The cities with the highest elevation in the world will differ from source to source. The major problem is not elevation of the places per se, but confusion as to what actually constitutes a city. Some authorities insist that only places with over 70,000 people should be considered for inclusion.
Such a categorization would be unfair because the rule is not applied to “cities” when discussing wealth, or the concentration of high net worth individuals. It seems that said stipulation was invented to avoid focusing attention on one country, which seems to have several high elevation settlements.
Living at a high elevation poses several problems, which in turn requires the local authorities to make extra effort to see that these settlements are well managed. Those who have successfully done so therefore need to given such accolades.
Top 10 Cities With The Highest Elevation In The World 2022
1. La Rinconada
Elevation: 5,100 m (16,700 ft)
La Rinconada is a town in the Peruvian Andes, peaking at 5,100 m. The city actually started out as a small camp where gold prospectors slept at night so they could look for gold in the mines nearby. However they did find gold in sufficient quantity, and then between 2001 and 2009, the population increased dramatically.
La Rinconada is home to 30,000 people; most of who work in the mines. However, many people also work in the services sector which revolves around the mining industry, or just around providing the needs of the people who live in the city.
Some of the problems of this city include healthcare, clean water, and waste management. The air is quite thin due to the elevation, and visitors have reported having trouble breathing. This is the highest permanently inhabited city in the world.
Elevation: 5,070 Meters
Tuiwa is a village located in Daglung Town, Nagarzê County, which is in Tibet, China. The city has been inhabited since antiquity, and has a close knit society living together.
Tuiwa could see a rapid increase in population; it is located at the northeast shore of Lake Puma Yumco, which means it is quite fertile; which is why Animal husbandry is the main source of income for the villagers.
Tuiwa, “the highest administrative village in the world,” is well linked to the rest of the country with roads, and the government provides the necessary services.
Elevation: 5,011 Metres (16,440 ft)
Chasangcun is a small city located in Tibet. The latitude of Chasangcun is 33.3174, and the longitude is 87.6553; nearby settlements are Jangngaida Rinag and Sere.
Chasangcun is in the Autonomous region of Tibet, and Standard Mandarin is spoken in this area. There are monasteries around the area, and the area is very religiously, and culturally inclined.
The grazing area; Dingle is 44.48 kilometers away, meaning that animal husbandry must be a very important economic activity in the area.
4. Rongbuk Monastery
Elevation: 5,009 Metres or 16,434 ft
Rongbuk Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Nyingma sect. It is located in Basum Township, Dingri County, in Shigatse Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region which is now part of China. Rongbuk Monastry is at 5,009 metres or 16,434 ft above Sea Level; it is located near the base of Mount Everest.
Rongbuk Monastery has about 30 permanent residents, but welcomes thousands of visitors yearly; some of who visit on a pilgrimage, and many others who visit as part of their exploration of the area, or as part of climbing Mount Everest.
Elevation: 4,940 Metres (16,210 ft),
Lobuche is a small settlement in the Khumbu region of Nepal, near Mount Everest. It is on an elevation of about 4,940 metres or 16,210 ft, and is an important part of the experience of hiking Mount Everest. There is a permanent resident population in the area, although the number of people living in the settlement is not available.
Lobuche’s population swells every night; it is one of the last overnight stops with lodging for those making their way to the top of Mount Everest. Lobuche is part of an extensive marked trail, and trekkers and climbers love to stop at the town, enjoy a little of the local experiences, before moving on to complete their adventure.
There are lodgings, as well as shops where hikers can resupply to enable them complete their adventures.
Elevation: 4,920 Meters
Duomaxiang is a settlement in Shuanghu County in the Nagqu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, in China. With a resident population of around 1,488 people, and an elevation of 4,920 Meters, it is one of the cities with the highest elevation in the world.
Furthermore, Duomaxiang is a real city because its population did not just spring up as a result of an economic activity; which would also mean that it could just as easily dissipate with the cessation of said activity.
Duomaxiang is a pastoral area; the main source of livelihood for the people of the town is animal husbandry, with yak, goat and sheep being the most popular animals. However, fish is plentiful in the waters, and there are several types of minerals including gold available in the land.
Elevation: 4,870 metres (15,980 ft)
Wenquan is a small settlement in the Qinghai province of China. It is in the Golmud County, in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Wenquan was just a small stop over spot in 1955, but it has risen in importance and grown in population.
The settlement is located in the area where the highway and the railway cross the Tanggula Mountains, it is an important spot from where animals are transported to the larger cities of China for processing.
Even though this is not the highest elevation settlement in the world, several travel books name this as such, ignoring cities with both higher populations and elevations.
8. Santa Bárbara
Elevation: 4774 Meters
Santa Bárbara is a small town in the Sud Chichas Province of the Potosí Department in Bolivia. With an elevation of 4774 meters, and a population of 2,505 people, is one of the highest elevation cities in the Americas. Interestingly; this was the highest permanent settlement of the Inca Empire.
Santa Barbara is at the foot of Cerro Chorolque; which is a huge high mountain with rich deposits of several minerals, including tin, bismuth, silver, gold and copper.
Mining is an important activity here, but agriculture, as well as many other economic activities are also important here.
Elevation: 4,735 Metres (15,535 ft)
Damxung is a county in the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is on an elevation of 4,735 metres (15,535 ft), although the terrain is rugged, and there are very high mountains making up part of the area, although said mountains are uninhabited.
Nevertheless, this is an important city with a population of more than 40,000, most of who are engaged in animal husbandry. There is a lake in the area; it is called Namtso lake; and provides water for the people and animals. The area has been inhabited since antiquity.
Elevation: 4,720 Metres (15,490 ft)
Yashiping is a small town southwest of Qinghai province, China. This city has an all year round population of about 2191 people, and they all live in the city with an elevation of 4,720 metres or 15,490 ft. The principal industries include transport, animal husbandry and tourism.
Yanshiping has several other settlements of similar size and elevation; however, it is administered separately.
The cities with the highest elevation in the world are mostly located in Asia; and they are associated with Mount Everest; the highest peak in the world. These cities receive more visitors every year than actual residents, which is why exact figures are hard to come by. It is necessary to advice caution when visiting these high altitude settlements; they are quite cold, and many have reported difficulties with breathing.