Twin cities

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High-rise buildings in Minneapolis's Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, with the Downtown Saint Paul skyline visible in the background. Minneapolis' city limits border those of Saint Paul, the capital of Minnesota. From Downtown Minneapolis to Downtown Saint Paul is only 10 miles in length. This gave birth to the nickname of the region, the "Twin Cities" metropolitan area.
A view of the town of Tornio (Finland), which forms a twin city with Haparanda (Sweden)

Twin cities are a special case of two neighboring cities or urban centres that grow into a single conurbation – or narrowly separated urban areas – over time. There are no formal criteria, but twin cities are generally comparable in status and size, though not necessarily equal; a city and a substantially smaller suburb would not typically qualify, even if they were once separate. Tri-cities and quad cities are similar phenomena involving three or four municipalities.

A common – but not universal – scenario is two cities that developed concurrently on opposite sides of a river. For example, Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota – one of the most widely known pairs of "Twin Cities" – were founded several miles apart on opposite sides of the Mississippi River, and competed for prominence as they grew.

In some cases, twin cities are separated by a state border, such as Albury (New South Wales) and Wodonga (Victoria) in Australia, on opposite sides of the Murray River. Islamabad and Rawalpindi are the twin cities of Pakistan, Islamabad is the Federal Territory of Pakistan, while Rawalpindi is a city in the Punjab province. Cities on opposite sides of international borders sometimes share enough cultural and historical identity to be seen as twins, such as Haparanda (Sweden) and Tornio (Finland), Leticia (Colombia) and Tabatinga (Brazil), or Valga (Estonia) and Valka (Latvia).

In some cases twin cities eventually merge into a single legal municipality, such as Buda and Pest merging in 1873 into Budapest, Hungary, Brooklyn being annexed by New York City in 1898, or the three ancient cities of Hankou, Hanyang, and Wuchang joining in 1927 into Wuhan, China.

As a single urban area, twin cities may share an airport whose airport codes include both cities' initials, e.g., DFW (Dallas–Fort Worth), LBA (LeedsBradford), MSP (Minneapolis–Saint Paul), RDU (Raleigh and Durham), and CAK (AkronCanton).


Cross-border example of twin cities: Plaza Internacional of the Frontera de la Paz. On the left, Santana do Livramento (Brazil); on the right, Rivera (Uruguay).



Zambia / Zimbabwe[edit]

South Africa[edit]

Johannesburg and Pretoria, Gauteng Province


North America[edit]


United States[edit]


Examples, sharing names or similar names, across an international border include:

Canada–United States border
Mexico–United States border

Pairs with unrelated names:

Mexico–Guatemala border
United States–Canada border
United States–Mexico border


South America[edit]








Mainland China
Hong Kong
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
South Korea




United Kingdom


Austria–Slovakia border
Austria–Slovenia border
Belgium–France border
Croatia–Bosnia and Herzegovina border
Czech Republic–Poland border
Denmark–Sweden border
Estonia–Latvia border
Estonia–Russia border
Finland–Russia border
Finland–Sweden border
France–Germany border
France–Spain border
Germany–Poland border
Germany–Switzerland border
Hungary–Slovakia border
Ireland–United Kingdom border
Italy–Slovenia border
The Netherlands–Germany border
Spain–Gibraltar border
Switzerland–Germany-France border




  • The Tri-cities of British Columbia consist of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody
  • The Tri-citites of Kitchener; Waterloo; and Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, the cities' collective metropolitan area is often called the K-W Tri-City Area
  • Tri-Town, Ontario, Canada - Cobalt, Haileybury and New Liskeard
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
United Arab Emirates
United States

Quad cities[edit]

United Kingdom
United States

More than four cities[edit]

United States

Examples of cities formed by amalgamation[edit]


