Nicknames are an inseparable part of our everyday lives in many aspects. We give nicknames to people, animals as well as things because nicknames are usually much more reflective of their true qualities and characteristics. Many of the world´s most famous cities are no exception. While some of these cities´ nicknames are well-known, there are still plenty of those that are not so familiar. How many of these 25 awesome cities can you recognize by their nicknames?
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The Big Easy – New Orleans
There are several theories explaining why the largest city of Louisiana is called The Big Easy and one of the most common refers to the fact that it was and probably still is very easy for musicians to perform gigs in the city.
The Little Paris – Bucharest
It was mainly the city’s elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite that earned Bucharest the nickname of the Little Paris. The Romanian capital really is smaller than Paris but compared to other European cities, the adjective “little” is quite misleading since Bucharest, home to almost 2 million people, is the 6th largest city in the EU.
The City of Lilies – Florence
A lily is such an important symbol of Florence that it even made it in the city´s official flag. It is no surprise then that this beautiful flower became a part of this Italian city´s nickname. As the capital of the Tuscany region, Florence is also called the Birthplace of the Renaissance.
Muddy York – Toronto
The most populous city in Canada has earned several nicknames throughout the years and one of the oldest is the Muddy York. This unflattering nickname, dating back to city’s settlement years before the streets were paved and rain turned the dirt roads into mud, may not fit anymore but it’s still used today.
The Peace Capital – Geneva
Switzerland is known for its armed neutrality and involvement in peace-building processes around the world but if there is one city particularly notable for its peacefulness, it’s Geneva, home to more than 200 international organizations including the Red Cross.
The Lion City – Singapore
The Lion City is not just the nickname of the Southeast Asian metropolis but also the actual translation of the name. The Malay word “Singa” means lion and “Pura” is city. However, studies suggest that lions have never lived in Singapore.
The Mother of the World – Cairo
With a population of about 7 million people, Cairo ranks among the largest and most important cities in Africa and possibly in the world but the nickname of the Egyptian capital seems to be a little exaggerated. Founded in 969, there are much older cities in the world that could claim the epithet.
The Fashion Capital – Milan
If there is something the second largest Italian city is famous for, it’s the iconic fashion brands and shows. Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce, Gabbana and many other top fashion brands earned this city of 1.3 million its stylish nickname.
The Paris of South America – Buenos Aires
The largest and capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires is another city on the list whose nickname refers to Paris. Notable for the highest concentration of theatres in the world, Buenos Aires is called the Paris of South America because of its soaring architecture and rich European heritage.
The City of a Hundred Spires – Prague
While many cities´ nicknames seem to be somewhat exaggerated, the most common nickname of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is quite the opposite. It has been proven that this spectacular city, packed with historical sites of all types, features not hundreds but thousands of spires.
The Harbor City – Sydney
The largest and most populous city of Australia owes its nickname to Port Jackson, one of the largest natural harbors in the world. The harbor is also where the city´s most popular attractions – the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge – are located.
The Steel City – Pittsburgh
With a population of over 300,000 Pittsburgh, the second largest city in Pennsylvania, is called the Steel City for obvious reasons – it’s home to more than 300 steel-related businesses and companies. It’s also known as the City of Bridges thanks to almost 450 of them being found in the city.
The City of Tigers – Oslo
The lion is not the only predator that appears in a city´s nickname. As the capital and most populous city of Norway, Oslo is commonly referred to as the City of Tigers. It is thought that the nickname was first used by author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson around 1870, due to his perception of the city as a cold and dangerous place.
The Forbidden City – Beijing
Originally, the Forbidden City was just a Chinese imperial palace built in the center of Beijing but later, over the course of time, the nickname started to be used as a reference to the whole city.
The City of Brotherly Love – Philadelphia
The sweet nickname of Philadelphia allegedly came from William Penn, an English Quaker, who envisioned the city as a place where anyone of any color or background could live together in peace and harmony. Actually, brotherly love is also the meaning of the city´s name in Greek – “philos” meaning love and “adelphos” meaning brother.
The City of Gaudí – Barcelona
Those who have ever been to Barcelona certainly know why it is dubbed the City of Gaudí. The second largest city of Spain is where most of Antoni Gaudí, a world-known architect´s works are located. The most famous of them, the Sagrada Familia, ranks among the most visited Roman Catholic buildings in the world.
The Emerald City – Seattle
With a population of over 650,000 Seattle, the largest city of the State of Washington, earned this noble nickname thanks to the lush evergreen forests of the area and the city’s parks. Another popular epithet of Seattle is the Jet City, as a reference to Boeing, the airplane manufacturer that resides there.
The Pearl of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik
One of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean, Dubrovnik got this flattering nickname thanks to its numerous architectonical jewels and historical sites. Sometimes also referred to as the Croatian Athens, Dubrovnik was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
The City That Never Stops – Tel Aviv
With a population of over 400,000 the second largest city in Israel, Tel Aviv is particularly well-known for its busy nightlife and dynamic atmosphere, which is also why the city can boast a nickname strikingly similar to that of New York City.
The City of 72 Nations – Tehran
Home to about 8.5 million people, Tehran is the largest city in Iran as well as in all of Western Asia. Its central position and economic prosperity has attracted a great number of immigrants and it was the diverse structure of its population that earned the city its fitting nickname.
The Capital of the Alps – Grenoble
A host to the Winter Olympics in 1968, Grenoble owes its nickname to its close proximity to the mountains. With a population of over 150,000 people, this French city has also become a significant scientific center for Europe.
The Big D – Dallas
While there are several major US cities that claim the nickname D-Town (for example Detroit and Denver), there is no doubt about what city is referred to as the Big D. With a population of about 1.3 million, Dallas is the ninth largest American city so the adjective “big” is totally appropriate.
The Eternal City – Rome
Rome´s nickname is probably the oldest on this list. In ancient times, the Romans thought that no matter what happened to the world, or how many other empires might rise and fall, their city would go on forever. Another popular name of this Italian capital is the City of the Seven Hills.
The Pearl of the Danube – Budapest
The Capital of Hungary has earned several nicknames such as the Capital of Freedom, the Capital of Spas and Thermal Baths and the Capital of Festivals but most travel guides refer to this historical city as the Pearl of the Danube, the longest river in the EU which splits the city in two.
The City of the Kings - Lima
Today “The City of the Kings” is just a noble nickname for this Peruvian capital, but back in the day it was the official name of the city when it was founded in 1535 by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. He chose this opulent name because the city was founded on January 6, the date of the feast of the Epiphany. However, the name quickly fell into disuse and Lima became the city’s name of choice.