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Today, the Kazakh parliament decided to rename their capital from Nur-Sultan back to Astana (source). According to that article,

Few cities in the world can have been renamed as often as Kazakhstan’s capital has been over the past century or so.

Here is my attempt to summarize the names, with help of Wikipedia:

From To Name
1830 Bozok
1830 1832 Akmola
1832 1961 Akmolinsk
1961 1991 Tselinograd
1991 1998 Akmola
1998 2019 Astana
2019 2022 Nur Sultan
2022 Astana

Are there any other significant cities with a comparable number of name changes? What is the record holder?

I'm aware that cities may have different names in different languages, and some name changes may have been contested (e.g. in case of foreign occupation). Still, I hope that there's some kind of official record. I'm aware of a few other name changes (New York City was founded as New Amsterdam; Saint Petersburg was founded as such but was also officially named Petrograd and Leningrad for a while), but this case seems rather special to me.

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    Can you add 'changes' in your question? The city with the most names is Bangkok. But that hasn't changed after it became the capital of Siam (now Thailand).
    – Jos
    Sep 14, 2022 at 1:23
  • I have been to Astana, and I knew about a lot of those names but not Bozok, thank you for the question!
    – Ne Mo
    Sep 14, 2022 at 11:08

2 Answers 2

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Guinness (Book of) World Records lists indeed the Kazakh capital as the capital city with most name changes.

My guess is that lists like Countries And Cities That Have Changed Their Names are sought after, and that somehow some way 'curated lists' like Wikipedia: List of city name changes are a starting point to look at record holders.

An excerpt from Wikipedia would certainly hold many Eastern European cities, Polish, Ukrainian, and the likes of these:

  1. 9 Beroe → Vereya (Beroya) → Ulpia Augusta Trajana → Irinopolis → Boruy → Vereya → Eski Zağra → Zheleznik → Stara Zagora

  2. 9 Nowy Włodzisław → Junowłodzisław → Inowłodzisław → Inowłocław → Inowrocław → Hohensalza → Inowrocław → Hohensalza → Inowrocław

  3. 8 Lutsk → Luchesk (1427) → Łuck (1569) → Lutsk (1795) → Mikhailogorod (1850) → Luck (1915) → Łuck (1919) → Lutsk (1939)

  4. 8 Michuhol → Soseong-hyeon → Gyeongwon-bu → Inch'ŏn (1413) → Jinsen† (1910) → Chemulpo (1945)→ Inch'ŏn (1945) → Incheon

  5. 7 Euesperides → Berenice → Hesperides → Barneeq → Marsa ibn Ghazi → Bani Ghazi → Benghazi

  6. 7 Fenghao (豐鎬) → Chang'an (長安) or Xijing (西京) → Daxing (大興) → Fengyuan (奉元) → Anxi (安西) → Jingzhao (京兆) → Xi'an (西安)

  7. 6 Varadinum (Latin) → (Nagy)várad (Magyar) → Varat (Turkish) → Großwardein (German) → Oradea Mare (Romanian) → (1925 shortening) Oradea

  8. 6 Port Numbay → Hollandia → Kota Baru → Sukarnapura → Djajapura → Jayapura

  9. 6 Wanggeom-seong → Pyongyang → Seogyeong → Pyongyang → Heijō† → Pyongyang

  10. 5 Karakol → Przhevalsk (1889) → Karakol (1921) → Przhevalsk (1939) → Karakol (1991)

  11. 5 Lignica → Fürstenwald → Beroldestadt → Bernstadt → Bierutów

  12. 5 Bydgoszcz → Bromberg → Bydgoszcz2 → Bromberg → Bydgoszcz

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    Some of these don't seem like real "name changes," so much as they reflect different pronunciations of the name. Berenice and Barneeq, for example, or the various names of Lutsk (except one) seem to fall into the that category.
    – cmw
    Sep 13, 2022 at 21:10
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    @cmw Partly true, but where to draw the line, and how/why, exactly? Would you count Cologne as 'changed', Treverorum, Mogontiacum, …? But when Berenice has Hesperides between the switch to Barneeq, I'd say the linguistic shift does count, though it may fall foul of 'foreign occupation' (from Q)? The latter criterion might profit from a(n arbitrary) time-based restriction? Sep 14, 2022 at 1:52
  • It's not clear there can be a line. I'll have to check the sources, but I would consider a slow change due to e.g. pronunciation different from a deliberate change, like Astana's were.
    – cmw
    Sep 14, 2022 at 2:46
  • @LаngLаngС All names of Lutsk you listed are pronounced as the same in Ukrainian except Mikhailogorod and Luchesk. So it's, in effect, just three names
    – stkuser
    Oct 1, 2022 at 19:47
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Beijing 北京 has 20 Namechanges on 11 different names (or 21/12 if one takes the change from Peking to Beijing, which is only a change in the Latin Script).

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    This would be better if you actually included the details of these name changes.
    – Steve Bird
    Sep 30, 2022 at 18:32

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