Only 2% Of People Can Name These 75 World Capitals! Can You?
Whether you’re interested in history, culture or something a bit wilder, this capital of the Netherlands has it all. Known for its picturesque canals and beautiful art and architecture, it also boasts a high number of “mind-altering” activities – maybe too high to count!
Steeped in Catholic tradition, this capital of the Philippines is studded with 113 churches and over 60 major shrines! But if religion isn’t your thing, you can always shop for souvenirs or chow down on some pork adobo in the city’s numerous bazaars and open markets!
- Hanga Roa
If variety is the spice of life, you’ll find it in this capital of Indonesia. With one of the most diverse populations in the world, this city has integrated cultures from around the globe to create a flavor that is distinctly Indonesian… with a taste of home!
This capital of Taiwan may only have the second-tallest skyscraper in the world, but it’s second to none when it comes to seamlessly blending youth culture with revered tradition. Whether you crave the spiritual quiet of a temple or the exotic food of a bustling night market, it’s all here!
Where Mozart lived and worked, this capital of Austria is synonymous with musical genius. So, first? The opera! Then? The Danube, the stunning architecture or the decadently rich food! More? You could always get your freak on at one of the city’s 450 formal balls!
Named by Spanish conquistadors, this capital of Chile has a history spanning over 10,000 years! Now a modern metropolis, this cosmopolitan city offers some of the best art and dining in Latin America! But beware, it also has some of its largest earthquakes!
- La Paz
Despite the occasional quake, this capital of Jamaica is one of the most laid back places on Earth. Located in a natural paradise, the city’s waterfront and hiking trails offer many exciting alternatives for travelers. And remember: Always pass on the left!
- Santo Domingo
Once torn apart by civil war and corruption, this capital of Somalia is now a city of the rise. With a new, permanent government, burgeoning retail and construction sectors and a rapidly growing tourist industry, the future looks bright!
Once part of the Soviet Republic, this capital of Belarus is still struggling to find its identity. Peppered with government buildings and churches both new and old, it reflects this city’s reluctance to embrace the future it wants.
- Nizhny Novgorod
Like its sister city Dubai, this capital of the United Arab Emirates is one of the fastest growing cities in the world! It’s modern and young with a cultural and economic vibrancy that sets it apart from the rest of the region.
- Abu Dhabi
Known as the “Bush Capital,” this capital of Australia was designed to exploit the inland region’s natural vegetation and topographic features. Based roughly on Washington, DC, it features many monuments and points of national and historical significance.
With archeological sites from ranging from the Hittites to the Greeks to the Ottomans, over millennia, this capital of Turkey has borne witness to almost every advancement of human civilization. If only ancient walls could talk!
After enduring nearly a decade of warfare with Russia in the 1990s, this capital of Chechnya was called by the United Nations, “the most destroyed city on earth.” Not a designation you really want, but after years of struggle and hard work, it’s finally rising from the ashes.
A European cultural, political and economic hub, this capital of Poland boasts not only thriving industry, but thriving music, art and theater scenes. Once a gray arm of the Soviets, it now stands as a colorful and cosmopolitan tourist destination!
Home to over 120 embassies and almost as many arts and cultural festivals, this capital of Brazil is much more than just another administrative hub. Booming since opening its doors to the film a tech industries, it’s a city that is finally ready for its close-up!
- Rio de Janeiro
- São Paulo
One of the world’s oldest cities and the cradle of democracy, this capital of Greece is considered the epicenter for all western culture. Festooned with ancient buildings and statuary, it is a modern city carrying the weight of history (ans a lot of debt) on its shoulders.
The colonial architecture and culinary influence of France on this capital of Vietnam was so strong that it was once called “The Paris of the East.” Now, however, the city has an identity all its own and its traditions run deep… even though you can still find a killer baguette!
- Qui Nhon
- Long Xuyên
Although it’s been around for hundreds of years, this capital of Finland has only recently experienced major growth and become and become a film industry favorite and tourism hot spot. In 2015, it was ranked as one the top ten cities in the world to live!
Known for its rum, baseball, cigars and 1950s cars, this capital of Cuba is stepping out of its time warp and welcoming the 21st century. And with education levels exceeding many Western democracies, this city has a lot more to offer the world!
