Twin cities are a special case of two cities or urban centres that are founded in close geographic proximity and then grow into each other over time, losing most of their mutual buffer zone. The term Twin Cities in the United States refers specifically to the cities Minneapolis and Saint Paul which are in the midwestern state of Minnesota.

Cities twinned by proximity do not necessarily match demographically, economically, or politically.

In most cases, cities that grow into each other's space lose their individual identities, and the border or barrier that still separates them becomes almost irrelevant. An 1873 case of twin cities becoming united cities is Budapest in Hungary, which began as two settlements (Buda and Pest) facing each other across the Danube at a strategic fording place along a trade route. However, there are twin cities which have been able to resist this final union and have maintained individual identity against increased inter-city transport and typically converging economies and demographics.

Like any metropolises, twin cities may share an airport into whose airport codes are integrated the component initials e.g. DFW (Dallas–Fort Worth), MSP (Minneapolis–St. Paul), and CAK Akron-Canton, Ohio.

In some cases, such as Albury/Wodonga in Australia, the two cities are permanently divided by a state border, often one that strictly adheres to a geographical landmark, such as the Murray River that divides New South Wales from Victoria, and thus Albury from Wodonga.


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).



  • Rabat and Salé, Morocco.
  • Fes and Meknes, Morocco
  • Cairo and Giza, Egypt
  • Harar and Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
  • Sekondi and Takoradi, Ghana





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

  • Tabatinga, Brazil and Leticia, Colombia
  • Chuí, Brazil and Chuy, Uruguay
  • Santana do Livramento, Brazil and Rivera, Uruguay
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and Niagara Falls, New York, United States
  • North Portal, Saskatchewan, Canada and Portal, North Dakota, United States
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, United States
  • Boquillas del Carmen, Coahuila, Mexico and Boquillas, Texas, United States
  • Naco, Sonora, Mexico and Naco, Arizona, United States
  • Nogales, Sonora, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona, United States
  • Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico and Laredo, Texas, United States
  • Nuevo Progreso, Río Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico and Progreso, Texas, United States
  • San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, Mexico and San Luis, Arizona, United States
  • Tecate, Baja California, Mexico and Tecate, California, United States
  • Calexico, California and Mexicali, Baja California — see Calexico–Mexicali


  • Lloydminster[n 22]
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario (formed by the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario in 1970)

Pairs with unrelated names[]



  • Dhaka and Gazipur, Bangladesh
  • Guangzhou and Foshan, People's Republic of China
  • Macau and Zhuhai, People's Republic of China
  • Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, India[1]
  • Allahabad and Naini, India[1]
  • Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, India[1]
  • Munger and Jamalpur,India[1]
  • Daman and Diu, India[1]
  • Delhi and Noida, India[1]
  • Durg and Bhilai, India[1]
  • Hubli and Dharwad, India[1]
  • Hyderabad and Secunderabad, India[1]
  • Kankroli and Rajsamand, India[1]
  • Kochi and Ernakulam, India[1][2]
  • Kolkata and Howrah, India[1]
  • Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, India[1]
  • Ranchi and Hatia, India[1]
  • Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai, India[1]
  • Seleucia and Ctesiphon, Iraq.[n 23]
  • Tel Aviv and Jaffa, Israel
  • Okayama and Kurashiki, Japan.[n 24]
  • Tsukuba and Tsuchiura, Japan. [n 25]
  • Nasushiobara and Otawara, Japan. [n 26]
  • Kamisu and Kashima, Japan. [n 27]
  • Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, Nepal
  • Bharatpur and Narayangarh, Nepal
  • Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Jhelum and Sarai Alamgir, Pakistan
  • Dipolog and Dapitan, Philippines
  • Taipei and New Taipei, Republic of China (Taiwan)
  • Dammam and Khobar, Saudi Arabia
  • Seoul and Incheon, South Korea
  • Bangkok and Nonthaburi, Thailand
  • Chiang Mai and Lamphun, Thailand
  • Songkhla and Hatyai, Thailand



  • Chirala-perala, India
  • Victoria and Kowloon, colonial Hong Kong- although, in both colonial Hong Kong and the Hong Kong SAR, Victoria is the only city recognized by law; they were widely considered to be separate cities until at least the end of World War II
  • Saigon and Cholon, merged into Saigon-Cholon, now Ho Chi Minh City.

