The Smallest Country Capitals in the World

The capital building at Ngerulmud, Palau.
The capital building at Ngerulmud, Palau.

The capital city is usually a symbolic location for a nation. In most instances, the capital city is the center of administration of the nation and hosts most government buildings. Capital cities in the world vary in area, population size, economic value, and location. Some of the world’s smallest capital cities of sovereign countries are Ngerulmud (Palau), Vatican City (Vatican City), Yaren (Nauru), Funafuti (Tuvalu), and San Marino (San Marino).

The Smallest Country Capital Cities in the World


Ngerulmud is the capital city of the island nation of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. The capital is situated in the state of Melekeok. It is one of the least populated capital cities in the world with an estimated population of only 390 residents. Initially, Palau’s capital city was Koror. Koror is the biggest city in Palau and it is commercial center as well. However, in 1986, plans began to move government offices to Ngerulmud. In 2006, the Capital city was officially moved to Ngerulmud with the opening of the capital complex. The capital remains mostly uninhabited and is described as a unique capital due to its low population and minimal activity.

Vatican City

Vatican City is the capital of the Vatican City state situated within the Italian city of Rome. It occupies an area of only 0.17 square miles making it the world’s smallest state by land area. Vatican City population is estimated to be one thousand residents only; mainly consisting of nuns and priests. The city was formally recognized as Vatican City starting in 1929. The city is home to some famous sites like the St. Peter’s Basilica also known as the Papal Basilica of St. peter in the Vatican, Sistine Chapel initially known as Cappella Magna, and the Vatican Museum.


Yaren is recognized as the capital of the Pacific nation of Nauru. It is quite small and undeveloped that it is hardly ranked as a city. Yaren is classified as a District that was established in 1968. It covers an area of 0.6 square miles and hosts approximately 800 residents. Yaren is home to Nauru’s parliament, fire station, police station, national stadium, government offices, the embassy of Taiwan, Australia’s High Commissioner’s Office, and Nauru’s International Airport.


Funafuti is the capital of the Island state of Tuvalu. It is Tuvalu’s largest city and also the nation’s biggest lagoon. The city accommodates more than half of the residents of Tuvalu with an estimated population of 6,000. It sits on an area of 0.9 square miles. Funafuti hosts government offices and prominent buildings like the parliament, Tuvalu’s High Court, and the National Hospital. It also has Tuvalu’s International Airport.

San Marino

The city of San Marino is the capital of the European nation of San Marino. The capital occupies an area of 2.74 square miles and hosts slightly more than 4,000 residents. Some of the prominent sites in the capital include Basilica di San Marino, Piazza del Titano, Palazzo dei Capitani, and the Monastery of Santa Clara. The city of San Marino is a tourist magnet with more than 3 million visitors annually.

The Significance of a Capital City

The capital city of a country is an essential location for the nation. Most capital cities act as the center for government operations accommodating government institutions such as parliament, judiciary offices, and executive offices. The capital city could also serve as an important historical site for a country. Lastly, the capital city may also represent the nation’s identity.

The Smallest Country Capital Cities in the World

RankCapital CountryPopulation
2Vatican CityVatican City826
5San MarinoSan Marino4493
8St. George'sGrenada7500
9PalikirFederated States of Micronesia9900
10BasseterreSaint Kitts and Nevis13043

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