With 195 countries and more than 7.7 billion people in the world, there are plenty of fun and amazing things everywhere in all corners waiting for you to explore. Join us as we bring you the most fascinating facts about these countries you've never imagined.
- As a multiethnic country, Nigeria has over 520 spoken languages among its residents.
- Britain remains the world’s only country without a written constitution.
- Uganda is home to the endangered mountain gorilla, particularly in the Ruwenzori Mountains.
- In the Arabic language, the name of the country Sudan means ‘the land of the blacks.’
- Pomelo, the largest citrus fruit on the planet, is endemic to Malaysia.
- The largest contiguous irrigation system in the world is in Pakistan.
- Bangladesh is home to the Earth’s largest river and largest mangrove.
- Russia is the country that uses the most time zones at 11 until they reduced it to 9 in 2011.
- Only one country voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons program – South Africa.
- Colombia hosts the Iberoamericana, the largest theater festival in the world.
- Saudi Arabia is the largest non-river country on the planet.
- The world’s largest proven oil reserve hails from Venezuela.
- Mozambique coastline has a rep for resident large marine animals like dolphins, whales, and whale sharks.
- Outside the UN, Taiwan has the largest economy and most populous state among the rest.
- Covering 2,653 miles, Chile is the world’s longest country from north to south.
- Brazil shares borders with all South American countries except only for Chile and Ecuador.
- More than 2,100 castles stand in Germany.
- Iran touches borders with 10 countries including Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, and Pakistan.
- Istanbul, Turkey is the only city bridging 2 continents with 3% in Europe and 97% in Asia.
- Dreadlocks hairstyle traces its origins from the country Angola.
The flag of the USA has at least 13 versions.
It started as a British flag variation featuring 13 white stripes for the 13 colonies. Eventually, white stars joined the design representing each state in the union. Hawaii became the 50th state of the USA, making it the 50th star on the flag as well.
Mexico stands over Tenochtitlán ruins, once a great Aztec city.
Mexico City is the exact spot. Due to its location upon a lake, Mexico sinks at 6-8 inches per year. Pumps are drawing water out for the growing population of the city.
The Dominican Republic is the Breadbasket of the Caribbean due to the island’s rich soil.
Combined with a tropical climate, these features equip the country in producing large quantities of grain or wheat. Another name for the Dominican Republic is ‘Endless Summer’ because of its warm and sunny weather for most of the year.
Peru has the highest sand dune on the planet.
Located in the Sechura Desert, Cerro Blanco covers 3,860 feet or 1,176 meters from base to summit. It is near the Nazca Lines landmark.
Guatemala is home to the first mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Tikal National Park is in the Petén Province, Northern Guatemala within the Maya Forest. Moreover, it qualified both in the natural and cultural criteria of the World Heritage properties. Another 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala are the Antigua Guatemala and the Archaeological Park and The Ruins of Quirigua.
Ecuador was the first country in the world to officially recognize nature rights.
It began in 2008 when the country started recognizing the institutional rights of nature, stating how it has the “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.”
The incredible nature of Puerto Rico earned the country the name ‘Island of Enchantment.’
Aside from the pure beaches, magnificent rainforests, and stunning mountains, Puerto Rico is also home to a wide range of biological and geological diversity.
Cuba makes the world’s finest cigars.
With sugar from sugar cane as the major crop, Cuban cigars are then handcrafted with homegrown tobacco.
Costa Rica is the hummingbird capital of the world.
Of the 300 recorded hummingbirds species of the New World, Costa Rica is home to 51 of them.
The largest salt flat in the world is found in Bolivia.
At 3,656 above sea level, Salar de Uyuni covers a total land area of 10,582 sq km or 4,086 sq mi. Moreover, it is a hundred times bigger than the famed Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah, USA.
Argentina covers both the highest and lowest points in the whole of South America.
The lowest is Laguna del Carbón of Santa Cruz Province in Argentina. This salt lake rests 344 feet below sea level. On the other hand, Aconcagua of Mendoza province stands at 22,841 feet. Not only is it the tallest mountain in South America, but it is in North America as well.
Canada is the country with the longest coastline on Earth at 125,000 miles.
It also has the world’s longest street stretching up to 1,200 miles. Moreover, Canada is only second to Russia in being the largest country in terms of the total area covered. No wonder why it covers 6 different timezones.
The life expectancy in Zimbabwe is the lowest in the whole world.
The average for men is 37 while it is only at 34 for women.
