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A quick tour across the world stopping at some geographical curiosities


This is not an exhaustive list but rather one website in a chain of similar though more thorough and professional sites. Herein are a list of places which interest me personally and are not well covered in the other enclave websites.


This website covers -

· enclaves of various flavors

· foreign offshore islands

· chains of dispute

· ghost island and a ghost city

· one DMZ

· links



About the author, Doc in ny

I live in the Village, Manhattan, on 6th and 14th Street.

I am not a historian, geographer, or cartographer. I apologize for any errors and encourage people to email me corrections.


Contact - Docinny at yahoo dot  com.

My personal website (now a little dated) is

A different site – where art and geography meet





Baarle, Netherlands-Belgium

Due to historical strangeness over time, the village of Baarle is split up into dozens of parcel sized enclaves of Belgium surrounded by the Netherlands.

With the exception of one spectacular area, Baarle is the most ‘enclaved’ place on earth.

click on ‘Baarle enclaves’ then “to English”,depending on how good your Dutch is!


CyprusIsland of Enclaves and Strangeness

There are many boundaries in Cyprus, best explained and explored at links below.

There are two towns (Xylotymbou and Ormidhia) as well as a power station, all of which are Cypriot enclaves within one of the two British military bases on the island. The British bases there are NOT part of the EU. Cyprus and the UK are, however.

There is also an enclave called Kokkina, a small sea girt wedge of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus within the Republic of (Greek) Cyprus. More on Cyprus’ strangeness later. These sites have great sections on Cyprus 

(click kategorie 3, zypern,ormidhia..) and (katagorie 3 ehemalige zypern strovilia)

and Boundaries of Cyprus by Jesper Nielsen's

Kokkina photos


Domestic enclaves in Russia

Adygea region is completed surrounded by Krasnodar (“Red Gift”) Region/Krai

(in German

About Adygea -


Additionally, Ust-Ord Buriatia (Number 1)  is completely surrounded by the Irkutsk Region (Number 38). Finally, Ahin Buratia (number 80) is completely surrounded by Chita (number 75) The best place to see these places are on the numbers above on the clickable map of Russia at


International Enclaves in the former USSR

The Fergana Valley region and surrounding new countries  (“stans”)  in Central Asia have a about 7 enclaves left over from the USSR.. The USSR didn’t break up politely in some places. The best sites with maps and some explanations of former USSR enclaves can be found at There is a list of some of them in the Uzbek/Tajik neighborhood and some discussion here



Armenia/Azerbaijan have many enclaves, all small; four around Armenia and about seven around Nagorno Karbakh (itself an enclave).  None however exist anymore except some as ghost towns as the respective populations were deported or harassed or killed during the war in 1992. By their very nature enclaves are easy to overrun and destroy.

A list of some enclaves in this area, photos and maps are as follows.


The following are marked but not named on Chris’ Armenian section.

Mazra, near Karaglukh (Dashbashi), south Nagarno Karabak

Butterfly shaped enclave in NW Nagorno Karabak is Agdaban – the other town in it is Chaikovyshan Чайковушан

NW of Agdaban/fizuli is Yukari Veislari North of a tiny shoe shaped enclave

Also, Татлы

Created under Stalin, these days you can see their destruction on


Кярки  Karki - Triangular bit of Naxivashan close to border and completely surrounded by Armenia proper. Formerly Azeri before the war (like all), it is now Armenian and renamed Tigranashen. Good photos as follows



India has many domestic enclaves. On state with many is Pondichery. There are some maps here, down the page 

Some Indian enclaves are the result of former colonial outposts.

There were countless historical domestic enclaves in India/Pak/Bangla before they united and were partitioned. this is a great map.

Modern day state of Goa – A former Portuguese colonial outpost in India.


More on India later.



The World Enclave Territory Society website is a great place for Chinese enclaves.


Outposts of the British (Hong Kong) and Portugese (Macau) were absorbed by the People’s Republic a few years ago, but they were the last in a long line of foreign outposts in China. Many ended after WW2 and were centered in Shanghai and Beijing. These legations were like embassies only larger, some populated by thousands. They were a large factor in the Boxer Rebellion.


