23 October 2018

Puzzle of the week : Capitals of the world

I have finally been able to memorize all the country names and their capitals. For this purpose, I am defining countries as those 195 that are recognized by the United Nations. Some interesting puzzle questions emanate from that:

Take a guess at these questions and write down if you want in the Comment section. Then check with Google (or wait for a day – I will publish the answers). Do NOT write the answers here AFTER Googling.

1. The smallest number of letters in any country capital is 4. For example: Rome. How many such 4 letter country capitals are there? Can you name them?
2. How many countries have the capital name same as the country name? e.g. Singapore capital is Singapore. How many can you name?
3. Now, some capitals are the same as the country name with the word “City” attached. e.g. capital of Mexico is Mexico City. Similarly, what are the other countries that have the same pattern of capital names?
4. Many countries, during their early ages, had certain cities flourish because of trade – that happened mostly thru sea waters. Thus you will see many of those countries have a port as their capital. Some of them even have the name Port in their capital name. e.g. “Port Au Prince” for Haiti. What are the other capital names that you can come up with that have Port in it?
5. Many capital cities were named after certain Saints. They tend to have names starting with St., San, and so on. How many of them can you come up with?
6. Which are the capital cities that start with the letter “Y”?
7. How about “Z”?
8. Which is the most common first letter for capital names? Meaning more capital names start with this letter than any other letter. There are an astounding 25 of them!
9. A couple of countries have an apostrophe in their capital names. Can you name them?
10. Now the final one: What is the capital (legislative capitals) of Sri Lanka and Myanmar? Hint: I did not realize that they had moved their capitals recently.

Posted October 23, 2018 by Rajib Roy in category "Puzzles


  1. By rajibroy (Post author) on

    The answers now:

    1. There are (a rather surprising) 14 capital cities that have only 4 letters in them : Apia (Samoa), Baku (Azerbaijan), Bern (Switzerland), Dili (Timor-Leste), Doha (Qatar), Juba (South Sudan), Kiev (Ukraine), Lima (Peru), Lome (Togo), Male (Maldives), Oslo (Norway), Riga (Latvia), Rome (Italy) and Suva (Fiji).

    2. Four: Djibouti, Monaco, San Marino, Singapore and Vatican City.

    3. Five: Guatemala City, Kuwait City, Mexico City, Panama City, Luxembourg City. (I am not counting Vatican City since that is the country name too)

    4. Six: Port-Au-Prince (Haiti), Port Louis (Mauritius), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), Port Vila (Vanuatu) and Porto-Novo (Benin). I think Seri Bandar Begawan (Brunei) might count too. Something tells me that in local language Bandar means Port.

    5. Seven: San Jose (Costa Rica), San Marino (San Marino), San Salvador (El Salvador), Santiago (Chile), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), St. George’s (Grenada), St. John’s (Antigua and Barbuda)

    6. Four: (more than most would guess) – Cote d’voice, Cameroon. Nauru and Armenia – all have capital names starting with Y (Yamassoukro, Yaounde, Yaren and Yerevan)

    7. One: Zagreb (Croatia)

    8. The letter “B”

    9. Five!! – N’djamena (Chad), Nuku’alofa (Tonga), Sana’a (Yemen), St. George’s (Grenada), St. John’s (Antigua and Barbuda) (for the life of me, I do not know why that possessive apostrophe in the last two)

    10. I did not know but Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte and Nayoiydaw are the capitals of Sri Lanka and Myanmar.


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