Taiyuan, China became an official sister city to Nashville in April 2007. It is the capital city of Shanxi Province. Shanxi and Taiyuan have been strategically important to China since ancient times, both for location and mineral resources. Shanxi lies near the Yellow River, where China’s civilization began, and Taiyuan was China’s northern and western outpost. Shanxi continues to be a major producer of coal in China, and has developed heavy industry (notably iron and steel). Taiyuan has a dozen universities, some of which specialize in educating engineers. Although considered a small city by Chinese standards, Taiyuan has a population of 3.4 million. The partnership between Nashville and Taiyuan builds on a longstanding regional partnership established between Tennessee and Shanxi Province in the 1980s.
Barbara Cobb (email)
Tracy Kane (email)
Taiyuan, the capital city of Shanxi Province in northern China, became an official sister city to Nashville in April 2007. There was already a connection between the state of Tennessee and Shanxi Province: the governors signed a Friendly Relations Agreement in December 1986, and visits had been exchanged. This connection, plus the presence in Nashville of interested citizens with family and business ties to Taiyuan, made Taiyuan a natural choice as Nashville’s Chinese sister city.
Late in 2005, a group of Nashville people coalesced around the goal of twinning Nashville and Taiyuan as sister cities, and the SCN Taiyuan Committee was formed. With help from Chinese Embassy staff involved with sister-city relations in China, Nashville contacted Taiyuan city officials and found a mutual interest there.
Early in 2006, in recognition of the growth and importance of trade between Tennessee and China (China had become Tennessee’s third largest trading partner), Nashville received two consular visitors– the Deputy Minister of the Chinese Embassy met with Nashville’s Mayor in February, and the Chinese Ambassador met with Tennessee’s Governor in March. Although not directly related to sister city relations, the visits spurred interest and activity.
In 2006, Sister Cities of Nashville received two delegations. In August, the Shanxi provincial government delegation that was in Nashville for a conference participated in tours and meetings arranged by SCN. In October, a Taiyuan city government delegation, led by Taiyuan’s Vice Mayor, came to Nashville at the invitation of Nashville’s Mayor; while in Nashville, both parties signed the Declaration of Intent to become sister cities.
The final document establishing Taiyuan and Nashville as sister cities was signed by both mayors in Taiyuan in April 2007, when Nashville’s Mayor led a large business delegation to China. Also present for the ceremony were SCN’s President and Taiyuan Committee co-chairs. Since then, delegations have visited in alternate years.
In 2010, an email pen pal program was established between 33 students at Martin Luther King high school and 36 students at Taiyuan Affiliated high school. In 2013, we launched a reciprocal high school exchange between Nashville students and those at Yuying High School in Taiyuan that continues today.
City population: 3,500,000
Area: 2,687 square miles
Country population: 1,357,000,000
Mayor: Geng Yanbo
Liu Lane South Road
Mengshan Mountain Buddha
Taiyuan Coal Museum
Taiyuan Children's Park
Taiyuan Twin Tower
Taiyuan West Mountain Ecological Garden
Twin Pagoda Temple (Shuangta si)
Two Dragon Mountain
Yuci Ancient City
For details & photos of Shanxi sites, see:
Datong – Yungang Buddhist sculpture caves
Datong – Hanging Temple
Taiyuan – Jinci Temple