Cities with more than 10 million inhabitants are rare: we counted exactly 16. That is if you take the definition “City Proper” for population numbers. There is a lot of controversy about how to count the population of a city. Besides “City Proper” there is also the “Urban agglomeration” and the “metropolitan area”. For example, some calculations include suburbs, others don’t. City Proper includes residents within the legal or political city limits, not residents in the agglomeration, urban area or suburbs. Take your suburbs with you, the population is tens of million higher and cities such as Tokyo, Jakarta and Delhi would have been on the list. Check historyaah for list of least developed countries in the world.
- Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Kinshasa is the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, located in Central Africa. Until 1960, this country was a colony of Belgium. The old name of Kinshasa is Léopoldville (Léopoldville), named after the Belgian King Leopold II. The city was founded as a trading settlement by explorer Henry Stanley in 1881. Kinshasa is located on the Congo River, which forms the border with neighboring Congo-Brazzaville. Today, Kinshasa is the largest French-speaking city in the world. In Kinshasa you will find modern residential areas and commercial centers, but also slums. Most of the new city districts are poor neighbourhoods, where people live in unhealthy and unsafe conditions. Kinshasa has nearly 11.5 million inhabitants.
- Sao Paulo (Brazil)
São Paulo is located in the southeast of Brazil, more than 50 kilometers from the coast. It is the largest city in Brazil by population and the largest city in the world with Portuguese as an official language. São Paulo is of great economic importance to Brazil, with 63% of all multinational companies based in Brazil. Around the famous avenue Avenida Paulista you will find important commercial centers, but also many shops, cultural attractions and leisure options.
The city was founded in 1554 around a mission post named after Saint Paul (São Paulo). The village officially became a city in 1711 and grew into an important trading city in the 19th century, mainly through the export of coffee.
São Paulo consists of a melting pot of peoples: Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Arabs and Jews can be seen everywhere in the streets. The city has more than 12 million inhabitants.
- Moscow (Russia)
It used to be the capital of the mighty Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow became the capital of Russia. It is the northernmost and coldest metropolis on Earth. Moscow’s most famous building is undoubtedly the Kremlin on Red Square. Moscow is also the city of opera and ballet with the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre. In recent decades, numerous casinos, clubs and entertainment venues have been established in the city.
Moscow is the largest city in Russia and the political, economic and cultural center of the country. The city has 12.2 million inhabitants.
Mumbai was called Bombay until 1995. The metropolis is the largest city in India, located on the Indian west coast. The Mumbai area is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Mumbai is India’s main financial and economic center and also the capital of the Bollywood film industry. On the one hand, Mumbai radiates enormous wealth, with chic hotels and enormous skyscrapers. On the other hand, you will also find slums and grinding poverty. Major attractions include the triumphal arch ‘Gateway of India’ and the old railway station. The city attracts residents from all over India and is a melting pot of peoples and cultures. Nearly 12.5 million people live within the Mumbai city limits.
In 1980 it was little more than a fishing village. Today, Shenzhen is a city of millions. Shenzhen is located just north of Hong Kong, in the Pearl River Valley on China’s southern coast. It is a city that is a model for the unbridled economic growth that China has experienced in recent decades. Shenzhen was the fastest growing city in the world in the 1990s and 2000s. Shenzhen is an important financial center and home to numerous Chinese multinationals. Because the city has sprung up in such a short time, you will hardly find any historical sights. The city has more than 12.5 million (mainly young) inhabitants, with an average age of 27 years.
Originally the name of the city was ‘Canton’. Today the metropolis is called Guangzhou. The city is located on the Pearl River. Guangzhou is China’s third largest city and part of one of the largest urbanized areas in the world, along with Dongguan, Foshan and Shenzen. Guangzhou has the fifth largest port in the world.
The history of the metropolis goes back 2200 years. The city was one of the starting points of the maritime Silk Road. The Pearl River and the Canton Tower (600 meters high, tallest tower in China) are popular tourist attractions in Guangzhou. More than 13 million people live within the city limits.
Karachi is located in the south of Pakistan, on the coast of the Arabian Sea. Karachi is a port city and one of the country’s major transportation hubs. Although Karachi is not the capital (that is Islamabad), the city is the financial and economic heart of Pakistan. A must-see is the white marble-covered mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Karachi was founded in 1729 as the fortified settlement of Kolachi. During British colonial rule, the city quickly grew into a busy traffic hub of the British Indian Empire. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the population increased enormously. Today, 14.9 million people live in this metropolis.
- Istanbul (Turkey)
Istanbul: a Turkish metropolis on the border between Europe and Asia, located on both sides of the Bosphorus strait. Founded as a Greek settlement called Byzantium, the city became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and later of the Ottoman Empire under the name of Constantinople. In 1930, after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the name was changed to Istanbul. Although Ankara is officially the capital of Turkey, Istanbul is the cultural, economic and historical heart of the country. The city is also a tourist attraction, with Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia Mosque and Blue Mosque as top attractions. 15 million people live in Istanbul.
Beijing, formerly known as Beijing, is the capital of China. The history of the metropolis dates back to the 11th century BC. Beijing is the historical, political, cultural and economic center of China in every sense.
You will find both ultramodern skyscrapers and traditional buildings in the Chinese capital. A good example of modern architecture is Beijing’s National Stadium, built for the 2008 Olympic Games. Among traditional Chinese structures, the ‘Forbidden City’ and the ‘Temple of Heaven’ are particularly noteworthy. With its 21.7 million inhabitants, the metropolis is the second largest city on earth.
Number one on our top 10 list is Shanghai, China. This huge metropolis is located on the east coast of China, on the Yangtze River Delta. The Huangpu River flows through the heart of the city. Shanghai was a small fishing village in the 19th century, but from 1842 it developed into a port city with a busy seaport. In the course of the 20th century, Shanghai became an important trading and financial center. Since 2005, the port of Shanghai has been the largest in the world. The bursting metropolis is seen as a model of the incredible growth of the Chinese economy. Some skyscrapers are among the tallest buildings in the world, such as the World Financial Center (492 meters). The ‘skyline’ of the Lujiazui financial district is a tourist attraction in itself.