There's only one "country" in the Middle East that's never engaged in military conflict, and it's ruled by an Iranian-born Jew named Eli Avivi.

Avivi set up camp in the ruined village of Akhziv on Israel's northern coastline in 1952 and proclaimed it the independent state of Akhzivland after the government intervened in 1970 to destroy his illegal structures.

Avivi won the ensuing court case, became a local folk hero and went on to extol his ideals of pacifism and freedom to all who'd listen.

The octogenarian's 2.5-acre nation remains a popular tourist destination more than 40 years later with guest rooms, a campground and alluring views of Lebanon (to the north), Galilee (to the east) and the Mediterranean (to the west).

Location: Within Israel 2.5 miles north of Nahariya.

Fee: About $25 per night

What to see and do: Lounge on the private beach, get your passport stamped and check out the artifacts in the State Museum of Agriculture, Archaeology and Navigation.


The Naminara Republic

The West may house a preponderance of micronations, but it's Asia that boasts the most visited of them all: The Naminara Republic.

President Kang Woo-hyon declared "cultural independence" from South Korea in 2006 and turned his half-moon shaped island into a popular eco-resort with art galleries, museums, performance venues and a hotel.

Each of the more than 2 million annual visitors must acquire a Naminara passport to enter and, once citizens, can purchase stamps, coins and telephone cards to get by.

Location: Within South Korea on a private island in the Han River near Chuncheon.

Fee: Approximately $10 in "visa fees" to enter the island.

What to see and do: Visit the Song Museum of ethnic musical instruments and attend events like the annual International Children's Book Festival and YoPeFe, a festival of traditional dance.


The Republic of Uzupis

If only Frank Zappa lived to see the day he became the inspiration for a tiny micronation within Lithuania.

Sadly, he died two years before a group of artists and intellectuals erected a statue in his honor in a bohemian corner of the capital Vilnius and four years before he became the patron saint of that neighborhood when it seceded to become the Republic of Uzupis.

Some 1,000 of the Republic's 7,000 inhabitants are artists, so artistic endeavors are, naturally, on the top of current president Roman Lileikis' agenda.

Location: Within Vilnius' Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fee: Free

What to see and do: Check out the art galleries and visit the Constitution Wall of Uz where you can read up on the edicts, including this one: "A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of need."