The largest port in northern China, Dalian is an important international shipping centre. Originally named Qingniwa (“blue mud swamp”), its strategic position means it has often been held by invading forces, including Britain, Japan and Russia. One of its most important figures was Bo Xilai, who while in charge in the 1990s promoted planting growth and banned polluting vehicles, but preserved the architecture of past invading countries. This led to the city receiving a UN award in 2001 for its outstanding contributions to protect the environment. Nestled in between two seas, its multiple beaches and warm waters make it a popular tourist destination. Like Glasgow, they also love their football, and is home to the Soccer City Stadium.
The Bavarian city is the second largest in the region behind Munich, which lies 170 miles south. It mirrors Glasgow in its population; the city has half a million citizens, while the outer lying metropolitan region is home to more than two million. It also shares religious ties; Nuremberg is known as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, because the empire held meetings in Nuremberg castle during the Middle Ages. It also held significance for the Nazi Party; many of the laws stripping Jews of their rights were passed in Nuremberg’s courts. It is for this symbolic reason that the post war Nuremberg Trials against Nazi officers took place here and not in the capital, Berlin. Glasgow is one out of 22 cities twinned or tied to the Nuremberg.
This port city is the largest in the Southern Federation District of Russia, with over 1 million denizens. Like Glasgow, it rests on the banks of a river, the Don, from where it gets its name. The city was built on a site that has been viewed as culturally and commercially important since ancient times. A custom house was founded there in the mid 18th Century, next to a fortress named after Dimitri of Rostov, a bishop from Rostov Veliky (Rostov the Great). The settlement grew and adopted the name of the fortress. It also shares with Glasgow a development of great artists and architects, and was the birthplace of writers such as Anton Chekhov and Aleksey Tolstoy.
The capital city of Cuba was originally founded in the 16th Century by the Spanish, who used its ideal position as a resting place between journeys from the old world to the new. In modern days Havana is seen as a cultural and historical capital, with UNESCO declaring the centre a World Heritage Site in 1982. Havan has been occupied by numerous nationalities and ideologies, most famously Communism with the backing of the Soviet Union, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis and embargo by the United States. Although still considered a Communist country, it has embraced tourist, and as a result of its many lineages over its 500 years in existence, features some of the most diverse architecture of any city on the planet.
This city is capital of the Peidmont region in northern Italy, and is perhaps singularly famous for one artefact; the Shroud of Turin, a piece of cloth which allegedly features the image of a man with injuries suffered as a result of a crucifixion. It is held in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, one of several examples of exquisite architecture built between the 15th and 18th Centuries, with other examples including the National Film Museum, which at 167 metres is the tallest museum in the world. It is also the home of the Fiat Motor Group, who have a major manufacturing plant there, and two time UEFA Cup winners Juventus F.C, as well as Torino F.C. who are joining their derby rivals in Seria A in 2012-2013.
The capital of the Punjab region is steeped in history that stretches back an entire millennium. It hosts a variety of music and film festivals, including the world renowned International Children’s Film Festival, as well as other artistic events, educational institutions and an array of well maintained gardens that have led it to be dubbed the cultural heart of Pakistan. The bustling city has a population at least ten times that of Glasgow, standing somewhere between 6 and 10 million.
France’s second largest city, after the Capital Paris, is nestled on the coast of the Mediterranean, and will serve as European Capital of Culture in 2013. The honour is largely deserved, with the city boasting a culture all of its own, distinct from the rest of its country. It has a focus on art with numerous galleries, as well as a historical and maritime museum. The opera house has a reputation for its critical audience, while it and other of the city’s fine buildings have featured in numerous feature films, both national and international, most notably The French Connection and its sequel.
The city known for being the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth has inspired at least twelve namesake cities in America alone, but it is the original, and the best, that is twinned with Glasgow. Found in what is now the central West Bank of Palestine, the city, whose name means “House of Meat,” has traded hands many times in the last two millennia as it was captured, sacked, and demolished. The much sought after city has a relatively small population of 30,000, many of whom are employed in Bethlehem’s roaring tourism trade, which peaks during the Christmas period. It is possibly the most twinned city in the word, with 53 twin towns or cities, thirteen of which are found in Italy. Glasgow is the only city in the United Kingdom to share this honour.
Twin towns, sister cities, or partner towns have been in existence for the last thousand years, often as a sign of cultural and commercial ties beyond the borders of countries. In more modern times, it has been used to bring people together, especially in Europe after World War II. Glasgow did not start twinning until 1985 with Nuremberg, Germany, but in the three decades since has bonded with seven other cities around the world. Here is a glimpse at all of Glasgow’s sister cities.
NUREMBERG, GERMANY (1985)
ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA (1986)
DALIAN, CHINA (1997)
HAVANA, CUBA (2002)
TURIN, ITALY (2003)
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (2006)
MARSEILLES, FRANCE (2006)
BETHLEHEM, PALESTINE (2007)