  • Fukuoka in Japan, a city of 1.4 million people, formerly the twin cities of Hakata and Fukuoka until the late 19th century.
  • Kitakyushu in Japan, a city of 900,000 people, created in 1963 by the merger of Yahata, Kokura, Moji, Wakamatsu, and Tobata. Yahata and Kokura had formerly been major cities in their own right.
  • Saitama in Japan, a city of 1.2 million people, created in 2001 by the merger of the cities of Urawa, Omiya, Yono, and later Iwatsuki. Urawa and Omiya could formerly have been considered twin cities.
  • Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, has been expanded to include smaller towns including Rawat in its territory.
  • Lahore, the second largest city of Pakistan, has, as of 2013, grown out so much that small towns by this giant city, such as Shahdara, have been absorbed in its city limits.
  • The former cities of Taoyuan and Zhongli, Taiwan, which merged along with the entire county in 2014 to form a single municipality city of Taoyuan, the two cities sit directly next to each other and shares almost the same population.
  • Bangkok, the capital and largest city of Thailand, was created in 1971, when the previous Bangkok province (Phra Nakhon) was merged with Thonburi province.
  • The cities of Saigon and Cholon merged in 1931 to form a single city named Saigon-Cholon; in 1956, the name Cholon was dropped and the city became known as Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam.


  • Athens incorporated dozens of villages and towns and absorbed whole of Athens basin and parts outside of it, notably Piraeus.
The Netherlands
United Kingdom

North America[edit]

United States
  • Helena–West Helena, Arkansas was formed in 2006 by the merger of the previous cities of Helena and West Helena.
  • Fremont, California was formed in 1956 by the combination of the five towns of Centerville, Irvington, Niles, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs, California. The town of Newark has always refused to merge into Fremont, and Newark is completely surrounded by Fremont.
  • Boston, Massachusetts is made up of the former towns of Boston, Dorchester, Brighton, Roxbury, Charlestown, and Hyde Park.
  • Iron River, Michigan absorbed the nearby city of Stambaugh and village of Mineral Hills in July 2000.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota. St. Anthony (not to be confused with St. Anthony Village, a modern city which is a suburb) was a twin city to Minneapolis in the two cities' youth. Minneapolis annexed St. Anthony in the late 1800s.
  • Park Hills, Missouri was formed in 1994 by a four-way municipal merger involving the cities of Flat River, Elvins, and Esther, plus the village of Rivermines.
  • Jersey City, New Jersey, was incorporated in 1820, and slowly grew by annexing surrounding municipalities: Van Vorst Twp. (1851), Bergen City (1869), Hudson City (1869), Bergen Twp. (1869) and finally Greenville Twp. (1873).
  • New York City, New York (five boroughs, historically especially between Manhattan and Brooklyn)
  • What is now the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina was once two separate towns called Winston and Salem that were combined into one.[n 27]
  • Cleveland (Cleveland and Ohio City) in Ohio
  • Lincoln City, Oregon was formed in 1965 by merging the extant seaside towns of Oceanlake, Delake, and Taft, with the adjoining unincorporated areas of Nelscott and Cutler City.
  • Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which absorbed the cities of South Bethlehem, and West Bethlehem. The former Bethlehem and South Bethlehem are situated in Northampton County, and West Bethlehem is in Lehigh County. As a result, present-day Bethlehem straddles the county line.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, annexed Allegheny City, which is now the quarter of the city that lies north of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers. Also annexed was Birmingham, now referred to as the "South Side".
  • Richmond (Richmond and Manchester) in central Virginia
  • Bellingham, Washington was formed from four cities, Fairhaven, Sehome, Bellingham and Whatcom.