In Yokohama Japan there were also some lesser-known legations. The affront to the Japanese these legations caused resulted in the Meiji constitution and laws. The Europeans said they needed the legations because local laws weren’t sufficient to protect them. Outraged, the Meiji Emperor’s government passed many laws which nullified the necessity of these extraterritorial enclaves in their country. So they folded. Japan was the ultimate winner here, as these laws were the foundation of the soon to be extremely powerful Japanese Empire.


Hong Kong was a city founded on the opium trade, or rather the British insistence on selling opium (to the Chinese). Ironically an equally destructive policy is now in effect, but in reverse, everywhere. The Walled City in HK was an enclave of organized official lawlessness in Hong Kong.


The World Enclave Territory Society site (in Japanese) listed a thte end of this website gives a good overview of historical European enclaves in East Asia.




The only notable prefecture (state) sized enclaves are two towns that seem to have floated away from Wakayama Pref. and landed in Mie prefecture next door. You can see one here -


BUT, and I’m yet to get some maps of them, there are hundreds of enclaves at the chome level. Chome(s) (pronounced cho as in cho-re and me as in me-tro, NOT like chrome) are the smallest unit of division in Japan. After ken (prefecture) there’s “cho” (neighborhood) and then “Chome” .Saitama-ken next to Tokyo has many dozens of enclaved chomes.

When rendered in color on a map they are quite spectacular.

As if addresses in Japan weren’t horribly difficult to find without enclaves!!  ;-)


Spanish village in France - Livia

An interesting case history with cool maps of an inhabited and prosperous enclave of Spain completely surrounded by France.

and the city’s homepage


Southern African Homelands

Former Homelands of Republic of South Africa (old.html

(just below Lesotho) and ........(in yellow)


Until the 1990s there were 10 or so Bantustans. These are fake states the apartheid government of the Republic of South Africa established to warehouse black people and disassociate them from the South African state. They no longer exist, the states that is.


Like the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, these "countries" (Bantustans) were only recognized by the country giving them "independence". But they had flags, seals, passports, stamps, citizenships, governments, and in some cases patrolled borders. It is interesting because the many states within RSA were designed specifically as enclaves to better control the populations. Apart from perhaps Israel, it is one of the only places where a state had been purposely established as a series of  enclaves used as a political tool of control.


Excellent color map of homelands with all enclaves. The arrows are commuters to and from the Bantustans. Bophuthastwana's 6 enclaves, one was the famous (and still running) casino and resort Sun City.


Homelands in Namibia/SWAfrica

Obscurely, the South Africans also intended to establish similar "Homelands" in Namibia, or SW Africa as it was then. They never became independent but there is a map of the plan at and a discussion of the situation the name "Bushmanland"!

Evidently these borders were kept by the Namibians because they became, in part, the borders of Namibia's current provinces. .

And there’s the more well known former enclave of Walvis Bay which was (no more) a part of the Republic of Sth Africa in Namibia/SWA



Whether like South Africa where a homeland was established as a series of enclaves to oppress, or whether a result of the hideous real estate bitch endemic to the area, is open to debate. Regardless, the new Palestinian “state” is scattered across the west bank and Gaza.

From  - an excellent source of Israeli maps. You can almost plot the disastrous “peace process” via the maps. 

Another map. Israel is a cartographers’ all time fantasy.


Middle East Matrioshka Doll

The soon to be dismantled settlements of New Deqalim, Gadid, etc were until recently in the unusual situation of being a enclaves of Jews surrounded by Arabs (Gaza), surrounded by Jews (Gaza is hemmed in on three of four sides by Israel) which is in turn surrounded by Arab countries.



Jervis Bay, ACT

Jervis Bay, ACT is a domestic/internal enclave of the Australian Capital Territory (“A.C.T.”) – the Federal District within New South Wales on the coast. Some of it is Aboriginal land but it was established for the Australian Navy.



Locality Map

The ACT itself is a “First level enclave” surrounded entirely by New South Wales.



