CITIES THAT STRUGGLE TO FIGURE OUT THEIR OWN NAMES
Added on: 20th Nov 2016
BYZANTIUM TO CONSTANTINOPLE TO ISTANBUL
Referred to as Byzantium when it was founded as an
Ancient Greek colony, the name was changed to
Constantinople after Roman Emperor Constantine the
Great conquered the city and made it his capital. The
Ottomans conquered the area in 1453 and kept the name,
though Istanbul, meaning “to the city” in Greek, was its
informal name, soon became its official name after
Turkey switched to the Latin script in 1928.
LANGBAURGH ON TEES TO REDCAR AND CLEVELAND
Landbaurgh-on-Tees was the name given to this English city
in 1988. (Previously, it had multiple names related to the region.)
In 1996, upon the abolishment of Cleveland County, planners
renamed the city Redcar and Cleveland, would make a great
name for a detective show.
HERAKLION TO HANDAQ TO CHANDAX TO
CANDIA TO MEGALO KASTRO TO HERAKLION
The ancient Greek city of Heraklion was strategically located
on the island of Crete, leading to its conquest by multiple
civilizations. Andalusian Arabs took over the city in the
1820’s and renamed it Al-Handaq (“Castle of the Moat”). In 961,
the Byzantines took over, renaming it Chandax. Following
was the Venetian purchase of the city (renaming it Candia)
and Ottoman conquest (renaming it Megalo Kastro or “Big Castle”).
The brief existence of the Cretan State from 1898-1913 saw the
city return to the name Heraklion which it has since kept.
ALEKSANDROVKA TO YUZOVKA TO STALINO TO DONETSK
The city (and region) of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine has been the
nexus of heavy fighting between Ukrainian forces and rebels
in the region since early 2014 when the Donetsk People’s
Republic took control. Going back almost 250 years, the
city was founded as Aleksandrovka before being renamed
Yuzovka thanks to Welsh businessman John Hughes who
built multiple coal mines and a steel plant in the area.
(Approximated in Russian, Hughes becomes Yuz.) The
Soviets renamed it Stalino in 1924 after their leader Nikita
Khrushchev renamed it Donetsk after the
Seversky Donets river in 1961.
LAKE STATION TO EAST GARY TO LAKE STATION
The city of Lake Station, Indiana, must have the most ironic
name change on this list. Originally known as Lake Station
when it was a stagecoach depot stop, it changed its name to
East Gary in 1908 to encourage workers at the U.S. Steel
plant in nearby Gary, Indiana, to build their residences in the
area. Once Gary became known for crime and urban decay,
East Gary changed its name back to Lake Station in 1977.
PEKING TO BEIJING
Fans of Chinese food will likely recognize Peking Duck on the
menu. The name Peking ironically came from the southern
dialects’ pronunciation of Beijing to the Europeans who
first visited China. Despite being known for many years in the
western world as Peking, Beijing has been the official name
of the city since 1403. In Mandarin, it means “Northern Capital”.
OSLO TO CHRISTIANA TO OSLO
The origin of the name Oslo is still not exactly known, but it
may have been the name of a farm at Bjørvika. While in a
personal union with Denmark, the city burned to the ground
but was rebuilt and renamed Christiania in honour of Danish
King Christian IV. In 1925, the city regained its original name, Oslo.
MARYBOROUGH TO PORT LAOISE
During the English occupation of Ireland, the town of
Maryborough was established, named after then-monarch
Queen Mary. (The surrounding county, now called County Laois,
was similarly called Queen’s County.) The foundation of the
Irish Free State in 1929 saw many names revert to their
Irish names, such as Port Laois.