When asked how many capital cities does each country have, most people would answer one, but did you know some countries have multiple capital cities?

There are 12 countries with two or more capital cities and each one has various reasons. 

For many countries, the capital city is where politicians meet to pass laws. 

Some countries have had a hard time deciding on which city should be the capital and have changed capitals in the process. For example, “In 1973, Tanzania declared that a new capital would be established in Dodoma, hundreds of miles inland from the colonial-era capital of Dar es Salaam,” according to CNN Travel

Canada is another country that had a hard time deciding which city should be the capital. “The capital use to move every two years, because the Federation could not agree on where the capital should go,” says professor David Gordon in the book, “Planning Twentieth Century Capital Cities.

As we’re all home plotting on our next destination once this pandemic is over, it’s a great opportunity to learn about these 12 countries with more than one capital city:

Benin – Cotonou and Porto-Novo

Cotonou is a vibrant city and also the biggest in Benin. It’s the city where travelers visit most and is where the seat of government is located.

Cotonou, Benin.
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Only an hour away is the official capital of Porto-Novo. This city is more historic and calm than Cotonou.

Bolivia – La Paz and Sucre

La Paz is located in the Andes Mountains and is perfect for views of snowy mountain tops. It is also known as the administrative capital while Sucre, located hundreds of miles away, is the constitutional capital. 

Mt. Illimani towers over the city of La Paz.
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Sucre, Bolivia.
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Chile – Santiago and Valparaiso

Located only 72 miles away from each other driving, the two cities are total polar opposites. Santiago is filled with buildings and city life while Valparaiso is very picturesque. 

Santiago, Chile.
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Cote D’Ivoire – Abidjan and Yamoussoukro

Abidjan is where all of the business goes on. This bustling city is where you can find beautiful architecture, markets, and beautiful art. Yamoussoukro is very quiet and was made the second capital in 1983 by former President Félix Houphouët-Boigny because it was his childhood city. 

Basilica of Our Lady of Peace (Yamoussoukro) – Ivory Coast.
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Czech Republic – Brno and Prague

Brno is where the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic is located and home to students in busy cafes. Prague is where you go to learn about the culture and history of the Czech Republic.

Brno, Czech Republic.
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Kingdom of eSwatini – Mbabane and Lobamba

The Kingdom of eSwatini was known as Swaziland and is a landlocked country located inside of South Africa. 

Mbane, Kindom of eSwatini.
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Mbane is known as the administrative capital while Lobamba is is where the royal family resides.

Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya

Kuala Lumpur is ideal for nightlife, bars and ‘doing the most’. It is also the city where Malaysia’s monarch resides. 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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Putrajaya was constructed by the government in 1995 and is a quiet city located around a man-made lake. 

Putrajaya, Malaysia.
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Montenegro – Cetinje and Podgorica

Cetinje is home to the President’s residence and is known as the Old Royal Capital. 

The view of Cetinje the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro.
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Podgorica is home to the official government and is much more laid-back than Cetinje.

Podgorica, Montenegro.
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Netherlands – Amsterdam and The Hague

Amsterdam is definitely a city known for its coolness, 4/20 friendly cafes and party scene.

Amsterdam, Netherlands.
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The Hague is where the governing takes place and where the King of the Netherlands conducts his annual speech from the throne. 

The Hague, Netherlands.
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South Africa – Bloemfontein, Cape Town and Pretoria

South Africa is the only country in the world to have three capital cities. Cape Town is a popular tourist city and offers epic views of Table Mountain and beaches. It is also the legislative capital of South Africa.

Cape Town, South Africa.
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Bloemfontein has a chilled, residential vibe and is the judicial capital of South Africa.

City Hall built in the 1900s, in the city of Bloemfontein, Free State Province, South Africa.
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Pretoria has the most beautiful views of jacaranda trees every September and also the home of the executive capital of South Africa. 

Jacaranda City, morning, Pretoria, Union Building Gardens.
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Sri Lanka – Colombo and Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte

Colombo is located along the coast of Sri Lanka and boasts beautiful beaches and landmarks. 

Colombo, Sri Lanka.
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Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is also called Kotte and is the home of the Sri Lankan Parliament Building.

Tanzania – Dar es Salaam and Dodoma

Although it was announced in 1973 that the government would move from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, it took until October 2019 to actually do so. 

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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Dodoma may have all of the official buildings but a lot of government business still is conducted in Dar es Salaam.