We've delved time and time again into the annals of urban planning, only to discover that humans are infinitely creative and resilient, and that they will live in exotic locales that challenge the limits of logic and/or sanity. Here are nine real communities that make basically every other city out there look like the sleepy suburbs between East Borington and New Doodlyfuckshire.
#9. The Filipino Cemetery Town With a (Living) Population of 10,000
Barring the demographics of thrill-seeking stoners, out-of-the-closet necrophiliacs, and ghosts of the damned who read Cracked, none of you have ever looked around a graveyard and wondered aloud, "Gee whiz, I could really see myself putting down roots here."
Sadly, the 10,000-plus residents of Manila's North Cemetery don't really have any other options.
AFP via Intellasia.net
At least they're not living in a crematorium.
Because of overcrowding in the slums of the Filipino capital, entire families attempt to carve out living space in any crypt or mausoleum that they can jam themselves into. They've turned this cemetery into a village, complete with restaurants and shops. A few well-placed bribes even score residents some electricity.
The cemetery's economy makes use of its environs, with residents paid to maintain tombs and children working as pallbearers for a pittance. But Manila isn't the only city where people live among the dead.
Via Bahag, Vice.com
Yep, that's a mausoleum.
Via Bahag, Vice.com
And that's a dude setting up his karaoke machine between two caskets.
Via Bahag, Vice.com
And this is when a photographer said, "Here, hold this. It'll look creepy and make an awesome picture."
In Cairo's el-Arafa suburb -- aka "The City of the Dead," as it was originally built as a necropolis -- anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million people make their homes among rows of tombs and mausoleums. And just in case you think this is a neighborhood of quiet rustic charms, know that el-Arafa is right around the corner from the city of Manshiyat Naser, which is better known as "the slum where Cairo throws away all of its garbage."
#8. The Blue Town of Morocco
When visitors stop by the Moroccan town of Chefchaouen, reality switches over to Smurf-O-Vision. Was this the site of the most epic Crips versus Bloods showdown of all time? Well, no. Jewish residents of Chefchaouen painted the town a soothing shade of blue in the 1930s, a tradition that keeps vacationers rolling in to this day.
Chefchaouen is also located squarely in Morocco's marijuana country, so the pleasing hues will also prevent hashish-crazed day-trippers from thinking that they've died and gone to hell. We guess Chefchaouen's azure walls will not help those stoned souls who jump to the conclusion that the underworld is made out of blue flame. ("Cuz, like, blue's the hottest, brah.")
Although we're pretty sure that giving directions in this town would be a bitch.
#7. Portugal's Boulderville
For centuries, residents of Monsanto, Portugal, have lived in houses built under massive boulders. These rocky roofs give their village the aesthetics of a Tolkienesque hamlet, or perhaps a medieval town that incurred the wrath of a stone giant with severe bowel problems.
Tabling all discussion of the scatological habits of fantasy megafauna for the rest of this article, it's good to know that Monsanto is committed to preserving these strange houses for future generations, so that they too can stay awake all night, fear-sweating over that one hypothetical weak stone in the masonry.
"Wait. Hold up. Do ... do you smell what that thing is cookin'?"
#6. Australia's Underground Town in the Middle of Fucking Nowhere
Coober Pedy is one of the most inaccessible towns in all of Australia. And -- as anyone who has ever glanced at an atlas knows -- Australia is one of the most inaccessible places in the whole damn world.
"Go get the jackhammer. I want to hang this new picture on the wall."
Using the transitive property, we can determine that no one in their right mind would willingly settle in Coober Pedy, but the discovery of a rich deposit of opal in 1915 brought with it an onslaught of miners. These miners soon realized that temperatures exceeding 110 degrees Fahrenheit are nothing to mess with, so -- to escape the testicle-melting heat -- they went underground.
Via Coober Pedy
"I bet you're a huge Minecraft fan."
A century later, Coober Pedy remains an oddly popular tourist destination, even though it's at least eight hours away from the nearest real city. This makes it the perfect vacation destination for sadistic parents who enjoy insisting to their progeny, "Pish posh, of course there's a Disneyland in the middle of the Australian Outback."
#5. Yemen's Cliff Towers
Throughout the history of the Arabian Peninsula, marauding bandits have posed a problem for people who enjoy owning things. So to prevent roving bands of thieves from running roughshod over the mountainous regions of Yemen, the Ottoman Empire built vertiginous cliffside villages. History does not record how many drunken tenants plummeted off a thousand-foot drop trying to find their front door, but we're going to guess it was a lot (do YOU see any fences up there?).
"Each year, our schools score higher and higher on aptitude tests. We don't know why."
One of these villages, al-Hajjarah, has existed since the 11th century. These days, the only invaders are wheezing tourists, hiking from vista to vista while secretly praying they don't get kidnapped by an al-Qaida affiliate group.
But if we have to die, we wouldn't mind doing it while ramping a motorcycle off this shit.