Top 10 Best Little Capitals (Not all capital cities are the biggest cities in the country…)
Chris’ personal picks from places in the world that he has visited.
Ottawa: No other major capital city of the world is built on such a human scale. Ottawa is over-endowed for its size with national museums and historic buildings and everywhere is walkable. Winterlude, the city’s February festival, makes an attraction of Winter’s worst!
La Paz, Bolivia: This extraordinary city is built at the bottom of a great cleft in the high altitude Altiplano 3,660 meters above sea level, making it the world's highest capital city, but it’s second to Santa Cruz de la Sierra in size. Breathtaking in every sense, it’s overlooked by 6,000 meter mountains and a sky of intense indigo.
Washington, U.S.: Yes, even Washington is a little city compared to New York and LA…And what a treasure trove of fabulous museums! There are so many that it’s impossible to take them all in, but the Smithsonian institutions are magnificent…and free. Stroll the National Mall and take in the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
Canberra, Australia: It may be only Australia’s 8th largest city, but it is the site of Parliament House and many of the country’s most prized cultural institutions, such as the Australian War Memorial, National Gallery, and the National Museum. The surrounding region offers wineries, historic townships, and classic bush country.
Brasilia, Brazil: There was nothing here in the 1950’s when the decision was made to build a capital city from scratch in the middle of the Brazilian Highlands. In just four years Brasilia was conjured up from the imagination of Oscar Niemeyer to become a capital reality. Already it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wellington, New Zealand: Arts, culture, fine dining and breathtaking natural scenery - that's what Wellington's all about. New Zealand’s capital city spreads between rolling hills and a stunning harbor. It has a vibrant and compact downtown with an amazing range of cafes, art galleries, theatres and a buzzing nightlife.
Pretoria, South Africa: Pretoria is the de facto capital of South Africa, a country with no less than three capital cities. If you want to understand what South Africa and its people are all about – come to Pretoria. Take in its museums, the stately Union Buildings, but above all meet the people of this most South African of cities.
Edinburgh, Scotland: It may be only a fifth of the size of nearby Glasgow, but it’s the seat of the Scottish Parliament, site of an imposing castle and home of one of the greatest happenings on the planet: the Edinburgh Festival. The Old Town and New Town districts were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
Rabat, Morocco: Yes, Casablanca is not the capital of Morocco! But Rabat is a wonderful city to soak up Moroccan culture with all the benefits of modern civilization close at hand. The Kasbah of the Oudaias, Hassan Tower and the Royal Mausoleum, Old Medina and Chellah - founded by Carthaginians and conquered by Romans.