Ever been to the ‘District of Wild Plums’ or the ‘River of January’?
It turns out that you have if you’ve visited Bangkok or Rio de Janeiro, because the aforementioned descriptions are the literal translations of the modern-day names, as revealed in a series of fascinating maps.
They show the original names of cities around the globe, revealing hidden meanings and historic references.
A map of Europe, showing the literal translation of some of the major cities including Lisbon, which means ‘safe harbour’ and Bucharest, which translates as ‘city of joy’
The literal translations for major cities in Asia, including Bangkok, which means ‘district of wild plums’ and Seoul, which simply translates as ‘capital’
The new set of maps show how early settlers to these places decided to leave their mark.
Some of the original names are fairly obvious. For example Los Angeles translates to ‘angels’ and Bridgetown, Barbados, means ‘bridge of the town.’
The map, which has been compiled by On The Go Tours, also breaks cities down into different categories, depending on the translation, which includes people, nature, feelings and animals.
In North America, the translation of Los Angeles is obvious, while Bridgetown in Barbados literally means ‘town of the bridge’
Some of the more bizarre translations in South America are Rio de Janeiro, meaning ‘River of January’ and Bogota, which means ‘enclosure outside of the farmlands’
It shows that nature seemed to have inspired early settlers the most with 67 cities named after things in the natural world.
Among them is Berlin, which literally translates as ‘swamp’, while Reykjavik, Iceland, means ‘smoky bay.’
The next most popular theme is ‘man made’ with 50 cities falling into this category.
A map showing the literal translations of cities in Africa including Bloemfontein – ‘Fountain of Flowers’ and Bamaoko – ‘Crocodile River’
As the map of Oceania shows, Australian capital Canberra means ‘Meeting Place’ while Lautoka in Fiji translates as ‘Bull’s Eye’
This includes Lisbon, in Portugal, which means ‘safe harbour’, Kuwait City, which translate as ‘fortress by the sea’ and Australian capital Canberra, which means ‘meeting place’.
There are only 11 places on the map that are named after animals, which include Bern, Switzerland, which translates as ‘bear’ while Kampala, Uganda, means ‘gazelle’.
The remaining cities are named after people (29 cities), feelings (17 cities) and other things (16 cities).
On The Go Tours said: ‘There are around 7,106 living languages currently spoken in the world today, so it’s no wonder that words get jumbled up and sometimes even a little lost in translation.’