Cleveland's Sister Cities

Guidelines for Becoming a Sister City of Cleveland, Ohio

Alexandria, Egypt Fier, Albania Ljubljana, Slovenia
Bahir-Dar, Ethiopia Gdansk, Poland Miskolc, Hungary
Bangalore, India Heidenheim, Germany Rouen, France
Brasov, Romania Holon, Israel Segundo Montes, El Salvador
Bratislava, Slovakia Ibadan, Nigeria Taipei City, Taiwan
Cleveland, United Kingdom Klaipeda, Lithuania Vicenza, Italy
Conakry, Guinea Lima, Peru Volgograd, Russia
West Mayo, Ireland

Alexandria, Egypt ● Pop: 4,110,015

Official Website

Alexandria’s nickname is “The Pearl of the Mediterranean”. This, the second largest city in Egypt, stretches along 20 miles of Mediterranean Sea coastline in the north-central region.

Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, it quickly became a highly important Hellenistic city. This seat of ancient Egyptian government was known as the world’s center for knowledge with its famous Library at Alexandria.

Generations of immigrants from Western Asia and countries including Greece, Italy and France brought a diversely rich cultural heritage to the city.

Beginning in the 1800’s, Alexandria became a commercial and maritime center, and currently is Egypt’s leading port. Well located for transportation, the city has become the core of a major industrial area. Paper, refined oil products, asphalt, cotton textiles, processed foods, plastics and Styrofoam are all produced here. Internationally known companies include: Petrolium Pipe, Alex Petrolium & Marine Supplies, and International for Food Industry Sweet Food.

Bahir-Dar, Ethiopia ● Est. Pop: 167,261

Bahir Dar is the fast-growing capital of the Amhara Region in northwestern Ethiopia. This beautiful city on the shore of Lake Tana is the third largest in the country, and is quickly developing its social, political and economic activities. The region is known for its scenic beauty and natural and cultural wealth. Fish are abundant in the deep blue lake which is a recreational destination for local as well as distant tourists.

The city offers a small daily market and a very extensive weekly market. In 2008 a Children’s Parliament was established and is expected to play a significant role in protecting children’s rights which are outlined in the Ethiopian Constitution.

Fast becoming the political center of its region, Bahir Dar is also becoming a top commercial center of the Amhara National Regional State, with cotton and oil factories, polytechnic, colleges and universities. There are also a growing number of Banks, Insurance companies, modern shops, Government offices, Business organizations, Tour and Travel Agents, Hotels, Pensions and Restaurants.

Bangalore, India ● Pop: 6.5 million

Bangalore (Bangaluru) is India's third-most populous city and its fifth-largest metropolitan area. Most of the city is urban, but there are outlying rural areas. The Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation handles city administration, and is run by a city council comprised of one elected representative from each ward serving for five years. The mayor and council commissioner are elected through a Caste system quota.

Bangalore is home to highly recognized colleges and research institutions, and boasts India’s second highest literacy rate- 83%.

A major Indian economic hub considered the “Silicon Valley of India”, Bangalore is known as one of the best places in the world to do business. Texas Instruments became the first multinational to put a base here. Industries include Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, National Aerospace Laboratories, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, and Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT). A rapid transit system called the Bangalore Metro is expected to be operational by 2011. Once completed, this will encompass a 20.5 mile elevated and underground rail network, with 32 stations. Bangalore is well connected to the rest of the country through the Indian Railways. One of Bangalore’s most upscale neighborhoods is named Cleveland Town.

Brasov, Romania ● Pop: 284,596 ● Cleveland’s Sister City since 1991

Official Website

Braşov is a centrally located Romanian city which is the capital of Braşov County in the Transylvania region. It is located 99 miles from Bucharest, Romania's capital, and surrounded on three sides by the Southern Carpathians.

The official language is Romanian, but Hungarian and German is spoken in the older districts. English is spoken mainly by the young and those in the tourist industry. Tourist and residential commuting is very accessible in Braşov, as the local transportation network is well-developed, with around 40 bus and trolleybus lines. A regular bus line also serves a nearby winter resort named Poiana Braşov.

