Paris, London, Tokyo, Rome or Moscow. What do these cities have in common? We all know where they are and what countries they are capitals of. But have you ever heard of Ougadougou or Bandar Seri Begawan? Believe it or not, these strangely sounding cities are capitals as well. And there is a lot more of them in the world. Here is a list of 25 unique capitals that you have probably never heard of but really exist. Are you familiar with at least one of them? Well, congratulations if you are.
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Majuro is the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Occupying an area of just 3.7 square miles, the city has a port, shopping district, hotels, university and an international airport.
With a population of roughly 1.5 million inhabitants, Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia which is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Tbilisi’s varied history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval, classical, and Soviet structures.
Port of Spain
Port of Spain, is the capital of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. With a population of about 60,000, this city is an important financial service center for the Caribbean. It is a multicultural city that is home to African, Indian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Venezuelan, Chinese and Syrian immigrants. The city´s architecture testifies to the diversity of cultures.
Extending over an area of 400 square miles in The Sahara Desert, Nouakchott is the capital and by far the largest city of Mauritania. The population is about 1 million which ranks Nouakchott among the most populous cities in Africa. However, many of its residents live in slums on the outskirts of the city.
With a population of over 500,000, Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia, Southeast Europe. The site of modern Skopje has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC. Remains of Neolithic settlements have been found within the Skopje Fortress which is also the most important landmark of the city.
South Tarawa is the capital and hub of the Republic of Kiribati and home to approximately half of Kiribati’s total population. The city itself consists of a string of islets between the Tarawa Lagoon to the north, with a maximum depth of 82 feet, and the Pacific Ocean to the south, with a depth of up to 13,000 feet.
Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia whose capital is Bratislava). Located in the middle of a trade route between the northern Adriatic Sea and the Danube region, Ljubljana is the center of the country´s industry, scientific and research institutions and cultural traditions. The city architecture is a mix of styles and despite the appearance of large city buildings, especially at the city’s edge, Ljubljana’s historic center remains intact.
With a population of almost 1.5 million, Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso, West Africa. The city is also the administrative, communications, cultural and economic center of the country. Main city´s landmarks are The Bangr-Weoogo urban park, La Place du Grand Lyon and the Ouagadougou Cathedral.
Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, Doha is the capital city of Qatar. Doha is home to the headquarters of the country’s largest oil and gas companies, including Qatar Petroleum, or RasGas. The city´s economy is built on the revenue the country has made from its oil and natural gas industries but the Qatari government is trying to diversify the economy in order to move away from its dependence on oil.
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia, Northeast Europe. With almost 700,000 inhabitants it is the largest city of the Baltic states. Riga’s historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its Art Nouveau architecture and 19th century wooden architecture.
With an estimated population of 15,500, Basseterre is the capital of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies. Lying within the large Basseterre Valley, the city is almost completely surrounded by lush green hills and stunning mountains.
Translated as “under the small hill”, Podgorica is the capital and largest city of Montenegro, Southeast Europe. The city is close to winter ski centers in the north and seaside resorts on the Adriatic Sea in the south. Podgorica is the administrative center of Montenegro and its economic, cultural and educational focus.
Yamoussoukro is the official political capital and administrative capital city of The Ivory Coast, West Africa. The city is also the site of what is claimed to be the largest Christian place of worship on Earth: The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1990.
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan, Central Asia. With a population of over 2,300,000, it is one of the most populous capitals from this list. Due to the destruction of most of the ancient city during the 1917 revolution and 1966 earthquake, little remains of Tashkent’s traditional architectural heritage. The city is, however, rich in museums and Soviet-era monuments.
Nicosia is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Its latitude, at 35°10′ N, makes it the southernmost capital of the EU member states. Nicosia has established itself as the island’s financial capital and main international business center. The city was ranked in 2012 as the 5th richest city in the world in relative purchasing power.
With a population of about 320,000, Tirana is the capital of Albania, Southeast Europe. The city has a rich mosaic of historic land natural landmarks such as The Tirana Castle, Clock Tower of Tirana, National Historic Museum, Skanderbeg Square and many others.
Home to a population of around 650,000, Asmara is the capital of Eritrea, East Africa. Situated in Eritrea’s central Maekel Region, it is known for its well-preserved colonial Italian modernist architecture which ranks among the most concentrated and intact anywhere in the world.
Antananarivo is the capital and largest city in Madagascar, Southeast Africa. The tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Antananarivo is extensive and highly significant to regional and national populations alike. The city possesses numerous monuments, historic buildings, sites of significance and traditions related to the customs and history of the local people.
Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland. Its latitude, at 64°08′ N, makes it the world’s northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With a population of about 120,000 Reykjavik is among the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world.
Thimphu is the capital and largest city of Bhutan, South Asia. The city contains most of the important political buildings in Bhutan, including the National Assembly of the newly formed parliamentary democracy and Dechencholing Palace, the official residence of the King.
Valletta is the capital of the little Mediterranean country; Malta. With a population of just 6.675, Valletta is the smallest and second southernmost capital of the EU. The city streets boast of some of Europe’s finest art works, churches and palaces. The City of Valletta was officially recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.
Bandar Seri Begawan
With an estimated population of 140,000, it is the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Brunei, Southeast Asia. Prime tourist attractions of this city include The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, The Royal Ceremonial Hall, The Royal Mausoleum and The Brunei Museum.
Surrounded by the Alps, Vaduz is the capital of the principality of Liechtenstein, Central Europe. With an area of just 6.7 square miles and population of about 5000, it is one of the smallest capitals in the world. The most prominent landmark of Vaduz is the Vaduz Castle, the home of the reigning prince of Liechtenstein and the Liechtenstein princely family.
With a population of almost 1,800,000, Maputo is the capital and largest city of Mozambique, Southeast Africa. Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, Maputo has been 500 years under Portuguese control so most of the note-worthy city sights are former colonial administrative buildings or current government buildings.
Chisinau is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Moldova, Eastern Europe. With a population of about 800,000, it is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova and its largest transportation hub. The city center boasts of many historical sites, museums, memorials and churches.
My next bucket list item will be to visit all of these unique capitals. Aren’t they amazing?! If you agree, than you may also enjoy these The 25 Most Beautiful Skylines in the World.