Wikivoyage:Naming conventions

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There are lots of places in the world, with lots of names in lots of languages. The following conventions are intended to make it easier to decide how to write place names, and how to read and find things in Wikivoyage. Most of the following apply to destinations as well as other kinds of articles.

Article naming

This version of Wikivoyage is in English (there are other language versions of Wikivoyage), so articles should use the city, region or country name most commonly used in English-speaking countries. This means that official names are often not appropriate for use as article names.


If there are other names for a destination — especially the name in the local language — by all means, include that information in the article itself. For example, an English-speaking traveller to Lisbon should know that it's called Lisboa in Portuguese; they may be interested that it was called Olisipo by the Romans. Other examples:

  • Athens (Αθήνα, Athína) is the capital city of Greece.
  • Seoul (서울) is the capital of South Korea.

When there are multiple names

For destinations where multiple names or spellings are in use and there isn't an obviously correct English name, the title should be the most commonly-used name in the local language. For places where the local language doesn't use the English (or Latin) alphabet, try to form a Romanized version. In these cases, it is important to create a redirect for the alternate versions of the name. The guiding principle here is the traveller comes first. Use common sense and consensus to resolve naming conflicts.


Use only the characters of the Latin alphabet for all article names (not just place names). Latin characters are the letters A through Z, capitalized or not, with or without accents/diacritics, and including ligatures (such as æ, Æ). Latin characters are much, much easier for English-speaking readers and contributors to "sound out" or to type (say, for the search tool) than non-Latin characters. When using accents/diacritics and/or ligatures, please also create redirects without them (e.g. the article named Ærø should have redirects named Aero and Aeroe). When languages use the Roman alphabet with a small number of additional characters, such as the Icelandic "þ" and "ð" or German "ß", these can be used in article names as well, although again alternatives using substitute spellings should be created as redirects.

See also: Romanization for language-specific conventions.


When determining an article name, use the following guidelines:

  1. Are there multiple names in use for the destination? If not, the article name is obvious. Example: Chicago.
  2. If there are multiple names for a destination, is one so much more commonly used in English-speaking countries that not using it as the article name would cause confusion? Example: Geneva instead of Genf or Genève.
  3. If there are multiple names for a destination and one does not meet the "so much more commonly used" exception above, use the local name and create redirects for the alternate version. Example: Ærø is the article name, and redirects should be created for the alternate versions Aero and Aeroe.

Additional examples:

  • São Paulo is the article name. A redirect should be set up for Sao Paulo since both names are used in English-speaking countries and "São Paulo" is the name in local use.
  • Mexico is the article name. A redirect should be set up for México, since the former is always used in English-speaking countries.
  • Þingvellir National Park is the article name. A redirect should be set up for Thingvellir National Park since both names are used in English-speaking countries and "Þingvellir National Park" is the name in local use.


All use of a place name throughout any article should be consistent with the article title for that destination. In other words, naming should be consistent, regardless of whether it is the article title, or written anywhere else.


The shorter we make our URLs, the easier they are to remember and the more likely people are to pass them around. For place names, the basic name of the place, without a whole bunch of localizing addenda, is the best.

In other words, Denver is all you need to find the city of Denver in Colorado. Avoid using [[Denver, Colorado]] or [[Denver, Colorado, United States of America]]. The place of Denver in the world should be clear from the Denver page, or from the Colorado or even United States of America articles. The Breadcrumbs should resolve any remaining ambiguities.

If, and only if, two or more places have the same name, and each also needs a separate Wikivoyage article, then the article titles should be disambiguated by adding a disambiguator (See below).


Many regions have local names that work well in the Wikivoyage hierarchy, such as the Green Mountains or the Ozarks. In other cases the most common name might use a directional indicator, such as Northeast Ohio; in these cases it is important to remember to use the common name and to avoid the temptation to create a region with a name like "Northeast (Ohio)". In this case, someone visiting Ohio is not going to visit Northeast, they will be visiting Northeast Ohio.

Cities, towns, villages and other destinations

When deciding on the place name to use, avoid using the legalistic terms such as City of, City, Town of, Township, Village of, Village and similar descriptions, unless City, Town, Village, etc. is normally used as part of the place name as in Mexico City.

A good test is to ask if you would still be discussing the same place if the extra term was omitted from the place name.


An exception to excluding hierarchy from article names is districts in a city. These have names of the form "Name of city/Name of district". Examples:

Keep district names short; in particular, don't repeat the name of the city unless it's offical. Amsterdam/East is as clear as and much shorter than "Amsterdam/East Amsterdam".


Sometimes different places have the same name, and require disambiguation. In most cases this is easy to solve, using one of the first two rules here. In a few cases, rule 3 or 4 comes into play.

