The Basilique et écluse d'Avesnières sits along the river in Laval, France. The Basilique et écluse d'Avesnières sits along the river in Laval, France. The Basilique et écluse d'Avesnières sits along the river in Laval, France. Laval is one of hundreds of cities that are palindromes – words that are spelled the same way backward and forward. (Photo: matthieugiroux / Wikimedia Commons)

6 cities that are palindromes

In honor of Palindrome Week, we're highlighting cities whose names spell the same forward and backward.

Kayak. Rotor. Level. Civic. Noon. Radar. Madam.

This may look like a random, meaningless list of words. But look closer and you'll see a common link.

They're all palindromes – words that are spelled the same way backwards or forwards. It's a phenomenon that a few very dedicated people throughout history have taken pains to compile so that the rest of us can marvel at their complexity and ingenuity. Our personal favorite, courtesy of ultimate word-nerd-indulgence blog Palindrome List: "On a clover, if alive, erupts a vast, pure evil; a fire volcano."

Let's not forgot the numbers geeks out there; the phenomenon applies to numerals as well. In fact, nine dates this May all make up palindromes – from 5/10/15 to 5/19/15. It's a rare occurrence and a fun conversation starter, for sure.

In honor of this fascinating happenstance, we've found six cities that are also palindromes. Brush up on your backwards-reading skills starting ... now!


1. Glenelg, Maryland

Glenelg Country School.Glenelg is an unincorporated community in Maryland that houses the Glenelg Country School. (Photo: Glenelg Country School/Wikimedia Commons)

Glenelg is an unincorporated rural community in Howard County, Maryland, population 1,721. One of its earliest settlers named his estate "Glenelg" after an old estate in Scotland and because "it's spelled the same from either end."

And if that wasn't thematic enough: The Glenelg High School yearbook is titled "Palindrome."


2. Kivik, Sweden

Kungagraven in Kivik, Skåne, Sweden.Kungagraven in Kivik, Skåne, Sweden. (Photo: Abelson/Wikimedia Commons)

Kivik is a small community in Sweden with a nice chunk of history. This town of 960 people is home to a 3,000-year-old bronze-age tomb called King's Grave, or Kungagraven. The town also hosts an annual market in July, selling vast varieties of herring, apples and apple cider.


3. Serres, Greece

View of the modern city of Serres from the Acropolis.View of the modern city of Serres from the Acropolis. (Photo: Marsyas/Wikimedia Commons)

Serres is a bustling town and commercial center of northern Greece, with broad streets and open town squares blending ancient and modern. Beautiful settlements abound here, including Alistrati, a village that's home to a remarkable canyon; and Neos Skopos, an agricultural hamlet.


4. Wakaw, Saskatchewan, Canada

Wakaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, looking westward on 1st Street South from Railway Avenue.Wakaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, looking westward on 1st Street South from Railway Avenue. (Photo: Canadian2006/Wikimedia Commons)

A small town with big neighbors. That's the life in Wakaw, a town nestled between Saskatoon, the largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, and Prince Albert, considered Canada's "Gateway to the North." The name "Wakaw" comes from the Cree word for "crooked," a description of the nearby Wakaw Lake.


5. Kinikinik, Colorado

Store in Kinikinik, Colorado in the upper Poudre Canyon along Colorado State Highway 14. Store in Kinikinik, Colorado in the upper Poudre Canyon along Colorado State Highway 14. (Photo: Matthew Trump/Wikimedia Commons)

What more do you need in a town than a general store and some good hiking trails? That's about all you'll get in Kinikinik, a small, unincorporated community located along State Highway 14 in northern Colorado. Lore has it that a rancher named Cap Williams built the Kinikinik Store, depicted in the photo shown above, across the road from his house in the early 1920s.


6. Laval, France

The castle overlooking the town and the river Mayenne.The castle overlooking the town and the river Mayenne. (Photo: Celeste/Wikimedia Commons)

This mid-sized town in western France is surrounded by history and culture. Once a major stronghold in the Middle Ages, Laval is now a major linen-manufacturing hub. The town sits along the river Mayenne and houses a castle (seen in the photo above). It's also the birthplace of noted naive artist Henri Rousseau.

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