Located along the country’s northern coastline, Caracas is both the political and cultural capital of Venezuela. It has numerous theaters and museums, and has earned the nickname “the city of eternal spring.” However, the high crime rate here is a deterrent for many travelers. It is also one of the world’s most dangerous cities, with the highest per capita murder rate in the world.
When Francisco Fajardo (a half-Spanish, half-indigenous Guaiqueri conquistador) established his ranch here in 1557, he could never have imagined that he was laying the foundation for what would become a nation’s capital. Originally named Santiago de Leon, the town grew into a place of cobbled streets and small plazas, becoming a provincial capital in 1610.
The city’s climate is influenced by its position in a narrow valley on the central part of the Venezuelan coastal mountain range (Cordillera de la Costa) at an altitude of 760–920 ft (2500–3000 m). This location gives the city its comfortable tropical climate, which is never cold and seldom hot, with most rainfall occurring from May to November.
Caracas is the seat of Venezuela’s national government and hosts most of the country’s important institutions, including the presidential palace and the Federal Legislative Palace. It is also the financial and business capital of Venezuela, with a large number of banks, shopping centers, and service companies. The city’s most iconic landmark is the National Pantheon, a former church that houses the sarcophagus of Simón Bol