Caen is the capital of the French department of Calvados in the region of Normandy and has a population of about 130,000. The link was established in 1957 when the Lord Mayor of Coventry attended the opening of Caen University.
An unofficial link of friendship with Caen dates back from December 1946, when the BBC arranged an international Christmas Day Broadcast and attempted to link Coventry with Caen, Arnhem, Stalingrad and Warsaw. As a result, the contact between the Mayors became even more frequent.
Caen is a city located in Normandy on the River Orne and linked by canal to the English Channel. Caen is the capital of the department of Calvados, and it retains several fine buildings despite suffering heavy damage during World War II. Especially noteworthy are two examples of 11th-century Norman Romanesque architecture. William the Conqueror founded the Abbaye-aux-Hommes, and William's wife, Matilda, founded the Abbaye-aux-Dames. Other landmarks in Caen include a 16th-century mansion, an 11th-century castle, and the Church of Saint-Pierre, a chiefly Gothic structure with Renaissance embellishments.
The city is the site of the University of Caen, founded in 1432 by Henry VI of England. It is also a seaport, an agricultural centre, and a manufacturing city. Local products include iron and steel, textiles, lace, electronic equipment, and processed food, and much iron ore is mined nearby.