ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The 10 sister cities of Albuquerque, N.M. span the globe. They’re on four different continents and in nine different countries.
According to the Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation, the Sister City Program began in 1956 to foster international cooperation and goodwill through community action. Albuquerque joined the program in 1965. The foundation sponsors programs designed to foster cultural and commercial exchange between Albuquerque and its 10 sister cities. Here’s a little bit about those cities.
The information below is courtesy of the Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation.
Over 5,000 miles east of Duke City lies Alburquerque, Spain. It’s a small agricultural town of fewer than 6,000 residents near the Spain-Portugal border. It’s in an area dominated by cork trees making Alburquerque a major hub for the cork industry. In 1706, Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdez, the colonial governor of New Mexico, founded Albuquerque, New Mexico, naming it after the Viceroy of New Spain, Don Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva Enrique, the 10th Duke of Alburquerque.
Alburquerque, Spain became a sister city in July 2003.
With over 1 million residents, Ashgabat is the capital city of Turkmenistan. It was founded in 1881 and made the capital of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924. In 1948, an earthquake destroyed much of the city, which was rebuilt under what was known as the “White City” urban renewal project, which resulted in monumental projects covered in white marble.
Ashgabat became a sister city in July 1990.
Closer to home – a little over 800 miles away – is Sister City, Chihuahua, Mexico. Founded just a few years after Albuquerque in 1709, it was located on a trade route that followed the Rio Grande to Santa Fe. The city of Chihuahua is ranked high in human and social development and has a literacy rate of 99%.
Chihuahua became a sister city in 1970. Since then, Albuquerque and Chihuahua have benefited from exchanges in business, education, and cultural areas. The city has also started to host their own annual balloon festival with several balloonists from Albuquerque participating.
About half a day’s drive south of Chihuahua is another Sister City of Albuquerque – Guadalajara, Mexico. It’s the second-largest city in the country and the capital city of the state of Jalisco. As Jalisco is the birthplace of tequila and mariachi, Guadalajara is known for both. It hosts the annual Guadalajara International Film Festival and the Guadalajara International Book Fair, the largest book fair in the Americas.
Guadalajara became a sister city in 1986.
With a population of about 28,000, Helmstedt is considered a medium size German city. It has a rich history dating back 2,500 years. Helmstedt is located on the eastern edge of the German state of Lower Saxony. Many who live there work in automotive manufacturing for Volkswagon, the coal and salt mining industry, mercantile, and tourism.
Helmstedt became a sister city on May 29, 1983.
Over 7,000 miles away on the east coast of Taiwan is Hualien City. Known as the City of Marble, the main streets are made up of marble mosaics and public areas include many marble pieces of art. The city is flanked by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Central Mountains to the west, resulting in beautiful views wherever you go. It is the most populated area in eastern Taiwan with over 100,000 people.
Hualien became a sister city in November 1983.
In the geographic center of China is Lanzhou, with a population of over three million people. It is a producer of world-famous fruits, melons, and roses. It is also an area known for its scientific research with 1,200 institutions in scientific research and development. Lanzhou has 17 universities and colleges as well. Among the industries located in the city are petrochemicals, non-ferrous metallurgy, equipment manufacturing, traditional Chinese medicine, bio-pharmacy, energy, and new and high technology.
It became a sister city in April 1996.
Lusaka is the capital city of Zambia, the country’s largest with a population of about 3.3 million people. It is in the southern part of the central plateau at a 4,000-foot elevation. Lusaka’s fast-growing infrastructure and central location have helped it to become a hub for job creation and housing. Lusaka has a large community of foreign nationals, who came to the area to work in the aid industry as well as diplomats.
It became a sister city to Albuquerque on October 14, 2014.
Another hub for science and technology is Rehovot, Israel. The Weizmann Institute of Science, named after the first president of the state of Israel, is a well-known leader for advances in mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, biological chemistry, and biology. The city also is home to Hebrew University and its agricultural campus, which has helped make Rehovot a main citrus center in Israel.
In September of 2008, then-Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez – along with 16 delegates from Albuquerque – signed the official joint proclamation with Rehovot Mayor Joshua Forer, making the two cities sister cities.
On Western Kyushu Island in Nagasaki Prefecture lies Sasebo, Japan. Ancient Sasebo is said to date back to 10,000 BC, during the Neolithic period. It has been a major producer of porcelain since the Edo period. Modern-day Sasebo has a population of 250,000. Albuquerque’s bond with the city began when two people from both cities met during the Korean War. The relationship between the two cities has resulted in projects attracting Japanese-sponsored businesses to Duke City and student exchanges.
Sasebo and Albuquerque became sister cities in 1966.