Trying to pronounce certain foreign city names can be difficult for any traveler, especially in a country where you’re not familiar with the language. I recently came across an article on Fox News that featured some of the longest town names in the world, and it got me thinking: what are some other exceptionally long names for towns and cities around the globe? After doing some research, here are a list of some of the longest place names in the world:
1. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales: At 58 letters, this town on the island of Anglesey is the longest place name in Europe. The name translates to “St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel Near to the Rapid Whirlpool of Llantysilio of the Red Cave”. Originally, the town was called a relatively more manageable “Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll”, but during the 1860s, the townspeople decided to give it the longest name of any railway station in Britain as part of a publicity stunt.
2.Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand: Often shortened to Taumata, at 86 letters, this hill boasts the longest place name in any English-speaking country. In Maori, its name roughly translates to “the summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of the mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one”. Amazingly enough, there are even longer versions of names for this hill, reaching over 100 letters.
3. Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsijänkä, Finland: This bog region in the far north of Finland, at 35 letters long, is the second longest place name in Europe, after only that equally difficult-to-pronounce Welsh village formerly known as “Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll”. Its etymology is unknown, although linguists have theorized that its name is actually just gibberish.
4. Bangkok, Thailand: In Thai, the name of Bangkok is “Krung Thep Maha Nakhon”, which is short for its official name, “Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit” (how we got “Bangkok” from that is beyond me). The full name of Bangkok translates to “The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city of Ayutthaya, of God Intra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn”. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s the longest capital name in the world.
5. Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, Massachusetts: This lake in Webster, Massachusetts, is the longest one-word placename in the US. It derives from the Nipmuc language, and translates to “Fishing Place at the Boundaries – Neutral Meeting Grounds”. Although most people call the lake by the more manageable “Webster Lake”, many people, particularly locals from the region, take pride in saying the lake’s longer name.
6. Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein, South Africa: Located in the North West province of South Africa, not far from Pretoria, this farm has entered South African folklore as the the longest one-word placename in all of Africa. It comes from Afrikaans, and translates to “The spring where two buffaloes were killed with a single shot”. In the Afrikaans language, all of the descriptive terms relating to one concept can be tied together into one long word, meaning that Afrikaans boasts some pretty long names, even if they’re not terribly common.