Bizarre Shapes: 100 Geographic Monsters

Preliminary list compiled by David Mark and Barry Smith

with help from Brendan Whyte,Arif Samad and the members of the BoundaryPoint list



Baarle Hertog/Baarle Nassau




St. Pierre et Micquelon, off Newfoundland (see also France, including the non-metropolitan parts, below)




British Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus


All Cyprus was British until 1960. 99% of the island was made independent as the Republic of Cyprus. The rest stayed British. These bases are not like Guantanamo or Porkkala, in that the Cypriots have not leased them to the UK. When the Brits want to leave they will give them to Cyprus (they can't sell them to someone else)The bases are usually labelled UKSB: UK Sovereign Base, or UK Sovereign Military base.


British Sovereign naval basis existed also in the Republic of Ireland for some time after independence


There are two true enclaves and one coastal enclave with Dhekelia base.


Cooch-Behar ex- and enclaves of India inside Bangla-Desh and of Bangla-Desh inside India




The Sovereign Territory of the Hospitaler Order of the Knights of St John (a territory with embassies but no actual land)


Are embassies genuine claves?


SMOM do have territories in Rome which is probably more headquarter than embassy. You may say that is their territory. In their website, they do not make claim to any territory, however.


Reversing Falls in Saint John, New Brunswick








Melila and/or Ceuta, Spain (on N African coast)


There are other Plazas de Soberania, such as Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas and Islas Chafarinas. The last two are collections of three islets








Any lake that has never had water in it in historic times




The point on earth farthest from the center of the Earth, farther than the top of Mount Everest (top of Chimborazo ?)




lakes with significant variation in surface elevation


Lake Chad and Lake Eyre


the disappearance of Aral Sea,


Andorra ('owned' by two countries)




The exclave of Kentucky in a bend of the Mississippi




The part of the boundary of the Australian Capital Territory that follows a railway




The part of the Austria-Hungary border that follows a canal




points where 3 or more time zones come together


The "Four Corners" point among the US States of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico




Wyoming or Colorado (simplest geometric outline)




South Tyrol (a German-speaking part of Italy -- and why it exists)




Limone (town in N. Italy all of whose inhabitants think 'Limone' means 'lemons' (so there are small lemons above every door); in fact it means 'limes' or ‘border’)




The island in the Pacific which petitioned to have the international dateline moved so they would be the first to celebrate the new millennium


Kwajalein, right?


The indeterminate international boundaries of the Arabian peninsula

These create enclave within Madha Secondly, some maps show a Qatar, UAE boundary and some not. Thirdly, the messy boundaries within UAE whch in some cases cause condominiums.




Aland (between Finland and Sweden)




The exclave of the Australian Capital Territory on the NSW coast




The North Carolina 12th Congressional district.




The Original Gerrymander




The annual migration path for the "Mutton Bird" (Short-tailed Shearwater)




Geographic objects outside geography:


Cuts of Meat

(Butchers’ Charts from different culinary cultures)


Regions of the brain


the middle, upper and lower femur (from atlas of surgical anatomy)




maps of a fractal Quebec proposed by anglophone/native Canadian alliances (Should we include current but non-existing geographic objects,)




Mount Rushmore




Wisconsin Map Cow




Grand Canyon (world's largest hole?)




The boundary between Nunavut and the Provinces around Hudson and James Bays (follows the shore line)


But perhaps this is not true, perhaps the water of Hudson’s Bay is Federal territory and only the islands are in Nunavut...


Interesting subcategory of this fact is Kilinek island which lies off the coast of Newfoundland and Quebec. The Newfoundland side of the island stays Newfoundland, but the Quebec side belongs to Nunavut.


The Titanic and the iceberg which sunk it (the former is named but not a geographic object, really; the latter is not named, but some would say that it is a geographic object); we might list also a prominently moored museum ship in some harbor somewhere




Midtown (Pleasantville...) generic geographic objects used e.g. by sociologists for experiments




Some subterranean geographic objects (e.g. old part of Jerusalem under the present part)?




Sub-aqueous geographic objects? Tallest mountain under the pacific?




Longest ridge?




The Swiss Pass crossed by Hannibal with his elephants (example of a saddle-point)?




Portmeiron: fake Italianate village in North Wales where The Prisoner was filmed




The British Empire




France (including non-Metropolitan bits in the Carribean etc.)




Some volcano?




Caprivi strip, the thin neck of Namibia that comes almost to Victoria Falls, and 'almost' makes a four-country point. Namibia's quadripoint with Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe




The Italian enclave of Campione d'Italia in Switzerland




Kosslyn's Island




Middle Earth, as shown in the "Atlas of Middle Earth"




All other extant exclaves at the level of sovereign political units that are not listed above or below.




Guantanamo bay




Büsingen (exclave of Germany inside Switzerland)




Channel Islands (toast to Your Majesty Duke of Normandy Our Queen"




Vatican City


This is, as I understand it, three different, coincident geographic objects:


The Holy See (has ambassadors (nuncios), etc.)

