Once upon a time, people moved not with the help of modern cars and airplanes, but on foot or on special animals. But travel was a necessary condition for the development of civilization - peoples exchanged goods and new knowledge.
People began to found cities at the crossroads of not only land but also waterways. These are 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, turned out to be built right on the water. We will tell you about the places that people have deliberately built on the water.
Santa Cruz Del Islote, Colombia. Off the coast of Colombia in the Caribbean is the islet 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 the density of people. In total, about 1250 people live on one hectare in 97 houses. On holidays to the islanders from neighboring settlements their children, grandchildren and relatives come. Then the population of the town increases by another third. Only such a crowd of people on one island has several significant disadvantages. So, in the city there is no hotel, no beach, no swimming pool. Bury the dead here also will not work, the deceased are transported to neighboring islands. Even to play football, residents are forced to travel to their neighbors. The only source of fresh water on Del Islot 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 is in serious trouble, the town remains fairly cozy, away from the bandit squabbles, army gunfights and militias that are common on the mainland. Even at night, the doors are not locked on the island; in the evenings, residents gather together to watch the next episode of their favorite series.
Ganvier, Benin. This village is the largest floating village in Africa. It is located on Lake Nokue in Benin. Ganvier was formed about 400 years ago as an opportunity to protect oneself from warlike neighbors. Even the name of the village translates as “we survived”. Today the settlement consists of about 3 thousand bamboo huts, built on stilts and covering an area of several kilometers. In total, about 20 thousand people live in this village. It constantly changes its appearance due to the geographical features of the lake. Nevertheless, the tribe living on the lake was able to develop their rather complex culture. In general, the inhabitants of Ganvier live well, but there are also poor areas here. Small islands sometimes appear on the lake, which Africans use as pastures. The inhabitants feed mainly on fish, and the main transport in the village is pies.
Ko Pani, Thailand. This fishing village in Thailand is a true paradise for those who love water and the tropics. From a bird's eye view, Ko Pani looks like a wonderful island that suddenly appeared right in the middle of the bay. But this village was founded by representatives of only two villages. Today, about 2 thousand people live in Ko Pani. The island is poorly adapted for life - vertical limestone cliffs 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 also restaurants here, from where, not surprisingly, an excellent view of the sea opens. And the most unusual thing in the water village is the floating football field. It was built by local kids from old fishing rafts and forest waste.
Islet of Loreto, Italy. In northern Italy, on the island of Iseo, there is the small private island of Loreto. The area of the reservoir is 65 km2, its maximum width is 5 km, and its maximum length is 25 km. At the end of the 5th century, a monastery was built on it, which existed here for several centuries. It was finally abandoned only in the 16th century. The place for the monastery was well chosen, because the island really allowed the holy fathers to retire. At the beginning of the 20th century, after a change of several owners, Loreto became the property of the captain of the Royal Navy, Vincenzo Ricieri. He built a neo-Gothic castle here in 1910, as well as a marina with two small lighthouses. A coniferous garden appeared around the castle. Not so long ago they started talking about the island when it became known that George Clooney wanted to buy it. The Hollywood star had a residence nearby, but in the end he turned down the acquisition of Loreto.
Floating Villages of Halong Bay, Vietnam. In the north of this Asian country is Halong Bay. This ancient geological formation has about 2,500 islands. They are remnants of limestone strata that are already 300 million years old. Once upon a time, geological processes led to the fact that a piece of land rose from the sea, on which Vietnam is now located. For millions of years, these formations changed their form in a bizarre way, the sea level rose and fell. Ice ages set in, and warming came. The waves and wind will work over the islands. As a result, these formations look like they were created by a dragon. This is what the local legend says. For three hundred years, there have been fishing villages in Halong bays, their inhabitants living in floating houses and in boats with bamboo roofs. Only seven such settlements have survived to this day. The largest of them is home to about 500 people. The main occupation of the inhabitants of the floating villages is fishing. From the age of 5-6, children know how to sail well on boats, while their older comrades go to sea on small boats. 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 local residents another source of income - tourism. For many tourists, the bay appears to be a rather picturesque place. Here rocks and islands whimsically rose from the water, and colorful flat-bottomed junks float on the quiet surface. There are few such boats in the modern world where you can already meet. But in Vietnam, for tourists, even beautiful and large red sails are raised on them.
Naarden, Netherlands. Holland has an unusual city whose shape looks like a star. This walled city is one of the few remaining bastions in the country. It is the only fortress in Europe that has unique double walls and moats. Naarden is interesting primarily for its unusual and perfect symmetrical shape. And the defenses remained here in excellent condition, they can be used in modern military operations. The intricate shape of the fortress is a six-pointed star, which has arrow-shaped shapes along the edges. Already in the 13th century, Naarden was a small but fortified town on a piece of land between the sea and the swampy areas of the Vecht River. Near the city was the only way from Amsterdam to the east, which made the fortress strategically important. When the internal war between Treska and Kryuchkov broke out in the country in the XIII-XIV centuries, Naarden was destroyed and then rebuilt again. From 1411 to 1683, the city became a major port, which was given extended fishing rights. The textile industry developed in Naarden in the 15th-16th centuries. The walled city is known not only for its unusual shape, but every year there is also a photo festival. The showroom is Naarden itself, where photographers display their work in different places.
