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I have a city built on the shore of a large lake. Does that count as if the city is "on a coast", for the sake of things like buildings that I can build? Notice that if I hover over the water tile it distinctively says "lake" and not "coast".

For example, can I build a lighthouse on a city situated on the shores of a lake?

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Apparently your lake wasn't large enough. As happens to be shown in my screenshot here, very large lakes do count as oceans (compare the mini map and the cursor tooltip). –  deceze Nov 13 '10 at 0:08
    
@deceze I'm talking about lake as a technical tile type, not as a body of water surrounded by land. In other words, I knew the solution for this question if the tile type is coast, even if the sea itself is inland; but I didn't know it for lakes. –  Oak Nov 13 '10 at 17:42

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No, you can't build any coast-specific buildings like lighthouse or harbor in a city near a lake. I just tried it on a Lake-type map.

There is the Garden as a lake (or river)-specific improvement.

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Lakes count like rivers, so it irrigates tiles. You can't put any ocean specific stuff there.

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