Akhzivland – Nahariya, Israel - Atlas Obscura


Nahariya, Israel

The most peaceful "country" in the Middle East. 


Akhzivland is the brainchild of Eli Avivi, an Iranian-born Jew, whose family moved to Palestine (which was declared the Israeli state in 1948) in the 1930s. In 1952, Eli Avivi settled at the ruined village of Akhziv, which was destroyed during the Arab-Israeli wars, and started to illegally construct a number of huts. Some of these huts were torn down by the Israeli government in 1970, but before all the buildings were demolished, Avivi proclaimed the territory the independent state of Akhzivland.

Avivi subsequently brought the Israeli government to trial, which created quite some attention in the Israeli media. Surprisingly, Avivi succeeded and the court ruled to lease Avivi the area of 10,000 m² for 99 years. Despite the legal victory, the legal status of the micronation remained in ambiguity.

Ever since its creation under Avivi’s ideals of pacifism and freedom, the “nation” has been peaceful. Akhzivland is the only “country” in the Middle East that has never been engaged in any military conflict. As of 2011, the micronation had a total population of two, plus a couple of dogs and cats, as well as many domestic and international tourists, who sleep at Akhzivland’s camping ground and several guest rooms.

The country even features a small “national museum,” as well as the unique opportunity of getting a passport stamp from Akhzivland. Over the years, the micro nation has even attracted several celebrities and politicians such as Shimon Peres and Sofia Loren among others.

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