On my journeys I’ve visited a few off the wall countries that are self declared and self recognised but not always classed as countries and these six are countries you may not even have heard of!! If you’ve followed my journeys you’ll know I find it hard to rave about places full of tourists taking photos as the moment is gone when its shared by the masses on Bakebook. You’re one of thousands at the Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China, Church of the Nativity etc. But travel doesn’t have to be like that.
Thankfully, when I visited the following countries, there weren’t many tourists around and in fact at one of these places I became the first ever tourist to visit that country. So get your backpacking boots on and explore these six off the garden wall spots. Also please note that these countries are NOT recognised by the United Nations, FIFA or even the Traveller’s Century Club. But the rule remains – if the people in that particular area class themselves as an independent country and satisfy the terms of the Montevideo Act, then who are we to argue. This is a just a quick six for starters, there are a load of other unknown countries out there which I aim to write more about in future. Here is my full list of where I’ve been, which includes these but doesn’t count them on my sidebar country count:
Where I’ve been by list
Where I’ve been by flag
1. Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh
The self declared Republic of Nagorno Karabakh is a bizarre country to say the least. It’s a country of Armenian people living in land owned by Azerbaijan. It had its own visas, army, police, government, national football and flag, though they use Armenia Dram as currency. As you can imagine, there have been some wars between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan, mainly the Karabakh War in 1994. I toured Vank, Askeran, Stepanakert, Agdam and Gandzasar. This is a truly bizarre spot.
Capital – Stepanakert
Formed – 1991
Population – 150,000
Currency – Armenian Dram
Borders – Landlocked within Azerbaijan and linked by road to Armenia
Visas – Can be arranged in Yerevan, Armenia or on arrival in Stepanakert
My articles on backpacking in Nagorno Karabakh:
How to get to Nagorno Karabakh
How to get a Nagorno Karabakh Visa
Backpacking in Stepanakert, NK
Backpacking in Askeran Fortress, NK
Backpacking in Vank, NK
Backpacking in Gandzasar, NK
Food in Nagorno Karabakh
2. Freetown Christiania
The Freetown Christiania has been around for years. Smuggled inside Denmark’s capital city of Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania rocks a beat all on its own. A hippy, happy beat. The wafting smell of cannabis in the Christiania air is a lasting memory, as are the quirky art galleries, the souvenir shops and the “no camera zone”. Despite its religious sounding name, there is nothing really “Christian” about this place. They have their own flag, borders, beer, culture and even coins. There is a cool vibe around the place.
Capital – Pusher Street
Formed – 1971
Population – 850
Currency – Danish Kroner, Lons
Borders – Landlocked within Denmark
Visas – No visa needed, no passport checks, but its obvious where Denmark ends and Christiania begins. Christiania claims not to be in the EU.
My articles on Christiania:
3. Transnistria/Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic
The self declared country of Transnistria is realistically the last remaining USSR state. Times haven’t changed in 25 years here in Transnistria. Lenin statues are everywhere. Soviet buses and post boxes decorate the old school streets. New foreign restaurants are welcomed with a “no thanks” and life gets on like we’re back in the USSR. The capital city Tiraspol is one of the strangest cities you will ever visit. Transnistria has its own border, army, flag, currency, stamps and government.
Capital – Tiraspol
Formed – 1990
Population – 550,000
Currency – Transnistrian Rouble
Borders – Moldova to the west and Ukraine to the east
Visas – Get them on the border when crossing from Ukraine or Moldova for a 24 hour stay. Longer stays need to be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
My articles on Transnistria:
4. The Republic of Uzupis
The quirky Republic of Uzupis has to be the coolest chick in this zany country block. An arty Republic with a human hand on its flag, a wacky 41 point constitution declaring a love for cats and a border post with Lithuania which features a smiley face and an image of the Jaconde/Monalisa. Uzupis will reel you in with its pure instant feel good vibe and genuine comedy. It’s national day is April Fool’s Day when the currency Uza can be used. You cross a bridge within the city of Vilnius and you can get your passport stamped and check out the national monument.
Capital – Uzupis
Formed – 1997
Population – 7,000
Currency – The Uza (to be spent on 1st April only), Euros
Borders – Landlocked within Lithuania
Visas – None required, but you must be legally allowed in the EU to be in Lithuania, you can get your passport stamped in Uzupis
My articles on Uzupis:
5. The Empire of Austenasia
When I told my best mate Millwall Neil in England I was heading to another country the next day, he asked me what time my flight was. I replied that I was getting a bus over to Carshalton (London, England) and then walking across the border into the Empire of Austenasia!! It’s a real country, it seceded from the United Kingdom back in 2008 and is the brainchild of Austenasian Emperor Jonathan I. The country now houses 75 people and on my trip there in March 2015, I became Austenasia’s first ever tourist.
Capital – Wrythe
Formed – 2008
Population – 75
Currency – British Pound Sterling
Borders – The country is spread around the world but is mostly landlocked within England/UK and landlocked within USA
Visas – No visa needed or issued, you must be legally allowed in the UK to visit
6. The Druze People
The Druze is the largest community on this list, there are 1.5 million of them. It is also the oldest. The weirdest thing about the Druze people is that they were once offered the right to have their own country and land together but turned it down due to the geographical spread. The Druze people are mostly in the Middle East and to arrange a tour of one of their villages you should visit Syria, Lebanon or Israel. The Druze have their own religion, their own beliefs and their own flag. However Druze people maintain that they are loyal to the land they are living in.
Capital – Syria houses the largest Druze population
Formed – 1017
Population – 1.5 million
Currency – No official currency, depends on which country the Druze people are in
Borders – Mostly Syria, Lebanon and Israel but also USA and Venezuela. They live in villages of their own but also integrate with non-Druze people.
Visas – To become a member of the Druze People, you must be born into it. Visa requirements as per the country you are visiting the Druze settlement.
Read about my visit to Isfiya, home of the Druze People
I hope you enjoyed this article, it’s just something fun and exciting to do when you’re travelling to break up the mundane-ness of well known locations! I plan to visit a few more of these unknown countries on my journeys, you can also check out my posts on more peculiar places like Frestonia, Sark, Herm, Adammia, Ladonia, Karakalpakstan, Gorno Badakhshan, Podjistan and Bruny Island.
I’ve also compiled my top 10 cities, villages , islands and towns from my first century of countries next, you may also have seen my 5 craziest moments so far. Thanks for continuing to stay connected with me and follow my journeys – or meet me on the road!
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