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A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet, but smaller than a town or city. Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Villagemarker in Manhattanmarker, New York Citymarker and the Saifi Villagemarker in Beirutmarker, Lebanonmarker. Villages are normally permanent, with fixed dwellings; however, transient villages can occur. Further, the dwellings of a village are fairly close to one another, not scattered broadly over the landscape ('dispersed settlement')

Historically, villages were the usual form of community for societies that practise subsistence agriculture, and also for some non-agricultural societies. In Great Britain, a hamlet earned the right to be called a village when it built a church .In many cultures, towns and cities were few, with only a small proportion of the population living in them. The Industrial Revolution attracted people in larger numbers to work in mills and factories; the concentration of people caused many villages to grow into towns and cities. This also enabled specialization of labor and crafts, and development of many trades. The trend of urbanisation has continued, though not always in connection with industrialisation. Villages have thus been eclipsed in importance as units of human society and settlement.

Traditional villages

Although many patterns of village life have existed, the typical village was small, consisting of perhaps 5 to 30 families. Homes were situated together for sociability and defence, and land surrounding the living quarters was farmed. Traditional fishing villages were based around artisan fishing and located adjacent to fishing grounds.

South Asia

"The soul of Indiamarker lives in its villages", declared M. K. Gandhi at the beginning of 20th century. According to the 2001 Indian census, 74% of Indians live in 638,365 different villages. The size of these villages varies considerably. 236,004 Indian villages have a population less than 500, while 3,976 villages have a population of 10,000+. Most villages have their own temple, mosque or church depending on the local religious following.

View of an Indian villagemarker
Home in a village of Pakistan

East Asia

Mainland China

In mainland China, villages are divisions under township or town .

TaiwanIn Taiwanmarker, villages are divisions under township or county-controlled cities. The village is called a tsuen or cūn (村) under a rural township (鄉) and a li (里) under an urban township (鎮) or a county-controlled city.

JapanSee Villages of Japan

Southeast Asia

Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia

A kampung in the Malaysian state of Johor.

The term kampung (sometimes spelling kampong) in the English language has been defined specifically as "a Malay hamlet or village in a Malay-speaking country" In other words, a kampung is defined today as a village in Bruneimarker, Indonesiamarker or Malaysiamarker. In Malaysia, a kampung is determined as a locality with 10,000 or fewer people. Since historical times, every Malay village came under the leadership of a penghulu (village chief), who has the power to hear civil matters in his village (see Courts of Malaysia for more details). A Malay village typically contains a "masjid" (mosque) or "surau" (Muslim chapel), paddy fields and Malay houses on stilts. Malay and Indonesian villagers practice the culture of helping one another as a community, which is better known as "joint bearing of burdens" (gotong royong), as well as being family-oriented (especially the concept of respecting one's family [particularly the parents and elders]), courtesy and believing in God ("Tuhan") as paramount to everything else. It is common to see a cemetery near the mosque, as all Muslims in the Malay or Indonesian village want to be prayed for, and to receive Allah's blessings in the afterlife.


In urban areas of the Philippinesmarker, the term "village" most commonly refers to private subdivisions, especially gated communities. These villages emerged in the mid-20th century and were initially the domain of elite urban dwellers. Now they are now common in Metro Manilamarker and other major cities in the country and their residents have a wide range of income levels. Such villages may or may not correspond to administrative units (usually barangays) and/or be privately administered. Well-known villages in Metro Manila include Forbes Parkmarker and Dasmariñas Villagemarker.


Village, or "làng", is a basis of Vietnammarker society. Vietnam's village is the typical symbol of Asian agricultural production. Vietnam's village typically contains: a village gate, "lũy tre" (bamboo hedges), "đình làng" (communal house) where "thành hoàng" (tutelary god) is worshiped, a common well, "đồng lúa" (rice field), "chùa" (temple) and houses of all families in the village. All the people in Vietnam's villages usually have a blood relationship. They are farmers who grow rice and have the same traditional handicraft. Vietnam's villages have an important role in society (Vietnamese saying: "Custom rules the law" -"Phép vua thua lệ làng" [literally: the king's law yields to village customs]). Everyone in Vietnam wants to be buried in their village when they die.

Central and Eastern Europe

Slavic countries

Selo (Cyrillic: село; ) is a Slavic word meaning "village" in Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, Bulgariamarker, Croatiamarker, Macedoniamarker, Russiamarker, Serbiamarker, and Ukrainemarker. For example there are numerous sela (plural of selo) called Novo Selo in Bulgariamarker, Croatiamarker, Montenegromarker and others in Serbiamarker, and Macedoniamarker. In Sloveniamarker, the word selo is used for very small villages (less than a thousand people) and in dialects; the Slovene word vas is used all over Sloveniamarker.


