the largest of them, about 500 people live. The main occupation of the inhabitants of the floating villages is fishing. From the age of 5-6 years, children can swim well on boats, their older comrades go to sea on small ships. Excess fish is exchanged for rice and clothing. Pearls are also grown here. When Vietnam opened its borders, Halong Bay was declared a World Heritage Site. This gave the locals another income item – tourism. For many tourists, the bay is quite a picturesque place. Here the rocks and islands whimsically grew out of the water, and colorful flat-bottomed junks float on a quiet surface. Such boats in the modern world are few where you will meet. But Vietnam for tourists even raise them beautiful and large red sails.
Naarden, the Netherlands.
In Holland, there is an unusual city, whose shape looks like a star. This fortified city is one of the few remaining bastions in the country. This is the only fortress in Europe, which has unique double walls and moats. Naarden is interesting primarily for its unusual and perfect symmetrical form. And the defensive structures remained here in excellent condition, they can be used in modern combat operations. The intricate form of the fortress is a six-pointed star, which has arrow-shaped edges. In the 13th century, Naarden was a small but fortified town on a patch of land between the sea and the swampy areas of the Vekht River. Near the city was the only way from Amsterdam to the east, which made the fortress strategically important. When in the XIII-XIV centuries in the country broke out the internal war of Cod and Kriuchkov, Naarden was destroyed, and then rebuilt. From 1411 to 1683 the city became a major port, which was granted expanded fishing rights. In the 15th-16th centuries, the textile industry developed in Naarden. The city-fortress is known not only for its unusual shape, every year there is also a photo festival. The exhibition hall is Naarden himself, in different places of which photographers place their works.
In the Nahuatl language, the name of this place means “An island that abounds in mescal”. This is also a Mexican strong alcoholic beverage. Under this name is known a small island of a circular form near the Pacific coast of Mexico. There live about 800 people. On marshy soil in the mangrove forest between the numerous canals the city was built. There is a version according to which Mescalitant is the legendary city of Aztlan. It was from here that the ancestors of the Aztecs set off in 1091 on a journey in search of better places for living. As a result, they found them 1,5 thousand kilometers from here, having founded the city of Tenochtitlan. True, this beautiful legend is not confirmed by scientists. A small population of the city today is fishing for shrimp. In August-September the rainy season comes, which turns the streets of the island city into canals. Residents of Mescaltitana move to live on boats.
Floating village of the tribe Uros, Peru.
In 4 kilometers from the city of Puno in southeastern Peru there are unusual lake islands. Local legends say that a few thousand years ago, a small indigenous tribe Uros moved to floating islands. They wanted to isolate themselves from the influence of those peoples who lived around Lake Titicaca. The Indians learned how to build their straw houses, tied them to the reed stems of the “totor”. Each islet is a settlement built on numerous layers of dried grass. The lower strata are washed out over time, and the upper ones are renewed by Indians. As a result, the islands have a soft and springy surface, through which water seeps in places. And their homes on such an unstable soil, and boats “balsa de toro” for swimming on the lake are built by Indians of reeds. Currently there are about 40 floating islands of Uros on Titicaca. Some of them are even equipped with solar panels for generating electricity. Mingingo Island, Kenya.
On the African Lake Victoria there is a small island Mingingo. Its dimensions are even smaller than a football field. The inhabitants of this island still can not even decide which country they belong to – Kenya or Uganda. Surprisingly, a little-known piece of land is one of the most densely populated places on the planet. After all, there are about 130 people. It should be noted that Migingo is in dispute over Uganda and Kenya. The fact is that this island is very promising in terms of fishing.
This city in Guatemala is built in a colonial style. Flores is partially located on the island of Lake Peten-Itza, and with the mainland it is connected by a dam. Before the arrival of Europeans on the site of the city was the Mayan city of Tayasal. That’s why here, to admire the ancient ruins, many tourists come.
South of the Yangtze River in China is the unique city of Wuzhen. This beautiful place has its own long history. It is said that people here began to live 7 thousand years ago. At that time in Wojen there were already stone bridges with wooden carvings. Among all the water cities in China, it is Vujen that is the most well-preserved. But this is important, since most of the city consists of old buildings. The inhabitants of Wuzen do not want to change the established customs for centuries, not accepting technical innovations. Here, just like centuries ago, they buy food directly from the windows of houses from visiting merchant boats. A unique lake city was listed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List. In Wujen respect for foreign tourists. Many old houses here are converted into cozy restaurants and hotels. And at night the city lights up with numerous lights, which are beautifully reflected in the waters of the canals.
In the west of Senegal is the very beautiful city of Joal Fadiut. It is partially located on small islands near the oceanic coast.Between each other they are connected by bridges, here the atmosphere of colonial France reigns with nightclubs and restaurants. The streets of the islands are dotted with numerous shells. There is no transport here, except for horse-drawn and bicycles. Residents of the city are growing rice in flooded floodplains. And there live here according to the last census as many as 40 thousand inhabitants.
This ancient city, located on the Yellow River, has been more than 2 thousand years old. In China it is one of the most famous water cities. The streets are separated by the river’s branches and a lake, which is a part of the city square. By itself, Zhouzhuang is an ancient monument, popular with the Chinese. But foreign visitors are not often here. I must say that it is completely in vain. After all, the island city has many attractions. There are as many as 14 ancient stone bridges that allow you to admire the views of the city. The most popular is the “double bridge”. In the city, snow-white houses with black tiles and red doors. Zhouzhuang defines the architectural style of the entire local region. In the oldest houses, the bedrooms keep cool even in the most intense heat, all thanks to a unique layout. In some windows polished transparent shells are installed instead of glasses. The oldest buildings of the city have been here for 9 centuries. As a result, in Zhouzhuang you can see what a typical Chinese settlement looked like in the Middle Ages. Especially distinguished is the Chengxu Temple, built in the XI century under the Song Dynasty. There is a long and beautiful stone bridge leading to a lot of goldfish floating in the water.
This German city is on the eastern shore of Lake Constance. Lindau is very popular with tourists, here they are waited by the most beautiful mountain and lake landscapes. On the island there are both rural and urban ways of life. Here you can actively relax and relax, there are corners of beautiful nature and examples of culture and art. Near the Lake of Constance settlements have an ancient history, Lindau is no exception. New quarters are on the mainland, and the old city is connected by a bridge and a dam. Modern Lindau is also a popular resort town on the Lake Constance. There are many historical monuments, architectural objects and parks. And the symbol of the island city is the lion. It is his sculpture is located near the entrance to the harbor. On the other hand there are as many as two ancient lighthouses. One of them was built in the XIII century. There are many beautiful buildings and structures on the island. One of them, Dam Kavatsen, was given to the city museum. This house can be easily recognized by the most beautiful painted facade.
Kampong Pluk, Cambodia.
Tonle Sap is the largest fresh lake in South-East Asia. In the dry period it occupies an area of about 2700 km2, while its depth does not exceed a meter. But in the rainy season, the Tonle Sap River, which flows out of the lake and flows into the Mekong at the usual time, turns back. As a result, the lake spills over an area of up to 16,000 km2. Interestingly, people live on this lake. And they live on the very lake. For example, here there is a single stone building on high stilts, performing the functions of a Buddhist temple. The remaining structures on the water perform various functions. There are whole villages with churches, schools and police stations. All year round, along the lake, bazaars with snackbars are also traveling around the lake. The village of Kampong Plyuk is not even on the very lake Tonle Sap, but the mouth of the river flowing into it. In droughty periods, the level of the village street is higher than the water level and you can even walk on it. But in the rainy season, you can travel through the streets only with the help of a boat.