Multi-capital nations on the rise

Countries like South Africa which has three capitals are becoming more common.

Multi-capital nations on the rise

World Bulletin / News Desk

At the time Ankara was founded as Turkey's capital in 1923, Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul, was occupied by British forces and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk wanted the government of the new republic to be located in central Anatolia to be closer to all provinces of Turkey.

Similarly, Berlin became the capital of Germany during German reunification in 1990 whereas Bonn had been the capital since 1949.

Bonn is still the second official residence of Germany's President, Chancellor, the Bundesrat (upper house), and the first official seat of six German federal ministries and approximately 20 federal authorities. This situation is roughly analogous to that of the Netherlands, where Amsterdam serves as the capital and The Hague as the seat of government.

Contrary to conventional customs worldwide, some countries have multiple capitals with one often being the seat of government and the other the legal capital.

A capital is generally the city which hosts government offices and meeting places, but in some countries the different branches of government are scattered in different locations.

With its three capitals, South Africa is the most interesting example. Pretoria serves as the nation's administrative capital, while the judiciary runs from its own capital Bloemfontein and Cape Town acts as the legislative capital.

Bolivia has also had two capital cities since 1898, when the weight of the Bolivian economy - and therefore the economic and political power - was shifting toward the tin mines near Oruro city. The executive and legislative branches moved to La Paz that year, while Sucre remained the constitutional and judicial capital.

Amsterdam is the only capital of the Netherlands, but for historic reasons the government is not located in the capital city, but in The Hague. Each of the country's 12 provinces has its own capital, with The Hague being that the capital of South Holland.

Santiago is Chile's official capital city, but the National Congress of Chile meets in Valparaiso.

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, Prague is the constitutional capital but Brno hosts all three of the country's highest courts, making it the de facto capital of the Czech judicial branch.

Kuala Lumpur is the constitutional capital of Malaysia, but the federal administrative center and judiciary were moved 30 kilometers south to the city of Putrajaya.

Myanmar is among the countries administered from different cities. Naypyidaw was assigned as the national capital in 2005, but most government offices and embassies are still located in Yangon.

In Sri Lanka, Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is the official capital and seat of parliament, while former capital Colombo is now designated as the "commercial capital" despite many government offices still being located there.

Bern is the Federal City of Switzerland and functions as the de facto capital. However, the Swiss Supreme Court is located in Lausanne.

In the Cote d‘Ivoire, Yamoussoukro was designated as the national capital in 1983, but most government offices and embassies are still located in Abidjan.

Dodoma serves as the national capital of Tanzania, but most government offices and embassies are still located in Dar es Salaam.

Monaco, Singapore and Vatican City are the city-states and therefore do not have capital cities.

Similarly, the 21-square kilometer country of Nauru has no distinct capital city, but a capital district instead.

Israel claims Jerusalem to be its capital as its primary governmental institutions are seated there. However, due to differences of opinion over Israeli presence in East Jerusalem, many countries have their embassies in the city of Tel Aviv.

In addition, Jerusalem is considered holy to three major faiths -Judaism, Christianity and Islam- with both Israelis and Palestinians claiming Jerusalem as their capital.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Ocak 2014, 12:17