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Many travelers would rather not try to pronounce the name of the capital of Honduras, let alone visit it. (By the way, it's pronounced "Te-goo-si-gal-pa".) Don't take whatever horror stories you have heard about Central American capitals too seriously, though. While it isn't a favorite tourist destination like Copán, the North Coast, or the Bay Islands, Tegus, as Hondurans call it, is actually a fairly pleasant place if you can get past the smog, shanty towns, and traffic. While it was long believed that the name was a Nahuatl word meaning "silver mountain," that is not likely the case. This was likely a ploy by developers hoping to lure miners and settlers to populate the city in the mid 1500s. The meaning of the name is more clearly defined as "place of colored stones."

The city sits snugly in a valley at about 1,000m (3,281 ft.), sheltering it from the sweltering heat that plagues San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba. There are several great museums and churches within the colonial center, a great clump of cloud forest nearby, and the largest cathedral in the country and a revered pilgrimage site only minutes from the center.

Tegucigalpa was founded on September 29, 1578, but it wasn't until 1880 that President Marco Aurelio Soto moved the capital here from Comayagua. In 1938, the city of Comayagüela was incorporated into Tegucigalpa and nearly doubled the size, which today stands at over 1 million inhabitants.

The city is no longer the economic center of the country (that honor now belongs to San Pedro Sula), and there is no major industry here now that the mines have closed, but as the capital and second-largest city in Honduras, it's still an important area for commerce and politics.