How they live in the narrowest city in the world?

In the depths of Tibet, in a narrow mountain gorge, there is an unusual city called Yanjin (Zhaotong urban district, China). A remarkable fact of its existence was not the picturesque nature and the cleanest air, but the fact that it is the narrowest city in the world, in which there are no noisy avenues or intricate transport interchanges, since high-rise buildings are practically built into the steep slopes of sheer cliffs that limit the width of the settlement.

Although it cannot be called a forgotten god and people at all, since it has a strategically important national railway line connecting China and Vietnam, as well as from 400 to 500 thousand inhabitants. Considering the almost vertical location of the city, it is not surprising that tunnels were made for the railway and the only motorway, deep in the rock and bridges were made, since there is no familiar plain in this area.


Reference:  Yanjin is not the only city with a similar name in China. Despite the fact that the name is pronounced the same, the spelling and meaning are different. The settlement, which will now be discussed, is located in the county of the same name belonging to the Zhaotong urban district of Yunnan province and is translated as "Salty ford", since salt marshes were found on the banks of the Nanxihe River. This Yanjin has an area of ​​240 square meters. km, at its narrowest point its width reaches only 30 m, and at its widest it does not exceed 300 meters.


The specificity of the relief dictates both its urban planning norms and the layout, because the first floors of multi-storey buildings practically hang over the waters of a mountain river, which is absolutely unpredictable. Those who live along mountain rivers know that a seemingly modest rivulet, which in a drought can easily be forded practically without getting your feet wet, turns into a roaring stream of water in a matter of minutes, sweeping away everything in its path.

Given this circumstance, it is not surprising that all buildings erected on the first coastline are installed on high piles. But the last row of houses is carefully strengthened to avoid collapses during landslides or rockfalls. Only those buildings that are in the center of the city are relatively safe, although in the narrowest parts of the gorge there is only one row of houses, repeating the outlines of the coast.


For obvious reasons, Yanjin cannot grow in width, so every year its length becomes more and more, and multi-storey buildings are getting higher. And this is despite the fact that the river can only be crossed in two places, and there is only one highway leading from the city. But this, apparently, does not frighten the locals, they are in no hurry to leave the strange housing, but their own, because it is very expensive, like every piece of land.


There is also not a lot of work in the town, part of the population works in the sphere of serving the tourism industry, another part in education, the rest serve the railway and the only highway with bridges.

It is especially difficult for the townspeople during floods. Then the streams of water rushing from the tops of the mountains to the river, demolish scarce crops, since some residents manage to earn money from growing rice or vegetables. And the river itself rises so high that it can flood not only the lower floor, while the piles not only do not save, but can also collapse.

A severe flood that occurred in 1992 took away not only crops and homes, but also killed people. However, like 2020, when the whole world learned about the unique city built almost on the river. The news feeds of the world media were filled with pictures and videos taken with the help of drones, where it is clearly seen that many houses, despite the high piles, were flooded with water, which even rose to the nearest streets.


Despite the fact that houses located on the banks of the river are constantly being washed away, the townspeople are in no hurry to leave their city, especially since after the floods new districts with safer houses and comfortable apartments are being built.


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