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# 1: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, 58 letters

640px-Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch_station_sign
Image: Chris McKenna (CC BY-SA-3.0)
Poor train conductors, they must have high stress levels when announcing the arrival at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch!

Taking the prize for the longest place name in Europe is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch! It is a large village on the island of Anglesey in Wales. It also has the undisputable longest valid domain name on the World Wide Web. In 2002 it was listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

The name actually means "Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave". While the long name may be annoying for some locals - the employees at the tourist office are expected to be able to pronounce the name flawlessly at least 30 times a day - this place name also plays a major part in the village's popularity among tourists: many visitors come here to have their photograph taken at the railway sign or have 'passports' stamped at a local shop.

But in fact, this extraordinarily long name was not always as long as it is today. The virtually unpronouncable name was invented as a marketing trick! In the 1850's, a committee of locals was established in order to develop the area as a tourist destination - and to encourage train companies to expand their infrastructure. Although never verified, it is believed that the name Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch was invented back then by a local cobbler. While it may have seemed stupid back then ("Look fellows! I have a plan to make this town more popular with the tourists! Let's name it something they can't even begin to pronounce correctly!"), the name is still used, making it one of the most clever tourist promotion tricks ever. Are you already thinking of re-naming your hometown?

 

Have we missed any crazily named towns or villages, or does your hometown name have an even wilder story behind it than Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch? Let us know in the comments!

Thumbnail photo: M. Adiputra (CC BY-SA-3.0)

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