Kathmandu is the capital city and largest city of Nepal with a population of 1.5 million in the city proper, and 5 million in its wider urban agglomeration across the Kathmandu Valley, which includes the towns of Lalitpur, Kirtipur, Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur making the total population roughly 2.5 million people and the municipalities across Kathmandu valley. Kathmandu is also the largest metropolis in the Himalayan hill region. Nepali is the most spoken language in the city, while English is widely understood. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 meters above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. The valley is historically termed as "Nepal Mandala" and has been the home of Newar culture, 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. Kathmandu is and has been for many years the center of Nepal's history, art, culture, and economy. It has a multiethnic population within a Hindu and Buddhist majority. It is also the home of the Newars. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu.