Ngerulmud is the seat of government of the Republic of Palau, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. It replaced Koror City, Palau's largest city, as capital in 2006. The settlement is located in the state of Melekeok on Babeldaob, the country's largest island, located 20 kilometres (12 miles) northeast of Koror City and 2 km (1 mile) northwest of Melekeok City.
The previous capital of Palau was located provisionally in Koror. The country's constitution, ratified in 1979, directed the Palau National Congress to establish a permanent capital in Babeldaob within ten years of the constitution's effective date. The new capital's planning began in 1986, when a contract for the construction of the capitol complex was assigned to a Hawaii-based architecture firm, Architects Hawaii Ltd. (AHL), which had previously designed the capitol complex of the Federated States of Micronesia, located at Palikir. Progress was slow, as Palau lacked engineers and architects, and most of the construction materials had to be imported.
Further work was not begun until the early 2000s, when Palau secured a $20 million loan from Taiwan as part of efforts to enhance relations between the two countries and secure Palau's diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. Containing separate buildings for the Olbiil era Kelulau (the country's legislature), and also the judicial and executive branches, connected via a central open plaza, the complex cost over US$45 million, and was officially opened on 7 October 2006, with over 5,000 people in attendance. Government officials moved their offices from Koror to Ngerulmud shortly after.
A 2013 piece in The Wall Street Journal reported that the capitol building, which was "unsuited to the local climate", had put Palau in debt, and a fault in the ventilation system had recently caused a mold infestation. In April 2013, Ngerulmud's post office was closed permanently, as part of cost-cutting measures implemented by the postmaster, Tommy Sinsak. It had been established in December 2011, following an Olbiil era Kelulau resolution, and was one of only two in the country (the other being in Koror). During its 16 months of operation, expenses had exceeded US$30,000, while revenues, mainly from stamps, were less than $2,000. Ngerulmud is the only settlement in Palau to have its own ZIP code (96939), with the rest of the country using 96940 – the United States Postal Service services Palau as part of the Compact of Free Association with the United States.
In July 2014, Ngerulmud hosted the official opening of the 45th Pacific Islands Forum. However, the majority of events at the forum were held in Koror, with the leader's retreat held in Peleliu State. In February 2016, Ngerulmud hosted the 16th Micronesian Presidents' Summit, which was attended by the presidents of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
|National Capitol Complex of Palau|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ngerulmud.|