Kathmandu is the capital and, with close to one million inhabitants, the largest metropolitan city of Nepal. The city is the urban core of the Kathmandu Valley in the Himalayas, which contains two sister cities: Lalitpur (Patan), 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to its south and Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) to its east, and a number of smaller towns.
Kathmandu, as the gateway to Nepal Tourism, is the nerve centre of the country’s economy. With the most advanced infrastructure among urban areas in Nepal, Kathmandu's economy is tourism centric accounting for 3.8% of the GDP in 1995–96 (had declined since then due to political unrest but has picked up again).
The city’s rich history is nearly 2000 years old, as inferred from an inscription in the valley. Its religious affiliations are dominantly Hindu followed by Buddhism. People of other religious beliefs also live in Kathmandu giving it a cosmopolitan culture. Nepali is the common language of the city, though many speak the Nepal Bhasa as it is the center of the Newar (meaning: citizens of Nepal) people and culture. English is understood by the educated population of the city. Besides a significant number of the population speaks any of the foreign languages like : French, German, Chinese, Hebrew, Korean etc. The literacy rate is 98% in the city.
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