Countries With Multiple Capital Cities

High Angle Shot Of Townscape Against Sky

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Twelve countries around the world have multiple capital cities for a variety of reasons. Most split administrative, legislative, and judicial headquarters between two or more cities.


Porto-Novo is the official capital of Benin but Cotonou is the seat of government.


The administrative capital of Bolivia is La Paz while the legislative and judicial (also known as constitutional) capital is Sucre.

Cote d'Ivoire

In 1983, President Felix Houphouet-Boigny moved the capital of Cote d'Ivoire from Abidjan to his hometown of Yamoussoukro. This made the official capital Yamoussoukro but many government offices and embassies (including the United States) remain in Abidjan.


In 1950, Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as their capital city. However, all countries (including the United States) maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, which was Israel's capital from 1948 to 1950.


Malaysia has moved many administrative functions from Kuala Lumpur to a suburb of Kuala Lumpur called Putrajaya. Putrajaya is a new high-technology complex 25 km (15 miles) south of Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian government has relocated administrative offices and the Prime Minister's official residence. Nonetheless, Kuala Lumpur remains the official capital.

Putrajaya is part of a regional "Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC)." The MSC itself is also home to Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the Petronas Twin Towers.


On Sunday, November 6, 2005 civil servants and government officials were ordered to move immediately from Rangoon to a new capital, Nay Pyi Taw (also known as Naypyidaw) 200 miles north. While governmental buildings in Nay Pyi Taw had been under construction for more than two years, its construction was not widely publicized. Some report the timing of the move was related to astrological recommendations. The transition to Nay Pyi Taw continues so both Rangoon and Nay Pyi Taw retain capital status. Other names might be seen or used to represent the new capital and nothing is solid as of this writing.


Though the legal (de jure) capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, the actual (de facto) seat of government and residence of the monarchy is The Hague.


The capital of Nigeria was officially moved from Lagos to Abuja in December 2, 1991 but some offices remain in Lagos.

South Africa

South Africa is a very interesting situation as it has three capitals. Pretoria is the administrative capital, Cape Town is the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein is the home of the judiciary.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has moved the legislative capital to Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, a suburb of the official capital in Colombo.


Mbabane is the administrative capital and Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital.


Tanzania officially designated its capital as Dodoma but only the legislature meets there, leaving Dar es Salaam as the de facto capital city.

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Your Citation
Rosenberg, Matt. "Countries With Multiple Capital Cities." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Rosenberg, Matt. (2023, April 5). Countries With Multiple Capital Cities. Retrieved from Rosenberg, Matt. "Countries With Multiple Capital Cities." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).