10 Fascinating Enclaves From Around The World


An enclave, with respect to countries and international borders, is a part of a state, or an entire state that is entirely surrounded by the territory of another state. Thus the only way to access the territory of that enclave is by crossing the territory of the surrounding country. The reason for the existence of each enclave is fascinating and can go back for centuries. The current relations, such as borders arrangements between the states is also very unique in some cases. In this article we describe both proper enclaves as well as practical enclaves

1. Melilla and Ceuta, Spain

Melilla and Ceuta are two Spanish cities that reside on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco. Ceuta was ceded to Spain as early as 1668, while the Spanish borders of Melilla were set in the 19th century. There is a huge pressure by African refugees to enter the cities as they are part of the European, so the Spanish government built 3 meters high fences with barbed wire, watchtowers, patrols as well as other more advanced means to stop immigration. The coast is also patrolled with guard ships


The fences around the Spanish city of Melilla, bordering Morocco


2. Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia

The Kaliningrad Oblast is part of Russia, but has no land connection to the rest of Russia. It is surrounded by Lithuania and Poland. Historically, the area of Kaliningrad Oblast was part of East Prussia. The area was then part of Germany from the first world war till the end of the second world war, when it was occupied by the Soviet Union. The region remained in Russian hands according the Potsdam Agreement that ended the world war. Most of the German population were killed, fled, or later expelled, and Russian settlers were moved. Today most of the population of over 940,000 people are Russian


Kaliningrad Oblast – The Russian enclave between Lithuania and Poland


3. Gibraltar, United Kingdom

The most famous enclave in the list so far, as it is also a big tourists attraction in Southern Spain. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. It is located on the entrance of the Mediterranean, at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, sharing a land border with Spain. The territory was ceded to Britain in 1713 after it was captured in 1704. The small airport is known to have its landing strip pass through the main street of the city (so with every take off or landing cars must clear the road)


The British area of Gibraltar, bordering with Spain


4. Vatican City

Vatican City is a city – state and an enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It is about 44 hectares (110 acres), and has a a population of about 840 people – which makes it the smallest recognized state in the world by both area and population. The independent city – state was established in 1929


Fascinating Enclaves From Around The World: Vatican City


5. San Marino

The republic of San Marino is also an enclave within Italy. It’s area of 61 km2 (24 sq miles) is surrounded from all sides by Italy. It has a population of around  30,000 people. San Marino proudly claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world with the continuation of the monastic community that gained independence from the Roman Empire in the September 301!


The Fortress of Guaita in San Marino. San Marino is an enclave within Italy


6. Lesotho

The Kingdom of Lesotho is an enclave within South Africa. It has an area of 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq miles) which is a fraction of South Africa’s 1,221,037 km2 (471,443 sq miles), and a population of about 2 million – a fraction of South Africa’s 52 million. Lesotho gained it’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 – after South Africa was already independent


Lesotho, an enclave within South Africa


7. Point Roberts, Washington, United States

The small community of Point Roberts (just over 1,300 people) is located on the southernmost tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula, which is part of British Columbia, Canada. This means that Point Roberts is connected to the rest of the United States directly by sea (and by the continuous marked border on the map), but in order to reach it by land you must cross the border to Canada first. The current borders were set in 1846 between the British and the Americans. Later, In 1949 it was discussed that the United States would cede Point Roberts to Canada (which make geographical sense), but it never happened. In a similar way to Point Roberts, the Northwest Angle in Minnesota is also accessible by land only when crossing through Canada


A border point between the United States and Canada in Point Roberts, Washington


8. Cabinda, Angola

Cabinda, also known as Kabinda, is a province of Angola which is detached from the rest of the country by a narrow strip of land that belongs to the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, Cabinda is a small enclave between the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but it has a narrow coastline to the Atlantic Ocean. Cabinda was incorporated into the Portuguese Empire in 1885 separately from the neighboring Angola (that was also Portuguese), even though that at the time the two were separated by only the Congo River. In 1974 Portugal granted all its colonies independence and later on Cabinda status as part of Angola was set. Today, Cabinda resides on 7,270 km2 (2,810 sq mi) and has a population of over 300,000 people


Angola (at the bottom) and Cabdina province (in red) – separated from the rest of the country


9. Os de Civís, Spain

Os de Civís is part of the continuous territory of Spain, and in that sense, it is in no way an enclave. However, it is isolated from the rest of Spain by the mountains and can only be accessed by car through the territory of the small state on Andorra. In that sense, Os de Civis is a practical enclave. The small village has a population of about 100 people


Os de Civís, Spain – The only land access is through Andorra


10. Jungholz and Kleinwalsertal, Austria

Jungholz and Kleinwalsertal are also practical enclaves – they are both part of the continuous territory of Austria, but due to the mountainous terrain, in order to reach them by road you must cross into Germany first. Jungholz is a small town with just over 300 inhabitants, while Kleinwalsertal is an area, a valley with a total of 5,000 inhabitants


The Austrian valley of Kleinwalsertal – the only land access is through Germany


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