Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Literal Map of Capital Cities

I've added translations of capital cities to my literal map of the world. The Planet Dirt interactive map now includes literal translations of country names, U.S. states and many capital cities across the globe.

Planet Dirt is an interactive map of the world on which the place-names have been translated to provide their literal meanings. If you've ever wondered what the name of a country, a state or capital city actually means then you can use this map to find out. The translations of all the capital city names on the map come from Wikipedia's List of National Capital City Name Etymologies. This list doesn't include all capital cities (and not all the cities it does contain are capital cities). Cities, such as London, which have no known etymology are not shown on the map. I've also left off a number of capital cities with names which don't really need translating, such as Washington DC.

Among my personal favorite city names on the map are the surreal sounding 'I've Just Been Cutting Leaves' (Abidjan) and 'End of an Elephant's Trunk' (Khartoum).

Lots of capital cities around the world are named after natural features, such as rivers, mountains, swamps, forests, bays and springs. Just as many cities are named after their defensive features which promise to protect the city's inhabitants from the dangerous world outside. These cities include Vienna (White Fort),  Kuwait City (Fortress by the Sea), Goteborg (Great Stronghold), Tallinn (Danish Castle), Sana'a (Well Fortified) and Rabat (Fortified Place).

Other city names seem to promise their inhabitants a place of peace and rest. These cities include N'Djamena (Place of Rest), Asmara (Live in Peace), Trondheim (A Good Place Called Home), Lisbon (Safe Harbor) and Dar es Salaam (House of Peace).

Cities in the far east often appear to have been named purely for their administrative functions. These cities include Beijing (Northern Capital), Tokyo (Eastern Capital), Kyoto (Capital) and Seoul (Capital).

No comments: