Geography is a science that is constantly changing, whether through the effect of politics or natural causes.

There are many rarities in the world, strange geographical situations, and curious data that sometimes do not have a clear origin.

At the same time other facts that we believed to be true are not so clear. These are the ten that have caught our attention the most.

1. The shortest city name in the world

The shortest city name in the world is not ‘A’. There are actually many places called ‘O’ and even ‘Y’.

Å, a Moskenes village in northern Norway / photo Matthew Mayer on Wikimedia Commons

2. The smallest country in the world

The Vatican is not the smallest country in the world. If we look at the size of its territory as a measure, the smallest country in the world would be the Order of Malta, because it has no territory, except for the two buildings they own in Rome, where they enjoy extraterritorial privileges.

Palazzo di Malta, Via dei Condotti 68 Roma, headquarters of the Sovereign Order of Malta / photo Willtron on Wikimedia Commons

3. The shortest border in the world

The shortest border in the world is that which separates the Rock of Velez de la Gomera (Spain) from Morocco.

Rock of Velez de la Gomera / photo Ignacio Gavira on Wikimedia Commons

It measures only 85 meters. Until 1934 it was an island, but a strong storm filled with sand the space that separated it from earth, turning it into a peninsula.

4. The lake that belongs to no one

Lake Constaza does not officially belong to any country. Situated between Switzerland, Germany and Austria, the borders of each country actually coincide with the shores of the lake, as it was never established a treaty of division of it.

Photo Drolexandre on Wikimedia Commons

The Swiss claim that the borders divide the lake into three parts, the Austrians that the whole lake is a condominium, and the Germans have no official position on the matter.

5. The smallest and oldest condominium in the world

Isle of the Pheasants / photo Zarateman on Wikimedia Commons

The smallest and oldest condominium in the world is the Isle of the Pheasants, located near the mouth of the river Bidasoa, whose sovereignty is shared by Spain and France.

It was established in 1659 as the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed there, putting an end to the Franco-Spanish war and establishing the borders between the two countries.

A monument commemorating the treaty is erected on the island, but no one is allowed to visit it. Moreover, the condominium is not simultaneous but alternative. France has sovereignty for six months of the year, and Spain for the other six months.

6. The country that has a military army but no sea

Despite the fact that Bolivia has no access to the sea, a territory that it has never stopped claiming, it maintains a military navy and every 23rd of March they celebrate the Day of the Sea with a military parade.

Bolivian Navy Officers / photo Israel_soliz on Wikimedia Commons

7. The largest city in the world

Hulunbuir / photo Fanghong on Wikimedia Commons

The largest city in the world is not Mexico City but Hulunbuir, located in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia.

It has 263,953 square kilometers, due to the fact that its entire jurisdictional area is considered a city. Thus, it is more extensive than 42 of the North American states.

8. The point on Earth closest to the Sun

Although Everest is considered to be the highest peak in the world, Chimborazo Volcano in Ecuador is actually the furthest point from the center of the Earth.

Or if you like, the point on the planet closest to the Sun. This is because the earth’s diameter at the equatorial latitude is greater than at the latitude of Everest.

Photo David Torres Costales on Wikimedia Commons

9. The deepest artificial hole on Earth

The Kola Superdeep, excavated by the Soviets in the 1970s and 1980s, is still the deepest artificial hole in the world, reaching a depth of 12,262 metres.

However, it is not the longest, as this record has been held since 2011 by the Sakhalin-I, on the Russian island of Sakhalin, which is 12,345 metres long.

The difference is due to the higher altitude of the terrain on the island, although it is not as deep as Kola. The most spectacular is the Mir Mine, in the Russian town of Mirny.

Photo Andre Belozeroff on Wikimedia Commons

10. The place where you can look 21 hours into the future

Photo Dave Cohoe on Wikimedia Commons

The Diomedes Islands are two islets located in the Bering Strait. Diomedes Minor belongs to the United States and there is the city of Diomede which has about 146 inhabitants. Diomedes Major belongs to Russia and is uninhabited.

The separation between the two islands is about 4 kilometers. However, given that the International Date Line (IDL) passes between the two, when the inhabitants of Diomedes Minor look towards Diomedes Major they are actually looking 21 hours into the future.

When in Diomedes Minor it is 10 a.m. on Saturday, in Diomedes Major it is already 7 a.m. on Sunday.

This article was first published on our Spanish Edition on January 26, 2015. Puedes leer la versión en español en 10 hechos geográficos sorprendentes

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