It can be said for certain that the twinning of towns, cities and regions has been common practice the world over since the Middle Ages. Behind such practice was the desire for greater territorial strength to protect against possible enemies, as well as the enhancing of commercial networks.
Over the centuries, the links that these ties have created have moved away from the original idea of protection and commerce towards greater social and cultural integration. This process has become increasingly more evident in Europe since the end of the Second World War, to such as extent that in 1989 the European Union began to officially promote the practice amongst its members.
However, our experience from teaching students from all over the world on our Spanish courses shows us that this practice is not known by all.
In the case of Seville, a journey around its twinned cities would begin inside Spain itself, before continuing around Europe, and finishing on the American continent. Of all of these cities, the first was Kansas City. In 1967, this American city located in the state of Missouri, became twinned with Seville and has since become an icon of the city, giving its name to of one its most important avenues.
In addition, the sculpture of the Native American on horseback which can be seen on one of the avenue’s intersections is known by all Sevillians and it reminds them of the links between the two cities. This famous figure, once on display in the USA pavilion of the Universal Exposition of Seville (Expo ’92), replaced the original monolith, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the cities’ relationship.
On the other side of the Atlantic, in Kansas City you can find an imitation of the Giralda, which we spoke about in another post. It is located in a famous historical shopping centre, whose owner is a self-confessed lover of Seville and one of the people behind the twinning.
Staying within the United States, the city of Columbus, in Ohio, became our sister city in 1987. In order to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in America and of the aforementioned Expo, it decided to create a replica of the Santa Maria. Unfortunately, in this case, this special relationship has not been able to give Seville a monument as recognizable as the Native American sculpture. However, throughout the city there are reminders of Columbus’ voyage, such as the monument in the Jardines de Murillo, opposite our school.