In Bulgariamarker the different types of Sela vary from a small selo of 5 to 30 families to one of several thousand people. According to a 2002 census, in that year there were 2,385,000 Bulgarian citizens living in settlements classified as villages . A 2004 Human Settlement Profile on Bulgaria conducted by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs stated that:
The most intensive is the migration “city – city”.
Approximately 46% of all migrated people have changed their residence from one city to another.
The share of the migration processes “village – city” is significantly less – 23% and “city – village” – 20%.
The migration “village – village” in 2002 is 11%.

It also stated that
the state of the environment in the small towns and villages is good apart from the low level of infrastructure.

In Bulgaria it is becoming popular to visit villages for the atmosphere, culture, crafts, hospitality of the people and the surrounding nature. This is called selski tourism (Bulgarian:селски туризъм), meaning "village tourism".


In Russia, the bulk of the rural population are concentrated in villages. In Russian, two terms are mainly used to refer to these rural localities: selo ( ) or derevnya ( ). Historically, the formal indication of status was religious: a city (gorod) had a cathedral, a village (selo) had a church, while a hamlet (derevnya) had neither.

The lowest administrative unit of the Russian Empiremarker, volost, or its Soviet or modern Russian successor, selsoviet, was usually headquartered in a selo and embraced a few neighboring villages.

Between 1926 and 1989, Russia's rural population shrank from 76 million people to 39 million, due to urbanization, collectivization, dekulakisation and the World War II losses, but has nearly stabilized since. During 1930–1937, mass starvation in Russia and other parts of the Soviet Unionmarker lead to the death of at least 14.5 million peasants (including 5-7 million in the Holodomor).

Most Russian villages have populations of less than 200 people, and the smaller villages take the brunt of depopulation: e.g., in 1959, about one half of Russia's rural population lived in villages of fewer than 500 people, while now less than one third does. In the 1960s–1970s, the depopulation of the smaller villages was driven by the central planners' drive to get the farm workers out of smaller, "prospect-less" hamlets and into the collective or state farm's main village, with more amenities.

Most Russian rural residents are involved in agricultural work, and it is very common for villagers to produce their own food. As prosperous urbanites purchase village houses for their second homes, Russian villages sometimes are transformed into dacha settlements, used mostly for seasonal residence.

The historically Cossack regions of Southern Russia and parts of Ukrainemarker, with their fertile soil and absence of serfdom, had a rather different pattern of settlement from central and northern Russia. While peasants of central Russia lived in a village around the lord's manor, a Cossack family often lived on its own farm, called khutor. A number of such khutors plus a central village made up the administrative unit stanitsa ( ; ). Such a stanitsa village, often with a few thousand residents, was usually larger than a selo in central Russia.

The term aul/aal is used to refer mostly Muslim-populated villages in Caucasus and Idel-Ural, without regard to the number of residents.


In Ukrainemarker Selo (село) is the lowest administrative unit. Khutir (хутір) and Stanytsia (станиця) are not part of the administrative division anylonger due to the collectivization. There is a higher level of the rural administrative division, Selysche (селище).

Western & Southern Europe

United Kingdom

A village in the UKmarker is a compact settlement of houses, smaller in size than a town, and generally based on agriculture or, in some areas, mining, quarrying or sea fishing.

The major factors in the type of settlement are location of water sources, organization of agriculture and landholding, and likelihood of flooding. For example, in areas such as the Lincolnshire Woldsmarker, the villages are often found along the spring line halfway down the hillsides, and originate as spring line settlements, with the original open field systems around the village. In northern Scotlandmarker, most villages are planned to a grid pattern located on or close to major roads, whereas in areas such as the Forest of Arden, woodland clearances produced small hamlets around village greens.

Some villages have disappeared (for example, deserted medieval villages), sometimes leaving behind a church or manor house and sometimes nothing but bumps in the fields. Clearances may have been to accommodate sheep or game estates, or enclosure, or may have resulted from depopulation, such as after the Black Death or following a move of the inhabitants to more prosperous districts. Other villages have grown and merged and often form hubs within the general mass of suburbia - such as Charlton, Londonmarker and Hampsteadmarker in Londonmarker - and in some cases outgrew a nearby town, such as Birminghammarker which outgrew Astonmarker to become a major city. Many are now predominantly dormitory locations and have suffered the loss of shops, churches and other facilities.
For many English people, the village represents an ideal of Englandmarker, as with Adlestropmarker. Seen as being far from the bustle of modern life, it is represented as quiet and harmonious, if a little inward-looking. This concept of an unspoilt Arcadia is present in many popular representations of the village such as the radio serial The Archers or the best kept village competitions.