Madagascar has a distinct red color that could not be seen anywhere else in the world.
Due to the red hue of the island’s soil, Madagascar earned the tag ‘Red Island.’
Senegal is home to Africa’s tallest statue.
Called the African Renaissance Monument, it stands at a height of 49 meters or 161 feet. The bronze statue stands atop Collines des Mamelles. Further, it overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in the Ouakam suburb.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the only habitat of the great apes.
Sadly, both the bonobos and the eastern lowland gorillas are now endangered. Bush-meat trade, deforestation, and pollution all contributed to the decimation of the closest primate-human links which might be extinct a decade from now.
Around 70 tribes with 30 various dialects reside in Kenya.
In general, they have 3 main groupings namely the Bantu, the Nilotic, and the Cushites. They came from West Africa, Sudan, and Somalia to Kenya, respectively.
Tanzania has a sculptor lake.
Highly-alkaline water body Lake Natron has a rep for turning birds and other animals into horrible stone statues.
Chad is branded as the Dead Heart of Africa.
The reason behind this is its close proximity to the deserts. Still, Chad is Africa’s 5th largest country.
In Haiti, Voodoo became a legally-established religion in 2001.
While many Haiti residents have been practicing Voodoo regularly anyway, it is now up on the list of official religions in the country alongside Catholicism. This institution allows people to freely practice Voodoo.
Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s biggest producer of cocoa.
Also known as the Ivory Coast, the country is famous for its chocolate.
Piracy by the Somalian coast has raised an international shipping threat.
Somalia does not have an operative coast guard, making the country susceptible to foreign exploitation. Their fishing grounds were invaded and even receive dumped illegal waste, further depreciating the local catch.
Ethiopia gave birth to coffee - the worldwide favorite beverage.
The name even originated from the Ethiopian word ‘Kaffa.’ Legend tells the story of shepherd Kaldi who discovered how the leaves of coffee plants on his land made his goats restless. When he tried the leaves for himself, he experienced the same effects. Thus, the birth of coffee in Ethiopia.
Guinea is home to the wettest capital on the planet.
Conakry City covers a total land area of 450 sq km or 174 sq mi., and it experiences an average of 3.7 meters of rain annually.
Cameroon is one of the only 2 countries where the world’s largest frog could be found.
The goliath frog could weigh as much as a domestic house cat and could grow as long as 1 foot.
Toothpaste originated from Ancient Egypt.
The ingredients for the tooth powder are myrrh, burnt eggshells, pumice, and burnt ashes of ox hooves. Still, people in Ancient Egypt only used fingers in applying the mixture to their teeth as toothbrush was not yet invented.
Niger carries the title ‘The Frying Pan in the World.’
This country gets too much heat alongside an arid desert environment. Raindrops here were said to evaporate before hitting the ground. Nonetheless, Niger is not yet the hottest country in the world.
Rwanda has a privately-owned Inema Arts Center.
It was the first modern art gallery in Kigali. Aside from traditional crafts like paintings and sculpture, the institution also hosts weekly courses, and dance and music performances. Most of the artworks are for sale and even available for international shipping.
76% of Djibouti’s population lives in its capital city, Djibouti City.
As the largest settlement in the country, it hosts over 623,000 people which is equivalent to more than ¾ of the whole Djibouti population. The city also the cultural, economic, and governmental capital of the country.
Tunisia once became rivals with Rome due to the ruins of Carthage.
The city of Carthage used to cater to the seafaring Phoenicians of the historical Punic Wars books. Reduced to the atmospheric ruins that it is today, the city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
A UNESCO World Heritage site in Mali was built completely of mud.
The Great Mosque of Djinné was established in 1906. Unfortunately, its 3 towers and 5 stories are not open for public visits.
Morocco is 1 of the only 3 countries featuring both Atlantic and Mediterranean Coastlines.
Aside from Morocco, the other 2 countries with the luxury of both bodies of water are France and Spain.
In Burkina Faso, the Nazinga Reserve keeps the most number of elephants in West Africa.
The country also boasts of 1 UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, 3 complete reserves, 4 national parks, 6 partial reserves, and 10 protected forests.
Burundi keeps the world’s second-oldest freshwater lake.
Lake Tanganyika also ranks second-largest in terms of volume and another second in the depth category. Moreover, its scope traverses the countries Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The oldest European-built construction in Sub-Saharan Africa stands in Ghana.