The Vatican City (has a Mayor? takes care of the drains)

The Sovereign State (which signs postal treaties, etc.)


According to Patti Lateranensi,Convenzioni e Accordi Successivi fra il Vaticano e L'italia (Lateran Pacts, Treaty and Agreements between Vatican and Italy) until December 1945 the only

formal agreement concerning State boundaries was the Lateran treaty (article 3). After 1945, other formalities concerned the extraterritoriality zones (for example near Via della Conciliazione and near San Paolo Basilica.


After 1945 there was no formal agreement about

boundaries, especially after the building of the new

Papal Hall (1972) astride the Vatican territory and

the extraterritorial territory of the Sant'Uffizio.
















San Marino

No treaty exists about boundaries between Italy and San Marino. The land border is the one used since the 15th century.




St Patrick’s Grave (Holy Site of Irish Republic inside Northern Ireland)


Other sites that are semi-exclaves or historic semi-exclaves are the Protestant Cemetery in Macau, Russian radio station and War memorial in Berlin (mentioned by Catudal) and Longwood farm in St Helena. Some of them may actually have been true administrative exclave, though not sovereign ones.




East Timor (including exclave of Oecussi-Ambeno)




Ellis Island




The Arctic Circle




The Road Connecting Gaza Strip with West Bank


Very messy. It works the other way too. Jericho territory is separated by Israeli Road. Hebron with its divided town is also pretty bad.


Fractal political territories in and around Isreal




The North Pole




Kleinwalsertal (= Valley in Austria surrounded by mountains in such a way as to be accessible only via Germany)




Berlin Wall




Berlin Corridor




West Berlin




The DeMilitarized Zone between the Koreas




Königsberg, whose bridges featured in the invention of graph theory




Iceland, counted as part of Europe even though geographically it is much nearer to North America


Denmark (including Greenland) as largest country in Europe




Attu Island, counted as part of North America even though it is well into the eastern Hemisphere


Attu and Kiska are only parts of America under foreign occupation WWII


Gazankulu (former "independent homeland" now part of South Africa


Should mention all 10 of the homelands


Panama Canal Zone


PCZ was not only a coastal territory of USA in Panama, but the city of Colon within it was an exclave of Panama. To confuse the matter farher, there was a coastal exclave of PCZ in Panama plus another exclave within the Colon exclave.




Panama itself (artificially separated from Colombia)




Lesotho (largest enclave?)




The International Dateline




The largest jog in the International Dateline




The Prime Meridian




A rock in Utrecht, about 1 cubic meter, which is chained to the ground on one of the main streets in the center of town. (Mountains are rare in Holland, this was the best they could do)




Agua Caliente: one of many “checkerboard” shaped Indian reservation




Ayer's Rock




Nazca Lines, gigantic figures engraved on the Peruvian desert surface representing fishes, spiders, geometric, antropomorphous and other hardly identifiable figures that can only be seen from the air.




Guano islands claimed by the USA:


Sec. 1411. Guano districts; claim by United States


Whenever any citizen of the United States discovers a deposit of guano on any island, rock, or key, not within the lawful jurisdiction of any other government, and not occupied by the citizens of any other government, and takes peaceable possession thereof, and occupies the same, such island, rock, or key may, at the discretion of the President, be considered as appertaining to the United States.


Isn't Kingman Reef with few square meters of territory odd? French also have some tiny Islands administered by Reunion for some odd reason.


The Pope's Enclave, southern France




an iceberg that was larger than Belgium




And of course the neutral territory of Moresnet, at the Belgian/German/Dutch tripoint, jointly run by Prussia and Belgium: 1815-1918.




Jigsaw puzzles originated as educational devices to teach geography (dissected maps) in 18th-century England.




Crockerland (never existed)




International, trans-time-zone golf course, Finnish-Swedish border

Here is a map of the bordertowns Haparanda, SE and Tornio, FI where the golf course is.


There are two other such golf courses


one borders Maine and New Brunswick


The other borders North Dakota and Manitoba. I believe the North Dakota city is Dunseith




Hotel Franco-Suisse in La Cure on the Swiss/French border. This building is partly in France, partly in Switzerland and the actual border divides a double room.




largest island in a lake on an island in a lake

(island in Lake Manitou on Manitoulin Island, Ontario;




The Akwesasne tribal lands, perhaps sovereign aboriginal territory, but the reserve spans the border of the US and Canada, and also Ontario and Quebec.




The “D River” in Oregon is said to be the world’s shortest river, 121 feet long. (USA Today, 20 Jul 2000)




At latitude 60 degrees south you can sail all the way around the world.




The southernmost city in the United States is Na'alehu, Hawaii.




World Sailing Speed Record Council, Around the World. To sail around The World, a vessel must start from and return to the same point, must cross all meridians of longitude and must cross the Equator. It may cross some byt not all meridians more than once. The orthodromic track of the vessel must be at least 21,600 nautical miles in length. In calculating this distacne it is to be assumed that the vessel will sail aroudn Antartica in latitude 64 degrees south. A vessel starting in the Southern Hemisphere has to round an island or other fixed point in the Northern Hemisphere that will satisfy the minimum distance requirement.




