50 Fascinating Facts about Capital Cities From Around the World

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1Tokyo recycling systems

Tokyo has incredibly efficient recycling systems. All combustible trash is incinerated, the smoke and gasses cleaned before release, and then the leftover ash is used as a replacement for clay in the cement used for construction.


2. Paris holds an annual contest to find the city’s best baguette. Around 200 bakers each submit two baguettes (must be eligible) to be graded on quality, look, smell, taste, and crunch. The winner wins €4000 and a contract to supply the French president fresh baguettes every day for 1 year.


3. Volunteers in Madrid watch for dog owners who don’t pick up their dog’s poop, gather the owner’s information by petting the dogs, then send the poop to the owner’s home with a “lost and found” label.


4. Helsinki, Finland has a four-times-a-year event called Restaurant Day. The occasion offers anyone the opportunity to set up a restaurant, café, or bar, for just one day, without having to apply for official permits – as long as alcohol is not on the drinks list.


5. There is a mysterious expanding black goo called La Mancha Negra (the black stain) that covers parts of roads in Caracas, Venezuela. Millions of dollars have been spent researching it, yet the cause is still unknown. 1,800 people have died in auto accidents due to the goo.


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6Largo di Torre Argentina

In Rome, the ancient temple named Largo di Torre Argentina where Julius Caesar was murdered is now a sanctuary for hundreds of cats.


7. Underneath the streets of Beijing, there are over a million people who live in nuclear bunkers.


8. The Conakry International Airport parking lot lights in Guinea is a popular destination for the students to study as it is one of the few illuminated public places in a country where only 5% have access to electricity.


9. Singapore's crime rate is so low that many shops do not even bother to close the door when they close at night.


10. There is a Beatles monument in central Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia celebrating the Beatles. During the Mongolian communist times, locals would sit around listening to forbidden western music and discussing the values of freedom and democracy.


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11Gaping holes

Buildings in Hong Kong have gaping holes to allow dragons free passage from their mountain homes to the sea.


12. Throughout South London, there are large sections of fence made out of World War 2 stretchers. These stretchers were used by civil authorities to transport the injured during the Blitz. They are what remains of the 600,000 built for the city during the war.


13. Belgrade, capital of Serbia, is in such a strategic position that it has been destroyed in wars 44 times, and battled over in 115 different wars.


14. Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is built on 14 islands, and its city center is “virtually situated on the water.”


15. On June 29, 1995, a department store named Sampoong Department Store in Seoul, Korea collapsed, killing 500 people. During construction, the owner insisted on adding an unauthorized 6th floor with a swimming pool. When his engineers protested, they were fired.


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16Chuchok Shrine

There is a shrine in Bangkok to a naughty old beggar. After one-man prayed at the shrine and won the lottery, he rewarded the beggar with a troupe of sexy dancers. Now people regularly bring dancers to the shrine to seek good fortune.


17. There is an hourglass in Budapest that takes a full year to run out. It takes four people almost an hour to turn it.


18. During 1916 Rising in Dublin, the British and Irish Troops fighting at St. Stephen's Green held daily ceasefires to allow the park-keeper to feed the ducks that lived there.


19. At the Tehran Conference, Joseph Stalin proposed shooting 50,000-100,000 captured German officers. Churchill stormed out in disgust, and Stalin followed him into the hall and said he was just joking. FDR joked, "maybe 49,000 would be enough."


20. By 1991, the air in Mexico City had become so contaminated with fecal dust from humans that it was possible to contract hepatitis by simply breathing outdoors.


21Schiphol airport

In an attempt to reduce the cleaning cost, Amsterdam Schiphol airport installed a picture of a fly in the urinals so men could aim at it and avoid splashing the urine outside. It worked.


22. The oldest discovered wheel was found in Slovenia's Ljubljana Marshes in 2002 and it's approximately 5,150 years old.


23. In Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, humanoid robots are used to direct traffic. The giant robots are solar-powered, have chests that rotate, and are equipped with cameras that send real-time information back to the police station.


24. The "Tower of the Winds" (in Athens) is considered to be the first-ever meteorological station. It features eight sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane.


25. More than 85% of Warsaw's historic center was reduced to ruins in the second world war. The city was then reconstructed from the 18th-century cityscapes of the Venetian painter Bernardo Bellotto.

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