Kathmandu is the capital city of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the largest Himalayan state in Asia. It is the second largest metropolis in Nepal, with a population of 1.4 million in the city proper, and 2.5 million in its urban agglomeration across the Kathmandu Valley, which includes the towns of Lalitpur, Kirtipur, Madhyapur Thimi and Bhaktapur. Kathmandu is also the largest metropolis in the Himalayan hill region. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 feet) above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. The valley is historically termed as "Nepal Proper" 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. It has been home to the headquarters of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) since 1985. Today, it is the seat of government of the Nepalese republic established in 2008; and is part of the Bagmati Zone in Nepalese administrative geography. Kathmandu has been the center of Nepal's history, art, culture and economy. It has a multiethnic 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 as the city is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas. There are also seven casinos in the city. In 2013, Kathmandu was ranked third among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the world by TripAdvisor, and ranked first in Asia. Historic areas of Kathmandu were devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April 2015. Nepali is the most spoken language in the city, while English is understood by the city's educated residents.