Coventry's twin towns and cities
Caen is the capital of the French department of Calvados in the region of Normandy. 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.
Cork is the capital of County Cork in the Republic of Ireland.
Cork, Ireland's second largest city, is located on the Lee and is an important seaport. It is also a distribution centre for the surrounding agricultural region. Industries include two breweries, distilleries, software production, and chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Cork has an international airport, and the port has ferry services to Roscoff in France and Swansea in Wales.
Cork has a keen sense of its own identity—one national newspaper is based in the city, rather than in Dublin, and University College, now part of the National University of Ireland, was founded in 1845. Amongst other notable buildings are the 19th-century Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland cathedrals, St Mary's and St Finbarr's. The city started as a religious settlement founded in AD 622 by St Finbar and has been a major trading centre since Viking occupation in the 11th century.
Arnhem is the capital of the Dutch region of Gelderland. This link started in 1958 when Coventry invited Arnhem to send a delegation to the city.
Arnhem, the capital of the region of Gelderland, is an industrial and commercial centre, with a large trade in grain. Major manufactured items include precision instruments, paper, mirrors, and wood products. Among the principal places of interest in Arnhem are the Groote Kerk (Great Church), dating from the 15th century, and the 16th-century town hall. In medieval times Arnhem was a member of the Hanseatic League, a group of German trading communities.
In 1944 intense fighting left most of the city in ruins, including the since-restored 15th century Eusebiuskerk (Church of St Eusebius). Arnhem has been comprehensively rebuilt since World War II.
Kiel is the capital of the German Bundesland (State) of Schleswig-Holstein.
The link between Coventry and Kiel was officially formed when Mr Williams, a British service man from Coventry based in Kiel to help the rebuilding process after the Second World War, made contact with the City Authority in Kiel.
Like Coventry, Kiel was heavily bombed during the War and Mr Williams could see the common experiences of the two post-war cities. Then the Mayor of Kiel, Andreas Gayk sent a letter to the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor George Briggs in 1946 proposing a friendship link, Coventry was already developing a reputation for an active international peace and reconciliation policy and so reacted positively to the message of friendship and reconciliation.
In 1947, the Friends of Coventry Society was founded, which later became the Deutsche-Britische Gesellschaft Kiel (German British society). In the same year a delegation from Coventry, which included the Lord Mayor, presented a cross of nails to Kiel, made out of nails from the destroyed Coventry Cathedral.
Kiel is the capital of the German Land (state) of Schleswig-Holstein. Situated at the eastern entrance of the Kiel Canal in north central Germany, it faces a tideless fjord of the Baltic Sea. Because of this excellent harbour the city has been a major port since the 10th century. The chief industries, aside from fishing, shipbuilding, and naval maintenance, are the manufacture of soap, food products, machinery, and woollen goods. The city has a university and is a popular centre for pleasure boating.
Saint-Etienne is located in the French department of Loire, in the Rhône-Alpes region in the East of France.
Saint-Etienne is situated in a major industrial and coal-mining region. Armaments, now an important modern industry, and silk ribbons, for which Saint-Etienne is famous, have been manufactured in the city since the 16th century. Other products include steel, bicycles, and machinery. The University of Saint-Etienne and the Museum of Art and Industry are located in the city. Saint-Etienne developed into an important economic centre in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The City of Saint-Etienne is situated in the department of Loire, in the region of Rhône-Alpes in the East of France. The city is the third largest in the region, after Lyon and Grenoble and has a population of 205 000, this figures rises to 440 000 when the population of the surrounding communes are included. Rhône-Alpes is the second most highly populated region of France after Paris and the Île de France.
The city of Saint-Etienne dates from the 12th Century; it was fortified during the 15th Century, increased considerably in wealth during the 16th Century, and industrialised during the 19th Century. Previously the prosperity of the city depended on the local coal mining and metal working industries. The first railway in France was constructed in Saint-Etienne. The last mine closed approximately 25 years ago and traditional industries have had to adapt, a major economic transformation has been achieved. Today Saint-Etienne is a regional centre for manufacturing and has become a renowned location for high-tech industries.
Dresden is the capital of the German State of Saxony.
The common fate of the two cities during World War II and their many years of efforts for reconciliation and understanding among people resulted in the twinning of the two cities. Nowadays, both cities seek to build on the twinning relationship to promote the economic prosperity of the two cities by developing opportunities for partnership projects.