Many villages in South Yorkshiremarker, North Nottinghamshire, North East Derbyshiremarker, County Durham, South Walesmarker and Northumberlandmarker are known as pit villages. These (such as Murton, County Durhammarker) grew from hamlets when the sinking of a colliery in the early 20th century resulted in a rapid growth in their population and the colliery owners built new housing, shops, pubs and churches. Some pit villages outgrew nearby towns by area and population; for example, Rossingtonmarker in South Yorkshiremarker came to have over four times more people than the nearby town of Bawtrymarker. Some pit villages grew to become towns; for example, Maltby in South Yorkshire grew from 500 people in the 19th century to over 17,000 in 2007.

In the UK, the main historical distinction between a hamlet and a village was that the latter had a church, and so usually was the centre of worship for an ecclesiastical parish. However, some civil parishes may contain more than one village. The typical village had a pub or inn, shops, and a blacksmith. But many of these facilities are now gone, and many villages are dormitories for commuters. The population of such settlements ranges from a few hundred people to around five thousand. A village is distinguished from a town in that:
  • A village should not have a regular agricultural market, although today such markets are uncommon even in settlements which clearly are towns.
  • A village does not have a town hall nor a mayor.
  • If a village is the principal settlement of a civil parish, then any administrative body that administers it at parish level should be called a parish council or parish meeting, and not a town council or city council. However, some civil parishes have no functioning parish, town, or city council nor a functioning parish meeting. In Wales, where the equivalent of an English civil parish is called a Community, the body that administers it is called a Community Council. However, larger councils may elect to call themselves town councils. Unlike Wales, Scottish community councils have no statutory powers.
  • There should be a clear green belt or open fields surrounding its parish borders. However this may not be applicable to urbanised villages: although these may not considered to be villages, they are often widely referred to as being so; an example of this is Horsforthmarker in Leedsmarker.


Same general definition as in England, see, for example, Saint-Benoît-du-Saultmarker.


In the flood prone districts of the Netherlands, villages were traditionally built on low man-made hills called terps before the introduction of regional dyke-systems.


Villages in Ireland are often very quaint, and usually are situated at crossroads, or another intersection. They are small clusters of residential dwellings in an area, isolated from any larger settlements (i.e cities, towns, metropolises). A village may also consist of a few businesses or locally operated franchises such as a pub or small market. Some villages have been known to include church services as well as a small breakfast buffet operation.

The Middle East


Syriamarker contains a huge number of villages that vary in size and importance. It includes a plenty of ancient, historical and religious villages such as Ma'loulamarker, Sednaya and Brad (Mar Maroun’s time). The diversity of the Syrian environments creates significant differences between the Syrian villages in terms of the economic activity and the method of adoption. Villages in the south of Syria (Huran, Jabal Al-Arab), the north-east (the Syrian island) and Orontes Rivermarker basin depend mostly on agriculture mainly grain, vegetables and fruits. Villages in the region of Damascusmarker and Aleppomarker depend on trading. Some other villages such as Marmaritamarker depend heavily on tourist activity .

Mediterranean cities in Syriamarker such as Tartusmarker and Lattakiamarker have similar types of villages. Mainly, villages were built in very good sites which have the fundamentals of the rural life like water. An example of a general Mediterranean Syrian village in Tartus can be Al annazemarker which is a small village that belongs to the area of Al Sauda. The area of Al Sauda is called as ALNAHIA which contains lots of villages. ALNAHIA is a part of district and the city consists of many districts. For Example, the district of Tartus is part of Tartus Governoratemarker. Al Sauda (which is called ALNAHIA) belongs to Tartus district. Al annazemarker village is a part of Al Sauda.


Like France, villages in Lebanonmarker are usually located in remote mountainous areas. The majority of villages in Lebanon retain their Aramaic names or are derivative of the Aramaic names, and this is because Aramaic was still in use in Mount Lebanonmarker up to the 18th century.

Many of the Lebanese villages are a part of districts, these districts are known as "kadaa" which includes the districts of Baabda (Baabda), Aley (Aley), Matn (Jdeideh), Keserwan (Jounieh), Chouf (Beiteddine), Jbeil (Byblos), Tripoli (Tripoli), Zgharta (Zgharta / Ehden), Bsharri (Bsharri), Batroun (Batroun), Koura (Amioun), Miniyeh-Danniyeh (Minyeh / Sir Ed-Danniyeh), Zahle (Zahle), Rashaya (Rashaya), Western Beqaa (Jebjennine / Saghbine), Sidon (Sidon), Jezzine (Jezzine), Tyre (Tyre), Nabatiyeh (Nabatiyeh), Marjeyoun (Marjeyoun), Hasbaya (Hasbaya), Bint Jbeil (Bint Jbeil), Baalbek (Baalbek), and Hermel (Hermel).