As if Tiny Liechtenstein being cut up into a dozen sections wasn’t strange enough, they have enclaves also! nstein.htm

A view of the entire country which gives a great feel for the country  is available at

Each even has a (pretty plain) flag

This is due to the canton system of government, which the Swiss also use. Switzerland is a whole mess of enclaves and geographical oddities.


Switzerland Canton map

Flags of the world website maps of Switzerland is a great place to study Swiss enclaves.


The GRAND WINNER, the CENTERFOLD, the MAIN EVENT when it comes to enclaves is Cooch Behar, India/Bangladesh


The region of India/Bangladesh has nearly 200 enclaves, many absolutely tiny, and some wrapped in other enclaves. It has been hypothesized that the name for them “Chits” came from chits the old maharajas and colonial powers played cards with, betting various estates on card games. It has lead to a difficult situation for the inhabitants of the enclaves.

Location  -

These are the best maps there are, unfortunately

To better understand this, there is a relationship chart

-special thanks Brendan Whyte of Melbourne whose books on these enclaves and Baarle are roundly lauded to be the most authoritative available.



Enclave of Benishangul surrounded by Oromia



Bosanskoposavski Kanton, Canton 2


In my hometwn of New York City

Manhattan Borough is an island surrounded by the Hudson and East Rivers. However, there is a small enclave of Manhattan just over the river in Bronx. There, the zip codes are Manhattan’s, the area code for most houses is 212 (Bronx is 718), and the manholes are marked Manhattan. Here are some websites where you can see it. (map),-Manhattan,-New-York.html,-Manhattan,-New-York


NYC. Less of an enclave but interesting nevertheless is Riker's Island, the jail complex of the City of New York is considered to be in the borough of the Bronx, but is only accessible via the Riker's Island Bridge, which terminates in the borough of Queens.

A special note here. - Shining Prison on a Hill

· We specialize in prisons in the USA and Rikers Island is the largest by population in the country. Two million Americans are incarcerated at the moment. This is due to a pervasive ideology which sees imprisonment as a cure all for virtually all social problems. We have one of the highest crimes rates in the world.



A unique kind of enclave

The Demilitarized Zone, North/South Korean Border

Truce Village is an enclave of both North and South Korea within the famous Demilitarized Zone between the two countries.

The two countries.  The DMZ is a no mans’ land strewn with barbed wire and land mines. As a result of the lack of human presence it is a wildlife preserve; presumably a preserve for very light footed wildlife.

Additionally, there are two propaganda villages on either side of the border but surrounded almost completely by the DMZ. An overview of area and situation


Villages for show within the DMZ

Kijong-dong propaganda village, situated 1.8km away from Taesung-dong, was built specially in the north area of DMZ for the purpose of propaganda. There are no residents except soldiers. The world’s highest flag tower is there; North Korea’s national flag is at the entrance to the village

The South Koreans also havea propaganda village known as Taesung-dong, but it is inhabited.


The Korean DMZ is not the only DMZ in the world – there is also the “Green Line” in Cyprus which is quite broad in places, the former No Man’s Land between East and West Germany, and a there was a large DMZ separating the former North and South Vietnam. There is (was?) a small neutral zone between British Gibralter and Spain. 


A room in two countries.

Surely one of the strangest geographical oddities on earth is the ‘Mac Room’ in a hut between the two Koreas in Pamunjom on the DMZ. Sovereignty this lounge sized room is shared, depending on what time of day and day of the week it is (there’s a door on the north, and one on the south side of the building/room). When there are talks in the room the actual border between the countries is the microphone wire in the middle of the negotiation table. Surely the only bi-national table and room on earth!





They are not officially enclaves but they are similar. Sometimes borders between countries that occur in an island chain are situated half way, but at times a whole island chain is claimed by one country and abuts the territory of another country.

Examples are as follows -

Australia - Papua New Guinea

The far north of the Torres Straight Islands are Boigu, Saibai, and Daunan Islands which although are extremely close to Papua New Guinea are actually Australian territory.

Although Australia is an island, one could almost swim to Papua New Guinea from these islands.


