While researching a city, I was intrigued to discover that its official full name was on the list of the longest place names in the world. Well, that got me started on a tangent, and pretty soon I had read about many of the most unpronounceable locations in the world. Here are the top 5 with the longest names:
5. Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (45 Letters) – This lake in Webster, Massachusetts, USA, is also known as Lake Chaubunagungamaug or just Webster Lake. It comes from the language of the Nipmuc people and translates roughly to “Fishing Place at the Boundaries — Neutral Meeting Grounds” It is the longest official one-word placename in the United States.
4. El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de la Porciúncula (57 Letters) – Do you recognize this name? This is actually the official name for the city of Los Angeles, California, USA, believe it or not. It means, “The town of our lady the queen of the angels of the little portion.”
3. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (58 letters!) – This town in northern Wales, which in English means “Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio near the red cave,” boasts the third longest place name. The locals call it Llanfairpwll (pronounced thlan vire puth), Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, or Llanfair PG for short.
2. Tetaumatawhakatangihangakoauaotamateaurehaeaturipukapihimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuaakitanarahu (92 Letters!!) – This is the official Maori name for a hill near Porangahau, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand which is spelled with either 85 or 92 letters; The Guinness Book of Records has the 92-letter entry, but this same hill used to be called Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukaka pikimaunga horonukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu (can you tell the difference? Me neither!). According to FunWithWords.com, “that’s a combination of the words taumata (brow of a hill), whakatangihanga (music making), koauau (flute), o (of), tamatea (name of a famous chief), turi pukaka (bony knees), piki maunga(climbing a mountain), horo (slip), nuku (move), pokai whenua (widely travelled), ki(to), tana (his), and tahu (beloved).” The name is often shortened to Taumata for ease of conversation.
– and number one:
1. Krung-Thep-Mahanakhon-Amon-Rattanakosin-Mahintharayutthaya-Mahadilok-Phop-Noppharat-Ratchathani-Burirom-Udomratchaniwet-Mahasathan-Amon-Phiman-Awatan-Sathit-Sakkathattiya-Witsanukam-Prasit (169 Letters!!!) – The official Thai name of Bangkok, Thailand, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, is actually a shortening of its full ceremonial name given by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke and later edited by King Mongkut:
– which loosely translates to what seems like the history of the city, rather than just a name:
The land of angels, the great city of
immortality, various of devine gems,
mahintara yudthaya mahadilok pohp
the great angelic land unconquerable,
noparat rajathanee bureerom
land of nine noble gems, the royal city, the pleasant capital,
place of the grand royal palace,
amorn pimarn avaltarnsatit
forever land of angels and reincarnated spirits,
sakatattiya visanukram prasit
predestined and created by the highest devas.
So, according to the Guinness Book of Records, this is the winner, though not in the English language.