Tuesday, 31 March 2020
The Wizard of Oz The Wizard of Oz

What’s in a name? – tell that to the citizens of Fuka!

By  The Wizard of Oz Oct 16, 2017

(All of the following place names are real and not made up.)

I travel a lot and it never ceases to amuse me when I see a town with a weird name. A lot of my foreign friends think that Dubrovnik is a rather strange name but of course to the locals it’s all very straight forward. With the surrounding hills originally being filled with oak forests (Dubrava) it's a bit of a no brainer that the place would reflect this in its name.

Then there's the unfortunate occurrence of a word having a completely different and often humorous meaning in English. Take for example the town of Rude in northern Croatia. Now on the surface it seems perfectly reasonable to name a town after ore given the economic importance of the mineral but of course it all gets a bit silly in translation.

While we are talking about that region, let’s not forget Snos and Hum. And as for those living in the Slovenian border town of Dvorce they all think their place name is about mansions while us English speakers wonder how unfortunate it would feel to live in a place which reminded you of the inevitable outcome of getting married.

The less said about the town of Fuka, just west of Zagreb, the better!

Then there's Dedin west of Rijeka, a place we definitely wouldn't want to be seen in. But it's not all bad because the Istrian town of Paradiz or places like Beter, Buzin and Lucko all in the Zagreb region would be great places to live in.

Of course Croatia doesn't have a mortgage on strange place names. Look at my county of birth, Australia. On the southern island of Tasmania there is a place called Dismal Swamp just near a town called Nowhere Else. And try saying the name of a district in my home town, Woolloomooloo (the native word for young kangaroo). Of course you can be completely wrong about a place like Foul Bay in South Australia which is in fact a beautiful 16 km beach. Where else but Australia could you have a place called Pisspot Creek. And again, the least we say about Mount Buggery or Intercourse Island the better.

Although a Welsh town beats any weird Australian one -



Now when we take a broader view and look around the world there are definitely some places you might feel uncomfortable living in. Let's start with Accident in Maryland USA or what about Moron in Mongolia. Then there are places that some of us truly belong like Satans Kingdom in Vermont USA, Hell in Norway or Sexy in Peru or even better, Sexmoan in the Philippines.

I don't want you to think I have a problem but how about Dildo in Newfoundland or the simply unbelievable F.....g in Austria (you will need to google it if you don’t believe it really is the F word). As is the case in Croatia sometimes the English meaning gives a town an unfortunate image like Anus and Bitche in France, Gofuku in Japan, Dickshit in India and Weener in Germany.

One doesn't have to go all around the world to have a little fun with place names. Recently I said to my Scottish friends (a race notoriously tight fisted with money) that I would pay all expenses for a trip to Mosko for lunch with a side trip to Meca on the way home. They were all very confused when I arrived to pick them up in the car and insisted that they didn't need any baggage. We were of course going to two charming little towns just across the border into Bosnia.

The Wizard of Oz

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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