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The main street of the village of Castle Combe, Wiltshire, England.


Masouleh village, Gilan Province, Iran

KippelLötschental WoodenHouses

An alpine village in the Lötschental Valley, Switzerland

Cumalıkızık 7121

Cumalıkızık, a traditional Turkish village, Bursa, Turkey


A village in central India.

A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand (sometimes tens of thousands), Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New York City and the Saifi Village in Beirut, Lebanon, as well as Hampstead Village in the London conurbation. Villages are normally permanent, with fixed dwellings; however, transient villages[1] can occur. Further, the dwellings of a village are fairly close to one another, not scattered broadly over the landscape, as a 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.[2] 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 continues, though not always in connection with industrialisation. Villages have been eclipsed in importance as units of human society and settlement.

Traditional villagesEdit

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 on artisan fishing and located adjacent to fishing grounds.

South AsiaEdit

India "The soul of India lives in its villages", declared M. K. Gandhi[3] at the beginning of 20th century. According to the 2001 Indian census, 74% of Indians live in 638,365 different villages.[4] 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 of the villages have their own temple, mosque or church depending on the local religious following.

East AsiaEdit

Ogi Shirakawa02bs3200

Shirakawa-gō, Nagano Japan.


In mainland China, villages are divisions under township Zh:乡 or town Zh:镇.

Taiwan In Taiwan, villages are divisions under townships 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.


South Korea

Southeast AsiaEdit

Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia


The nagari of Pariangan, West Sumatra.

Kampung house in Telok Gadong

A kampung-type house in Telok Gadong, Pangkor Island, Malaysia

In Indonesia, depending on the principles they are administered, villages are called desa or kelurahan. A desa (a term that derives from a Sanskrit word meaning "country" that is found in a name such as "Bangladesh") is administered according to traditions and customary law (adat), while a kelurahan is administered along more "modern" principles. Desa are generally located in rural areas while kelurahan are generally urban subdivisions. A village head is respectively called kepala desa or lurah. Both are elected by the local community. A desa or kelurahan is itself the subdivision of a kecamatan (district), in turn the subdivision of a kabupaten (regency).

The same general concept applies all over Indonesia. However, there is some variation among the vast numbers of Austronesian ethnic groups. For instance, in Bali villages have been created by grouping traditional hamlets or banjar, which constitute the basis of Balinese social life. In the Minangkabau country in West Sumatra province traditional villages are called nagari (a term deriving from another Sanskrit word meaning "city", which can be found in a name like "Srinagar"). In some areas such as Tanah Toraja, elders take turns watching over the village at a command post. As a general rule, desa and kelurahan are groupings of hamlets (kampung in Indonesian, dusun in the Javanese language, banjar in Bali).

In Malaysia, 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".[5] In other words, a kampung is defined today as a village in Brunei, Indonesia or Malaysia. 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),[6] 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 Philippines, 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. Those are common in 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. Barangays more correspond to the villages of old times, and the chairman (formerly a village datu) now settles intrapersonal matters or polices the village, though with much less authority and respect than in Indonesia or Malaysia.


Village, or "làng", is a basis of Vietnam 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 EuropeEdit

Slavic countries Edit

Selo (Cyrillic: село; Polish: wieś, sioło) is a Slavic word meaning "village" in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine. For example there are numerous sela (plural of selo) called Novo Selo in Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro and others in Serbia, and Macedonia. In Slovenia, 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 Slovenia.



In Bulgaria, 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.[7] A 2004 Human Settlement Profile on Bulgaria[8] 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%.[7]

It also stated that

the state of the environment in the small towns and villages is good apart from the low level of infrastructure.[7]

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".

Russia Edit

Russia village

Typical house in a Russian village

In Russia, the bulk of the rural population are concentrated in rural localities. Two most common types of rural localities are derevnya (деревня) and selo (село). Historically, the formal indication of status was religious: a city (gorod) had a cathedral, a selo had a church, while a derevnya had neither.

The lowest administrative unit of the Russian Empire, 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, dekulakization, and the World War II losses, but has nearly stabilized since. During 1930–1937, mass starvation in Russia and other parts of the Soviet Union lead to the death of at least 14.5 million peasants (including 5-7 million in the Holodomor).[9]

Most Russian rural localities have populations of less than 200 people, and the smaller places 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.[10]

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 Ukraine, 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 (Russian: стани́ца; Ukrainian: станиця, stanytsia|). 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.

Rural settlements in UkraineEdit

In Ukraine, a village, locally selo (село), is considered the lowest administrative unit. The villages may have an individual administration (silrada) or joined - a combination of two or more villages. Villages may also be part of a city council (miskrada) or town council (selyshchna rada) administration.

There is, however, another smaller type settlement, locally called as selysche (селище). Literally it is translated as a settlement. In comparison with an urban-type settlement, the Ukrainian legislation does not have a concrete definition and a criterion to differentiate such a settlement from a village. It is a type of a small rural locality that might have been a khutir, a fisherman's settlement, or a dacha. They are administered by a closest silrada located in a near adjacent village. Sometimes selysche is also used for general purpose referring to adjacent settlements near a bigger city including urban-type settlement (selysche miskoho typu) and/or village, however, such ambiguity is often avoided with an urbanized settlement referring to it three-letter abbreviation smt instead.