Sometimes, when two countries are unfriendly such offshore islands have caused political or military clashes


More North/South Korea

Paengnyong-do Island is just off the coast of, and pretty much surrounded by North Korea but is South Korean territory. There’s a US Forces base there, written about herein;

Paengnyong-do is on the far left/east of the peninsula if you follow the DMZ border line.


Imia Islets - Turkey and Greece

Also, Greece and Turkey have come to blows over the Imia islets which belong to

…well….you decide. – Turkish map Greek map Russian map US map


St. Pierre and Miquelon

… are two little known small inhabited islands owned by France off the coast of Canada. and result in three flags flying over North America, not two as is generally assumed.


Taiwan - China

Quemoy and Matsu are Taiwanese Islands just off the PRChina coast.



VietnamCambodia - Dao Phu Quoc

In the 1970s there were scuffles and clashes between Cambodia (then Democratic Kampuchea) and Vietnam over the island off Cambodia, Dao Phu Quoc island in the Gulf of Thailand, belonging to Vietnam. Lying 7 miles (11 km) off the Cambodian coast south of Bok Kou (formerly Bokor) and 43 miles (69 km) west of the west coast of southern Vietnam. Ownership is disputed but Vietnam has possession.

Map location map


JapanRussia   Kuril Islands

After the war, Stalin stole the Southern Kuril Islands from Japan. Like all the offshore foreign islands in this section and their respective coasts, the Russian controlled Kuril Islands can be easily seen by the naked eye from Japan. All Japanese maps show them as Japanese, all Russian maps as Russian. Foreign maps generally show them as Russian. The situation -

Maps -

Space panorama

Click on the islands on the map for some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. Beautiful Urup is slated to be a Russian nuclear waste dump, and other islands have been terribly polluted. This in a HUGELY earthquake prone/damaged area and one of the best fishing grounds around.

Additionally, Karafuto (“Sakhalin”) was half Japanese. It was traded for the Kurile islands but Russia never paid up.


The four islands in question are Etorofu, Kunashiri, Hamobai, and Shikotan, but the tiny Hamobai chain and Shitokan islands are not actually Kuril islands, though politically they are classed as such. February 18th is “Northern Territories Day” (the English Japanese name, in Japanese the entire chain is called Chishima - characters meaning ‘Thousand Islands’ with the disputed part Hopporyodo – Northern Territories

Habomai -

Shikotan http://artedi.

Like the DMZ where lack of humans has resulted in a beautiful wildlife area, Russian mismanagement, or rather, fortunate lack of development has resulted in the Kuril Islands being an almost pristine and beautiful wilderness. This only applies to neglected islands because most places where the Russians DID things, are badly polluted. Whether Japanese development or Russian mismanagement is worse for the environment is a difficult question. An island not under dispute but very beautiful in the North Kurils is Onekotan -




Offshore and visible from Japan is the Japanese islands of Takeshima, or Tokdo in Korean which have caused such a fuss of late. Japanese argument Korean argument  pic at the bottom - looks small but they're actually huge. "Our island, our sea, our territory!"



Senkaku/Daiyutai Isets close to Taiwan cause a lot of disharmony between China, Taiwan vs Japan.



Additionally, there’s a tiny island under dispute (the Chinese call it a “rock” for legal reasons) which is the Southernmost point in Japan. Okinotorishima Island’s total land area is less than an average lounge room. Typically, the Japanese government has built a huge “research station” on stilts next to the two islets of this submerged tropical atoll. They’ve also propped up/topped up the tiny islets with rocks, and possibly the remains of Hello Kittys. Strangely, Okino.-Is. and several other large distant islands are administratively part of Metropolitan Tokyo.





Spain complains of a British outpost (Gibralter) while Spain itself hangs on to four  enclaves of its own in Morocco. Which Morocco isn’t happy about, yet Morocco owns an entire country not belonging to them; Western Sahara. The Western Saharans own  almost nothing, and live (very unhappily) in camps in Algeria mainly. There the chain of dispute ends.