Dresden lies on the River Elbe in east central Germany, near the border with the Czech Republic. The economy of Dresden is based primarily on port activities and the manufacture of high-tech items, including specialized optical and medical equipment, computers, musical instruments, machinery, and tools.
'Dresden is a city in which history, architecture and landscape come together in harmony.' This was first remarked by Erich Kästner and is still very much the case today.
One of Europe’s foremost cultural centres before World War II, Dresden suffered greatly from Allied bombing raids in 1945. Indeed much of the 'Florence on the Elbe' was rebuilt after the war. Among the reconstructed or meticulously restored edifices are the 18th-century Zwinger Palace, which houses several important museums; the Dresden State Opera House; and a number of churches, such as the rococo Hofkirche and the Kreuzkirche, in part dating from the 15th century. The reconstruction of the 'Frauenkirche', or Church of Our Lady has also recently been completed, indeed Coventry Cathedral also presented the Church with a Cross of Nails to mark its reopening.
Dresden Technical University, the Carl Gustav Carus Medical Academy of Dresden, the Friedrich List University of Transportation of Dresden, and a school of music are located in the city.
Lidice is a small village in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. This link was established in 1947 when representatives from Coventry were present at the laying of the foundation stone of the new village. In 1954 Coventry sent 1000 roses to be planted in the memorial rose garden.
The village of Lidice is known throughout the world. In June 1942 the civilian population was killed in an act of revenge by the Nazi occupiers.
A new village was built near to the site of the previous one, separated only by a memorial to those who died, the international rose garden, to which many towns and cities around the world made contributions.
The village is located approximately 20 km west of Prague near the city of Kladno.
Bologna is the capital of the Bologna and Emilia-Romagna Region of Italy.
Bologna is situated on a fertile plain at the foot of the Apennine Mountains. A major transport centre and agricultural market, Bologna is the meeting point for the principal roads and railways connecting northern Italy with the Tyrrhenian and southern Adriatic coasts.
Major industries include the manufacturing of farm machinery, steel, processed food, motor vehicles, and chemicals. Bologna is also the home of the University of Bologna, various publishing houses, and museums of painting, archaeology, and Etruscan artefacts.
The city was a great centre of learning and culture during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. In the medieval heart of Bologna are buildings of warm-coloured brick and stucco, arcades lined with small shops, cobbled streets, and numerous piazzas. San Petronio, the most imposing church in Bologna, fronts onto the main plaza, the Piazza Maggiore. It was begun in 1390, but the exterior was never finished. Other notable churches are San Domenico and San Francesco. Modern suburbs surround the old inner city.
Graz is the capital of the Austrian province of Styria.
Links between the two cities under the aegis of the Educational Interchange Council went back as early as 1944. A civic visit in 1957 formalised the link. Councillor J D Berry supported the link at civic level since his visit to Graz in 1975 as Lord Mayor (he also participated in the 1957 visit as a Councillor), again visiting Graz in 1986.
Graz, the capital of Styria Province, lies on the River Mura, surrounded on three sides by the Alps. Steel, railway equipment, automobiles, chemicals, leather goods, and precision instruments are among the products manufactured in the city, which is the centre of a considerable trade in wine, fruit, and cereal grains.
The old town, on the west bank of the river, is connected with the new town, on the east bank, by seven bridges. The old town is built around the Schlossberg Park, which until 1809, when its fortifications were destroyed by the French, was a strongly fortified hill.
Important buildings in Graz include an 11th-century castle, the 13th-century church of the Teutonic Knights, the 15th-century Gothic Domkirche, and a 16th-century parish church with an altarpiece by the Venetian artist Tintoretto. Among educational institutions in the city are Graz University, founded in 1585, and Graz Technical University, founded in 1811. These traditional buildings are also complemented by more modern architecture such as the new 'Kunsthaus' art gallery, which is in stark contrast to its more traditional surrounds. This particular building has been internationally acclaimed and was recently nominated for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize.
Graz is known to have existed in the 9th century AD and is thought to occupy the site of a Roman town. In the 15th century it was a residence of the Holy Roman emperors.
Ostrava is the largest city in the North Moravia region of the Czech Republic.
Ostrava suffered under occupation during World War II and was keen to make links with Coventry, a city famous for its wartime suffering.
In 1965 a civic delegation from Coventry led by Alderman George Hodgkinson and Councillor Roy Hughes cemented the link. They visited Ostrava's celebrations to mark 21 years of liberation from the Nazis.