Urban centres[]

  • Harihar and Davangere, Karnataka, India
  • Jalpaiguri City and Siliguri, West Bengal, India
  • Asansol and Durgapur, West Bengal, India
  • Shivamoga and Bhadravati, Karnataka, India
  • Surat and Navsari, Gujarat, India[n 28]



  • Aalborg and Nørresundby, Denmark
  • Brighton and Hove, England
  • Stockholm and Solna, Sweden
  • Chatham and Rochester, England[3]
  • Manchester and Salford, England
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead, England
  • Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
  • Póvoa de Varzim and Vila do Conde, Portugal
  • Ludwigshafen and Mannheim, Germany
  • Mainz and Wiesbaden, Germany
  • Ulm and Neu-Ulm, Germany
  • Buda and Pest, Hungary
  • Rotterdam and The Hague, The Netherlands
  • Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg, Norway
  • Porsgrunn and Skien, Norway
  • Sandnes and Stavanger, Norway
  • Bielsko and Biała, Poland
  • Novi Sad and Petrovaradin, Serbia
  • Zemun and New Belgrade, Serbia
  • Alcobendas and San Sebastian de los Reyes, Spain
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Spain
  • Elda and Petrer, Spain
  • Gothenburg and Mölndal, Sweden
  • Athens and Peiraeus, Greece


  • Bad Radkersburg, Austria and Gornja Radgona, Slovenia
  • Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden[n 29]
  • Valga, Estonia and Valka, Latvia
  • Tornio, Finland and Haparanda, Sweden
  • Görlitz, Germany and Zgorzelec, Poland
  • Gorizia, Italy and Nova Gorica, Slovenia
  • Těšín, Czech Republic and Cieszyn, Poland
  • Komárno, Slovakia and Komárom, Hungary



Fictional twin cities[]

  • Gotham City (the home of Batman) and Metropolis (the home of Superman) have sometimes been presented as twin cities, mainly in 1970s and 1980s stories by DC Comics. The two cities were shown as located on opposite sides of a large bay.[4][5]
  • Central City and Keystone City, from the current Flash comics, are shown as twin cities. Before the 1985-86 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths, Central and Keystone are presented as located in the same space but on different parallel Earths.[6]
  • Ankh-Morpork, from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, is referred to as "the twin cities of proud Ankh and pestilent Morpork"[7]
  • Duckburg and St. Canard were depicted in the cartoon Darkwing Duck as sister cities connected by a bridge, very similar to Oakland and San Francisco.
  • Springfield and Shelbyville from The Simpsons are usually presented as twin cities with an intense rivalry.[8]


Quad cities[]

  • In Iowa: Iowa City, Coralville, University Heights and North Liberty
  • In North Carolina, the Unifour: Hickory, Lenoir, Morganton and Alexander County
  • In Ontario, Canada: Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, and Guelph (often viewed as a tri-city area by grouping Kitchener-Waterloo as a single entity).
  • Quad Cities of Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline, Illinois. It also includes a fifth member, East Moline, Illinois.
  • The Florence-Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Area in Alabama is locally referred to as "the Quad Cities", with Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. Formerly, when Muscle Shoals was a mere village, this region was known a "Tri-Cities", Alabama. Actually, they are all incorporated as towns except for Florence.
  • The Quad Cities of Minnesota consist of Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, and Mountain Iron.
  • The cities of Pullman, Washington, Moscow, Idaho, Clarkston, Washington, and Lewiston, Idaho have marketed themselves as "Quad Cities."[10]
  • Pattaya-Chonburi Metropolitan Area consists of the City of Pattaya, Town of Chonburi, Portal town of Laem Chabang and Town of Sattahip on the west coast of Chonburi Province, Thailand