Mescaltitan, Mexico. In the Nahuatl language, the name of this place means "An island that abounds in mescal." It is also a Mexican strong alcoholic beverage. This is the name of a small round-shaped island near the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is home to about 800 people. A city was built on marshy soil in a mangrove forest between numerous canals. There is a version according to which Mescaltitan 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 to live. In the end, they found them one and a half thousand kilometers from here, founding the city of Tenochtitlan. True, this beautiful legend has not been confirmed by scientists. The small population of the city today trades in shrimp fishing. In August-September, the rainy season comes, which turns the streets of the island city into canals. The inhabitants of Mescaltitan move to live on boats.
Floating villages of the Uros tribe, Peru. 4 kilometers from the city of Puno in the southeast of Peru, there are unusual lake islands. Local legends say that a few thousand years ago the small Indian 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 to build houses of their straw, tying it to the reed stalks of the "tothora". Each islet is a settlement built on multiple layers of dried grass. The lower layers are washed out over time by the current, and the upper ones are renewed by the Indians. As a result, the islands have a soft and springy surface through which water seeps in places. And their homes on such unstable soil, and boats "balsa de totora" for sailing on the lake are built by Indians from reeds. Currently, Titicaca has about 40 floating islands of Uros. Some of them are even equipped with solar panels to generate electricity.
Migingo Island, Kenya. On the African Lake Victoria there is a small island of Migingo. It's even smaller than a football field. The inhabitants of this island still cannot even decide which country they belong to - Kenya or Uganda. Surprisingly, this little-known piece of land is one of the most populous places on the planet. After all, about 130 people live here permanently. I must say that there are heated disputes between Uganda and Kenya over Migingo's ownership. The fact is that this island is very promising in terms of fishing.
Flores, Guatemala. This city in Guatemala was built in a colonial style. Flores is partly located on the island of Lake Peten Itza, and is connected to the mainland by a dam. Before the arrival of the Europeans here, on the site of the city was the city of the Maya Tayyasal. That is why many tourists come here to admire the ancient ruins.
Vuzhen, China. South of the Yangtze River in China is the unique city of Wuzhen. This beautiful place has a long history. They say that people began to live here 7 thousand years ago. In those days, stone bridges with wooden carvings were already present in Vuzhen. Of all the water cities in China, Wuzhen is the best-preserved one. But this is important, since most of the city consists of ancient buildings. The residents of Vuzhen do not want to change the foundations that have developed over the centuries without welcoming technical innovations. Here, as well as centuries ago, they buy food directly from the windows of houses from visiting merchant boats. The unique lake city was inscribed by UNESCO in the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites. In Wuzhen, foreign tourists are treated with respect. Many old houses here have been converted into cozy restaurants and hotels. And at night, the city lights up with numerous lights that are beautifully reflected in the waters of the canals.
Fadiut, Senegal. In the west of Senegal is the very beautiful city of Joal Fadiut. It is partially located on small islands off the ocean coast. They are connected to each other by bridges; the atmosphere of colonial France with nightclubs and restaurants reigns here. The streets of the islands are dotted with numerous seashells. There is no transport here, except for horse-drawn and bicycle ones. The inhabitants of the city make a living by growing rice in flooded floodplains. And according to the latest census, as many as 40 thousand people live here.
Ruzhuang, China. This ancient city, located on the Yellow River, is more than 2 thousand years old. It is one of the most famous water cities in China. The streets here are separated by branches of the river and a lake, which is also a city square. By itself, Zhouzhuang is an ancient monument popular with the Chinese. But foreign guests 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". The city has snow-white houses with black tiles and red doors. Jojuang defines the architectural style of the entire local region. In the oldest houses, the bedrooms stay cool even in the most intense heat, all thanks to the unique layout. Some windows have polished transparent shells instead of glass. The oldest buildings in the city are already 9 centuries old. As a result, in Zhouzhuang you can see what a typical Chinese settlement looked like in the Middle Ages. The Chengksu temple, built in the 11th century during the Song dynasty, stands out. A long and beautiful stone bridge leads here, under which many goldfish swim in the water.
Lindau, Germany. This German city is located on the eastern shore of Lake Constance. Lindau is very fond of tourists, here they are waiting for the most beautiful mountain and lake landscapes. The island has both rural and urban lifestyles. Here you can actively relax and unwind, there are corners of beautiful nature and examples of culture and art. The settlements around Lake Constance have an ancient history, Lindau is no exception. New quarters are located on the mainland, and a bridge and a dam connects it with the Old Town. Modern Lindau is also a popular resort town on Lake Constance. There are many historical monuments, architectural sites and parks. And the symbol of the island city is the lion. It is his sculpture that is located near the entrance to the harbor. On the other side there are two whole old lighthouses. One of them was built in the XIII century. There are many beautiful buildings and structures on the island. One of them, Dam Cavazzen, is given to the city museum. This house can be easily recognized by its beautiful painted facade.
Kampong Pluk, Cambodia. The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia is Tonle Sap. During the dry period, it covers an area of about 2,700 km2, while its depth does not exceed a meter. But in the rainy season, the Tonle Sap River flowing out of the lake and flowing into the Mekong at normal 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 lake itself.For example, there is the only stone building on high piles that serves as a Buddhist temple. The rest of the structures on the water perform different functions. There are entire villages with churches, schools and police stations. Bazaars with eateries travel with them on the lake all year round. The village of Kampong Pluk is not even on the Tonle Sap Lake itself, but the mouth of the river flowing into it. During dry periods, the village street is above the water level and can even be walked on. But in the rainy season, you can only move along the streets with the help of a boat.