Today, Braşov is a site for manufacturing agricultural tractors and machinery, hydraulic transmissions, auto parts, ball-bearings, helicopters, building materials, tools, furniture, textiles, shoes and cosmetics. It is also home to chocolate factories and a large brewery. The pharmaceutical industry in this region has undergone further development lately, with GlaxoSmithKline establishing a production site there.

Bratislava, Slovakia ● Pop: 425,000

Official Website

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, the country's most populous city and its cultural and economic center.

Bratislava is in the south-west of the country straddling both banks of the Danube River and bordering Austria and Hungary. Uniquely situated in Central Europe, it has long been a natural crossroads for international trade traffic. Within the eclectic cityscape of Bratislava, one can see medieval towers alongside ornate 20th century buildings, as well as modern structures.

Bratislava has several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other important economic, cultural, and educational institutions. The city has relationships with or is home to many globally-known companies which include AT&T, Volkswagen, IBM, Dell, Lenovo, and Accenture.

The current local government structure has been in place since 1990 and includes a mayor and a city board, council, commissions and magistrate. The city is divided into 17 boroughs, each having its own mayor (starosta) and council.

Cleveland is home to the largest Slovak community in the world, outside of Slovakia, and nearly 85,000 Northeast Ohioans can trace their roots back there.

Cleveland, England ● Pop: 500,000

Once an established county, Cleveland is now an area in northeast England. Its name comes from "cliff-land", after its hilly southern areas, which rise to nearly 1,500 ft. The area is extremely varied geographically. One area known as the Tees Estuary is industrialized and urbanized. The lowland parts of Cleveland are mainly farms. East Cleveland sits on the northern end of a chain of cliffs that runs along the North Yorkshire Heritage Coast. South Cleveland is extremely hilly.

Cleveland’s significant industrial heritage arose from its central role in the 19th century iron boom. The Cleveland hills supplied ironstone to run local blast furnaces. Between 1974 and 1996 most of Cleveland was incorporated into a non-metropolitan county, formed from parts of the surrounding areas known as North Riding of Yorkshire and County Durham. This abolished the County of Cleveland; however, England’s Cleveland Police and other institutions which covered the area were retained.

Conakry, Guinea ● Pop: 2 million 

Official Site of the Government of Guinea

Conakry, the capital and largest city of Guinea, is a port city on the Atlantic Ocean. Conakry makes up nearly a fourth of the population of the entire country formerly known as “French Guinea”. Many Africans call the country Guinea Conakry in order to avoid confusion with Guinea Bissau, the adjacent northern country. Conakry is also Guinea’s economic center. The city's economy revolves largely around the port itself, with its modern handling and storage facilities. Products shipped from the port include aluminium oxide and bananas. Manufacturing also plays a role in the city’s economy, which produces diverse products ranging from housing materials to foods. Today, the city is made up of five main districts: Kaloum, Dixinn, Ratoma, Matam and Matoto. The country is in the process of building tourism and Conakry is home to several major attractions including the Guinea National Museum, the Guineau Palais du Peuple, a celebrated botanical garden and Conakry Grand Mosque. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the convenience of several markets and the nightlife in nearby Iles de Los.

Fier, Albania ● (Pop: 82,000) ● Cleveland’s Sister City since 2006

Fier, in southwestern Albania, is the capital of the Fier District and one of the largest of the country’s urban centers. One of Albania’s most developed cities, Fier lies between the Seman and Aóös Rivers.

Rapid and vigorous economic development resulted from privatization, with trade and service industries being the first to expand and flourish. Manufacturing, especially in clothing and textiles, transportation and telecommunications make up the bulk of the city’s industries. This commercial center for agricultural products is also an important energy producer, boasting an oil refinery as well as a thermal power plant.

Most of the country’s oil and chemical industries are located here. Fertilizer, bricks, and tile are among its manufactured products. The addition of a railroad link in 1968 furthered the prosperity of this city which now sits at a major road and rail junction. History lovers are drawn to Fier’s archeological museum and the ruins of partially restored Apolonia.

Cleveland has a large Albanian community which made it natural to establish collaboration between the cities.

Gdansk, Poland ● Pop: 500,000 ● Cleveland’s Sister City since 1990

Official Website

Gdańsk, the principal seaport of Poland, is located at the mouth of the Vistula River on the Baltic Sea. This city is the capital of the Pomorze province and the 6th largest city in the country. First established in 997, it has also gone by the name Danzig at times while under Prussian or German control.