More than four cities[]

Examples of cities formed by amalgamation[]


  • 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.
  • Wuhan in China consists of the towns of Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang in Hubei Province.
  • Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, has been expanded to include smaller towns including Rawat in its territory.
  • Bangkok, the capital and largest city of Thailand, was created in 1971, when the previous Bangkok province (Phra Nakhon) was merged with Thonburi province.
  • Fukuoka in Japan, a city of 1.4 million people, formerly the twin cities of Hakata and Fukuoka until the late 19th century.
  • 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.
  • Kitakyushu in Japan, a city of 900 thousand 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.
  • 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).


  • London grew from its cores in the City of London and the City of Westminster to encompass many other towns and villages.
  • Budapest is the amalgamation of Buda, Pest and Óbuda.
  • Berlin (Berlin and Cölln), in Germany
  • Duisburg (Duisburg and Hamborn, 1929–1935 called Duisburg-Hamborn), in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • Wuppertal (Barmen and Elberfeld), in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • Zagreb grew from the twin towns of Gradec and Kaptol.
  • Belgrade now includes the formerly separate city of Zemun.
  • Greater Manchester took in the city of Salford.
  • Stoke-on-Trent was created in 1910 from the towns of Burslem, Hanley, Tunstall, Longton, Fenton and Stoke, taking its name from the latter. Neighboring Newcastle-under-Lyme remains a separate town.
  • Eindhoven merged with five neighbouring municipalities (Woensel, Tongelre, Stratum, Gestel en Blaarthem and Strijp) into the new Groot-Eindhoven ("Greater Eindhoven") in 1920. The prefix "Groot-" was later dropped.
  • Madrid evolved by absorption of other towns (like Tetuán de las Victorias, Vallecas, Chamartín de la Rosa or Aravaca)[11]

North America[]

  • Richmond (Richmond and Manchester) in central Virginia
  • Cleveland (Cleveland and Ohio City) in Ohio
  • Minneapolis. 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.
  • New York City (five boroughs, historically especially between Manhattan and Brooklyn)
  • 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.
  • What is now the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina was once two separate towns called Winston and Salem that were combined into one.
  • Ottawa, Ontario, was given its large area by the amalgamation in 2001 of the old City of Ottawa, the suburbs of Nepean, Kanata, Gloucester, Rockcliffe Park, Vanier and Cumberland, Orleans, and the rural townships of West Carleton, Osgoode, Rideau, and Goulbourn
  • Gatineau, Quebec, formed by the amalgamation of the old City of Gatineau, City of Hull, City of Aylmer, City of Buckingham and the Municipality of Masson-Angers all facing the City of Ottawa, Ontario from the north shore of the Ottawa River.
  • Toronto formed by an amalgamation of the Old Toronto with East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York, which were themselves products of earlier amalgamations.
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario (Fort William and Port Arthur).
  • Lloydminster, Canada, on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border, was formed as a single entity in 1903, when both future provinces were part of the Northwest Territories, but was divided into two separate entities in 1905 because the border between the newly created provinces bisected the community. In 1930, the two towns were reunited as a single town under the shared jurisdiction of both provinces, and Lloydminster was reincorporated as a single city in 1958.
  • Halifax and Dartmouth (Canada) were forcibly merged in 1996 along with Bedford and Halifax County to create the Halifax Regional Municipality.
  • Saguenay, Quebec (Chicoutimi, Jonquière, et al.)
  • Bellingham, Washington was formed from four cities, Fairhaven, Sehome, Bellingham and Whatcom.
  • 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.
  • Pittsburgh 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".
  • Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, officially founded in 1961 is actually composed of the old town of San Félix at the east and the new modern planned town of Puerto Ordaz at the west of Caroní river in Bolívar state.
  • 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.
  • Montreal, Quebec, was merged with the other 27 communities on the Island of Montreal by an act in the Quebec Parliament in 2002. Several communities later voted via referendum to de-merge and there are now a total of 15, leaving Montreal merged with the other 12.
  • Kingston, Ontario was amalgamated in 1998 with the neighboring Kingston and Pittsburgh Townships.
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba amalgamated with 12 surrounding municipalities and its metropolitan corporation in 1971 under what was referred to as unicity reforms in local government restructuring.
  • 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.
  • Helena-West Helena, Arkansas was formed in 2006 by the merger of the previous cities of Helena and West Helena.
  • Greater Sudbury, Ontario, was formed in 2001 by the amalgamation of the former Regional Municipality of Sudbury, comprising the municipalities of Sudbury, Nickel Centre, Valley East, Capreol, Rayside-Balfour, Onaping Falls and Walden, plus a number of previously unamalgamated townships. The amalgamation made it the most populous city in the Northern Ontario region.
  • Boston, Massachusetts is made up of the former towns of Boston, Dorchester, Brighton, Roxbury, Charlestown, and Hyde Park.
  • Port Alberni, British Columbia is was formed in 1967 when Alberni and Port Alberni, merged to become one city.

