Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Houston's Sister Cities

John Marine | 9/07/2010 01:30:00 AM | | | |
(UPDATED: April 19, 2015)

In an attempt to connect cities with the world, twinning cities is a measure of linking cities with one another to share resources and with the world. Houston has 17 sister cities. I love having an international presence following my blog and my YouTube channel. Bringing people together from all over the world through a common bond is a great way to know people from around the world and connect with them. And in this blog entry, I'll share a few thoughts on Houston's sister cities.

Everything provided in this blog entry on an educational basis. The pictures I've found are some of the best I could find to represent each city.

LATEST UPDATE:

APR 19 2015 - edited and updated most of this post- it seriously needed one since last being updated back in 2011.

Thanks to everyone whom have been visiting John's Blog Space to find this blog post. I hope my efforts to educate you here are worth your visit. Please be sure to show your continued support of my work by subscribing and following. Thank you!





--- Sister Cities International at a Glance ---

Sister Cities International is one of a few different city twinning operations designed to link cities the world over, sharing various resources with one another. Think of Sister Cities International (as with any other twin city link) as social networking for cities whereas cities and regions try to "friend" each other cities to communicate and share resources with one another. It's like trying to connect with world cities even miles away, but close together through a common bond. Programs set up through Sister City associations help to enhance and promote values and customs of other cities. Many of these cities that twin each other are very similar in nature. For example, the city of Houston is an oil capital and a great frontier to many things (space exploration being one of them). When I discuss these cities later in this blog post, you may be surprised what kind of bonds and similarities certain world cities have with us. It makes you realize what cities out there share such similarities and are willing to connect with one another to help each other out.

Sister Cities International, then, is social networking for cities around the world. The impacts go towards improving relationships among cities as well as helping other cities become stronger and better. To learn more about Sister Cities International, and if you're from a city that is connected through Sister Cities International, visit sister-cities.org.



--- Houston's Sister Cities ---

Now on to the real meat of this blog post.

It's now time for me to talk about each individual city. The name of each city will be followed by a year. That year is the year it became a Sister City of Houston. If you see a city in a hypertext, you can click on that heading to visit that city's official website to learn more about it. If you don't see the heading in a hyperlink, that means there is either no official home page available, or just that there isn't a good enough site for me to help you link to. Please note that not all websites are available in English. You may want to use Google Translate to copy-and-paste the available links to link to your language (hey, Google Translate is better than nothing!). Here is the order of nations shown in this blog entry:

North America, South America, British Isles and Ireland, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, and Oceania

So let's chat about Houston's sister cities! By the way... I noticed something common in the cities I will mention below. You'll see what most of these cities have in common as you read along.


Resources Used:

Most of my information comes from Wikipedia, but I have also looked to other sites, such as sistercitiesofhouston.org for more detailed information. You know that I take my blogging seriously and with professionalism.

So let's begin!


Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico (2003).

Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico
^ from: tripadvisor.ca - Catedral de Tampico.

For many people (especially Spring Break people who go down here to Texas), the state of Tamaulipas is frequently visited, especially to visit Matamoros, which is not far south from Brownsville, Texas, USA. Tamaulipas is also home to one of Houston's Siter Cities- the city of Tampico. Tampico is in the southernmost tip of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Tampico is significant in Mexico for its strong oil market. May 2011 will mark 100 years since Tampico exported oil, as part of the Oil Revolution in Mexico.


Guayaquil, Ecuador (1987).

Guayaquil, Ecuador
^ from: norway-hei.com - Guayaquil is a large port city that links to the Pacific Ocean through the Guayas River.

With a link to the Pacific Coast through the western bank of the Guayas River, the port city of Ecuador has about a million or two million less people than the city of Houston. The bond between Houston and Guayaquil has led to Ecuador linking to Methodist Hospital here in Houston. Medical supplies and used fire equipment are exchanged between the two cities. The city has a combination of colorful buildings atop many hills as well as some classic modern structures and facilities. It's a great-looking city.



