Kathmandu, officially the Kathmandu Metropolitan City is the capital and most populous city of Nepal. It is located in the Kathmandu Valley, a large valley in the high plateaus in central Nepal, at an altitude of 1,400 metres.
The valley was historically called the "Nepal Mandala" and has been the home of the Newar people, a cosmopolitan urban civilization in the Himalayan foothills. The city was the royal capital of the Kingdom of Nepal and hosts palaces, mansions, and gardens of the Nepalese aristocracy. It has been home to the headquarters of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation since 1985. Today, it is the seat of government of the Nepalese republic, established in 2008, and is part of the Bagmati Province.
Kathmandu is and has been for many years the centre of Nepal's history, art, culture, and economy. It has a multi-ethnic population within a Hindu and Buddhist majority. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Tourism is an important part of the economy in the city.