The district of Danniyeh conists of thirty six small villages, which includes Almrah, Kfirchlan, Kfirhbab, Hakel al Azimah, Siir, Bakhoun, Miryata, Assoun, Sfiiri, Kharnoub, Katteen, Kfirhabou, Zghartegrein, Ein Qibil.

Danniyeh (known also as Addinniyeh, Al Dinniyeh, Al Danniyeh, Arabic: سير الضنية) is a region located in Miniyeh-Danniyeh District in the North Governorate of Lebanon. The region lies east of Tripoli, extends north as far as Akkar District, south to Bsharri District and Zgharta District and as far east as Baalbek and Hermel. Dinniyeh has an excellent ecological environment filled with woodlands, orchards and groves. Several villages are located in this mountainous area, the largest town being Sir Al Dinniyeh.

An example of a typical mountainous Lebanese village in Dannieh would be Hakel al Azimah which is a small village that belongs to the district of Danniyeh, situated between Bakhoun and Assoun's boundaries. It is in the centre of the valleys that lie between the Arbeen Mountains and the Khanzouh.
  • Village in South Lebanon

Sub-Saharan Africa

Australasia & Oceania

Pacific IslandsCommunities on pacific islands were historically called villages by English speakers who traveled and settled in the area. Some communities such as several Villages of Guam continue to be called villages despite having large populations that can exceed 40,000 residents.

New Zealand

The traditional Maori village was the pa, a fortified hill-top settlement. Tree-fern logs and flax were the main building materials.

AustraliaThe term village often is used in reference to small planned communities such as retirement communities or shopping districts, and tourist areas such as ski resorts. Small rural communities are usually known as townships. Larger settlements are known as towns.

South America

ArgentinaUsually set in remote mountainous areas, some also cater to winter sports and/or tourism, see: Uspallatamarker, La Cumbrecita, Villa Traful and La Cumbremarker

North America


United States

Incorporated villages

In twenty U.S. states, the term "village" refers to a specific form of incorporated municipal government, similar to a city but with less authority and geographic scope. However, this is a generality; in many states, there are villages that are an order of magnitude larger than the smallest cities in the state. The distinction is not necessarily based on population, but on the relative powers granted to the different types of municipalities and correspondingly, different obligations to provide specific services to residents.

In some states such as New York, Wisconsin, or Michigan, a village is an incorporated municipality, usually, but not always, within a single town or civil township. Residents pay taxes to the village and town or township and may vote in elections for both as well. In some cases, the village may be coterminous with the town or township. There are also many villages which span the boundaries of more than one town or township, and some villages may even straddle county borders.

There is no limit to the population of a village in New York; Hempsteadmarker, the largest village in the state, has 55,000 residents, making it more populous than some of the state's cities. However, villages in the state may not exceed five square miles (13 km²) in area.

In the state of Wisconsinmarker a village is always legally separate from the township that it has been incorporated from. The largest village is Menomonee Fallsmarker, which has over 32,000 residents.

Michigan and Illinois also have no set population limit for villages and there are many villages that are larger than cities in those states.

Villages in Ohiomarker are almost always legally separate from any townships that they may have been incorporated from (there are exceptions, such as Chagrin Fallsmarker, where the township includes the entirety of the village). They have no area limitations, but must reincorporate as cities if they grow to over 5,000 in population. Villages have the same home-rule rights as cities with fewer of the responsibilities. Unlike cities, they have the option of being either a "statutory village" and running their governments according to state law (with a six-member council serving four-year terms and a mayor who votes only to break ties) or being a "charter village" and writing a charter to run their government as they see fit.

In Marylandmarker, a locality designated "Village of ..." may be either an incorporated town or a special tax district. An example of the latter is the Village of Friendship Heights.

In states that have New England towns, a "village" is a center of population or trade, including the town center, in an otherwise sparsely-developed town or city — for instance, the village of Hyannismarker in the city of the Town of Barnstablemarker.

Unincorporated villages

In many states, the term "village" is used to refer to a relatively small unincorporated community, similar to a hamlet in New York state. This informal usage may be found even in states that have villages as an incorporated municipality, although such usage might be considered incorrect and confusing.

See also

Settlement types
Countries and localities
Developed environments


External links

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