Grampian Region (Aberdeen), Scotland, United Kingdom (1979).

Grampian Region Scotland
^ from: imagingscotland.co.uk - the Grampian Region of Scotland.

The Grampian Region of Scotland represents the easternmost tip of Scotland. The biggest aspect of this bond relates to the exchange of nurses from this region of Scotland to Houston. A better view on health care in both locations are the result of these exchanges. This is the only Sister City that isn't a real city. Many point to Aberdeen, but Aberdeen itself is NOT a Sister City of Houston.



Huelva, Spain (1969).

Huelva, Spain
^ from: carhire4airports.com - Huelva is only miles from the southeastern border of Portugal along the coast.

In Southwestern Spain a few miles away from the southeastern border of Portugal, Huelva lies. Huelva lies in the lovely Andalucia. Its historical significance lies in this city being the gateway to Christopher Columbus setting sail to explore the New World. The Sister Cities of Houston website says that both Houston and Huelva served as locales to explore new frontiers. Of course, Houston helped in helping man explore space. Cultural events are sponsored between the Houston-Huelva Sister City Association.



Nice, France (1973).

Nice, France
^ from: igougo.com - It may be called Nice, but it's more than nice- it's awesome!

Nice is more than nice- it's a beautiful coastal city. Nice is one of my favorite cities in France. This coastal city in southeastern France is a paradise of Old World time. It is a very beautiful city and popular tourist destination. The ties between Houston and Nice are mostly economical and business-related. I read that in 2009, trade between Houston and France valued at $3.1 billion USD in 2009. That's almost as much money to buy both the New York Yankees and Manchester United FC!



Leipzig, Germany (1993).

Leipzig, Germany
^ from: travelpod.com - Leipzig, Germany.

Leipzig is a city in eastern Germany. As a gaming fan, I know only Leipzig best for the Leipzig Games Convention. The bond between Houston and Leipzig was established in 1993. Since then, the exchange of many people of many fields have helped provide a huge cultural bond between the two cities. The city is quite lovely. It has a lot of modern city structures along with classic European structures.



Stavanger, Norway (1980).

Stavenger, Norway
^ from: virtualtourist.com - Stavanger can be found in southwestern Norway.

In far southwestern Norway is the coastal city of Stavanger. Not only is it a key coastal city, it is also a huge oil market for Norway. Great business ties have helped the two cities connect. They've been Sister Cities since 1980. The bond between Houston and Stavanger even extends to Galveston, and the Houston/Galveston-Stavanger bond has existed since 1988. Programs have been established to better educate each side on each others' values and customs. Here's a fun fact I learned from 501 Must-Visit Cities (links to my blog entry on it)... the average monthly temperature in Stavanger never drops below freezing. Seems quite manageable considering how cold Scandinavia can get.



Baku, Azerbaijan (1976).

Baku, Azerbaijan
^ from: azeri.net - Baku is the beautiful capital of the southeastern Europe nation.

Until I saw that I got a blog hit from this city, I had no idea about this city. Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a country located in far southeastern Europe and is northeast of Turkey. The city of Baku itself is totally beautiful and urban. Like Houston, Baku is an oil capital. Houston and Baku's bond has existed since 1976. The Houston-Baku Sister City Association has a few key aims to help bond these two cities: expressing the culture of Azerbaijan and Baku through many unique cultural programs, establishing better connections between the two places, a focus on improving international education, all among others. You have GOT to see more pictures of Azerbaijan. It is an absolutely beautiful city.



Luanda, Angola (2003).

Luanda, Angola
^ from: priny.com - According to things I've read online, Luanda is undergoing some renovation to enhance this capital city of Angola.

The only African Sister City of Houston is the Angolan capital of Luanda. In the northern portion of Angola, Luanda is a coastal city along Atlantic Ocean. This city has about as many people as Houston with about 5 million people. It became independent of Portuguese rule starting in 1975. According to what I've read, Luanda (or formally known as Loanda) is currently undergoing some construction to help dramatically improve this city. Houston is helping to get Angola to move forward and upward through the Houston-Luanda Sister City Association.