On the other side of the world, there’s a similar situation. Japan complains of its Kurile Islands being occupied by Russia, yet Japan hangs on to the Senkaku Islands just off Taiwan. According to the Taiwanese, and the PRC, the Senkakus are Chinese.

Further, Taiwan occupies several islands off China, Matsu and Quemoy Islands (see above). All that goes into the mix further south in the Spratleys/Parcel Islands, a group of islands claimed by PRChina, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, and even Brunei.

Great interactive map


Ethnic enclaves

Not all enclaves and geographical curiosities are contained or defined by international boundaries. Some are just there, the result of history, war, or geography.


Neutral Zones

There were, from the 1960s until the 1990s, two “Neutral Zones” between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The most memorable things about them were their shapes. To my knowledge they were the only agreed upon neutral zone in the world.

Some links about them

Very good map here  (thanks to Chris Schulz)

under boundaries history

map showing KSA-Iraqi zone. Legal This is the document partitioning the zone between Kuwait and KSA.




A ghost city – Famagusta, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

In addition to its other geographical oddities, a geographical curiosity there is the ghost town of Famagusta in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It has been sealed since 1974 when the residents left in a hurry. It looks like a sort of tacky Med. sea-side resort frozen in time.

Ghost towns are common on earth, but none are of the size of Famagusta.

In many respects, the TRNCyprus is itself a weirdness, a country recognized only by Turkey which pretends to be independent.

Turkish tourist map that shows the entire island of Cyprus as part of Turkey

There are many ghost towns the world over; the US west, some towns in Siberia, etc. but none are the size and complexity of Famagusta/Varosha which was a large seaside community. Except maybe Chernobyl

Fear not, I’m sure with our reliance on nuclear energy there’ll be plenty of ghost towns and cities for our grandchildren to not enjoy….



Weird assed sci-fi like towers still standing on stilts out of the water after WW2

Get money, buy one, live in one.



Gunkan-jima Gun boat island, Nagasaki-ken/pref. Japan

One of the coolest places on earth in my book.

Formerly an important company island coal mine of Mitsubishi, Gunkan-shima (Shima/Jima mean “island”), this spec of land near Nagasaki City was closed down in the 1970s and has been beautifully decaying ever since. It is soon to be listed as a World Heritage Site. Like Famagusta however, it is impossible to visit except online (as follows)

More (Japanese only though you can use auto translate below)

You can see a movie of the island.




If you’re interested in enclaves and oddities, I can recommend the following;

Particular thanks to Chris Schultz whose site above is the premier enclave site online today.

An extremely detailed list of enclaves and some geog curiosities – the autorative list

It is in German so cut and paste the website address into the box at, and click German to English.


This is a very good site (in Japanese)

The World Enclave Territory Society

and in English (or click English version on the above)

*“flying area” is internet translation machine talk for “enclave”

Because it is automatically translated into English, sometimes it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it is still worth visiting for the maps alone.


Much credit and thanks must go to the following geographic website owners and enclave experts, several pay grades above myself. Many of the enclaves and oddities above come from their sites and I encourage you to visit them.


Special thanks to enclavologists Brendan White of the University of Melbourne


Border Conflicts website - recommended





Pop up apologies. Many of the websites and maps I reference above, including this site have pop-up ads which automatically appear when you click to see the link.

There’s nothing I can do about that and I apologize for the inconvenience. It is the price one pays for free server space and free websites. I doubt the ads actually WORK (I never look at them) but while companies think they do, we get free websites. And that’s not a bad deal.

The Google Toolbar when you download it has a good popup stopper.




Detail of Charles’ Armenia/Azerbaijan enclave area

Мазра/Mazra  Southern most enclave in Nagorno Karabak is Mazra, next to town of Karaglukh (Dashbashi), Mazra is azeri enclave in Armenian Nagorno Karab. 4km NW of Arakyal


“Agdaban” is the name of the butterfly shaped enclave of Azerbaijan charles doesn’t name. Its in the far north of Nagoro-Karabak is – and the smaller other town in the enclave is Chaikovyshan Чайковушан. It is the scene of alleged Armenian atrocities.


©Copyright  NYC  2006


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