I have several cities connected to the capital with roads and all count as connected to the trade network (little atomic symbol). I also have a harbour in one of the connected cities as well as a harbour in an over-seas colony. But that colony doesn't count as connected to the trade network. Every time I play Civ 5 I find that building harbours simply doesn't work.

What am I doing wrong?

Or don't harbours work?

  • 1
    Are the connected cities on the same body of water?
    – Nick T
    Feb 20, 2011 at 23:20
  • 2
    Do you have a fully scouted water path between your cities? Feb 20, 2011 at 23:32
  • Yes and yes. I have frigates travelling around the entire continent regularly. Feb 21, 2011 at 21:56
  • 1
    Not sure what going wrong here, but for reference gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/9007/… for quite a good summary of the harbor mechanics. My only guess would be - is there a route that doesn't go through enemy sea territory Feb 26, 2011 at 17:30
  • A stupid question maybe, but do you have a harbour in your capital?
    – Gnudiff
    Mar 4, 2011 at 10:54

2 Answers 2


Yes, harbours do work, but there are a few things to bare in mind:

  • For a harbour to connect the owning city to your trade network it must be able to form a valid water path to reach your capital (if it has a harbour) or another city which has a harbour and is already part of the network.

  • You need a visible unbroken path of water tiles between harbours for them to form a link.

  • Harbours can be blockaded by enemy ships (including barbarians) being in the vicinity of the owning city. This stops them creating a trade link.

If none of these issues come in to play I would say you may have run across a bug, or possibly have a mod installed that is interferring in some way.

**This doesn't come up often but I have discovered that it is impossible to establish trade networks if you do not have roads researched. (Happened to me while playing on islands)


Well I can vouch for at least one observed benefit of the 'little atomic symbol'...when the harbor connects the trade route you DO get +1 happiness, which is nice. Also, I've had We Love the King days in remote cities after Trading for resources. I assume that required that the remote city was connected to the trade network, and that seemed to work.

Hope that helps.

  • I think that is one of the benefits of the working trade network. But my problem is that my harbours do not create the trade network. Feb 25, 2011 at 23:24
  • Interesting. What do you mean by 'doesn't count as connected to the trade network'? Do you mean the symbol, the happiness, or the acquisition of luxury resources, or something else?
    – Bob
    Feb 28, 2011 at 16:16

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