Istanbul, Turkey (1986).

Istanbul, Turkey
^ from: rondloper.wordpress.com - Istanbul is spread across both Europe and Asia. It is home to the beautiful Hagia Sophia.

Istanbul spans Europe and Asia. It's both European and Middle Eastern. I know Istanbul best for one of my personal favorite structures- the Hagia Sophia. It is another coastal city. The bond between Houston and Istanbul helps to provide help to Turkish folk and intercultural exchange. Both cities share strong business bonds, with 113 Houston companies having Turkish subsidiaries in Turkey.


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2001).

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
^ from: rr-middleeast.oie.int - Abu Dhabi and its amazing architecture.

One of two lovely cities in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai being the other), Abu Dhabi is one of only three Muslim cities twinned with Houston. Abu Dhabi provides oil and gas to the world, so this bond (as mentioned by the Houston-Abu Dhabi Sister City Association) is more of a natural partnership. Formula One fans know of the futuristic jewel in the desert known as the Yas Marina Circuit. The track has also served as a partnership with the NHRA to help globalize NHRA drag racing at the Yas Marina Circuit's drag strip. Medical and community service exchange takes place with the bond between Houston and Abu Dhabi.


Karachi, Pakistan (2009).

Karachi, Pakistan
^ from: squidoo.com - Mohatta Palace in Karachi, Pakistan.

Karachi is the most recent Sister City of Houston. It is a coastal city in Southern Pakistan, and the only other city I know of in Pakistan besides Islamabad. Karachi serves as a port and a financial capital to Pakistan. Karachi is also one one of a few Muslim locales under the Sister Cities of Houston. The Houston-Karachi bond hopes to establish better social and cultural ties between the two cities and cultures. This twinning is the most recent Sister City of Houston.


Tyumen, Russia (1995).

Tyumen, Russia
^ from: funrunners.de - Tyumen has its roots as a fort city that is also an oil capital in Siberia.

Tyumen is a fort city in the southwestern portion of Siberia. Back in 1948, oil was discovered in Tyumen, greatly contributing to its economy. Both Houston and Tyumen share strong business bonds. As many as 900 Houston companies trade with Russia. Thirty Houston-based companies have separate subsidiaries in Russia.


Taipei, Taiwan (Republic of China) (1961).

Taipei, Taiwan
^ from: fastcompany.com - Taipei 101 dominates the Taipei skyline. It is one of the tallest towers among Asian nations.

Taipei was the very first Sister City Houston linked with. The bond remains strong today since their twinning began in 1961. One such gift exchanged from the two sides was the Chinese Pavilion at Hermann Park here in Houston.
The capital of Taiwan is Taipei, a lovely city. Most of the exchanges have been cultural and business related. It will have been a 50-year relationship between the two cities once 2011 rolls around.




Shenzhen, People's Republic of China (1986).

Shenzhen, China
^ from: mynetbizz.com - While Shenzhen is not as lively as Shanghai, it does boast some architecture as lovely as Shanghai.

Shenzhen's upbringing is one of the most fascinating upbringings of almost any city I've heard of. It's growth may not be as explosive as Dubai, but going from a fishing town to this near metropolis status is incredible. Shenzhen is loacted in southeastern China. Shenzhen is a hotbed for international trade and a solid economy for China. This bond provides an exchange of culture, art, business, and trade between the two cities. I've gotten to know some wonderful people from China here in Houston. None that I know of from Shenzhen, though.


Chiba City, Chiba, Japan (1973).

Chiba, Japan
^ from: nippon-kichi.jp - Chiba Castle in Chiba City (or Chiba-shi), Chiba, Japan.