Ostrava is a transport hub and a leading metallurgical centre situated in the Ostrava-Karviná coalfield. It has iron- and steel-rolling mills, boiler and power plants, and railway yards. Aluminium alloys, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, synthetic gases, plastics, petroleum products, building materials, clothes, ceramics, furniture, and food products are also manufactured here. Founded in the late 1200s, Ostrava is the capital of Severomoravský.
Dunaujvaros is located in Fejer County in Hungary.
This industrial town has developed greatly since the end of World War Two. The industrial life of the town is centred on the huge Danube Iron and Steel Works which was started in 1950. In addition to the steelworks there are paper mills and textile factories and the town is a busy river port.
Although this largely industrial town has few historical buildings which remain, during redevelopment a number of Bronze Age settlements and the remains of a Roman frontier town, Intercisa, were unearthed. The finds are now on display in the Dunaujvaros museum.
An unusual feature of the town is that the central heating for many buildings is provided by the surplus hot water produced at the iron and steel works. A belt of Canadian and Swedish pine trees divide the steelworks from the town. There is a pioneer railway, an amusement park, an open-air theatre and a number of sports grounds.
Wheat, maize, barley and sugar beet are grown in the surrounding countryside and the cultivation of rice had started in recent years.
Kecskemét is the capital of the Bács-Kiskun region of Hungary.
The agricultural city of Kecskemét lies next to some major road and rail arteries about 80 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of Budapest. It is the capital of Bács-Kiskun, and has marketing and processing facilities that serve the whole region. The sandy area around Kecskemét produces about one-quarter of the fruit in Hungary. The area is well known for the locally produced apricot brandy that carries the city’s name. Residents are also employed in factories producing leather goods, textiles, and agricultural implements.
Originally the site of a Magyar settlement, Kecskemét was founded in the 10th century and by the Middle Ages was a thriving market town. It was spared by Turkish invaders in the 16th century because of protection granted by Ottoman rulers. Peasants planted large vineyards and orchards in the area in the 19th century, and by the early years of the next century these were the economic backbone of the growing city.
The city’s architectural heritage reflects these periods of prosperity and good fortune. A Franciscan church dating from the Middle Ages still stands near the centre of Kecskemét, and the Ornamental Palace, with its plunging windows and colourful ceramic trim, is one of the best examples of Hungarian art nouveau in the country.
Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sarajevo is situated on the River Miljacka and was settled in the 14th century. From 1429 to 1878 it was part of the Ottoman Empire, and numerous examples of Turkish architecture still remain in the city. Until recently, Sarajevo was an important commercial and cultural centre, and several educational and cultural institutions were located here. In 1984 the Olympic Winter Games were held here.
Following Bosnia and Herzegovina’s secession from former Yugoslavia in April 1992, fierce fighting among Serbs, Croats, and Bosnian Muslims took place in Sarajevo. As a result of the fighting and a siege by the Serbs, much of the city has been destroyed.
Belgrade (Beograd) is the capital of Serbia. It is situated in South-Eastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula, at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has since ancient times been an important focal point for traffic, an intersection of the roads of Eastern and Western Europe.
Belgrade is the capital of Serbian culture, education, science and economy. As a result of its tumultuous history, Belgrade has for centuries been home to many nationalities, with Serbs of the Orthodox Christian religion making up the majority of the population (90%). The official language is Serbian, while visitors from abroad can use English to communicate.
Coventry was twinned with Belgrade in 1957.
Belgrade was, like Coventry, rebuilt after WWII, but this was certainly not the first time the city had been destroyed. The City of Old Belgrade had been fought over by innumerable nations and had been partially destroyed 38 times.
Although twinned with Belgrade in 1957, the link actually goes back to 1953 when the Yugoslav Ambassador visited Coventry and offered a gift of timber from his native country for use in the new Civic Theatre, which when finished was named The Belgrade Theatre.
Built on the site of an ancient stronghold, Belgrade means “white fortress
Galati is located near to the world renowned Danube Delta in Romania and has a population of about 330,000. This link with Coventry was established in 1962.
In 1962 a Minister from the Romanian Legation in London visited Coventry to meet the lord mayor and see the post-war development of the city. During the visit the possibility of finding a twin in Romania was discussed and the Minister assigned staff at the legation the task of finding a Romanian twin for Coventry. The city decided upon was Galati.
Galati is Romania's largest inland port and is situated approximately 80 miles from the sea on the river Danube.
