The term “Sister cities” or “Town twinning” is used for world cities that are paired for the aim of creating good relationships between those,
building cultural bridges, and for better human ties. There are many similar terms used for this kind of paired towns all around the world;
twin towns, friendship towns, partner towns, and brother cities, or “Kardes sehir” in Turkish.
In Europe, town twinning is supported by the European Union in order to unite different cultures in different countries and exchange ideas
between their people. Sister cities develop many economic and cultural programs, exchange students, organize workshops between their
municipalities and involve in reciprocal projects, and collaborate in many other different areas. Sister city partnerships involve two-way
communication and are designed to mutually benefit partnering communities. Usually, but not always, sister cities have similar
demographic, cultural and economic characteristics.
Several towns or cities in Turkey have their sister towns from all over the world, Istanbul being paired with the most of course. The first sister
city of Istanbul was Rio de Janeiro in 1965, then it was followed by Shimonoseki in 1972 and Lahor in 1975. The last sister city of Istanbul is
Tbilisi since April 2016. The complete list of Istabul‘s sister cities is as follows (in alphabetical order):