Khutir (хутір) and Stanytsia (станиця) are not part of the administrative division any longer majorly due to the collectivization. Khutir was a very small rural locality consisting of just few housing units and was a sort of an individual farm. They became really popular during the Stolypin reform in the early 20th century. During the collectivization, however, residents of such settlement were usually proclaimed as kulaks having all they property confiscated for the good of everybody else (nationalize) without any obligations. Stanitsa also has not survived as an administrative term. Stanitsa was a type of a collective community that may have included one or several settlements such as villages, khutis, and others. Today, stanitsa's formation has only survived in Kuban (Russian Federation) where the Ukrainians were resettled during the Russian Empire.

Western & Southern EuropeEdit

United Kingdom Edit

A village in the UK 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, organisation of agriculture and landholding, and likelihood of flooding. For example, in areas such as the Lincolnshire Wolds, 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 Scotland, 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.Some show archaeological evidence of settlement at three or four different layers, each distinct from the previous one. 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 Hampstead, London and Didsbury in Manchester. Many villages are now predominantly dormitory locations and have suffered the loss of shops, churches and other facilities.


Bisley, Gloucestershire, a village in the Cotswolds

For many British people, the village represents an ideal of Great Britain. 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 Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire, North East Derbyshire, County Durham, South Wales and Northumberland are known as pit villages. These (such as Murton, County Durham) 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, Rossington in South Yorkshire came to have over four times more people than the nearby town of Bawtry. 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.[11] Unlike Wales, Scottish community councils have no statutory powers.[12]
  • 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 Horsforth in Leeds.



Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (Lot) is one of "The Most Beautiful Villages in France".

Same general definition as in the UK.

An independent association named Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, was created in 1982 to promote assets of small and picturesque French villages of quality heritage. As of 2008, 152 villages in France have been labelled as "The Most Beautiful Villages of France".


Spain has plenty of little villages around its territory. Country life is more usual in Castile and Aragón. All villages have a church or hermitage.


Villages are more usual in the northern and centrer region and in Alentejo, most of all have a church and a "Casa do Povo", People's house, where there is usually the village's mid summer parties.


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. In modern days, the term dorp (lit. "village") is usually applied to settlements no larger than 20,000, though there's no official law regarding status of settlements in the Netherlands.

Middle EastEdit

Lebanon Edit


The main square of Saifi Village in Centre Ville, Beirut, Lebanon

Like France, villages in Lebanon 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 Lebanon up to the 18th century.[13]

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 consists 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.


File:General view to Al annaze1.jpg

Syria contains a large number of villages that vary in size and importance, including the ancient, historical and religious villages, such as Ma'loula, 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 the Orontes River basin depend mostly on agriculture, mainly grain, vegetables and fruits. Villages in the region of Damascus and Aleppo depend on trading. Some other villages, such as Marmarita depend heavily on tourist activity.

Mediterranean cities in Syria, such as Tartus and Latakia have similar types of villages. Mainly, villages were built in very good sites which had the fundamentals of the rural life, like water. An example of a Mediterranean Syrian village in Tartus would be Al-Annaze, which is a small village that belongs to the area of Al Sauda. The area of Al Sauda is called a nahiya, which is a subdistrict.

Sub-Saharan AfricaEdit

Australasia & OceaniaEdit

Mt Vaea from Lepea village, Samoa

Round houses (fale tele) with domed roof in Lepea village in Samoa with Mount Vaea beyond, the burial place of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Pacific Islands Communities 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 Māori village was the , a fortified hill-top settlement. Tree-fern logs and flax were the main building materials.

Australia The 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 AmericaEdit

Argentina Usually set in remote mountainous areas, some also cater to winter sports and/or tourism, see: Uspallata, La Cumbrecita, Villa Traful and La Cumbre

North AmericaEdit

Canada Edit

United States Edit

Incorporated villages

In twenty[14] 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; Hempstead, 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 Wisconsin, a village is always legally separate from the towns that it has been incorporated from. The largest village is Menomonee Falls, 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. The village of Arlington Heights, IL had 75,101 residents as of the 2010 census.

Villages in Ohio are often legally part of the township from which they were incorporated, although exceptions such as Hiram exist, in which the village is separate from the township.[15] They have no area limitations, but become cities if they grow a population of more than 5,000.[16]

In Maryland, a locality designated "Village of ..." may be either an incorporated town or a special tax district.[17] 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 Hyannis in the city of the Barnstable, Massachusetts.

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 alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ Dr Greg Stevenson, "What is a Village?", Exploring British Villages, BBC, 2006, accessed 20 October 2009
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Indian Census". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  5. ^ "Meriam-Webster Online". 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  6. ^ Geertz, Clifford. "Local Knowledge: Fact and Law in Comparative Perspective", pp. 167-234 in Geertz Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology, NY: Basic Books. 1983.
  7. ^ a b c "Human Settlement Country Profile, Bulgaria (2004)" (PDF). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Robert Conquest (1986) The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505180-7.
  10. ^ "Российское село в демографическом измерении" (Rural Russia measured demographically) (Russian). This article reports the following census statistics:
    Census year 1959 1970 1979 1989 2002
    Total number of rural localities in Russia 294,059 216,845 177,047 152,922 155,289
    Of them, with population 1 to 10 persons 41,493 25,895 23,855 30,170 47,089
    Of them, with population 11 to 200 persons 186,437 132,515 105,112 80,663 68,807
  11. ^ "National Statistics". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  12. ^ "Portobello Community Council". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  13. ^ "A project proposal". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  14. ^ "Village". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  15. ^ "Detailed map of Ohio" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 2000. Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  16. ^ "Ohio Revised Code Section 703.01(A)". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  17. ^ 2002 Census of Governments, Individual State Descriptions (PDF)

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