Twin cities – Leicester

Most are at least familiar with the idea of twin cities, if not actually conscient of its inner workings and substance, as was the case myself.

Chongqing is the central focus of my blog, but I would like to explore the city’s international reach by introducing each of its sister cities, one by one over time.

Tracking down an accurate and up-to-date list is a challenge, as specific details are in short supply, and Chongqing continues to establish relations with new cities on an almost yearly basis.

Believe me, it took some time to fathom this list, and translate a few city names completely unknown to me. To my best knowledge, these are the sister cities of Chongqing with the founding year;

Toulouse (1982年), Leicester (1993), Voronezh (1993), Vladimir (2004), 扎波罗热州 (2002), 切尔卡塞市 (2003), Dusseldorf (2004), Vienna (2004), 南特伦德拉格 (2007), 佩斯州 (2010), Antwerp (2011), Pleven (2012), Zurich (2013), Brisbane (2005), Seattle (1983), Waynesboro (2008), San Diego (2014), Santa Monica (2015), Las Vegas (2015), Linden Guyana (2011), Toronto (1986), Cordoba (2010), Santa Fe (2014), Bahia (2011), Nuevo Leon (2013), Mpumalanga (2002), Aswan (2005), Hiroshima (1986), Miyakonojo (1999), Shiraz (2005), Incheon (2007), Busan (2012), Chiang Mai (2008), Bangkok (2011), Penom Penh (2014), Chennai (2015), Provincia de Panama (2018), Seoul (2019)

I expect it will take a number of years to research and create a post on each city, so it makes sense to I focus on them in order of familiarity and personal experience. I would also like to invite local tourism authorities from any twin city to sponsor a personal tour and subsequent post. I hope this way to help publicise the relationship between Chongqing and its twinned cities, in addition to the unique attractions and culture each of the cities all possess.

Twin city relationships involve plenty of cultural and economic exchange, and I will include information like this when it’s of particular interest to the reader. Other than that, I will focus on the cities themselves, and what they have to offer the visitor or curious reader.

Also, I would like to appeal for information from readers who have experienced living in any of the listed cities, and I’ll credit them in the relevant post with much gratitde.

 

Leicester City Centre

 

Though I was actually born and grew up in the English county of Leicestershire, I am no less familiar with Leicester City Centre, a mere six kilometres away from my childhood home.

Leicester is part of the East Midlands region, and this small city of around 348,000 people is not far to the northeast of Birmingham.

The Roman Empire founded the city of Leicester around AD47, and the best preserved ruins from this period is the Jewry Wall Museum by St Vaughans College. In the medieval Viking period, Leicester became a burgh of the Danelaw.

In the fifteenth century, King Richard iii fought the Battle of Bosworth in the county of Leicester. After he was killed during the battle by Henry Tudor’s army, his body was hastily buried in the Fryar’s Monastery in the city. Later, the friary was demolished as a result of Henry 8th’s Dissolution of the Monasteries Act, and the exact whereabouts the former king’s remains became a mystery.

In 2012, researchers from the University of Leicester conducted an excavation on the premises of Leicester Social Services carpark, citing ancient maps as a possible clue to where the remains of King Richard iii may lie. The result shocked the world, as a skeleton was discovered early in the project, and later DNA testing results compared with a relative of 17 generations apart, confirmed the remains as King Richard iii.

The reburial took place in Leicester Cathedral in 2015, where visitors are welcome to see his new resting place, and learn about this amazing chapter in the nearby Richard iii Museum.

Around the Industrial Revolution, The Grand Union Canal linked Leicester to Birmingham and London, along with a railway line to St Pancras and Swannington, which provided transport for coal and goods. Woodgate and Frog Island became the location of a large scale textile industry. Now long since declined, you can still see the dilapidated buildings as you enter the city from the west.

Leicester and the county area was well known for its fox hunting traditions before the practice became outlawed. Nevertheless, the fox continues to feature on many local emblems, such as the sports teams and county council.

 

Sites of Interest

 

While Leicester City is the twin city of Chongqing, the surrounding county of Leicestershire is twinned with Sichuan Province. There are many great places to explore out in the county, but I’m going to focus on the city centre for this post.

Clocktower – Built in 1868 at the cost of 2000 pounds, this is perhaps the most recognisable landmark of the city centre. Made of granite and ketton stone, with statues of four notable people of historical signifiance at the top.

New Walk Museum – You can find this building around the midway point of this mile long 18th century promenade, lined with trees and Victorian era architecture. Inside, there are art exhibitions, Egyptian mummies, entymology collections, as well as visiting galleries.

Leicester Train Station – This victorian era station is still in use today. Outside, there is a statue of Thomas Cook, a businessman credited with arranging the world’s first ever tour group, a group of 500 made a return visit to Loughborough in 1841 at a price of one shilling each.

Demontfort Hall – A Victorian era performance hall popular for concerts, shows and comedians.

Leicester Market – The largest covered open market in Europe is over 700 years old, and people still come here to buy fruits, veggies and countless other commodities.

National Space Centre – School children visit by the busload from all corners of the country. There are plenty of exhibits to keep visitors entertained for at least half a day as they look for the curvature.

Abbey Park – The river Soar crosses this park and breaks over a weir by a stone bridge surrounded by weeping willows. There are ruins of monasteries, a coffeeshop, pets corner, playground and giant cricket field that locals often come to enjoy.

King Power Stadium – Home to Leicester City Football Club, a major Premier League team that won the domestic title back in the 2015-16 season. It is possible to book stadium tours and match tickets on the official website.

Grace Road – Leicestershire County Cricket Club play their home matches at this small but charming stadium. I enjoy nothing more than watching an exciting T20 match here on a fine summer’s evening.

Leicester Tiger’s Stadium – The rugby team was most successful in the 1990s, when they reigned supreme most years. After the game became professional, their dominance began to recede. However, you can experience the genteel atmosphere of a game here outside the summer months.

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