Prague, in the Czech Republic, is called the "City with a 100 Spires". Image Credit: Gulf News archives

The Big Apple (New York), the Land of the Rising Sun (Japan), the City of Lights (Paris)… around the world, many countries and cities have unique monikers that are instantly recognisable, and often have interesting stories behind them.

Click start to discover the names behind some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, in our Weekend Crossword.

Here are 7 city nicknames that caught our attention:

City of 100 Spires

Prague (pictured above), in the Czech Republic, possesses this whimsical nickname. In the 19th century, a mathematician counted the number of spires rising around the city and gave it the name, which stuck. Nowadays, a panoramic view of the city would reveal over 500 spires, but perhaps the ‘city of 500 spires’ doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The City of Dreams

Mumbai, India Image Credit: Unsplash/Nishant Gaikwad

Mumbai in India is not just the most populous city in the country but also its wealthiest. As the centre of Bollywood and a bustling metropolitan hub full of opportunity, it attracts people from all over India, who move to the city in the hope of living their best life.

The Pearl of the Orient

Hong Kong jan2019
Honk Kong Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Hong Kong’s romanticised nickname may have arisen from the city’s traditions, art and legacy. But it’s more likely that it came about from its British colonial roots. From the years 1959 to 1997, Hong Kong had a colonial coat of arms, with the crest featuring a lion holding a pearl – a representation of its small but precious value to the colony.

The City of the Violet Crown

Parthenon temple   Acropolis Greece
Athens, Greece Image Credit: Reuters

Athens, Greece, received its moniker from the ancient Greek lyric poet Pindar, who once wrote that Athens was “a city of light, with thy violet crown, beloved of the poets, thou art the bulwark of Greece”. The “violet crown” fragment of his poem captured people’s fascination, hence the nickname!

Venice of the North

Amsterdam, Netherlands Image Credit: Stock photo/Pixabay

Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, is home to over 100km of canals. It’s no wonder, then, that it’s often compared to Venice, Italy – the city with the world's most famous canals. While the similarity between the two cities ends at canals, it’s significant enough to earn Amsterdam its comparative nickname.

The Whitestone

Stock - Moscow
Moscow, Russia Image Credit: Shutterstock

One might think the moniker of Moscow, Russia, has to do with its snowy winter weather, but it actually has to do with the city’s architecture. In the medieval ages, a majority of the city was built with white stone, including the renowned Kremlin Wall, from the 14th century. However, after restorations, the Wall is now a reddish colour, but the city still retains its nostalgic nickname.

Lion City

Singapore Image Credit: Shutterstock

The city-state of Singapore has a Malay name, “Singapura”, which literally translates to “Lion City” in English. According to local history, a prince from Palembang, Indonesia, named Sang Nila Utama, is believed to have given the city its name when he travelled to the island, and spotted a lion upon coming ashore.

Which of these cities have you been to? Play the Weekend Crossword and let us know at