The city gained modern historical significance when Hitler, citing Poland’s refusal to give control of the city to Germany, used it as an excuse to invade Poland, beginning World War II. Later, the famous Gdansk shipyards became the birthplace of the Solidarity movement playing a major role in ending communist rule in Poland. Today’s Gdansk is home to many government offices including the Provincial Administration Office, the Provincial Government, the Ministerial Agency of the State Treasury, the Agency for Consumer and Competition Protection, the National Insurance regional office, the Court of Appeal, and the High Administrative Court.

Economically, shipbuilding, petrochemical, chemical, and food processing industries dominate. In addition, 14 universities with 60,436 students are located here.

The Gdansk lighthouse was modeled after a lighthouse in Cleveland. It has been said that a Polish delegation visiting Chicago’s World Expedition in 1893 took a side trip to Cleveland where they were struck by the lighthouse’s beauty.

Heidenheim, Germany ● Pop: 49,784

Official Website

Heidenheim is a city in eastern Germany on the Bavarian border and the economic center for a county which shares the same name. Its largest employer, Voith, manufactures turbines and machinery for the paper-making industry and employs 7,500 people. The world’s first Paper Technology Center was established here in 2006, and is considered by Voith to be the “most important center for paper research in the world”.

Early in 2008, Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd., entered into a joint venture with Voith to manufacture commercial vehicle products in Heidenheim. Among others, the city is home to metal, semiconductor, plastics, ventilation and textile industries.

The City Council has 36 members, each serving 5 year terms and the mayor is elected to serve a term of 8 years. The mayor also serves as City Council President and the mayor’s Deputy serves as First Councilperson. Every summer, Heidenheim becomes a cultural destination as it hosts its annual open-air Opera Festival.

Holon, Israel ● Pop: 180,000

This Mediterranean coastal city is part of the metropolitan area known as Gush Dan in the Tel Aviv District. Beautiful and modern, its 300 acres of green space make it one of the country’s greenest cities. Approximately 6,500 trees decorate its streets, and each year hundreds of thousands of flowers are planted throughout the city.

This is Israel’s eight largest city, and it contains its second largest industrial zone. Holon is considered a leading textile center. Other important industries include the manufacturing of glass, plastics, construction materials, food processing, leather goods, metals and furniture.

Known as the “Children’s City, much of Holon’s focus over the past ten years has been on children and family entertainment, and the city has established itself as a national destination through its annual children’s festivals and holiday parades. Included among its many attractions are The Center for Digital Art, The Israeli Children’s Museum, the Mediatheque Youth Theater, a modern library, and numerous art galleries and story gardens.

Ibadan, Nigeria ● Pop. 2,550,593

Official Oyo State Government Website

Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, is the third most populous city in Nigeria and geographically the largest. Located in south-western Nigeria, this is a prominent city between the coast and the north. Principal residents are Yorubans. The University of Ibadan is one of the premier educational institutions in Africa, and the first university in Nigeria. The Polytechnic Ibadan was the country’s first technical institute and is considered its best.

Before the dissolution of the Western Region, Nigeria was the home of the most sophisticated and liberal scientific and cultural community on the African continent. In-town transportation comes in a variety of forms including taxis, taxi-vans (danfos), and private cars with drivers hired out by the day. The city has several impressive libraries and is home to Africa’s first television station as well as its first skyscraper, known as Cocoa House. Dugbe Market is central to the city’s transport and trade network . With a strategically located railway, the city is a trading hub for cassava, cocoa, cotton, timber, rubber, and palm oil. Area industries include agricultural processing, leather-working and furniture-making.

Klaipeda, Lithuania ● (Pop. 187,442) ● Cleveland’s Sister City since 1992

Official Website

Klaipeda is located at the mouth of the Curonian Lagoon where it empties into the Baltic Sea. Its strategic location, however, has made it attractive to several countries and its history includes dominance by Sweden, Russia, Prussia, Germany and France.

This is Lithuania’s only seaport, and the principal ice-free seaport on the Baltic’s east coast. Ferries connect Klaipeda to Sweden and Germany and the port can handle up to 40 million tons of cargo annually. It is Lithuania’s primary transportation hub, connecting sea, land, air and railway routes. Within the city itself, the public transportation system is very logical and comfortable for traveling.

