Capital City Origins ~ Asia Part 1

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Introduction.

Our third continent on our journey around the globe, (sorry flat-earthers, but I don't believe in that theory), and we are heading into Asia. From the Levant to the Land of the Rising Sun, Asia is the largest and most populous continent. It's climates range from arctic and sub-arctic in Siberia to tropical in India and the South East.

We shall start our journey in Yemen and continue through the Middle East to the Mediterranean Sea. Don't worry, Cyprus is the first country in Part 2 !

So now that my dhow has docked in Aden after it's perilous journey across the Red Sea, we shall set out on our camel to our first capital.....

Sana'a. Yemen.

The Old Town, Sana'a

Although Sana'a is still technically the capital of Yemen, all government departments have been moved to Aden temporarily since 2015 after the Houthi occupation.

The name Aden, by the way, comes from an ancient Greek word meaning "blissful" or "prosperous".

Anyway, back to Sana'a. According to legend, the city was founded by Shem, son of Noah, and it is claimed that Cain and Abel are buried within the city. The name derives from the Sabaic language and means "well fortified".


SANA'A = WELL FORTIFIED

Muscat. Oman.

Muscat harbour (with my dhow !)

Muscat has been known since the 1st century AD, and has been an important city on the trade routes across the Indian Ocean.

There is some dispute over the name's origins. Some say it derives from the Arabic moscha meaning "inflated hide", while others claim it means an "anchorage", whilst still more people think it comes from Old Persian meaning "strong scented".

Personally, I think the "anchorage" theory is the most likely.


MUSCAT = ANCHORAGE (or INFLATED HIDE or STRONG SCENTED)

Abu Dhabi. United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi

Located partly on an island in the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is the UAE's second largest city after Dubai. There is archaeological evidence to suggest the area has been inhabited since the third millenium BC.

It's name translates from the Arabic Abu meaning "father" and Dhabi meaning "Gazelle". Thought to have come from the many gazelles in the area, Abu Dhabi therefore means "Father of Gazelles"


ABU DHABI = FATHER OF GAZELLES

Doha. Qatar.

West Bay District, Doha

Over 80% of Qatar's population live in Doha, the city was founded in 1820 as a suburb of the town of Al Bidda, but quickly took over the area. It was declared the capital in 1971 when the nation became independent from the United Kingdom.

According to Qatar's Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Doha originated from the Arabic word dohat meaninf "roundness", refering to the rounded bays on the nearby coastline.


DOHA = ROUNDNESS

Manama. Bahrain.

Manama

Everytime I hear the name of this city I want to sing "Doo doo be doo do" in a Muppetesque way. Sorry, got carried away a bit there. Let's get back on track.

Manama (doo doo be doo do) has long been an imprtant trading city under the control of various nations. From the Persians and Portugese to most recently the British up until 1971 when Bahrain became independent.

It's name comes from the Arabic word al-manama meaning "place of dreams"


MANAMA = PLACE OF DREAMS

Riyadh. Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh

Riyadh is one of those annoying places in the Jetpunk world that leaves a stray letter in the answer box on some quizzes. I've lost count of the times I've kept typing and not realised the "h" is still there and I've wasted half a minute!. Sorry, stop moaning, toowise!

Built in the middle of the An-Nafud desert, Riyad(h) dates back to around 1600 and it's name reflects the oasises oasiss oases that it was built around. It's name comes from the Arabic al-riyad meaning "Gardens"


RIYADH = GARDENS

Kuwait City. Kuwait.

Kuwait City

Founded in 1613 as a fishing village, Kuwait City rapidly grew into a major trading port for routes to Baghdad and the Indian sub-continent. It also has a long established major ship building industry.

The name is thought to have come from an Arabic word with roots in the Hindustani language, kut meaning "fortress"


KUWAIT CITY = FORTRESS CITY

Baghdad. Iraq.

