1961, the infamous Hurricane Hattie swept over Belize City,
destroying what was then the capital of the country.
Soon after, the government decided to move most of its offices
and administrative buildings, including the National Assembly
sheltered environment ~ Belmopan fit these criteria and
was shortly established as the new capital of the nation.
Based on the Mayan language spoken in Cayo, the name, ‘Belmopan'
was developed by joining the words, ‘Belize' and ‘Mopan'.
Belmopan is located approximately 48 miles from Belize City,
57 miles from Dangriga Town and 22 miles from San Ignacio.
It is often thought of as the center of the country ~ a
midpoint to get where you want to go.
House of Representatives
a population of only 9,000 people, Belmopan can quite easily
be considered the smallest capital in the entire world.
Recording the highest temperatures in the country
during the summer months (sometimes up to 105° Fahrenheit)
and providing very little entertainment for local society,
Belmopan is often considered ‘boring' by most Belizeans,
which contribute to the slow population growth. A large
population of the workers and students of Belmopan commute
to nearby Belize City or Cayo every day.
near government offices
contrast to the congestion of Belize City, Belmopan, being
a premeditated government community from its establishment
in the 60's, is often termed the ‘Garden City' because of
its well-manicured landscapes and many flowering trees.
The ‘Independence Plaza' in the center of town is
a hubbub of administrative buildings and offices including
the Prime Minister's Office and the post office that is
completely surrounded by pedestrian walkways linking all
the buildings with the community outside. The ‘Market
Square' located near the Plaza is also home to a continuous
clamor of activity where buyers can find anything from tamales
and fry chicken, to a wide variety of local fruits, seaweed
juice and ‘shave ice' (snow cones). Across the street from
the Market Square is the Novelos Bus Terminal, where passengers
can embark on journeys further west to San Ignacio and Mountain
Pine Ridge, further south to Stann Creek and Toledo and
up North to Belize City, Orange Walk and Corozal.
cannon in 'Independence Plaza'
Belize Archives holds the nation's historical records and
has attracted students and researchers worldwide.
The Archaeology Department maintains the archeological vault
that protects many of the Mayan artifacts. Guanacaste
National Park is only a few minutes away from Belmopan and
the Belize Zoo is about half hour away. South of Belmopan
is the scenic Hummingbird Highway, which leads to attractions
such as Blue Hole National Park, St. Herman's Cave, Five
Blues Lake National Park, the Stann Creek district, and
the Southern Highway.