The Smallest Cities In The World

Besides the megacities around the world, there are also many famous cities with only a small population living, which have the potential of attracting more tourists and curious adventurers exploring new destinations.
December 15, 2021 | 07:56

A city is a large human settlement. It can be defined as a permanent and densely settled place with administratively defined boundaries whose members work primarily on non-agricultural tasks. Cities generally have extensive systems for housing, transportation, sanitation, utilities, land use, production of goods, and communication. Their density facilitates interaction between people, government organizations, and businesses, sometimes benefiting different parties in the process, such as improving the efficiency of goods and service distribution.

The two things most would think of when they hear the word "city" are tall buildings and many people. However, there are cities in the world with minimal populations.

Top 7 Smallest Cities In The World

1. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Photo:  Earth Trekkers
Photo: Earth Trekkers

Dubrovnik is a city on the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, a seaport, and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Situated in an exclave, it is connected to the rest of the country by the Pelješac Bridge. Its total population is 42,615 (2011 census). In 1979, the city of Dubrovnik was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in recognition of its outstanding medieval architecture and fortified old town.

Regardless of whether you are visiting Dubrovnik for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on the beauty of the old town. Indeed it’s hard to imagine anyone becoming jaded by the city’s limestone streets, baroque buildings, and the endless shimmer of the Adriatic, or failing to be inspired by a walk along the ancient city walls that protected the capital of a sophisticated republic for centuries.

Although the shelling of Dubrovnik in 1991 horrified the world, the city has bounced back with vigour to enchant visitors again. Marvel at the interplay of light on the old stone buildings; trace the peaks and troughs of Dubrovnik's past in museums replete with art and artifacts; take the cable car up to Mt Srđ; exhaust yourself climbing up and down narrow lanes – then plunge into the azure sea, according to Lonely Planet.

2. St Asaph, Wales

Photo:  The Independent
Photo: The Independent

St Asaph is a city and community on the River Elwy in Denbighshire, Wales. In the 2011 Census it had a population of 3,355 making it the second-smallest city in Britain in terms of population and urban area. It is in the historic county of Flintshire.

The city of St Asaph is surrounded by countryside and views of the Vale of Clwyd. It is situated close to a number of busy coastal towns such as Rhyl, Prestatyn, Abergele, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. The historic castles of Denbigh and Rhuddlan are also nearby.

The smallest city in Britain St Asaph has many things to offer visitors to the area including being home to the smallest ancient cathedral in England and Wales.

St Asaph Cathedral was burnt down by Edward I and again by Owain Glyndwar in 1402. After each fire, the cathedral was rebuilt and after much determination and complete remodeling by George Gilbert Scott, a Victorian architect, the cathedral is admired by all that visit. A fascinating feature of the cathedral is the display of early editions of the first Welsh Bible and Prayer Book by Bishop William Morgan.

St Asaph is also known for its music and is host to the annual, week-long North Wales International Music Festival which attracts musicians and lovers of music from all over the world.

The beautiful and natural river setting of St Asaph Common is very popular with walkers and families, especially being surrounded by countryside and spectacular views over the Vale of Clwyd. This small city offers visitors peace and tranquillity with parklands, good sporting facilities, and great food.

3. Adamstown, Pitcairn Islands

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

Adamstown has a population of 40, which is the entire population of the Pitcairn Islands. All the other islands in the group are uninhabited. Adamstown is where most residents live, while they grow food in other areas of the island.

Adamstown is the third smallest capital in the world by population. It has access to television, satellite Internet, and a telephone; however, the main means of communication remains ham radio. The "Hill of Difficulty" connects the island's jetty to the town.

What is unique about Adamstown is that it is not only the capital of the Pitcairn Islands. It is the only settlement on the Pitcairn Islands.

There are multiple islands, but the others outside of Adamstown are all uninhabited. It is known as the second smallest capital city in the whole world and has just one general store which is only opened three times a week. Apparently, they want more people to move here, but no one wants to.

4. Vatican City

Photo:  Vatican City Travel Guide
Photo: Vatican City Travel Guide

Vatican City is an independent city-state and enclave located within Rome, Italy. The Vatican City State, also known simply as the Vatican, became independent from Italy with the Lateran Treaty (1929), and it is a distinct territory under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the Holy See, itself a sovereign entity of international law, which maintains the city state's temporal, diplomatic, and spiritual independence. With an area of 49 hectares (121 acres) and a population of about 825, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population. As governed by the Holy See, the Vatican City State is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the pope who is the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. After the Avignon Papacy (1309–1437), the popes have mainly resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.

Crowds can make a visit to Vatican City a bit of a trial – it’s busy throughout the year and at most times of day – but putting up with swathes of tourists seems like a small price to pay to bask in the state’s assorted treasures. Join the queues and follow the masses through the Vatican Museums to see an astonishing collection of paintings by the likes of Raphael and Giotto in the Pinacoteca Vaticana. You’ll also find extraordinary artifacts from classical antiquity, as well as museums dedicated to older finds from the Etruscans and Egyptians.

5. Ngerulmud, Palau

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Ngerulmud is the seat of government of the Republic of Palau, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. It replaced Koror City, Palau's largest city, as capital in 2006. The settlement is located in the state of Melekeok on Babeldaob, the country's largest island, located 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of Koror City and 2 km (1 mile) northwest of Melekeok City. It is the least-populous capital city of a sovereign nation in the world.

For those that do not know, Palau is a country that consists of about 346 islands. The city of Ngerulmud is located on the most significant island. Still, it feels pretty isolated, with no tourists to do unless you want to visit government buildings.

6. Jericho, West Bank

Photo:  Tourist Israel
Photo: Tourist Israel

Jericho is a Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governorate and is governed by the Palestinian National Authority. In 2007, it had a population of 18,346.

With the end of the British Mandate of Palestine, the city was annexed and ruled by Jordan from 1949 to 1967 and, with the rest of the West Bank, has been subject to Israeli occupation since 1967; administrative control was handed over to the Palestinian Authority in 1994. Jericho is claimed to be the oldest city in the world, and it is also the city with the oldest known protective wall. Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years (to 9000 BCE), almost to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch of the Earth's history.

7. Greenwood, British Columbia

Photo:  Boundary Country
Photo: Boundary Country

Greenwood (2016 population 665) is a city in south-central British Columbia. It was incorporated in 1897 and was formerly one of the principal cities of the Boundary Country smelting and mining district. It was incorporated as a city originally and has retained that title despite the population decline following the closure of the area's industries.

The town is served by Greenwood Elementary School which covers grades from 4-7. Students attend Midway Elementary School for grades from K-3. Following grade 7 local students attend Boundary Central Secondary School in nearby Midway.

In 1942, 1,200 Japanese Canadians were sent to Greenwood as part of the Japanese Canadian internment. Among those interned at Greenwood were Isamu and Fumiko Kariya and their son Yasi, the grandparents and uncle of NHL star and Hockey Hall of Fame member Paul Kariya; his father Tetsuhiko (T.K.) was born in internment.

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