While over 21 miles east of the insanity of Tokyo, Chiba City (Chiba-shi) is the capital of Chiba Prefecture. This city is quite fascinating. It is an industrial port with about three to five times less the population of Houston. The Port of Chiba is the largest port in Japan by volume and value of freight. A gift from Chiba to Houston is the Japanese Garden at Hermann Park (which I've never been to), as well as a Japanese stone lantern and a samurai statue, both at the Visitors' Center at Houston's city hall. Also, Chiba boasts the Chiba Urban Monorail, which is the world's longest suspended monorail. Only the Osaka Monorail is the longest of any kind of monorail system. Most of you know I love Japan, so I'm real pleased seeing such Japanese influence here in Houston.


Perth, Western Australia, Australia (1983).

Perth, Western Australia, Australia
^ from: gowhere.com - downtown Perth.

Perhaps the only city I know best in Western Australia, Perth is a lovely city. I honestly don't know as much about Perth to talk about it professionally or with any degree of confidence. I will try to chat about Perth with whatever information I DO have. The biggest economic resources to Perth are mining and energy. Perth has about 1.6 million people, which is about three to four times less the population of Houston. The two cities have been twinned since 1984. The distance from Perth to Houston is massive- 10,600 miles (17,060 km). The Australian American Chamber of Commerce of Houston helps to enhance business relations as well as promote and educate the respective nations on their culture.



--- If You Are From Any of the Mentioned Cities... ---

If you are from any of the cities I mentioned and if you love my blog, I want to say hello to you and thanks for your support. I always welcome an international audience to my online material (let alone my blogs).





As I expressed in my "Houston: Underrated and Underappreciated" blog entry, this is just something else to show Houston's significance. I was really surprised at just how many cities are so similar to Houston. Most notable are those either known for being oil giants or being coastal cities with a strong industrial sector. You know the feeling when you meet someone and can instantly connect with that person with almost everything? Well, that same feeling is what the Sister Cities is all about. Houston being twinned with cities like the aforementioned is like Houston making friends with other cities in other nations. It's not about trying to connect with other cities, but connecting with other cities while offering services and assistance. This also provides a boost in trying to better understand and connect with other people of other nations. That's why I think twinning with these cities provide such an outstanding lift. These cities Houston is twinned with are also connected to other cities the world over, so it's not like just Houston is helping.

Exploring the world. Connecting with the world. Helping other countries and cities out by exchanging resources. Sponsoring events to help boost relations with other cultures and nations. All in all, I'm glad we have so much support. All I've done in this blog entry was expose a lot of you to the many nations and cities we're twinned with. Some, if not all of these cities, have visited my blog at least once, so it's great to know that there are other cities around the world that share some sort of special bond with the city of Houston. Even more so that such bonds and associations have been establish to share such interconnectivity among each other.

And for a cultural city like Houston, the bond is equally special when you have such cultural hotbeds around the world that are Sister Cities of Houston.




You can learn a LOT more about each Sister City of Houston by visiting these sites:
Sister Cities of Houston (official)
Sister Cities of Houston on Facebook

I've tried to find as many official links to each Sister City Association Houston has, but some don't have their own individual pages. Here are links to the individual associations (some websites also have Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts you can Become a Fan of (Facebook) and Follow (Twitter)) for the ones I HAVE been able to find online:

Houston-Tampico Sister City Association
• --- there is no official website for the Houston-Guayaquil Sister City Association ---
Houston-Grampian Association
• --- there is no official website for the Houston-Huelva Sister City Association ---
• --- there is no official website for the Houston-Nice Sister City Association ---
Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association
Houston/Galveston-Stavanger Sister City Society
Houston-Baku Sister City Association
Houston-Luanda Sister City Association
Houston-Istanbul Sister City Association
Houston-Karachi Sister City Association
• --- there is no official website for the Houston-Tyumen Sister City Association ---
• --- there is no official website for the Houston-Taipei Society ---
Houston-Shenzhen Sister City Association
• --- there is no official website for the Houston-Chiba Sister City Association ---
• --- there is no official website for the Houston-Perth Sister City Association ---

Contact me if there are any official websites to any Sister City association that I may not know of. I will make the necessary changes to accommodate my viewers and readers. Thank you.



Also, thank you for reading this blog entry. I hope my efforts to educate you on these cities have been to your liking. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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