See also[]

  • Divided cities
  • United cities
  • Cross-border town naming
  • Megacity
  • Sister cities
  • List of metropolitan areas that overlap multiple countries
  • List of twin towns and sister cities
  • Global city
  • Ecumenopolis
  • Metropolis
  • Megalopolis


  1. ^ Main cities of Metropolitan Halifax, they are geographically separated by Halifax Harbour
  2. ^ form the National Capital Region, geopolitically separated by the Ottawa River.
  3. ^ Separated by the North Saskatchewan River. While the communities are commonly referred to by the collective "The Battlefords," they retain distinctive identities.
  4. ^ Buffered]] but having broader buffers to the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area
  5. ^ See Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
  6. ^ Champaign was originally known as West Urbana but it has since grown to surpass its neighbor. See Champaign-Urbana metropolitan area
  7. ^ twin cores of the Metroplex of northern Texas.
  8. ^ Nicknamed the Twin Ports, these form the world's largest freshwater port
  9. ^ largest two cities of the three-city Piedmont Triad area.
  10. ^ locally known as the Knowledge Corridor
  11. ^ nicknamed the Petroplex in a nod to the DFW region's nickname, as well as its strong reliance on the oil industry.
  12. ^ also known as the Twin Cities
  13. ^ The principal cities of the Antelope Valley and High Desert in California.
  14. ^ share the Portland International Jetport (buildings/terminal in one city, runways in the other) and the Port of Portland and retain separate identities.
  15. ^ two anchor cities of the three-city Research Triangle area.
  16. ^ One perhaps more suburban, see Greater Richmond Region
  17. ^ the two principal urban cores of the San Francisco Bay area.
  18. ^ connected by the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge over the San Francisco Bay
  19. ^ the core cities of the Wyoming Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania.
  20. ^ Main cities of the Tampa Bay Area
  21. ^ 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
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Formed historic Al-Mada'in.
  24. ^ Kurashiki is somewhat more of a suburb
  25. ^ Co-centers of a shared major metropolitan area.
  26. ^ Co-centers of a shared micropolitan area.
  27. ^ Co-centers of a shared micropolitan area.
  28. ^ formal merger set for 2015.
  29. ^ Co-centers of the Öresund Region, divided by the narrow Øresund strait.
  30. ^ the principal cities of the San Francisco Bay area.


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ Weather story from 2006 The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 2006-12-31
  3. ^ "It's a wise man who knows where Chatham ends and Rochester begins." Charles Dickens
  4. ^ New Adventures of Superboy #22, October 1981
  5. ^ World's Finest Comics #259, October–November 1979
  6. ^ The Flash (volume 1) #123, September 1961
  7. ^ See eg. the intoduction of The Hogfather q:Terry Pratchett's Hogfather
  8. ^ Lemon of Troy, season 6, The Simpsons
  9. ^ "Tricity residents to get Emaar MGF’s Central Plaza soon". The Financial Express. Jan 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Quad Cities too generic a name for ID, WA cities". The Seattle Times. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  11. ^

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