During the 1960s the city and surrounding countryside were in the forefront of development in Romania, with the greatest volume of industrial investment in the whole of the country taking place here. In a relatively short period of time there were rapid developments in the ferrous metallurgy, power and thermal energy, machine building, metal processing building material, textile and food industries.
The surrounding countryside provides rich harvests in cereals, vegetables and fruit. In recent years the wine industry has become established and the wines from the region have gained in international recognition.
In addition to the industrial heart of the city new residential areas have been built and now successfully blend with the city historic past. Educational facilities include the University of Galati and the Pedagogic Institute.
Volgograd is the capital of the Volgograd Oblast in southern Russia.
The friendship between Coventry and Volgograd, former Stalingrad, was cemented as a result of both cities experiencing the devastation of the Second World War. The battle of Stalingrad was one of the key turning points during the Second World War. The epic battle for the city raged from spring 1942 to February 1943. More than 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped on the city, but Stalin initially forbade any evacuation from the city, even of children. The fighting in the city was ferocious, hand to hand combat taking place within the city itself.
At the time of the onslaught on the Russian City, women from Coventry sent messages of hope to the women of Stalingrad having experienced the Coventry Blitz just a few years earlier. The first message from women of Coventry to the women of Stalingrad saying "From this city scarred and ravaged by the arch enemy of civilisation, our hearts go out to you, who now face slaughter and suffering even more fearful". During the devastating Battle of Stalingrad 900 Coventry women signed their names (which were then embroidered) on the tablecloth and sent with a message of sympathy to the women of Stalingrad. This tablecloth has an honoured place in the Panorama Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad.
During wartime the people of Coventry also sent aid (supplies and medicines) to the people of Stalingrad.
Volgograd, the capital of Volgograd Oblast, is an important industrial, commercial, and trans-shipment centre of Russia. A railway centre and a major River Volga port, it is linked to the River Don by the Volga-Don Canal, constructed between 1950 and 1957. A large hydroelectric power dam is located just north of the city. Among the main industries in Volgograd are petroleum refining, shipbuilding, and the manufacture of aluminium, chemicals, processed food, farm machinery, iron and steel, and forest products. The University of Volgograd is located in the city. Volgograd was founded in 1589 as Tsaritsyn, a fortress on the south eastern frontier of Russia.
Previously known as Stalingrad, during World War II the city was a strategically located industrial centre, and a vital German objective. A large German force mounted an assault on the city on August 20, 1942, after a period of heavy air raids. A successful Soviet counter-offensive began on November 19, and on February 2, 1943 the Sixth German Army surrendered, so ending the German advance into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). German casualties alone totalled more than 300,000, and the Soviet city was almost completely destroyed. Rebuilding began immediately after the war. The city was renamed Volgograd in 1961.
Granby is located in the Canadian province of Quebec. This twin city link was established in 1963.
The twinning link with Granby (and Windsor) came in a proposal from the Canadian Federation of Mayors and Municipalities. A letter suggested a town twinning between each of the towns (Granby, Windsor, Saint-Etienne and Coventry). The twinning of the four towns took place in Coventry in June 1963.
Granby is a busy town located in the province of Quebec. Founded in 1842 as a mission the first settlers began to arrive around 1855. Today Granby is a flourishing manufacturing city. It produces textiles, rubber goods, confectionery, chemicals, wood, furniture and tobacco.
Granby is known as a great holiday centre, being surrounded by picturesque countryside. The zoological gardens are one of the outstanding attractions and there are more than 300 species of animal to be seen. The Automobile Museum is another major attraction and the city also has an extensive collection of fountains, brought from all over Europe. Nearby resorts offer excellent fishing, skiing and canoeing.
All local news events are reported in the local newspaper, La Voix de l'Est. In more recent news, a local referendum was held in 2007, when the citizens of Granby and Granby Township approved a merger of both areas.
Cornwall is located in the Canadian province of Ontario.
Cornwall link was formed in 1972 at request of Cornwall when Lord Mayor of Coventry visited during visit to American and Canadian twin towns.
Situated in the thriving St. Lawrence Valley, Cornwall boasts among its better known industries, paper manufacturers, chemicals, clothing, transparent cellulose film, conduit and sewer pipes, metal plating, electronic equipment, carpets and recording discs and tapes.