  1. If two places are on the same level of the geographical hierarchy (e.g. both are cities), put the country of each in parentheses after their names. Example: Nanao (Japan). In certain countries, a more precise level of disambiguation is necessary or more natural, such as:
  2. If two places are on different levels in the geographical hierarchy, put the name of each geographical level in parentheses. Examples: Georgia (state) and Georgia (country); Nakhchivan (city) and Nakhchivan (region). Note that in the US, counties are known as "X County" and shouldn't require this kind of disambiguation from cities of the same name.
  3. In a few extremely rare cases it won't be possible to disambiguate places only using these two rules. If and only if this happens, use both the name of the geographical level and the name of the country/state/province. Example: The cities of Durham (North Carolina) and Durham (New Hampshire) can be disambiguated by rule number 1. But there is both a region and a city called Durham in Ontario. Hence Durham (region, Ontario) and Durham (town, Ontario), since the latter is not the only Durham (town) (rule number 2) nor the only Durham (Ontario) (rule number 1).
  4. As an exception, if one place is so much more famous than others with the same name that the disambiguation is a hindrance rather than a help, leave it without a disambiguator on the end. This is rare, and if you even have to think about which place is "more famous", go back to rule 1. Examples: Paris is the capital of France; Paris (Texas) is a nice little prairie town in the US. London is the capital of the United Kingdom; London (Ontario) is a mid-sized city in Canada. Peru is the country in South America; Peru (Indiana) is a town in the Midwest of the United States.
    • When a place meets the "so much more famous" criteria, that non-disambiguated article should include the template {{otheruses}} at the top of the page, which will automatically provide a link to a disambiguation page for the others. For example: Paris uses {{otheruses}} to automatically create a link to Paris (disambiguation).
    • Provinces and prefectures surrounding important cities of the same name are common examples of the "so much more famous" rule. When a city X and its surrounding region share exactly the same name, and the city is much better known, the city gets "X" and the province goes in "X (province)". Examples: Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires (province), Hiroshima and Hiroshima (prefecture), Utrecht and Utrecht (province).

If there are 3 or more places with the same name, use rule 1 first (for places on the same level of hierarchy) before using rule 2 (for places on a different level of hierarchy).

You can use a single vertical-bar "pipe" character to hide disambiguators in the text of an article. For example, type [[Georgia (state)|]] and it will be automatically expanded to [[Georgia (state)|Georgia]], and appear in articles as simply Georgia.

When two places share the same name a disambiguation page should be created, and added to Project:Links to disambiguating pages. The name of this page should usually be the common name, for example Georgia. If one place meets the "so much more famous" exception, the disambiguation page should be named "X (disambiguation)" where "X" is the common name. Example: Buenos Aires (disambiguation). Links in other articles that point to the disambiguation page should be updated to point to the appropriate disambiguated page.

See Project:How to rename a page for details on how to disambiguate an existing topic.


See also: Wikivoyage:Capitalization

Most place names are capitalized in English. Short words like "of", "and", and "the" usually are not. So, for example, United States of America is the preferred capitalization.

For articles that aren't place names, capitalize the first word, and then don't capitalize things that don't need to be capitalized. For example, Discount airlines in Europe rather than "Discount Airlines In Europe", and Manual of style rather than "Manual of Style".


If a destination name normally starts with the word "the", leave it off for the article name.


Exceptions: The Hague, The Rocks or The Catlins, where "The" is a fixed part of the name.


Places called Saint or Mount something or other often have the name abbreviated as St., Mt., St or Mt something or other. To avoid confusion and multiple articles, the abbreviation should be avoided and the words spelled out in full, unless the official place name spelling (such as Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park) uses the abbreviation.

Note: By convention, St. John's in Newfoundland is always abbreviated to distinguish it from Saint John in New Brunswick.

Also avoid contractions like Turks & Caicos Islands but spell the conjunction too, so the article is named Turks and Caicos Islands.

Separating words

Separate words with a single space character rather than apostrophes, dashes or hyphens, unless the place name is normally spelled that way.


Spell numbers out, unless they are actually part of the name. For example, use Eight mile junction instead of 8 mile junction as the number is spelled out on signs, though Route 66 or E8 should be used if the names are normally displayed that way or if the number is routinely displayed on its own.

Non-alphabetic characters

Try to avoid using non-alphabetic characters, even when they are actually part of the name.

The following characters should be avoided if possible:

  • # – Hash or pound mark: Used in web page address to indicate a section.
  • ? – Question mark: Used in web page address to indicate the start of a query string.
  • / – Slash: Separates a major page from a sub page.
  • : – Colon: Separates the wiki article namespace from an article name. Should only be used with valid name spaces.
  • & – Ampersand: Used in web page addresses to separate the parameters of a query string. Shows up as "&" in markers in the {{mapframe}}.

For example, #browns should never be used at the title of an article about Hash browns, as # is used to link to a section heading on a page. In this case the link goes to the Browns section on this page, which doesn't exist.

These and other special characters in article names had produced unexpected results in the past:

  • . – Period: Used in web addresses to separate domain names.
  • ' – Single Quote: Used in HTML to enclose strings.

You could find the article to be unlinkable or tricky to move, or pages that link to the article may produce errors.

Section headings

Section headings in articles should follow most of the same formatting conventions as article titles. Section headings should usually come from the appropriate article skeleton for a destination.

Official names

An alternative policy for article naming is to use the destination's official name. Often, the official name is also the most common English name, so there's no problem. But there are often difficulties with official names.

  • They are overly long: for example, the official name for Bangkok is 163 Roman characters!
  • They have lots of extra words that no one uses: "City and County of San Francisco", "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China", "Urban agglomeration of Montreal", etc.
  • They are obscure and unknown.

See also