A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the ultimate Robinson Crusoe feel on several uninhabited islandsaround the world. The islands listed in this post were also once uninhabited but after being settled became so heavily urbanized that the built-up areas eventually took over the entire island, forming island cities.
The historic city Lindau is located near the meeting point of the Austrian, German and Swiss borders in the eastern part of Lake Constance (Bodensee). The city is connected with the mainland by bridge and railway and has about 3,000 inhabitants. Full of medieval and half-timbered buildings, the island city is quite a popular tourist attraction.
Located off the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Santa Cruz del Islote is unofficially the world’s most crowded island. It has some 90 houses and a population of around 1200 people crammed on an island of about 1 hectare. The islanders bury their dead in a nearby island because there is no space for a cemetery. They play football on the neighboring Mucura key, because the only public square on Santa Cruz is about half the size of a tennis court.
Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island) is the most northerly of the three principal Borromean Islands in Lago Maggiore. With a population of about 50, it is the only one island to be inhabited all year round. A narrow street running along its spine is joined by cobbled alleys to the promenade which encircles the island. The promenade is frequently flooded and the houses built against it are constructed to allow for this. While the traditional occupation of fishing still exists, its picturesque charms has made tourism the most important source of income for the islanders.
Mexcaltitán is a small man-made island city off the Pacific coast of Mexico. The town sits low in the marshy, mangrove-lined channels that surround it, and during the June to October rainy season, water floods the streets and everyone rows from place to place in boats. Some experts believe that Mexcaltitán may actually be the legendary Aztlán, the ancestral homeland of the Aztec people. Today it’s foremost a shrimping town, with shrimps spread out to dry on any available surface throughout the town.
Located close to the city of Split, Trogir is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. Tiny medieval streets wind through the enchanting island city revealing hidden restaurants and eye-catching galleries. A wide seaside promenade snakes around the town, culminating in a charming port full of sailboats. A pleasing blend of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, Trogir boasts a spectacular Venetian Cathedral of St. Lawrence, a town hall and a medieval fortress.
Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Black Sea”, Nesebar is a rich island city defined by more than three millennia of ever-changing history. The ancient part of the town is situated on a island connected to the mainland by a narrow man-made causeway, and it bears evidence of occupation by a variety of different civilizations over the course of its existence. Nesebar is sometimes said to be the town with the highest number of churches per capita and represent the rich architectural heritage of the Eastern Orthodox.
Flores is a located on Lake Petén Itzá and connected to land by a causeway, on the other side of which lie the twin towns Santa Elena and San Benito. It was here, on the island of Flores, that the last independent Maya state held out against the Spanish conquerors. Their city, Noh Petén (literally “City Island”) was eventually destroyed in 1697 when the Spanish attacked by boats.