With over 7 billion people in the world, the size of cities continues to increase every single year. Many of the world’s largest cities are in areas of the world where history dates back many hundreds to thousands of years. The cities on this list represent a variety of different culture and each have their own unique heritage. Here are the top ten most populated cities proper in the world:
Delhi is the second largest city in India and is considered to be the commercial and financial center in Northern India. It is also one of the fastest growing big cities in the entire world. Delhi is a cultural melting pot and is home to many significant monuments such as the Jama Masjid, the Red Fort, and Humayun’s Tomb. Delhi is famous for its many markets and shopping plazas including Chandi Chown, one of the world’s oldest and busiest markets.
Priorly known as Canton, Guangzhou is the largest city in the province of Guangdong, China. The city is known for being a central hub for transportation and trading and is located on the shores of the Pearl river, nearby both Hong Kong and Macau. The city is also known for its amazing shopping. There is a huge selection of markets and shopping centers specializing in made-in-China products such as teas, electronics, jewelry, clothing, and more. The city has undergone many revolutions in its history and is often credited to shaping modern China. It is home to some of the oldest Chinese temples, imperial tombs, and some of the oldest parks in all of China. This is contrasted with some of the most modern and inspiring architecture and buildings in all of China.
Located in northern China, Tianjin is the third largest city in the country. For more than 100 years, Tianjin has served as a major seaport and the gateway to, the country’s capital city, Beijing. Culture is very much alive in Tianjin and is the home base of Beijing opera, the most prestigious form of Chinese Opera. Located about 9 miles outside the urban heart of Tianjin, Yangliuqing, is famous for its popular Chinese New Year-themed, traditional-style, colorful wash paintings.
Originally named after Saint Paul of Tarsus, São Paulo is the largest and richest city in South America. As a result, São Paulo has significant influence over the region in terms of commerce, finance, arts, and entertainment. Experts believe São Paulo will experience the second highest economic growth in the world of any major city between 2011 and 2025 and is a testament to the awe of the city. São Paulo is home to hundreds of skyscrapers and ranks as the city with the third highest density of buildings in the world. Interestingly enough, the city of São Paulo also boasts the world’s largest helicopter fleet.
Although it is only the second largest city in China, Beijing is home to thousands of years of culture and dozens of heritage sites. As a result, more than 120 million Chinese tourists and 4.5 million international visitors make their way to the city each year. Beijing is home to the Forbidden City, the concrete jungle of Tiananmen Square, Qianmen, and the Temple of Heaven. It is also home to the Beijing Capital International Airport, the second busiest airport in the world based on passenger traffic.
Moscow is home to more billionaires than any other city in the world. It is also one of the most expensive cities to live in as well. The culture and nightlife is beyond comparison to that of other places in the region. Moscow boasts dozens of world-class venues, museums, art galleries, restaurants, bars, and some of the most unique and interesting architecture around. The new Moscow International Business Center is home to some of the tallest buildings in Europe and some of the most gorgeous buildings in the world.
Formerly Bombay, Mumbai is both the economic and financial hub of India and India’s largest city. Mumbai provides a stark contrast between wealth and extreme poverty, often side-by-side. Also located in Mumbai is Bollywood, India’s equivalent to Hollywood. Mumbai experiences some of the worst traffic, smog and pollution in the world. For those traveling to Mumbai, it often takes several days to get over the initial madness and busyness of the city, but once you do, you will discover a city trenched in culture and filled with art, museums, and some of the nicest people in the world.
Without a doubt, Karachi is both the financial and cultural center of Pakistan and is one of the most densely populated cities in the country. Karachi is also a hub of higher education for Southern Asia and is possibly considered to be one of the best places for education in the entire Muslim world. Karachi was the capital of Pakistan until Islamabad was constructed with the aim of expanding development evenly across the country. Despite losing its capital status, Karachi is still the economic powerhouse of the country. It is home to two of the region’s busiest ports which are Port of Karachi and Port Bin Qasim. Karachi is located in the southern part of the country and is conveniently located on the Arabian Sea. It is often nicknamed as the “City of Lights” and “The Bride of Cities” due to its liveliness.
One of the most unique cities in the world, Istanbul boasts a wonderful combination of Byzantine architecture, lively markets, and some of the best nightlife in the entire world. Beautiful mansions and palaces line the Bosphorus strait, one of the busiest waterways in the world. Istanbul is also renowned for its amazing restaurants and large selection of Turkish cuisine. Additionally, Istanbul is home to the Hagia Sophia, the architectural marvel, which was originally a church, later a mosque, and now a museum. Interestingly enough, Istanbul was the world’s largest city for close to a 1000 years. In 500 AD, Istanbul overtook Rome as the world’s largest city and maintained its position as so until the mid 13th century. Istanbul is also home to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. The market spans more than 61 streets and has more than 3,000 shops, which manage to attract upwards of 250,000 to 400,000 visitors per day.
Shanghai is both the cultural and economic center of Eastern Asia. Out of all of China’s many cities, Shanghai is considered to be the most modern and international. Shanghai’s skyline is one of the most recognizable in the world and is home to the Shanghai World Financial Center, the tallest skyscraper in China and one of the tallest buildings in the whole world. Shanghai, at its heart, represents an interesting blend of western and eastern culture. The cost to live in Shanghai has skyrocketed in recent years due to the high level of demand.
Featured image: Flickr by Thomas Fischler