Welcome to Yanjin, China — The World’s Narrowest City

Built along the Nanxi River, between the steep mountains of China’s Yunnan Province, Yanjin county is widely regarded as the world’s narrowest city. Looking at Yanjin county from above, it’s hard to believe that such a settlement actually exists in real life. The narrow stretch of usable land hardly seems like a suitable location for a city of roughly 450,000 people, but that’s exactly what makes Yanjin so special. At its narrowest point, Yanjin is only 98 feet wide, while the widest part of the city measures around 984 feet. It's traversed by one main road on each side, and even though the city stretches for several miles along the river, there don’t seem to be too many bridges. Apart from the extreme narrowness, Yanjin has another noticeable particularity. Because land is such a precious commodity in the area, many of the apartment buildings are located right on the banks of the river and are built on stilt-like thin pillars to protect them from flooding in case the water level rises. Why would anyone would want to live in such a narrow city, when China has so much more suitable land? The truth is that this area has been inhabited for hundreds of years, and many locals wouldn’t consider living anywhere else.