Fact or Fiction: World Capitals Edition


By: Zoe Samuel

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

The history of the world is written in its capitals. The capitals of the world have been touched by wars, famines, pandemics, and great men and women who distinguished themselves. The architecture, the very city plans speak of the history of nations.

While the borders and identities of nations change over time, capital cities usually don't go anywhere. World War I may have signaled the end of the age of the great empires, but it also led to the creation of many new nations, each with their own capitals. National capitals can also be cultural capitals, though that is hardly a rule. While Paris may have been home to many great artists, Washington D.C., for example, isn't primarily known as a cultural hub.

Then there are former capitals, cities that once served as the national seat of power, but have either faded or become something else entirely. Both New York and Philadelphia served as capitals of the United States, and both have thrived in the years since the capital moved south.

How much do you really know about world capitals? Can you tell fact from fiction? Put your knowledge to the test with this quiz and discover if you are the capital champion!

Which fact about London is not true?

London's homeless population is actually quite small given the size of the city. This is largely due to the nation's generous social safety net. The Thames is the longest river in England, London as we think of it, was actually formed by the expansion of two ancient cities, and London is the ninth- largest city in the world.


Which fact about Paris is not true?

Half-timbered houses are a fairly rare sight in Paris, as they all date back to the middle ages, when building codes and fire laws didn't really exist. Most of these buildings are prized as important pieces of national history.


Which fact about Copenhagen is true?

Indeed, Copenhagen is the largest city in Scandanavia, and one of the most southern. It sits in a perfect location for shipping and commerce.


Which fact about Madrid is not true?

Madrid is not home to a separatist movement. In fact, the government in Madrid is in the midst of a fight with Catalan politicians intent on making Catalonia a separate nation.


Which fact about Rome is not true?

While the Romans invented concrete (using tufa, a substance found all over Italy) they did not invent bricks, which were used long before Rome existed, though they were used without concrete.


What is the capital of Switzerland?

Bern was founded in 1191 and named for the first animal found on a hunting trip by the city's founder, Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen. The first animal he saw was a bear, and that word, slightly corrupted, became the name of the city.


What is the capital of Liechtenstein?

Vaduz is the capital of the tiny principality of Liechtenstein. It is home to a calculator museum, and a castle you can rent for $70,000 a day. The nation is a favored location for wealthy people and companies eager to hide their money from the tax man, and it sports more brass plate companies than people.


Which fact about Vienna is untrue?

Jan van Eyck (1390 -1441) invented oil painting in Holland, not Vienna.


Which fact about Amsterdam is not true?

Amsterdam sports 165 canals, and sits on 11 million wooden pilings which keep the city above water. The Netherlands sit at, and sometimes below, sea level. The nation has been battling the oceans since it was first settled. Technically, Cannabis and other drugs are not legal in Amsterdam, but they are tolerated as long as they do not become a problem.


Which fact about Luxembourg is not true?

Luxembourg has the highest sale of alcohol in the EU, hands down. This is impressive, given the drinking habits of much of Europe.


Which fact about Brussels is incorrect?

While many European comic book artists lived in Brussels, Todd McFarlane lives in the USA.


Which fact about N'Djamena is not true?

N'Djamena is the capital of Chad, though it sits on the border of Cameroon.


Which fact about Maseru is false?

Maseru is the capital of the Kingdom of Lesotho. Its nation is a landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa.


Which is the untrue fact about Islamabad?

Islamabad is only 350 square mile in size, not 351.


Which fact about Astana is not true?

Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, is home to a huge shopping arcade in a tent they say is the world's largest, but they aren't particularly known for their lollies.


Which fact about Ulaanbaatar is not true?

Ulaanbaatar is home to 242 hotels, many of them small. This is important considering how cold it can get!


Which fact about Ottawa is not true?

Vancouver is home to the bulk of the Canadian film industry, not Ottawa. Vancouver has been the set for shows from "Battlestar Galactica" to "Highlander."


Which fact about Washington D.C. is not true?

Washington D.C. is where Boeings are assembled, a ballot initiative legalized recreational marijuana, and as the city does not have a vote in Congress because it is not a state, its "state" motto on license plates reads "Taxation Without Representation," the primary complaint of the Founding Fathers about British rule.


Which fact about Mexico City is not true?

Mexico City is the sixth most populous city in the world, and counts among that population Carlos Slim, the third-richest man in the world.


Which fact about Tokyo is not true?

Tokyo actually sports more Michelin star restaurants than any city in the world! Roppingi Hills, a complex built in 2003, is said to be cursed. The city used to go by the name Edo until the time of the Meiji Restoration, and Tokyo has the largest GDP of any city in the world.


Which is a true fact about Asuncion?

Asuncion's major industries include tobacco products grown on nearby plantations, and items like textiles and footwear, which are made in local factories and transported by the Paraguay River.


Which fact about Buenos Aires isn't a fact at all?

In Buenos Aires, soccer is a sport that commands religious devotion. Championship games, won or lost, can result in wild celebrations, or worse.


Which fact about Hanoi isn't true?

Hanoi sits on the banks of the Red River, not the Yellow River, which is in China.


Which is not a fact about Taipei?

Taipei 101 was the world's tallest building when it was built in 2004, standing 1,667 feet tall.


Which fact about Pyongyang is not true?

Pyongyang, located in North Korea, isn't a wonderful place if you like free speech, and its art scene tends to North Korean ideas of conservatism, not Bohemianism.


Which fact about Reykjavik is false?

Reykjavik is the most northern capital in the world! It is not, however, the coldest capital in the world.


Which fact about Sanaa is not true?

The population of Sanaa was 1,707,586 in 2004, but it has been growing. In 2009, the population reached an estimated 2,022,867.


Which fact about Minsk is not true?

Minsk was originally built as a defensive fortification. Putting it at a high elevation made it more defensible.


What is the capital of Bulgaria?

Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria, and has been since the 1400s. In WW II, Bulgaria aligned itself with the Axis Powers, and since the dissolution of the USSR, it has been a republic.


Which fact is not true of Rabat?

The predominant religion in Rabat, and indeed in all of Morocco, is Islam. The red on Morocco's flag represents the royal family, and the green star represents Islam (the color) and the five pillars of Islam (the five points).


Which fact about Lisbon is not true?

Lisbon's street cars were all had second hand from the USA. Many of them served areas of New York, including Brooklyn and Harlem, while others came after retirement in New Orleans.


Which fact about Berlin is not true?

Actually, about a third of Berlin is parkland, forests and lakes. It's a nice place to be, if you need to step out of the office and into nature.


Which fact about Zagreb is not true?

The upper town has 200 lampposts, but none of them are electric. They are all gas lamps.


Which fact about Prague is true?

Prague is home to Skoda, a major European manufacturer. Skoda translates into English as "pity."


What is the capital of Gabon?

Libreville is a port city dealing mostly with the local timber trade, and it is the capital of the African nation, Gabon.


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