Many cities in Europe are spelt differently in English to how they are actually spelt. For example Firenze in Italian is Florence in English.
First time visitors to Europe may not be aware of different spellings for city names. Some name changes are obvious enough as only a small change is made. Roma becomes Rome for example, or an umlaut or accent is dropped, so Zürich becomes Zurich.
Some aren’t so obvious though. You might be Eurailing through Germany on your way to Cologne, not realising that you should have got off at Köln (which can also be written as koeln). In this case where the umlaut is dropped the name is respelled to represent to its phonetic spelling.
It is not just English that changes names to suit. Most languages will spell a city in their own way to make it sound phonetically correct to them. For example London can be spelt around Europe as:
Londra (Albanian, Italian, Maltese, Romanian, Romansh, Turkish)
Londres (Catalan, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Ladino)
Londýn (Czech, Slovak)
Here is a list of some European cities in the original and English spelling.
Baile Ath Cliath
Jeff Hint says
In most cases I’m for spelling city names the way they are spelled in their country. If we do spell them differently it should be so it sounds as close as possible to the original.
I’m not sure if translations should be used for proper names either. A place or person was given a specific name. A translation may be the equivalent but it is not the same.
I disagree because like some place names are just hard to read/pronounce in other languages.
Jedoens Mueckenfett says
Cologne was a Roman outpost established in 50AD and it’s original name was Colonia Agrippina Agrippinensis plus some more words (look it up if interested).
The change from Colonia took place over the years just like the name of Los Angeles changed from the original Spanish one to LA.