Fictional twin cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Separated by the Zambezi River at the location of Victoria Falls, each city benefits from tourism created by Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world as measured by combined height and width (see Victoria Falls Size). The primary airport of the region, Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, is located in Livingstone and brings tourists from all over the world. The two cities share an international border that is located halfway across the Victoria Falls Bridge, which was completed in 1905.
  2. ^ Main cities of Metropolitan Halifax, they are geographically separated by Halifax Harbour
  3. ^ Separated by the North Saskatchewan River. While the communities are commonly referred to by the collective "The Battlefords," they retain distinctive identities.
  4. ^ The cities meet at the border between Texas and Arkansas, and their name is a portmanteau of those states' names as well as that of Louisiana, whose border lies approximately 25 miles to the south. See Texarkana metropolitan area and Ark-La-Tex.
  5. ^ Main cities of the Tampa Bay Area.
  6. ^ Champaign was originally known as West Urbana but has since outgrown its neighbor. See Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area.
  7. ^ Also called the Twin Cities or L–A. See Lewiston–Auburn
  8. ^ Nicknamed the Twin Ports, these form the world's largest freshwater port.
  9. ^ Also known as the Twin Cities
  10. ^ The cities are connected by two twin cantilever bridges which merge the two cities together as sister cities. The cities meet on the Mississippi and Louisiana state border and along the Mississippi River adjacent to each other. They both share long history together. Natchez, Mississippi is also a historical part of Concordia Parish, Louisiana, to which Vidalia is the seat of Concordia Parish. See Natchez–Vidalia Bridge, Concordia Parish and Adams County, Mississippi.
  11. ^ See Fargo–Moorhead.
  12. ^ The core cities of the Wyoming Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania.
  13. ^ The two largest cities of Upstate South Carolina. Their shared international airport is named after both cities (Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport).
  14. ^ Twin cores of the Metroplex of northern Texas.
  15. ^ Nicknamed the Petroplex in a nod to the DFW region's nickname, as well as its strong reliance on the oil industry.
  16. ^ Until 1930, the community, divided by the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, was two separate, adjacent towns. However, with the Town of Lloydminster Acts in administration the large town became integrated while still bi-provincial.
  17. ^ Formed by the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario in 1970.
  18. ^ East Saginaw annexed by Saginaw in 1889.
  19. ^ Prior to their consolidation into a single city in 1898 - as noted in the poem "The New Colossus", which is inscribed on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty.
  20. ^ Formed historic Al-Mada'in.
  21. ^ Co-centers of a shared micropolitan area.
  22. ^ Co-centers of a shared micropolitan area.
  23. ^ Kurashiki is somewhat more of a suburb
  24. ^ Co-centers of a shared major metropolitan area. See Keihanshin
  25. ^ Co-centers of a shared major metropolitan area.
  26. ^ the principal cities of the San Francisco Bay area.
  27. ^ Nicknamed the Twin City.


  1. ^ a b "10 Twin Towns and Sister Cities of Indian States". Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "10 Twin Towns and Sister Cities of Indian States". Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  3. ^ Weather story from 2006 The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 2006-12-31
  4. ^ [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
  5. ^ "It's a wise man who knows where Chatham ends and Rochester begins." Charles Dickens
  6. ^ "Tricity residents to get Emaar MGF's Central Plaza soon". The Financial Express. Jan 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "Quad Cities too generic a name for ID, WA cities". The Seattle Times. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Juan Manuel Grijalvo - Madrid - Barrios desaparecidos y actuales - Antiguos municipios independientes".
  9. ^ See e.g. the introduction of The Hogfather q:Terry Pratchett's Hogfather
  10. ^ The Flash (volume 1) #123, DC Comics, September 1961
  11. ^ Starr, Joe (2015-08-05). "Nerd Rabbit Hole: A Guide To Disney's Duck Universe". Pajiba. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  12. ^ "San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge". Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  13. ^ Action Comics #451, DC Comics, September 1975
  14. ^ New Adventures of Superboy #22, DC Comics, October 1981
  15. ^ World's Finest Comics #259, DC Comics, October–November 1979
  16. ^ Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1917). A Princess of Mars. A. C. McClurg & Co. pp. 279–80, 305, 313–14.