Top 9 Unique Towns & Villages

1. The Village With a Population of Just One Person, USA

Monowi's peak years were in the 1930s, when it had a population of 150. Like many other small communities in the Great Plains, it lost its younger residents to cities that were experiencing growth and offering better jobs. During the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 2; only one married couple, Rudy and Elsie Eiler, lived there. Mr. Eiler died in 2004, leaving his wife as the only remaining resident. In this capacity, she acts as Mayor, granting herself a liquor license and paying taxes to herself. She is required to produce a municipal road plan every year in order to secure state funding for the village's four street lights.

2. The Village on Stilts, Philippines

Village on stilts in Banguingui (formerly Tongkil) municipality, Samales Islands, Philippines. The southern Philippines, and in particular the Sulu Archipelago that includes the Samales Islands, is home to the Badjaos. The Badjaos belong to a Muslim minority who make up 5 percent of the Philippine population and are concentrated mostly in the south of the country. Known as "sea gypsies", they fish and harvest shellfish and pearl oysters, and they live in villages on stilts. A channel carved out of the coral reef allows them to reach the open sea.

3. "Chess City", Russia

A settlement themed around chess may sound like something dreamt up by Lewis Carroll but the impoverished Republic of Kalmykia has transformed it into reality, albeit a costly one. Boasting neatly lined streets and a magnificent Chess Palace, the settlement was masterminded by the nation’s chess-obsessed president (Kirsan Ilyumzhinov), but is largely deserted.

4. The Village of Twins, India

With 250 registered pairs of twins, the Indian village of Kodinhi, in Kerala, has six times more twins born than the world average. Dr. Krishnan Sribiju has been studying the odd twin phenomenon in Kodhini, for the last six years and says that although 250 pairs have been registered, there may be up to 300-350 sets of twins. Villagers say an unusually high number of twins started being born three generations ago, and it’s been rising ever since.

5. "Garbage City", Egypt

Manshiyat Naser, also known as Garbage City, is a slum settlement at the base of Mokattam Hill on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. Its economy revolves around the collection and recycling of the city's garbage. Although the area has streets, shops, and apartments as other areas of the city, it lacks infrastructure and often has no running water, sewerage, or electricity.

6. Dwarf Village, China

With each of its residents measuring in at under 1.5m, this curious mountain commune in Kunming was created either (depending on the source) as a safe haven for persecuted Chinese dwarves or as a tasteless theme park. The latter seems more likely, given the strange mushroom houses that litter the landscape, the medieval costumes worn by the diminutive denizens, and the bizarre musical numbers put on for baffled visitors.

7. Villages Without Kapok Mattresses, Indonesia

At first West Kasuran in Margodadi village and East Kasuran in the village of Margomulya appear no different from other relatively well developed hamlets in the country. Both in the district of Seyegan, Sleman regency, they have good infrastructure, including roads, electricity, schools, markets and small shops selling basic commodities. But they do have a unique difference - no kapok mattresses are found in the area due to an age-old taboo on their use (kapok is a fiber taken from the seed pod of the tropical kapok tree). It is especially ironic because "kasuran" comes from kasur, the Javanese word for mattress. Cotton mattresses are not a luxury item, and they can be found in most homes. Expense is not an issue for most Kasuran villagers, most of whom live in permanent or semipermanent homes. According to Pudjinem, a grandmother and the owner of a small shop in East Kasuran, the taboo has been in effect since the village was founded. "If anyone violates it, she or he will face disaster in life."

8. The Underground Town, Australia

Coober Pedy is a town in northern South Australia. Residents of this town choose to live underground to escape the brutal daytime desert heat of the world above ground. Most locals choose to live in "dugouts", or underground homes literally dug out of the landscape with picks and shovels. Digging out an underground home in the town costs about the same as building an above-ground one, though since the town is known as the opal capital of the world there have been plenty of reports of diggers paying for the entire cost of their new home with opals they find during the digging process.

9. The Most Remote Village in the World

Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is the main settlement of the island of Tristan da Cunha, in the Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha overseas territory of the United Kingdom, in the South Atlantic Ocean. Locally it is always referred to as The Settlement or The Village. Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is regarded as the most remote permanent settlement in the world, being over 1,500 miles (2400 kilometres) from the nearest human settlement, on Saint Helena.