Countries that have a capital city with a weird name – Honduras

Modern day Honduras in Central America was once the centre of a proud and advanced Maya civilisation. The arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors did end the Maya cultural predominance, but not necessarily the Mayan people, many of whom survive to this day and who still use the ancient language as well as Spanish, which is the official language of Honduras.

The capital of Honduras is Tegucigalpa, and although it looks rather difficult to pronounce, it is a Nahuatl language name meaning “silver hill”.

In fact, the name of the capital city is such a mouthful that even the locals usually just refer to it as Tegus.

Tegucigalpa is situated on the banks of the Choluteca River, and whilst the main part of the city is located on the east bank of the river, it also has a twin city on the west bank called Comayaguela which, unfortunately, has an equally unpronounceable name and is far less salubrious than its neighbour.

The city snuggles in a valley which is surrounded by mountains, making the city very hilly.

Whereas many of the world’s capital cities are kept reasonably well maintained, the same cannot be said of Tegucigalpa as its roads have problems coping with the heavy traffic, and many of the areas are quite poor and lack basic facilities.

The city is unique in that it seems to flood every year whenever the Choluteca River rises due to heavy rains. The city also suffered badly when Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998.

The Historic Downtown area of Tegucigalpa is determined by the original neighbourhoods that date back to its founding days. For years, this area remained neglected and rundown but in recent times, attempts have been made to revive the zone and bring back its colonial heritage. Several government offices, including the National Congress and City Hall as well as museums, parks, a cathedral and churches are located here.

As you would expect from a city that was conquered by the Spanish, there are a number of historic cathedrals and churches in the city, and also quite a few museums, which vary quite extensively in the standard of display of artefacts.

You can get excellent views of the city from El Picacho, a peak just on the north side of the city which also houses a park that was built to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the United Nations.

Tegucigalpa is not one of the tourist hotspots in Honduras, that honour remains with the Bay Islands on the Caribbean coast, but it is typical of the sort of run down city you may expect to see in Central America, and if you visit with that type of expectation you will not be let down.

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