Around 1482, the Portuguese built the Elmina Castle in Ghana. Its name translates to ‘gold mine.’ Despite its grand label, the castle had a brutal history of keeping slaves before they were shipped off to the Americas.
Malawi is aptly labeled as ‘The Warm Heart of Africa.’
The locals display courtesy, friendliness, and hospitability not only to one another but also among themselves. With the genuine warmth of the people, Malawi is really a safe place.
Benin is home to the largest remaining number of lions in West Africa.
In particular, the kings of the jungle take shelter in the W-Arly-Pendjari.
In Algeria, numerous UFO sightings have been reported throughout the years.
The earliest recorded UFO sighting was in Algiers back in 1970. What’s more, is that these records are relevant to the archaeology of Algeria. Among the prehistoric rock art found in the country, most of them are rumored to be extraterrestrial aliens.
The biggest man-made lake in the world could be found in Zambia.
Kariba, a huge man-made lake, supplies electric hydropower not only to Zambia but to Zimbabwe as well.
Ancient Greece hosted the first-ever Olympics in 776 BCE.
Ancient Greece originally held the games to honor Zeus. Back then, only men could partake in what also serves as training grounds to prepare men for wars. If modern-day athletes wear specialist clothes, the first Olympics boxed, wrestled, raced, and ran naked.
A restaurant in Spain holds the record for being the oldest one still standing.
El Restaurante Botín received the Guinness World Record for the category as it has been operating since 1725.
Halloween traces its origin to Ireland.
The Samhain ancient Gaelic festival was held every October 31 in Ireland until All Saints Day became mixed up with it sometime in the early Middle Ages. Eventually, the 2 observances merged into what is now known as Halloween.
The heaviest building in the world is in Romania.
The Parliament Palace is also the world’s second-largest building.
Phone company Nokia and the Linux kernel trace their roots in Finland.
The world-renowned phone company started as a telecommunication company in Finland in the 1960s. On the other hand, the computer operating systems kernel was invented by Finnish software engineer Linus Torvalds.
The highway in Belgium is visible from the moon.
Nearly 100% of the highway is lit, counting it among the limited man-made structures that could be seen that far at night.
The world-famous toy blocks brand Lego originated from Denmark.
It has dominated the toy industry since its creation in 1949. Another remarkable invention from Denmark is the software program Skype which allows the international exchange of chats and telephone calls.
The Czech Republic carries the label of The Castle Capital of the World.
More than 2,000 castles and ruins are open for tourist visits. For one, the St. Vitus Cathedral located in Prague Castle serves as the burial place of Czech kings and home to Czech crown jewels.
2 regions in Norway are out of natural sunlight for around 6 months.
Rjukan and Viganella rest deep within the valleys in Norway. These regions need giant mirrors to reflect rays upon their villages as mountains surrounding them block their community.
Sweden introduced standardized time to the world.
Its underrated purpose is essential in making regular train tables.
The Netherlands is the Legal Capital of the World.
There are 4 international courts in the country namely the Permanent Court of Arbitration, International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the International Court of Justice. Moreover, their location in The Hague is also the home of the King and Queen of the Netherlands and more than 150 international embassies.
France is the origin point of the metric system.
It is the decimalized method of counting, weighing, and measuring. The ‘International Prototype Kilogram’ or ‘Le Grand K’ made in the 19th century France still remains secured in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris.
Italy is the country with the highest number of UNESCO sites.
The 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy include the Amalfi Coast, cities of Florence, Pompeii Rome, and Verona, the Dolomites, Hadrian’s Villa, and Villa D’Este at Tivoli.
Luxembourg is the only remaining country that is a grand duchy.
It means that Luxembourg is a monarchy wherein the ruler of the land is a Grand Duke or Grand Duchess. However, the country is also a constitutional monarchy, making Luxembourg a democratic parliament.
Estonia has more than 1 capital city.
Tallinn, the official capital of Estonia, is the center for business, finance, politics, and tourist. Eventually, Tartu became the historical center of culture, while Parnu grew into being the summer capital of the country.
The world’s oldest bookstore is found in Portugal.
Since it started operating in 1732, the Bertrand Bookstore served as an artistic and intellectual center for Portugal. Despite the disastrous 1755 earthquake, the owners still found new premises and continued with the business.
Ukraine suffered the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of humanity.
It occurred particularly in Pripyat back in April 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near the place flagged a catastrophic meltdown.
The world’s heaviest land mammal and last ancient European forest is in Poland.
The European bison considers the Białowieża Primeval Forest in Poland their home. Unfortunately, the record-holder species only has around 800 remaining lives on the planet.
