Capital city

An aerial photo of a North American city
Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States
A panorama of an European city
London, the capital of the United Kingdom
Seoul, the capital of South Korea
A panorama of a North African city
Cairo, the capital of Egypt

A capital city (or simply capital) is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of government. A capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the government's offices and meeting places; the status as capital is often designated by its law or constitution. In some jurisdictions, including several countries, the different branches of government are located in different settlements. In some cases, a distinction is made between the official (constitutional) capital and the seat of government, which is in another place.

Capital cities that are also the prime economic, cultural, or intellectual centres of a nation or an empire are sometimes referred to as primate cities. Examples are Athens, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Cairo, London, Mexico City, Paris, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Warsaw.

News media will often use the name of a capital city as an alternative name for the country it is the capital of or of the government which is seated there, as a form of metonymy, e.g. "relations between Washington and London" refers to "relations between the United States and the United Kingdom.


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