- Santa Clara
Built in 1960 to replace Karachi as Pakistan’s capital, this city may be a newcomer to the world stage, but it is built in a region steeped in an ancient history. In fact, archaeological digs have uncovered artifacts dating to the Stone Age and settlements from 5000 BC!
Founded in 1822 as a Black American settlement in West Africa, this capital of Liberia has a rich – if troubled – history and has overcome many obstacles in its efforts to become a modern, successful city. Thus far, progress has been slow, but conditions are improving.
Located on the Han River, this capital of South Korea seamlessly blends ancient culture with modern sensibilities. As a rising economic power, it has invested heavily in tourism, design, construction, technology… and K-Pop! In 2015, it was named Asia’s most liveable city!
Founded in 1323, this capital of Lithuania embraces its history with an eye to the future. Medieval castles and Baroque churches coexist with modern architecture and companies on the cutting-edge of renewable energy, laser and biotechnology.
- St. Petersburg
The southernmost capital in the Americas, this Uruguayan city is universally considered to be the best place to live in Latin America. A cultural center that isn’t afraid to showcase its diversity, in 2014 it was ranked as the 10th most gay-friendly city in the world.
- Las Piedras
- San José de Mayo
With billions of euros currently being invested in its infrastructure and economy, this capital of Denmark has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a Viking fishing village. Now a cultural and financial center, it is doing its famous Little Mermaid Statue proud!
This capital of war-torn Syria is fast becoming a shell of its former, glorious self. One of the oldest cities in the world, it is a cultural treasure and living testament to the stormy evolution of religious belief in the region. Thankfully, some effort is being made to preserve that history.
One of the world’s foremost cultural, political and tech sites, this capital of Russia is known throughout the world for its contributions to literature, dance, film and music. At once utilitarian and stunningly gorgeous, poor and super-rich, this city is a true conundrum.
- St. Petersburg
Ranking second in the world for quality of life, this capital of Canada shows that being incredibly nice can pay off! Founded as a center for the fur and lumber trade, this city quickly set the standard for progress, becoming the first in Canada to be lit entirely by electricity.
A place that has seen amazing highs and heartbreaking lows, this capital of Cambodia is nothing if not a survivor. Enduring years of brutal rule under the Khmer Rouge, the city is now flourishing with an explosion in tourism, trade and real estate opportunities.
- Phnom Penh
- Siem Reap
- Kampong Cham
This capital of Costa Rica is a well-known destination as a stopover for tourists seeking adventure or just some tasty waves. But the city has much of its own to offer with beautiful architecture, world-class dining and many museums and parks.
- San José
Recognized as a global city, this capital of Portugal’s past perfectly matches that designation. Ruled by everyone from the ancient Romans to the Crusaders, the city reflects that history with a culture informed by very diverse influences while remaining distinctly Portuguese.
- Vila Nova de Gaia
Formed in 1799 as a refuge for American and West Indian slaves, this capital of Sierra Leone boasts a culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse population. It has the largest natural harbor in Africa and the city’s economy is based primarily on trade.
- New Caledonia
This capital of Ireland is not only considered one of the best places to get a properly poured pint, but it is also considered to be one of the 30 best cities in the world. But a city can’t live on beer alone, and numerous corporations have located their international headquarters there.
With an atmosphere befitting its thousand-year history, from its food to its languages to its architecture this capital of Belgium wears its eclectic nature on its sleeve. It’s only fitting that it is also the de facto capital of the European Union.
This capital of Serbia has roots that extend back to prehistoric times. Throughout history, its value as a strategic location has made it a magnet for conquest and bloodshed. In fact, it has seen 115 wars and has been destroyed 44 times.
- Novi Sad
A city with a rich and royal history, this capital of Ethiopia was the seat of power for emperors and kings as far back as the 16th century. But it appears its reach extends much further as many archaeologists place the city’s location as the cradle of mankind itself!
- Bahir Dar
- Dire Dawa
- Addis Ababa
Iraq’s capital dates to antiquity and as key center of higher learning and Arab culture, it was once the largest city in the world. However, history has not been kind, and years of warfare – especially recently – have made this once great city one of the least hospitable places on earth.
This “City of Lights” and capital of France is known for its galleries, museums, food, fashion, film and romantic beauty. Straddling the river Seine, this unique city is the perfect place to find what your heart desires - whether it’s true love or stinky cheese is up to you!
