World Twin Cities Day: Ashgabat’s Twin Cities
World Twin Cities Day was established in 1962 on the initiative of the World Federation of Twin Cities and has been celebrated on the last Sunday in April since 1963.
The World Federation of Twin Cities was founded on April 28, 1957. In 1970, the Federation included up to a thousand cities in more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Today, its members are 3,500-plus cities in over 160 countries.
The emblem of the World Federation of Twin Cities depicts two interlocked rings with a key between them symbolizing a city in heraldry.
Twin cities (or sister cities) are two cities that have built a multi-faceted partnership. They exchange delegations, organize various exhibitions, special forum, film festivals, and meetings of specialists.
The British city of Coventry and the Soviet city of Stalingrad (presently Volgograd) destroyed during the war became the first twin cities in history in 1944. The people of Coventry sent a tablecloth to the people of Stalingrad with words ‘Little help is better than big sympathy’ embroidered on it. Later, the cities were joined by the war-damaged cities of Dijon, Turin and Ostrava.
Twinning relations of Ashgabat, which marks its 140th anniversary this year, with cities from other countries have been developing in accordance with signed partnership agreements and memoranda of cooperation.
Ashgabat was twinned with the African city of Bamako (the capital of Mali) in 1974 and the U.S. city of Albuquerque in 1990.
In April of 2014, Japan made a proposal to twin Tokyo with Ashgabat.
The capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, is also a twin city of Ashgabat. The formal agreement was signed between the cities’ municipal administrations in May of 2017 during a working visit by the Uzbek leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Turkmenistan.
A twin city agreement was signed between Mary and Orel during an official visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Ashgabat in October of 2017.
Ashgabat and the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, became twin cities in 2017. Our white marble-clad capital has also entered into city twinning partnerships with Ankara, Lanzhou, and Kiev.
In August of 2018, a formal agreement was signed in the Turkmen capital during a visit of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov to form a twin city relationship between Ashgabat and Bishkek.
The list of cities Ashgabat has established bonds of friendship with is far from complete. These relations encourage a better understanding of each other’s history, culture and modern achievements.
Today, the Turkmen capital, which has deservedly become a center of constructive cooperation, truly fascinates with its architectural splendor, urban aesthetics, history and unique traditions. This contributes to building more twin city relationships and offers prospects for turning Ashgabat into a large international tourism hub. It is worth noting that the Turkmen capital joined the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) on May 1, 2020.