The Day Thread visits the capital of Palau

Palau is an island nation in the western Pacific Ocean, consisting of an archipelago composed of 340 islands. With a land area of 460 km2 (about the same as the borough of Queens, New York) and a population of just 18,000 people, Palau isn’t exactly one of the world’s largest nations. Most of the time, small island nations like this will house their government in a modest building somewhere in their largest town. Kiribati, for example, is an island nation that’s several times larger than Palau, and it’s House of Assembly is a simple but distinctive structure located in the heart of the country’s most densely populated island.

The Kiribati House of Assembly

In the past, Palau followed the same route, with the legislature hosted in a small building in Koros, a town home to about half of Palau’s population. But in 2006, the country decided to move in a new direction, and build a new capital complex in Ngerulmud, in the state of Melekeok. Not only would this new capital complex be large and ornate, patterned off the neoclassical style popular for American State Capitol buildings, but Ngerulmud itself would be a purpose-built capital city, like Brasilia or Canberra. Well, sort of, anyway…

An aerial photo of Ngerulmud. Yes, all of it.

That’s right, the capital city of Palau is literally the capital complex and absolutely nothing else. There is a small scattering of houses along the nearby coastline, but the population of the entire state in which the capital resides within is less than 250 people, and this ornate building stands almost alone amidst the tropical countryside.

I hope you enjoyed this latest installment of my very sporadically updated series of headers about places that I find interesting. Have a great day!