Served by several airports, two freeway companies and the St Lawrence river, Cornwall offers the traveller plenty of scope for getting around quickly. It is 70 miles from Montreal, a one-hour drive from Ottawa and only 15 minutes from New York State.
Cornwall is also the headquarters of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority.
Coventry is located in the state of Rhode Island in the United States of America.
Coventry Rhode island is one of America's oldest towns, incorporated in 1741 and named after Coventry, England, by settlers to America.
Coventry was incorporated in 1741 and is today still one of the largest towns in the small state of Rhode Island. It is a residential town with a number of small businesses but many of the people derive their livelihood from manufacturing industry situated in other parts of Rhode Island.
During the early days of Coventry's existence agriculture and timber industries provided most of the work, these were followed by the cotton and woollen mills which sprang up along the Pawluxet river and remained the main industry for the area for over 125 years. Today, most of the mills have gone but branches of some well-known American corporation and the Star City Class Company remain.
As one of America's oldest towns, Coventry is rich in historical landmarks. Among the best known are the 1770 homestead of General Nataneal Greene, an Independence War veteran, overlooking the Pawluxet river and the village of Anthony.
Coventry is located in the state of Connecticut in the United States of America.
The Coventry, England – Coventry, Connecticut exchange began in 1962 when several dignitaries from Coventry, England crossed the Atlantic to help Coventry, Connecticut celebrate its 250th anniversary.
Coventry is a dormitory town for Hartford Connecticut, one of the major industrial centres in the United States.
Even as late as 1940 Coventry was a small town of only 2,000 people but it grew rapidly during the war years as a suburban community for Hartford then a developing city with a rapidly growing aircraft industry.
Coventry today covers an area of over 24,000 acres and was originally part of tract land of used by the Mohican Indians as hunting and fishing grounds. The first record of its history is 1706 when a small committee was appointed "to divide the area into house, church and school lots and highways, and to admit inhabitants".
At one time, because of the abundance of local waterpower, Coventry was an important manufacturing town specialising in silk and textile products but this century it had become primarily residential.
Coventry is located in Chenango County in New York State in the United States of America.
Coventry NYS is a small town, one of the smallest Coventry is linked to. The association with the Coventry, UK, came as a result of travellers who arrived in America and named their homestead after the town they had left behind in the UK.
Coventry New York State is Coventry, UK smallest twinned town. It is situated near the southern border with Pennsylvania, some 5 miles east of Greene. The nearest large town is Binghamton. But its association with the United Kingdom started with its first settlers who came from Coventry and named their new homestead after the town they had left years before they crossed the seas.
With a population of approximately 2,000 living in two hamlets named Coventry and Coventryville, it is far removed in size from its UK partner city.
Windsor is the southern most city in the Canadian province of Ontario.
The twinning link with Windsor (and Granby) came in a proposal from the Canadian Federation of Mayors and Municipalities. A letter suggested a town twinning between each of the towns (Granby, Windsor, Saint-Etienne and Coventry). The twinning of the four towns took place in Coventry in June 1963.
Windsor, a port of entry on the United States-Canada Border, is connected to Detroit, Michigan, by bridge and tunnel. The city is an industrial and distribution centre situated in a rich agricultural region. A base for US automobile companies from the beginning of the 20th century, Windsor remains a major centre of auto industry employment and manufacture. Other major manufactured goods include metal products, machinery, pharmaceuticals, processed food, and printed materials.
The University of Windsor, the Hiram Walker Historical Museum, and the Art Gallery of Windsor are located in the city. Windsor's economic and geographic relationship to Detroit is celebrated with an annual week-long international festival. The community, settled in 1701, was renamed in 1836 after Windsor, England.
There are a number of sports teams within Windsor, with some of them playing over the US border, in Detroit. The kinds of sport played include ice hockey, lacrosse, football, rugby and athletics. Some of the teams include the Windsor Spitfires (Ontario Hockey League - www.windsorspitfires.com), Windsor Border Stars (Canadian Soccer League - www.borderstars.ca) and the Windsor Lancers (Canadian Interuniversity Sport - www.golancers.ca).
It is interesting to note that within Windsor's Reaume Park, the Coventry Gardens can be found. Every Summer, Windsor co-hosts a fortnight-long freedom festival with Detroit, called the Windsor-Detroit Freedom Festival, which culminates in the respective Canada Day and American Independence Day holidays. One of Windsor's most famous citizens is the Country singer, Shania Twain.
Kingston is the capital of Jamaica.