Downtown Baghdad

Sited near to the ancient city of Babylon, the area around Baghdad has been inhabited for many millenia. The name pre-dates the Islamic religion and was originally the name of a persian village.

Modern scholars tend to favour the etymology from the old Persian words bagh and dad meaning "God" and "given" respectively.


BAGHDAD = GOD GIVEN

Amman. Jordan.

Amman

Although there is evidence dating back to Neolithic times, and despite considerable growth during and after Roman occupation, Amman was virtually abandoned from the 15th century until the Ottoman Empire sent refugees there in 1878.

It's name harks back to around the 13th century BC, when the area was inhabited by the Ammonite tribes. They named it Rabat Amman meaning "Capital of the Ammonites". Eventually the Rabat was dropped leaving Amman.


AMMAN = CITY OF AMMONITES

Jerusalem. Israel.

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

Jerusalem is thought to be one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to three of the major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Both Israel and Palestine claim it as their capital city.

Despite it's turbulent past, (destroyed twice, beseiged 23 times and captured numerous times), Jerusalem remains controversial to this day with it's occupation of Palestinian land.

The name is thought to have originated as "Foundation of the god Shalem" in the Bronze Age


JERUSALEM = FOUNDATION OF THE GOD SHALEM

Damascus. Syria.

Umayyad Mosque, Damascus

Thought to be the oldest continously inhabited city in the world and the oldest capital city. It was the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate in 661 AD, but was a city since the second millenium BC.

The name Damascus has its origins in Greek and the Qumranic language, Darmaseq, meaning "well watered land"


DAMASCUS = WELL WATERED LAND

Beirut. Lebanon.

Central Beirut

Situated on a peninsula in the middle of Lebanon's Mediterranean coast, Beirut was known as the "Paris of the Middle East" prior to the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990).

It's name comes from the translation of the Arabic Bayrut. The Arabic name derives from the Phoenician birot meaning "wells" refering to the areas accessible water table.


BEIRUT = WELLS

Summary.

Asia Part 1. Done. Quite neatly, the first 12 of 48 capital cities covered the Arabian Peninsula. There are, as the mathematicians amongst you have already realised, three more Parts to Asia with twelve capitals in each. I seem to be settling into releasing a blog twice a week, usually one on a Monday, and the other on a Thursday or Friday, work commitments allowing.
As we get towards the midpoint of our global journey, my thoughts keep going to "what's next", but there's still the rest of Asia, Oceania, and South and North America to do yet. Who knows. Maybe I'll do a few of the larger world cities, or the 50 state capitals, or how some of the seas got their name, or overseas territories, or......well you get the idea!  Any suggestions please comment and I'll make a note and give it some thought. But for now, it's capital cities.


Next stop on our journey is........Cyprus. The controversial island. At least amongst the JetPunk community anyway. Is it Europe, is it Asia, is it a bird, is it a plane.......

 
Until next time, ciao, adios, au revoir and auf weidersehen......
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Level 69
Dec 2, 2021
Woohoo! Finally Asia's here. Can't wait for eastern and southeastern Asian capitals, and of course south Asian ones too!
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Level 75
Dec 2, 2021
Have patience young grasshopper all will be revealed in good time 😎
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Level 69
Dec 2, 2021
Did you get a reply from either embassies or the Bishop regarding the origins of Lobamba and Gitega?
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Level 75
Dec 2, 2021
I got a reply from someone at the equivalent of Gitega Town Council, but it was just a link to a Wikipedia page and a local business page, but with no new information. I did find however a translation in a local dialect for a word igi-tega that means iirc flat lands or similar. See the sticky on relevant Africa section, I put the info there.

The bishop hasnt replied though, obviously too busy doing God's work.