A green city on the cutting edge of environmental technology, this capital of Sweden has been striving to reduce its carbon footprint since the early seventies and will be fossil fuel free by 2050. Maybe it should give itself a Nobel Prize!
There’s no denying that this capital of Japan is one of the world’s most modern cities. Home to hundreds of major corporations, financial institutions, technology innovators and high-end restaurants, hotels and retailers, it has established itself as one of the world’s great destinations.
With a classical design, reminiscent of ancient Greece, this seat of American democracy is both a wonky political town and a sophisticated city. Capital of the United States, it effectively operates as a history lesson and continuing example of freedom’s growing pains.
- New York
- San Francisco
- Des Moines
- Washington, DC
One of the most picturesque cities in the world and home to a prosperous motion picture industry, this capital of the Czech Republic is considered one of the best tourist destinations in the world – welcoming over 7 million international tourists every year.
With a booming economy based around telecommunications, information technologies and finance, this capital of India is one of the fastest growing metro areas in Asia. But despite the influx of foreign capital, it still maintains close ties to its culture, religion and history.
- New Delhi
Haiti’s capital seems like it is marked for tragedy, but after decades of poverty, political unrest, hurricanes, earthquakes and outbreaks, the Haitian spirit remains intact. A fiercely proud city, it promises to come back stronger than ever.
- Saint Michel
From its pre-Islamic days as the small seat of a tiny province, to a blossoming metropolis, this capital of Saudi Arabia is now centerpiece of a multi-trillion-dollar kingdom. And while continuing to honor its ancient traditions, this city has finally begun to embrace modernity.
The center of New Zealand’s exploding film industry, this “coolest little capital in the world” is recognized as the cultural center of the country. And the fact that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot nearby has made the city a pilgrimage site for film buffs everywhere!
Named “Smoke Cove” by early Norse settlers, this capital of Iceland might look like it is covered with smog… but it’s only steam. Built atop a geothermal wonderland, the city derives much of its residential and commercial heating from natural sources.
A government-planned city, this capital of Myanmar was only named as such in 2006 and wasn’t fully completed until 2012. Why the capital was moved from Yangon is unclear, but the city is nonetheless remarkable for its regimented design and unusual architecture.
While this capital of Spain couldn’t be considered anything but a contemporary European city, you would be forgiven if you sometimes felt as though you’d walked back in time since local government has made a concerted effort to maintain the integrity of its historical neighborhoods.
The history of this Afghan capital dates back over 3,500 years, but recent events – warfare and Taliban activity – have all but erased much of its history. A large portion of the pre-Islamic and Islamic artifacts that represent its heritage have either been destroyed or plundered.
Once called the “Garden City of the Caribbean,” this capital of Guyana has passed through the colonial hands of the French, Dutch and British and each left their mark on the city’s design and architecture. Unfortunately, over the years the city has fallen into disrepair.
- New Amsterdam
- Anna Regina
Given its location on the Danube river, this capital of Hungary has been sought-after for centuries and has been held by the Romans, Mongols and the Ottoman Empire. Not surprisingly, in the 21st century it is prime destination for international tourists!
Undisputed as one of the most culturally significant sites in the world, this capital of Egypt is the repository and guardian of untold archaeological treasures and more are being unearthed every day! Unfortunately, recent political events have cut into its exploration.
Due to years of conquest and colonization, this capital of Peru is one of South America’s true melting pots with cultures ranging from European to African influencing the food, architecture and language. It’s no wonder it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
A heady mix of modern skyscrapers, historic sites, ornate temples and shopping malls, it’s not surprising that this capital of Thailand is the second-most visited city in the world! But while you may come for the shopping, stay for the food as it is also ranked as one of the top culinary destination is Asia.
- Chiang Mai
A playground of the leisure class, this capital of Great Britain is the third busiest film and TV production center, the largest consumer of live theater, one of the top four fashion capitals and the most visited city in the world! All that and a bag of fish and chips!
Built to raise the spirits of the population after the Korean War, this North Korean capital actualizes the vision of Kim Il-Sung with strangely beautiful, Communist-era government buildings, concrete apartment complexes painted in pastels and a 50’s vision of the future.
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World Capitals Quiz
There are 195 officially recognized independent countries in the world, each with its own capital city!