The south-eastern shoreline of Jamaica curves inwards and creates a sheltered nook for the capital city of Kingston. The largest city and chief seaport of Jamaica, Kingston extends along the coast of the Caribbean Sea at the base of the Blue Mountains. Its harbour is protected to the south by the Palisadoes, a long spit, and is large enough to accommodate all the cruise ships beckoned by Jamaica’s reputation for fun and fair weather.
Kingston has boomed as a port of call for Caribbean tourist and trading vessels, and the city was thoroughly modernised in the 1980s when old wharves were torn down and replaced with hotels, shops, and other amenities. However, Kingston’s economy is not solely dependent upon tourism. The city exports large quantities of sugar, coffee, rum, and molasses. In addition, manufacturers in the city produce textiles, petroleum products, and clothing.
Founded in 1692 after the old capital of Port Royal was destroyed by an earthquake, Kingston succeeded Spanish Town as the island’s capital in 1872. The partly submerged ruins of old Port Royal are still visible near the city at the entrance to the harbour. Other places of interest include the 17th-century moated fortress Rockfort, and the 18th-century seat of government, the Headquarters House. The University of the West Indies is also located in Kingston.
The New Kingston area of the city is the principal business area, which combines modern town planning with the backdrop of the nearby Blue Mountains. For enthusiasts of reggae music, the Bob Marley Museum is worth a visit.
Jinan is the capital of the Chinese province of Shandong and is the centre of politics, economy and culture for the province.
A decision was made by the City Council in 1981 to approach the Chinese Embassy with a view to finding a twin city in China. This was recognised as being an effective way of accessing the Chinese market. The Chinese Embassy in London identified Jinan as having a similar economic profile to Coventry. The link was formalised in autumn 1983. A series of delegations followed, but with hindsight it is possible to see that neither city was able to maximise commercial opportunities as Deng Xiaping's Open Door policy was in its earliest stage (initiated in 1978).
Jinan is an ancient city with a long history and a rich culture. Over 2600 years ago it was already a walled city called 'Lo'. In the Han Dynasty (2100) years ago it was renamed Jinan, meaning 'South of the River Ji'. The successive dynasties of Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan and Qing have established their respective administrative systems of state here. The municipal administration was set up in 1929 and Jinan was liberated in 1948, which makes the 1998 the 50th year since the liberation.
Jinan is one of the 20 largest cities in China and is located in the mid-west of the Shandong peninsula. It is close to one of the country's most famous mountains, Mount Taishan, listed as a world heritage site. The Yellow River, the cradle of Chinese national culture flows across the City's north. Communications and transportation facilities in Jinan are well developed and it is the hub of communications in the Shandong Province.
Jinan has been rapidly developing its economy since the reforms and the opening up of China. It has developed its export-orientated sectors and in recent years has achieved an average annual foreign investment of US$300 million. By the end of 1996, 2200 foreign investment enterprises had been established and the accumulated foreign investment was US$1.1 billion. The annual average export value is US$1 billion. In the 1990's the annual economic growth rate was more than 12%.
Parkes is located in the Central West of New South Wales, Australia. The link with Coventry was established in 1956 when a plaque was sent to Parkes illustrating the birth-place of Sir Henry Parkes.
A gold rush in 1860, when 10 000 gold seekers organised a tented town known as Bushman's was the origin of the town of Parkes. The town was renamed to honour Sir Henry Parkes, after the Coventry-born Australian statesman visited the town in 1871.Today Parkes is a quiet, yet thriving town whose main industries are brick-making, steel fabrication and agriculture.
The town's historical museum commemorates Sir Henry Parkes and has over 2 000 relics and artefacts from Australia's past.
Situated in New South Wales, the town is a centre of a prosperous agricultural area where wheat production, and sheep, cattle and pig rearing are big business.
Parkes is perhaps most famous for the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, which is one of the world's largest radio-telescopes, second only to Jodrell Bank. The Telescope or "Dish" as it is affectionately known, is a scientific instrument of great renown, having been involved in countless astronomical discoveries since its commissioning in 1961. It is best remembered however, for its lasting relationship with NASA, evolving from the Apollo Moon landing by Neil Armstrong in 1969. The Parkes Radio Telescope relayed pictures to an estimated TV audience of 700 million people that day and forever forged its association with one of man's greatest achievements.
Parkes hosts an annual "Elvis" festival, which commemorates Elvis Presley's birthday, each January, which brings in tourism, thereby boosting the local economy.