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10 Unusual Villages of the World that You Never Knew Existed

6. Monowi Village in the US has a population of one, and the only resident runs a 5,000-volume library and a tavern that draws regular customers from as far as 80 miles away.

Monowi village
(Image 1) Elsie Eiler. Image credits: Marco antonio torres/Flickr, Andrew Filer/Flickr

In Boyd County, Nebraska, there exists a rather normal-looking village called Monowi Village. Spread over an area of 0.21 sq mi, the village has a population of one. The sole inhabitant is 86-year-old Elsie Eiler. Elsie is the mayor, and each year she pays the taxes to herself. Since she owns a bar called the Monowi Tavern, she grants herself a liquor license. In order to secure state funding for the village’s four street lights, each year, she produces a municipal road plan.

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Even though a village of one seems unbelievable, this was not always the case. At one time, Monowi was a thriving village. It was built in 1902, and the same year a post office was established. The peak years of this village were in the 1930s when the population index records 150 residents. Over time, it lost its younger residents to larger towns and cities. By 2000, only two people were left in the village – Rudy and Elsie Eiler. Rudy died in 2004, and Elise became the sole resident of the village. She founded a 5,000-volume library in the memory of her late husband called “Rudy’s Library” which she maintains even today. (1, 2)

7. There is an English village located in Gloucestershire which houses a scale model of itself, inside a scale model of itself, inside a scale model of itself, inside a scale model of itself.

Bourton On the Water
Image credits: Paul Gillett/Geograph

Bourton-on-the-Water is a village located within the Cotswold area of outstanding natural beauty in Gloucestershire, England. It is a large village, well known for the picturesque High Street surrounded by wide greens and the River Windrush that runs through them. The scenic beauty is so mesmerizing that it has been called the “Venice of the Cotswolds”.

Bourton-on-the-Water
Image credit: Twitter/model_village

Other than its beautiful surroundings, the village is famous for housing a model village that is 1:9 replica of the village. Built in the 1930s by local craftsmen, the model village was opened for public viewing in 1937. It is such an amazing replica that the model village contains its own model village. But the surprise does not end here. The model village within the model village contains its own model village. To add the next level of details, there is another model inside the model model model village! (1, 2)

8. For the 1980 Popeye movie, an entire village, known as the “Popeye Village,” was built on the coast of Malta. It’s still there and is now open to the public as an open-air museum and seaside resort.

Popeye village
Image credits: Raphael Labaca Castro/Flickr

Popeye, the famous comic strip and cartoon series of our childhood was made into a live-action film in 1980. Even though the movie was a box-office disaster, it gave Malta one of its most famous tourist destinations. For the shoot of the Popeye movie, a film set was built at Anchor Bay in Malta. The film-set village is named  “Sweethaven Village,” the fictional village of Popeye comics. It is popularly known as “Popeye Village.” The village was created using hundreds of logs, wooden planks. and shingles imported from Netherlands and Canada. The whole set was constructed within seven months.

the filming of the Popeye movie was completed on June 19, 1980. Since Malta people loved the set, it was never demolished. The movie set was originally bland, but once the production wrapped up, it got a makeover. After some painting and refurbishing, Popeye Village was turned into a tourist attraction. Very little has changed since then. The kid-friendly Popeye Village is now a top destination for family vacations. Currently, it has become a favorite destination for weddings! (1, 2)

9. There is a village in India where all the houses are doorless including the bank. The village had zero crime record until 2010 when first theft was reported.

Shani shingnapur
Image credits: BBC

In the Indian state of Maharashtra, there exists a village which neither has locks nor has doors. This is the village of Shani Shingnapur. According to Hindu religion, Lord Shani, the god of Saturn, is the guardian of the village. Legend has it that about 300 years ago when the Panasnala River flowed through the village, there occurred a period of rain and flooding. Due to the flood, a heavy 1.5 meter, black slab of rock washed onto the shores of the river. When the locals touched it with a stick, blood started oozing out of it. Later that night, the village head saw Lord Shani in his dreams who revealed that the slab was his idol and asked him to keep it in the village. In turn, Lord  Shani promised to protect the village from danger.

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When the villagers installed the huge slab, they decided to forgo putting locks and doors in the village as the believed that Lord Shani was watching over them. The tradition continued for generations. Even their toilets have only a thin curtain for privacy. New construction in this area also follow these protocols. In 2011, a UCO bank opened a lockless branch in the village. The bank has doors, but they always remain open.

Because of the legend, devotees of Lord Shani regularly come to this village. Each day about 40,000 visitors visit this village and worship Lord Shani. Due to its reputation, the village has remained crime-free for centuries. The first time theft was reported in the village was in 2010. Then again, another one was reported in 2011. So now, some villagers are challenging the age-old customs and are seeking permission to install locks and doors. (1, 2)

10. In the tiny village of Kalachi, Kazakhstan, hundreds of residents fall asleep without warning for days at a time and wake up with memory loss.

Kalachi
Image credits: Timothy Krause/Flickr

Since 2013, the residents of Kalachi, a village in Kazakhstan, fall asleep in unexplained bouts of sleep. The sleep sometimes lasts for weeks at a time. The strange sleeping sickness affects both young and old, with school children falling asleep in mid-class. The most intriguing factor of this phenomenon is that the person could fall asleep anytime. Whether the person is riding a bike, walking, performing some chore, or just sitting around, this sleeping sickness can strike at any time. Surprisingly, when the person wakes up, he can remember absolutely nothing.

Even pets are not immune to this strange occurrence. Multiple reports of pets behaving erratically and then falling asleep surfaced after 2013. When scientists began researching this, they thought radiation from nearby uranium mines (now closed) might be affecting the people. But tests showed nothing like that was occurring. Even sleep-disorder experts were baffled. After numerous tests, the mystery was solved, and it was found that the cause indeed lies in the uranium mine, but it wasn’t radiation. Actually, the sleeping sickness is being caused by a high level of carbon monoxide escaping from the ground above the mines. It depletes the level of oxygen in air causing this surprising sleeping sickness. In 2015, half the population of Kalachi abandoned the village in fear. The other half still stays there, refusing to relocate, the sleeping plague be damned! (1, 2, 3)

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