Some of these names look like errors, there’s no way a city name could possibly be THIS big. It may look like random keyboard gibberish but these are real place names, official and on signs at the train stations… rather long signs to say the least.
Some of these have very complex pronunciations, as you might imagine and unless you’re trained in the tongue are almost impossible to pronounce! Some have ancient origins, loaded with historical significance and meaning while others were just created to, well, draw attention to their town.
The world’s longest city names
An impressive 85 characters long, this town can be found in New Zealand. It’s the Maori name for a hill just south of Waipukurau near Hawke’s Bay on the North Island. The locals however have shortened it to Taumata, so as not to run out of breath every time they mention it. It is the longest place-name in any English-speaking country and the second-longest in the world.
Translation: The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his note flute to his loved one
Closer to home, this is the name of a large village on the Island of Anglesey in Wales, just on the other side of the Menai Straight from Bangor. The village, not surprisingly, is known for its name and legend has it that the name was created to attract tourism to the area, as early at the 1860s! Why not do it with the longest village name in Great Britain? The village’s original idea was successful because tourists by the thousands visit this small town every year to get their photo taken next to the official sign at the train station as well as a tourism “passport” stamped at the visitor’s centre.
Translation: St Mary’s Church in the hallow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the red cave
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit
Believe it or not, this is the official name of Bangkok, the Thai capital. Thank goodness for travellers booking flights to Thailand that they don’t have to search for this name when planning their trip! The name was a gift from King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke which combines words from Thai, Pali and Sanskrit. It holds the honour in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest place name in the world.
Translation: The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarma
This is the name of a lake in, believe it or not, the USA. The locals also know it as Webster Lake, in Massachusetts near the boarder with Connecticut. The name itself comes from Nipmuc, an uncommon dialect of Algonquin language which is used by the aboriginal communities living in the area. While not the longest in the world, this lake does hold the title of being the longest place-name in the USA.
Translation: Fishing Place at the Boundaries — Neutral Meeting Grounds
Can you pronounce any of these? Have you been to any of these famously long-named places?
Imgs: KTRawlings, stevedugmore, wickenden / Flickr cc.