When you think of a country’s capital, you probably think of one major city that serves as the seat of government. Yet, that’s not always the case. There are some countries that have two or even more such cities.
Countries that are formed by merging regions can have mulitple power centers. Or sometimes, cultures can vary across a nation resulting in a split of capital duties.
Here are 8 of these countries that function with two or more capital cities.
1. La Paz and Sucre, Bolivia
La Paz and Sucre are quite different cities, yet both serve as capital cities in Bolivia.
La Paz is Bolivia’s administrative center. Set up high in the Andes, it attracts tourists from around the world.
Hundreds of miles away, Sucre, surrounded by silver mines, rivals as Bolivia’s constitutional capital city.
2. Santiago and Valparaíso, Chile
Santiago, a modern, bustling city is the official capital.
Less than one hundred miles away, Valparaíso is a colorful cultural center with a boho vibe and houses the legislature.
3. Yamoussoukro and Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire
Abidjan is the original and functioning capital of Côte D’Ivoire. It’s a vibrant city with art galleries, modern architecture and market districts.
But, President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who ruled Côte D’Ivoire from 1960 to 1993, made his childhood home and sleepier town of Yamoussoukro a capital too.
4. Prague and Brno, Czech Republic
The official office of the President is in the historic Baroque Prague Castle, yet the Moravian city of Brno houses their Supreme Court.
5. Mbabane and Lobamba, Kingdom of eSwatini
This used to be called Swaziland.
Mbabane is the administrative capital while the ruling royal family mainly lives in a palace in Lobamba.
6. Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpar is the official capital of Malaysia. It’s a large, crowded city packed with rooftop bars, cultural landmarks and big time traffic.
The government also built the more quiet, accessible city of Putrajaya for conducting business.
7. Cetinije and Podgorica, Montenegro
Cetinije served as the center of power for years before Podgorica came into favor after World War II.
Now Centinije is referred to as the Old Royal Capital. The President still uses its Blue Palace as the official residence, but most of the work is done in Podgorica.
8. Amsterdam and The Hague, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is famous for its canals and free-spirited culture. It’s even constitutionally designated as the capital. But all of the administration is done from The Hague.
These are far from the only countries with this kind of administrative setup. But it’s interesting to see how topography, politics and culture are taken into account when establishing seats of power.
So, how did the United States figure this out? We set up a governing district along the vacant banks of the Potomac River and called it Washington D.C. And the rest is US history!