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Level 43
Dec 2, 2021
Wow, that’s cool! Waiting for Eswatini one :)
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Level 75
Dec 2, 2021
Me too, but I'm not holding my breath
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Level 43
Dec 2, 2021
I shouldn’t advertise, but tomorrow is the last day for sending the memes on my bankrupted Meme Contest (well, QM sent his meme, but...). So... yeah, go do your memes

And cool blog! You pick really amazing images :) That’s the time Thread will cry and scream on his pillow

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Level 73
Dec 2, 2021
Another creator's comment section really isn't a good place to promote the event you've hosted
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Level 43
Dec 2, 2021
Won’t do this again.
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Level 73
Dec 2, 2021
Dang, didn't expect Abu Dhabi's etymology to be that. It must be fun for Arabs reading the capital out loud.

Good work

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Level 75
Dec 2, 2021
Thank You, there are some unusual origins of names
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Level 64
Dec 2, 2021
Muscat grape = strong-scented grape
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Level 75
Dec 2, 2021
That could be it then, at least I put that as an option 😎or the grape could be an " anchored grape" 😁
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Level 64
Dec 2, 2021
Incredible! Most of these capitals, especially ones in the Middle East, were very interesting for me so thanks :)
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Level 75
Dec 2, 2021
You're welcome !
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Level 57
Dec 2, 2021
So, Manama doo doo be doo do is the 'city of dreams' eh? It's so interesting learning about all these different meanings!
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Level 75
Dec 2, 2021
Thank you
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Level 64
Dec 3, 2021
Great blog, as usual! Interesting how Damascus and Riyadh, which I usually associate with being a barren desert, are called "well watered land" and "gardens", respectively. Although, now that I think about it, it makes sense given that no one would want to live in dry sand dunes with no access to nearby water.

Anyhow, looking forward to more!

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Level 75
Dec 3, 2021
Presumably built up around an oasis , like you say no point building in the sand dunes with no water
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Level 65
Dec 3, 2021
Amazing, I'm running out of compliments again lol maybe I should start writing in different languages like I did with BGG's series
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Level 75
Dec 3, 2021
Good idea, but don't tell me which language, I'll try to guess. It will be like a mini-game within the blog comments.
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Level 65
Dec 3, 2021
సరే! ఇప్పుడే మొదలుపెట్టుతాను! ఇది ఏ భాషో తెలుసా? నా బ్లాగ్ చదవారంటే ఏమిటో తెలుస్తుంది.

ఈ బ్లాగ్ చాలా బాగుంది, ఈ నగరాలా పేర్లు గురించి చాలా నేర్చుకున్నా!

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Level 57
Dec 4, 2021
Telugu. Should have known.

oops sorry i think i just ruined this for you toowise

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Level 75
Dec 4, 2021
Don't worry about it McKenzieFam, I was going to guess ....well I don't know what I was going to guess if I'm honest, probably Hindi or Punjabi, at least I would have got the right country,

Well done TheNatureThread or TNT for short. I'll see what you come up with on the next blog, which will probably be released on Sunday.

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Level 65
Dec 4, 2021
Thanks, I'll try another one next time :)

Translation of that: Okay! I'll start right now! Do you know what language this is? If you read my blog, you'll know.

This blog is very good, I learned a lot about these cities' names!

Also, this is my blog about it

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Level 69
Dec 4, 2021
Really enjoying the series, it's great fun everytime one of these comes out! It was nice to learn about the real etymology of Kuwait today, after learning the Q8 origin theorised by the new April Fool's Day quiz, haha.
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Level 75
Dec 4, 2021
Thank you, I can't remember that quiz, I shall have to look it up now. There is a fuel company called Q8, I presume it is based in Kuwait.
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Level 75
Dec 4, 2021
Found it... "What country got its name because it was on square Q8 of a map issued by the

British Colonial office?".

Oh I wish that was true.

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Level 75
Dec 4, 2021
And it's in the new quizzes, I don't look at them till after I've gone through the RUB
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Level 69
Dec 4, 2021
That could have been such an intersting fact. I looked it up to see if it was a common myth but I guess Quizmaster came up with that one :)