World’s Ugliest Capitals

Some of the world’s capitals are just ugly ducklings with small chances to turn into beautiful swans. They are crowded, dirty, or just boring, and in terms of architecture they are simply unsightly. Of course, some may find entirely planned cities or post Soviet concrete blocks fascinating or inspirational, but calling these capitals beautiful would be a bit of an exaggeration.


Here they are: the most unattractive capitals on our globe:

Sofia – the Capital of Bulgaria, Europe.

Socialist statue in Sofia. Bulgaria. By

The capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, is just not in the same league with other Eastern European capitals such as stunning Budapest or fabulous Prague. Though the city’s origins date back to ancient times, the capital’s architecture is not impressive at all. The city center is rather quite messy, dirty and chaotic. Of course, it has several historical churches and museums that can boast the title of UNESCO sites, but combining the Soviet-style concrete buildings and current modern development, the city makes an overall poor impression.


 Ulaanbaatar – the Capital of Mongolia, Asia.

Downtown Ulaanbaatar. By Kitseeborg

While every other Asian capital has its unique oriental touch that attracts and fascinates foreigners, Ulaanbaatar is far from being exotic. The capital of Mongolia owes its tremendous architecture to Soviet architects. The entire downtown was planned and designed under the USSR’s supervision. As a result, monotony, grey and ugly 4-, 5-, and 9-storey apartment blocks cover the entire city. At the same time many of the traditional Mongolian yurts vanished from the surface of Mongolia’s capital, replaced by concrete Soviet buildings. Today, the city is an odd and chaotic mix of the Mongolian ancient building, Soviet urban planning, a few modern constructions and a few remained yurt suburbs.


 Washington DC – the Capital of the USA.   North America.

Pennsylvania Avenue. Washington DC. By thisisbossi

Let’s face it: in terms of architecture, Washington DC, the capital of the USA, is the most boring capital in North America. Like every planned city, the American capital’s architecture has no vibe and no spirit. Modeled in the Baroque style, the city is covered with marble, monumental constructions and federal buildings, but it lacks the elegance of Vienna, passion of Paris or craziness of Berlin. Still, it has loads of green areas and parks, but then again, if you are a nature lover, better head for some of the country’s beautiful national parks, rather than spend your dollars in the city.


Guatemala City – the Capital of Guatemala, Central America.

Downtown Guatemala City. By mojotrotters

Guate, as locals call the capital of Guatemala, is the largest city in Central America and the Caribbean. It is considered to be a cultural hub of the entire region; in terms of beauty, however, it has nothing to offer. It’s dirty and dangerous, though some find Guate fascinating. In truth, the city is nasty both in terms of architecture, urban planning and safety – in 2008, approximately 40 murders a week were reported in Guatemala City alone. Over the recent years, the capital’s population has been extensively growing, so Guate experiences all possible growing pains: it’s crowded and the infrastructure is poor.
To make matters worse, the city is often plagued by various natural disasters from earthquakes to mudslides.

Unfortunately, the city is difficult to avoid while travelling in Central America, as it is the region’s transportation hub with Central America’s largest international airport, La Aurora International Airport.


Caracas – the Capital of Venezuela, South America.

Near Plaza Venezuela in the very centre of Caracas. By Spanner Dan

The capital of Venezuela is far from being a pleasant city. It is actually the city of two faces – in its safer districts – those recommenced by the travel guides – you will find big shopping malls, museums and restaurants visited by rich residents and tourists. Still, the city’s architecture is not very appealing and by no means unique – just obvious development that can be found in any  big capital the world over. At the same time, the dark side of the city, the Caracas shantytowns, is home to places you would rather avoid.


Canberra – the Capital of Australia, the Pacific Region.

Canberra City Center sign. By The Shopping Sherpa

In comparison to vibrant Sydney and laid-back Melbourne, Canberra, the capital of Australia, is nothing but some symbolic and boring sights. It is home to the National Museum, War Memorial and Parliament House…and that’s pretty much it. With a population of around 345,000, the city somehow seems to be a ghost-town and its entirely planned development (at the beginning of the 20th century) does not add much charm to it. Moreover, Canberra is an inland city, so even the beaches are far…


  1. Well, maybe Chisinau has some ugly parts, but it has many beautiful places. I Iived there much time, and i can say that it’s very green.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.