Sri Lanka has the oldest recorded living tree planted by a man.
2,000 years of continuous tending kept the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura alive for that long. It traces its roots from the Bodh Gaya in India, the tree famed for being the one under which Buddha reached enlightenment.
Cambodia holds the unfortunate record of the largest population of landmine-caused amputees.
Since 1979, more than 64,000 landmine-related casualties have been recorded in the country.
As a city-state, Singapore is an independent country with only one city.
This situation earned Singapore the title ‘Little Red Dot.’ Nonetheless, Singapore is the least corrupted country in Asia, and is 4th in the whole world.
Japan is the mother country of shibari or sexual bondage play in English.
It possibly started as hojōjutsu or the martial art of restraint. Here, a samurai practices enemy captivity with ropes within the least amount of time possible.
Vietnam is the largest exporter of black pepper in the world.
Aside from that, Vietnam also dominates the cashew nuts export industry and is second in the rice export trade.
The record-holder for the longest subterranean waterway on the planet used to be the Philippines.
Located in Palawan, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River covers a length of 8.2 km or 5 mi. However, an underground river in Mexico at 10 km or 6.2 mi. grabbed the title in 2007.
Mongolia is home to the world's oldest national park.
Located in southern Ulaanbaatar, Bogd Khan Mountain in Mongolia has a reaches a height of 900 meters. The Qing Dynasty declares in the 18th century the protection of the mountain’s natural beauty and diverse wildlife.
Myanmar holds the record of having the most numbers of Buddhist temples.
Bagan, in particular, also holds the densest concentration of pagodas, stupas, temples, and ruins of Buddhist nature. It once recorded at least 10,000 such establishments.
Thailand is among the top rice exporters in the world.
Even the internationally available Jasmine rice is native to Thailand.
Iraq is responsible for the development of the oldest known writing system.
The cuneiform originated in Iraq around 3,200 BC. Instead of the modern-day alphabet, cuneiform made use of signs per word or syllable.
The largest slave population in the world resides in India.
One of the oldest forms of social distinction on Earth is the caste system of India. It still functions in the country today, with the majority of the slave laborers employed in the brick kiln industry.
Geologically speaking, Nepal is alive.
Underneath Nepal, the Indo-Australian plate is moving at a rate that would be 1,500 km or 932 mi. into Asia in the following 10 million years.
The largest archipelago on the planet is Indonesia.
But while Indonesia has about 18,000 islands, about 6,000 of them are inhabited. These islands cover a total east-west span of over 3,000 miles, giving the country 3 different timezones.
In Yemen, the city of Shibam is the so-called 'Manhattan of the Desert.'
Ancient mud-brick high-rise establishments fill the city. In 1982, the 16th-century structures became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
North Korea practices the Juche government system.
It means that North Korea rejects foreign ideas and only focuses on individual power and strength in forming opinions. Also, Juche in NK resembles Albania’s system before 1992.
Wireless speeds are the fastest in South Korea.
At 33.5 megabits average download speed per second, South Korea beats second-placer Hong Kong by 3 times. The average upload speed is 17 megabits per second.
China keeps the oldest and longest continuous civilization in the world.
Civilization in China was believed to have started in 6,000 BC. Other than that, the written language in the country holds the record for the oldest continuously used in the world.
Uzbekistan is not just landlocked; it is doubly landlocked.
It means that aside from being a landlocked country, Uzbekistan sits amid countries that are landlocked as well. In other words, none of the rivers of the country leads to the sea.
Of the opium supply across the world, 90% are from Afghanistan.
This raw ingredient serves as the basis of heroin. In other words, the drug trade makes up a significant portion of the economy of Afghanistan.
Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world.
Still, the country has its own navy with bases on the also landlocked Caspian Sea.
Since WWII, the worst humanitarian crisis is the Syrian refugee crisis.
Around 14 million residents were deeply affected when they were forced to either flee or face execution under the hands of religious fanatics.
The standardization of time in Australia started in 1892.
All the Central Standard Time, Eastern Standard Time, and Western Standard Time are operational in Australia. Also, the 1884 International Meridian Conference representatives accepted the recommendation to use the Greenwich Mean Time.
The first country to witness the daily sunrise is New Zealand.
In particular, the city of Gisborne in New Zealand enjoys these perks at its location just 496.3 km off the International Date Line. The whole world discovers this on live TV when the city welcomed the new millennium before anyone else in 1999.