The University of Klaipėda was established in 1991 and Klaipėda is now the home of the Hermann-Sudermann-Schule, a bilingual German-Lithuanian institution. Klaipėda's main attractions are the historic buildings in the city's centre, dating from the 13th to 18th centuries. Other historical places of interest include the 13th century Memelburg Castle, the 10th century Zarde settlement, and a maritime museum built in the 19th century.

Lima, Peru ● Pop. 7,819,436 

Official Website

Lima, Peru’s capital and largest city, is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Lima is the nineteenth highest populated city in the world. Approximately one-third of its extremely diverse population lives in the metropolitan area. The largest cultural group is Mestizos, who are of mixed European and American Indian descendants.

Peru ranks amongst the world's great centers of ancient civilization, and modern Lima has become the industrial and financial center of Peru- responsible for more than two thirds of its industrial production. Its 7000 manufacturers drive the development of the country and include textile and clothing industries and chemical, oil, leather, fish and food processing.

With 28 universities, this city has the largest concentration of higher-education institutions in the country. The National University of San Marcos, founded in 1551 when Peru was a Spanish colony, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas.

Ljubljana, Slovenia ● Pop: 280,000 

Official Website

Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia and its country’s scientific, cultural, and economic center. It lies centrally, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps. As the country’s capital it is home to its Parliament and President.

The suburban area of Ljubljana is served by an extensive network of buses and trains. Its efficient transportation system and high concentration of industry, scientific and research institutions solidify its leading economic position in Slovenia.

Over 15,000 enterprises operate in the city. Pharmaceutical, petrochemical and food processing industries employ most of the residents. Other fields include banking, finance, transportation, construction, skilled trades, services and tourism. The public sector provides jobs in education, culture, health care and local administration. The city's University of Ljubljana was established in 1919. Cleveland’s 80,000 people of Slovenian descent make up the largest group in any city outside of Slovenia.

Miskolc, Hungary ● Pop: 190,000

Miskolc is in northeast Hungary, in the eastern foothills of the Bukk Mountains- one of the country’s favorite holiday and tourist areas. The local government is working to strengthen the city's role in culture and tourism. Among the most visited attractions are the Diosgyor Castle and the Otto Herman Museum. Otto Herman was a resident of Miskolc who discovered prehistoric human remains in the Bukk Mountains. Public transportation in

Miskolc is overseen by the local government. The city runs 45 bus and 2 tram lines. Today the public transportation in Miskolc is one of Hungary’s best. First founded as a trading town, Miskolc went through a development period in the 19th century and then reinvented itself in the post-war years into a major heavy industry center. This city now boasts modern steelworks plants and iron foundries fed by the rich deposits found in the Bukk Mountains.

Machine tool factories, electrical firms, and paper manufacturers employ Miskolc residents. The Technical University of Heavy Industry provides training for skilled workers and managers.

Rouen, France ●  Pop: 109,000 ● Cleveland’s Sister City since 2008

Official Website  

Cleveland’s newest Sister City is Rouen, the capital of the Upper Normandy region of France, which is located on the River Seine. Originally founded by the Gauls, in the past it has been occupied by Rome, England and Germany.

This city is steeped in history and is noted as the site of Joan of Arc’s death. The city was heavily damaged on D-Day during World War II. Visitors marvel at Rouen’s famous Notre Dame Cathedral as well as the Gros Horloge- a 16th century astronomical clock.

Rouen is well-known for outstanding art museums which house antique porcelain collections, tin glazed pottery (faience), and paintings by fine art masters.

Cleveland and Rouen have had an established relationship since World War I. When America entered the war, Cleveland’s Lakeside Hospital medical personnel opened a hospital base outside the city. A plaque commemorating this can be seen at Rouen's City Hall. The regions also share the presence of several companies, including Lincoln Electric, Lubrizol and MTD Products.

Segundo Montes, El Salvador ● Est. Pop. 7,900 ● Cleveland’s Sister City since 1991

The community of Segundo Montes, Morazán (also called Comunidad Segundo Montes or Ciudad Segundo Montes) was formed in 1990 by refugees who had fled El Salvador’s civil war. For a time, the El Salvador government opposed the settlement, but when the United Nations intervened on behalf of the refugees, the government ceded.

