Capital cities are important for many reasons. Economically, they attract businesses and large working populations that fuel growth and development. Politically, it’s where a country’s government is located. Culturally, they bring people from all over the world together and increase tourism and population growth.
But what’s interesting about all of these cities is that they’re so different from each other geographically. In terms of elevation, some of these cities are very high up while others are much lower. But do you know which are among the highest? What are the highest capital cities in the world? Keep reading to find out.
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What Are the Highest Capital Cities in the World?
1. La Paz – 11,942 feet
La Paz is located in Bolivia, where the highest elevated cities are located. Bolivia actually contains two capitals – La Paz, which is elevated at 11,942 feet (3,640 meters) and is the seat of the government and financial center, and Sucre, the constitutional capital which has an altitude of 9,022 feet (2,750 meters). Bolivia is a landlocked country that’s located in Western-Central South America.
Further reading: What Is the Capital of Bolivia?
2. Quito – 9,350 feet
Quito is the capital city of Ecuador and is the second highest city in the world in terms of elevation, with an altitude of 9,350 feet or 2,850 meters. It has been home to the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations since 2008.
3. Bogotá – 8,661 feet
As the capital of Colombia, Bogotá is a popular tourist spot. And because of its high elevation, many tourists from lower cities experience altitude sickness upon arriving. The city has an altitude of 8,661 feet above sea level (or 2,625 meters), which many don’t take into account when visiting.
4. Addis Ababa – 7,726 feet
Addis Ababa, which is the capital of Ethiopia, has an altitude of 7,726 feet or 2,355 meters. Ethiopia is the largest and most populated country in the Horn of Africa, and is one of the oldest countries in the world. The country is also well known for its Eucalyptus.
5. Thimphu – 7,657 feet
Thimphu has an altitude of 7,657 feet (or 2,334) and is the capital city of the Kingdom of Bhutan, a landlocked country in Southern Asia. The country’s name derives from the meaning “Land of the Thunder Dragon”, which was assigned because of the fierce storms that come in the from Himalayan Mountains.
6. Asmara – 7,628 feet
Sixth on the list is Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. The city has an altitude of 7,628 feet or 2,325 meters above sea level. An interesting fact about Asmara is that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017 for its preserved modernist architecture.
7. Mexico City – 7,380 feet
While Mexico City is a very popular destination for tourists, many don’t realize it’s among the highest elevated capital cities in the world. The city has an elevation of 7,380 feet or 2,250 meters and is one of the most populated cities in North America, with a population of 21,671,908 people as of 2019.
Further reading: Where Is Mexico?
8. Sana’a – 7,218 feet
Sana’a, the capital city of Yemen, has an elevation of 7,218 feet or 2,200 meters. It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world (over 2,500 years), and it is the largest city in Yemen. The U.S. Department of State currently advises against travel to Yemen, due to health and safety risks for foreigners.
9. Kabul – 5,873 feet
Kabul is the capital city of Afghanistan and the ninth highest elevated city in the world. It has an elevation of 5,873 feet (1,790 meters) above sea level. Due to fast urbanization, Kabul has become the 75th largest city in the world.
10. Nairobi – 5,450 feet
Last but not least, the 10th highest city in the world is Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The city has an altitude of 5,450 feet or 1,661 meters above sea level. The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to “cool water”.
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