la rinconada

Top 5: Where are the highest cities in the world?

Researchers show that humans cannot live sustainably above 5,500 meters above sea level. However, below … Here are the Top 5 highest cities in the world. Two in the Andes, three in the Himalayas.

1. La Rinconada (Peru). 5,100m

Nearly 4 hours drive from Puno, a stone’s throw from the Bolivian border, welcome to La Rinconada. The highest city in the world. If 50.000 people have settled in this hostile environment, it is because of gold. Ananea’s gold mine is a real far west. Built in a hurry in the scree of the mountain, the city is only a tangle of barracks and spillage of pollutants used in the mine. Clearly not a tourist destination.

La Rinconada

2. Tuiwa (Tibet, China) 5,070m

On the shore of Puma Yumco lake, men raise cattle and women weave yak hair. A temple, a few houses built in the Tibetan tradition. Here you are in Tuiwa, often called “the village on the roof of Tibet”. To get there, it’s more than 6 hours from Lhasa, yet only 220 km away.

Tuiwa, China

3. Wenquan (China, Qinghai) 4,880m

In the Tangulla range, just after crossing the Tangu La pass, on the highway and railroad leading to Tibet. A small human settlement stands guard. From Wenquan, there is more than a day’s drive to Lhasa (Tibet), almost double to go to Xining (Qinghai). The small city is born in 1955, built by the Chinese.

Wenquan, China

4. Karzok (India) 4,570m

At the 4th rank of the highest cities in the world, we find another Himalayan city. Karzok is located on the shores of Lake Tso Moriri, a 6-hour drive from Leh, the main city of Ladakh. In addition to the twenty or so houses, there is a 300-year-old monastery. It is home to some 70 Buddhist monks. Each summer, for 2 days, the monastery festival attracts nomads from all the surrounding mountains (and many tourists).

Karzok, India

5. Parinacota (Chile) 4,428m

Near 2,200km from Santiago and only about thirty from the Bolivian border, Parinacota is located in the far north of the country, in the heart of the Andean Altiplano. Small village of 29 inhabitants, it is the highest in Chile. There are only a few houses and a 17th century church.

Parinacota, Chile

A little further down in the ranking of the highest cities in the world, there is a very large city. El Alto, in Bolivia, is almost 4,150m above sea level and has over 850,000 inhabitants.

Credits : Rinconada by Yo (Lumix serie G) / Tuiwa from / Wenquan by Siviaggia / Karzok by By Rafał Kozubek / Parinacota by Hermann Luyken

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