Borders between states usually run down the middle of water bodies. A special case is the German-Luxemburg border in the rivers Sauer and Our. The bed and banks stand in a condomium of the two states. This means that both states have sovereignty over the whole rive.

Translated by BS from




Lake Constance, a black hole in the middle of Europe.


There is still no legally binding agreement as to where the boundaries lie between Switzerland, Germany and Austria where these three countries meet in Lake Constance. This means that these three countries do not have complete boundaries. In the area of Lake Constance the countries just peter out.


While Switzerland holds the view that the border runs through the middle of the Lake, Austria is of the opinion that the lake stands in condomium of all the states on its banks. German holds no unambiguous opinion. Legal questions pertaining to ship transport and fishing are regulated in separate treaties.


Here too disputes arise. One concerns a boat house which was moored in two states, another concerns the rights to fish in the Bay of Bregenz. In relation to the latter an Austrian family was of the opinion that it alone had the right to fish in broad portions of the bay. This however was accepted neither by the Austrian courts not by the organs and courts of the other states.




Shortest international boundary on an island (?)

Jesper & Nicolette Nielsen <>


"With an area of only 37 square miles, the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest land mass in the world to be divided between two governments."

shows 2 international islands smaller than st martin


The westerly of these is the smallest such island known while the easterly may contain the shortest boundary


there is a third Canadian American one shared by Vermont and Quebec


amazingly there are 3 in scandinavia as well


So St Martin evidently ranks no better than 7th smallest international island in the world




Find Aachen, Germany in your atlas. Find the belgian town of Eupen, 10 miles to the south. Now head east. Just across the border back in germany is Rotgen, and 6 miles SE of that is Monschau. The 5 enclaves are along this border between Rotgen and Monschau. If you have a good map it will show the rail line crossing the border in several places. When the rail line goes into germany, it is actually Belgian sovereign territory. Belgian 1:100 000 maps and larger scales show it nicely. As the rail line is only used for freight, not passengers, nowadays, no one really cares about it. I hope to go there in the next month.



101. truly international airport near Basel




In the easternmost reach of the 49th parallel sector of the Canada-US boundary there are at least 3 international tongues of land, one of them named Elm Point, all protruding into United States territory from the Canadian headland there just ESE of Middlebro, Manitoba


Travelling generally West to East we have

1 Point Roberts WA

2 name unknown MN

3 name unknown MN

4 elm point MN

  & possibly another or others here just east of the above point

5 Northwest Angle MN

(may really be 2 separate projections)

6 St Regis Quebec (being the only Canadian example)

7 Alburg VT

8 Province Point VT


I have found two others which I didn't mention on BoundaryPoint since I haven't found a map which spans the border. Thus I have no idea the two places I found are tongues or borders. Also, I mentioned earlier on the list of two piers which were artficially divided by Kuwait-Iraq boundary commission. The area nearest to land is Kuwaiti but the end of the pier is Iraqi.


city limits of Plains, Georgia, and Cole City, Georgia, are circles, as are hundreds of other towns and cities in Georgia and adjacent states


there are many towns in Georgia and adjacent states whose boundaries are complete circles.


part of the boundary of Delaware is an arc of a circle


there are many towns in Georgia and adjacent states whose boundaries are complete circles.


The point of Lake Okeechobee where 5 counties meet




the goal lines of an American football field are unbounded and in principal extend around the Earth




L'île de la conférance


Cette île se situe à Béhobie prés d'Hendaye entre la France et l'Espagne. Elle semble délicatement posée sur la Bidasoa. Sur cette île fût signé le traité des Pyrénées.


According to the BBC documentary series 'frontiers', both the book and TV series, the island (Conference) is administered for 6 months by each country, which does the gardening on it.




The city of Paris (which is a departement in it's own right) owns the source of the river Seine. It was bought in the 19th century. I wonder whether it's only a question of property, or that this tiny spot is actually a part of the departement Ville de Paris (used to be called 'Seine', which explains the departemental number 75, alphabetically wedged in between Savoie (Haute) and Seine-Maritime). In that case, it is yet another departemental enclave in France (apart from the five Arif mentions on his web site). If not, it is still a nice oddity. Does it ressort under the Parisian public gardens service? A long trip for mowing the lawn.




Jungholz, a part of Austria that touches the rest of Austria at exactly one point and is otherwise completely surrponded by Germany. A pene-enclave? There is also one international pene-enclave in Baarle




Olympus Mons: the largest mountain in the Solar System rising 24 km (78,000 ft.) above the surrounding plain. Its base is more

than 500 km in diameter and is rimmed by a cliff 6 km (20,000 ft) high (right).




The line 45 degrees latitude

(which is not exactly half way between the Equator and the pole)




That geographic object which consists of all those political entities in which the rule of the road is to drive on the left


At different times (e.g. before the Anschluss of Austria and after, before British Columbia came into line with the rest of Canada and after)