People walking around Tokyo's Kabukicho Shinjuku Station

Did You Know…Interesting Facts About Capital Cities

 

According to Britannica, a country’s capital is an important symbol that represents the entire country to the world. It is usually the home of a country’s government and plays an important role in that country’s identity.  When you visit another country, you usually land in the capital city as it is usually the main gateway to the country. Here are some interesting facts on capital cities around the world.  

Wellington in New Zealand, is the southernmost capital in the world whilst Reykjavik in Iceland is the most northerly capital in the world, and it is also the most westerly capital city in Europe.

La Paz in Bolivia is the highest capital city in the world, sitting at 3,869 meters above sea level. On the other hand, Baku in Azerbaijan, is located 28 meters below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level.

sukhbaatar square in Mongolian capital Ulaan Baatar
Sukhbaatar Square in Mongolia’s capital Ulaan Baatar

The coldest capital in the world is Ulaan-Baatar in Mongolia, which has an average annual temperature of 0.2°C or 32.4°F, whilst there are many capital cities which have soaring temperatures such as Khartoum, Kuwait City, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur.

Nauru, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, is the only country in the world without an official capital. It is the third smallest country in the world by area and second smallest by population.  Also located in the Pacific Ocean is Palau where its capital, Ngerulmud, is one of the smallest capitals in the world, with a population of only around 500 people.

Tokyo in Japan is the largest, most populated capital city in the world and, as of 2021, boasts a population of over 37 million people.

There are a few countries which have more than one capital. South Africa has three capital cities. Pretoria is the administrative capital, while Cape Town, the country’s oldest city is the legislative capital and home to most of the foreign embassies.  Bloemfontein is the judicial capital.

Putrajaya's famous mosque
Putrajaya, Malaysia

Other countries that have two capitals include Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya), and the Netherlands (Amsterdam and The Hague).

The capital of Maldives is Male (pronounced as ‘Mah-lay’) and the city’s densely-packed streets take up the entirety of one of the Maldives’ small islands.

Is there a country with only one city? Today, Monaco, Singapore, and Vatican City are considered the only true city-states.

There are over 10 countries with capitals named after the country such as Mexico City, Kuwait City, Panama City, Guatemala City and Singapore to name a few.

Budapest in Hungary is essentially two cities: there is Buda, on the west bank of the Danube, and Pest, on the east. These two parts of the city have distinct personalities and histories, with Buda being the older, more traditional part of the city, and Pest being the more modern and commercial side. This creates a unique dynamic that makes Budapest a capital city like no other.

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is located at the junction of three countries: Slovakia, Austria, and Hungary, leading it to be a melting pot of different cultures.

The Danube River passes through four major European capital cities: Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade.

What are the 2 closest cities in the world? The two closest capital cities in the world (apart from Rome and Vatican City) are Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo, in central Africa. Kinshasa and Brazzaville occupy opposite banks of the Congo River, directly across from each other.

Cairo

Cairo, Egypt is the only city in the world that has an ancient wonder of the world still left standing. Out of the seven original wonders, only one still exists today: The Great Pyramid at Giza.

Egypt is also building a New Administrative Capital city that is currently being built from scratch in the middle of the desert, moving it away from Cairo.  Indonesia is also planning to move its capital from Jakarta to a new city named Nusantara (meaning “archipelago”) on the island of Borneo.

Canberra is the least known capital in the world according to a study because more people searched for the capital of Australia more than any other capital city around the world. Most people mistakenly think that Sydney is the capital! Similarly, many people also get it wrong when it comes to the capital of Canada – it is Ottawa and not Vancouver or Montreal.  People also mistakenly think Rio de Janeiro is the capital of Brazil, in fact, Brasilia is the main capital.

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