The village was named after Segundo Montes, a scholar, philosopher, educator, sociologist and Jesuit priest. Montes, five other Jesuit priests and their housekeepers were murdered by the Salvadoran army.

Clevelanders were mourning the loss of local churchwomen Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan, who had been brutalized and murdered by Salvador National Guard members in 1980. A joint project was put together by the Central American Network, the Salvadoran Association of Ohio, the Commission on Catholic Community Action and the Community Relations Board of the City of Cleveland, and in 1991, Ciudad Segundo Montes became a Sister City to Cleveland.

Taipei City, Taiwan ● Pop: 2,630,872

Taipei is the capital and largest city in Taiwan, a Chinese coastal island governed by mainland China. Taipei City and County together form one metropolis, but they are governed differently. Taipei City is under the executive branch of the Republic of China, while Taipei County is part of Taiwan Province. Taipei usually includes the whole area, while Taipei City refers to the city itself.

Historical changes have brought cultural influences from China, Japan, Europe and America. Forty years ago, foreign investment in modern technology in Taiwan made it globally recognized as a high tech supplier, exporting labor-intensive products. Major industries include the manufacturing and building of electronics, textiles, ships and motorcycles.

Today Taiwan holds one of the world's largest foreign economic exchange reserves ($500 billion+) and its economy continues to expand. Residents enjoy nearly non-existent unemployment coupled with low inflation rates. The city has a technologically advanced public transportation system which connects underground shopping malls, parks and public squares. One of the city’s greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum which houses many of China’s cultural treasures including precious art, ancient manuscripts, porcelain and jewelry.

Vicenza, Italy●   Pop: 115,927   ●   Cleveland's Sister City since: 2009

Official Website

Vicenzo was established in the first century and was granted Roman citizenship in 49 BC. It is located in the Veneto region of northeast Italy, east of Venice and Milan. This city, steeped in a rich cultural history, is the thriving cosmopolitan center of the province.

The look of the city is attributed to Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) who based much of his work on classical Roman design and developed a disctinctive style known as Palladian architecture. Vicenza boasts over twenty of his buildings and his influence can be seen in many area structures as well as throughout Europe and North America.

Prosperous and inviting, the city boasts numerous museums, luxurious shops, galleries, churches and villas. It is known for its textile, mining (marble, sulphur, copper, and silver), steel, jewelery, and engineering industries and is surrounded by agriculture.

Cleveland and Vicenza Are Sister Cities >>

Volgograd, Russia ● Pop. 1,011,417 ● Cleveland’s Sister City since 1990

Volgograd, on the west bank of the Volga River, is the administrative center of the Russian area known as Volgograd Oblast. Formerly known as Stalingrad, this city has a long history of industrialization and trade which continues to the present day. Major industries include oil refinement and the production and manufacturing of ships, steel, machinery, and chemicals.

In 1945 this city was awarded the title Hero City in recognition of the Battle of Stalingrad, a turning point in the war against Hitler’s army. The price paid to expel the Germans was bitter, with high military personnel as well as resident casualties, and the nearly complete destruction of the city itself. Twenty colleges and 9 higher education institutions make their home in the city, including state universities and those concentrating in fields of medicine, industry, government and teaching.

West Mayo, Ireland ● Pop: 2,500 ● Cleveland’s Sister City since: 2003

Official County Mayo Website

Mayo is the third largest county in Ireland and includes the country’s largest island, Achill Island which has seven beautiful beaches. Today the area’s economy is largely dependent on tourism, offering fishing, boating, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving, gourmet seafood and traditional pubs.

This particular county experienced an especially high period of emigration out of Ireland beginning with the Great Famine, in fact it lost more Irish than any other county. Most of the emigrants fled to England, Scotland and the US. Many emigrants seeking work were drawn to the Cleveland area during the construction of the Erie Canal. The project employed thousands of men.

The canal ended in Cleveland, so many workers settled there when the project concluded. Today 30,000 common Achill names can be seen in Cleveland phone directories including: Gallagher, Lavelle, McGinty, Sweeney, McNamara, Burke, O’Donnell, Corrigan, and Joyce. Census data indicates that over 72,000 people of Irish descent live in Greater Cleveland today.