The 4 cities around the world that are also sovereign states

In a world dominated by nation-states, city-states stand out as unique entities, embodying the essence of sovereignty and independence within the confines of urban centers.

In a world dominated by nation-states, city-states stand out as unique entities, embodying the essence of sovereignty and independence within the confines of urban centers.

While their prevalence has diminished over the centuries, a handful of city-states continue to thrive, each offering a fascinating blend of history, culture, and governance.

From the bustling metropolis of Singapore to the glamorous principality of Monaco, and the spiritual enclave of Vatican City to the ancient republic of San Marino, these urban microcosms command attention on the global stage despite their diminutive size.

The 4 city-states around the world

In this exploration, we delve into the intricacies of some of the main city-states in the contemporary world.


Singapore is a highly developed sovereign city-state and island country located in Southeast Asia. It has a population of over 5.7 million people, making it one of the most densely populated countries globally.

Despite its small size, Singapore has emerged as a global financial center and a hub for trade, finance, and technology in the Asia-Pacific region. The city-state’s success can be attributed to its strategic location, efficient infrastructure, pro-business policies, and skilled workforce.

Singapore’s economy is characterized by a strong emphasis on manufacturing, financial services, tourism, and shipping. It is home to one of the busiest ports in the world and hosts numerous multinational corporations and financial institutions.

Singapore’s government operates as a parliamentary republic with a unicameral legislature. The ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), has been in power since independence in 1965. While the country is known for its strict laws and regulations, it also boasts a high standard of living, excellent healthcare, and a multicultural society with a rich tapestry of ethnicities, languages, and religions.


Monaco is a tiny sovereign city-state located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. With an area of just over 2 square kilometers, it is the second-smallest independent state in the world, after Vatican City.

Despite its size, Monaco is renowned for its opulent lifestyle, luxury casinos, yacht-filled harbor, and glamorous events such as the Formula One Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo Casino.

The city-state’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, banking, real estate, and high-end services. It is a tax haven with favorable tax policies that attract wealthy individuals and businesses from around the world.

Monaco is ruled by a constitutional monarchy, with the Prince of Monaco serving as the head of state. The principality is known for its stability, security, and luxurious living standards.

Vatican City

Vatican City is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. It is the spiritual and administrative center of the Roman Catholic Church. As well as the residence of the Pope, the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.

Despite its small size (about 44 hectares), Vatican City holds immense significance for Catholics worldwide as the seat of the Holy See and the site of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and numerous other religious and cultural landmarks.

Vatican City operates as an absolute elective monarchy, with the Pope serving as the sovereign. The Pope is assisted by various departments and officials responsible for governing the Catholic Church and managing the city-state’s affairs.

While Vatican City is primarily a religious and cultural institution, it also issues its own coins, stamps, and passports and has diplomatic relations with numerous countries around the world.

San Marino

San Marino is a small microstate enclaved within Italy, near the Adriatic coast. It is one of the world’s oldest republics, with a history dating back to the 3rd century AD. Despite its small size and population (around 34,000 people), San Marino has preserved its independence and sovereignty for centuries. Thus making it one of the world’s enduring city-states.

The economy of San Marino is primarily based on tourism, banking, and light industry. The city-state boasts a picturesque landscape, historic landmarks, and a charming medieval atmosphere that attract visitors from around the world.

San Marino is governed as a parliamentary republic, with a democratically elected legislature and a system of checks and balances. It maintains close ties with Italy and the European Union while retaining its distinct identity and autonomy.

Each of these city-states has its own unique characteristics, history, and significance on the global stage, despite their small size relative to other countries. They serve as reminders of the enduring legacy of city-state governance and the potential for small entities to thrive in the modern world.

Read also: The world’s smallest countries by population

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