2 years ago

The Weirdest Countries In The World

Curious Cat
The Weirdest Countries In The World


Every country has its quirks. And while there’s no scale to measure weirdness, it’s a safe bet that the five countries listed below are among the weirdest in the world.

Armenia, the country where chess is a compulsory subject in school.Chess is part of the primary school curriculum and valued as much as maths and history.This landlocked country is bordered on the north by Georgia and on the south by Iran and Turkey.Its capital, Yerevan, is also known as the ‘pink city’ for its ancient buildings built from a pinkish volcanic rock. Armenia has a rich Christian history, and many Armenians are still convinced Noah’s Ark is embedded in ice atop the impressive Mount Ararat. A piece of the Ark can even be viewed in the Etchmiadzin Cathedral Museum.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, a cluster of countries in Eastern Europe pushed to join the EU. Off the radar of most travellers, a trip to Belarus offers a much-needed respite from the crowds of Europe’s more popular cities. Its capital, Minsk, has been burned down 18 times. Concrete statues sit atop rolling hills studded with traditional windmills, while striking Soviet memorials sit next to fairy tale castles. There’s also plenty to see for those keen on the weird and wacky, including a spooky Museum of Malformations of the Human Body, located in the basement of the Grodno Medical State University.

North Korea
A proudly reclusive, quasi-communist state, no list of the world’s weirdest countries would be complete without North Korea. While Beijing is the only way for Western tourists to enter the country, once inside, it’s surprisingly safe, provided you toe the government’s line. You’ll be accompanied everywhere by two state-employed guides, and hear a somewhat questionable account of North Korea’s history. You’ll be under constant surveillance during your stay, and probably only see what the government wants you to see. Unsettling, yes, but it is a small preview of what life is like in the world’s most tightly controlled nation. Visas to North Korea are issued in Beijing, so this is where you should shop around for tours.

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat put Kazakhstan on the map in 2006, and left millions scratching their head about the weird Central Asian country. While Borat’s representations weren’t exactly accurate, there’s no denying Kazakhstan does have it's quirks. The national drink is made from fermented horse milk (not urine as Borat would have you believe!); one of Kazakhstan’s most popular dishes, Kazy, is smoked horsemeat sausage; and the country’s most popular sport, “Buzkashi”, which literally means “grabbing the dead goat”, sees players on horseback vie for control of the “ball”, which, as the name suggests, is the headless carcass of a goat. And after a game, the players all have a party. As Borat says, “Big country, people good”.

“We do not believe in Gross National Product. Gross National Happiness is more important”. And so the teenage King of Bhutan famously said in 1979. It’s no wonder visitors refer to the isolated Himalayan nation as the world’s last Shangri-La. However, Bhutan does have a penchant for the peculiar. Huge, decorative phallic symbols adorn temples, houses, and government buildings, while chilli is considered a full meal and rice is served red. All tourists must pay $250 per person per day. On its face, this may seem expensive, but it covers accommodation, transport, a guide, food, and entry fees. Plus, it keeps the backpacking hordes at bay.

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