Kayseri, formerly known as Caesarea in Cappadocia, is located in the center of Turkey 770 km from Istanbul and 300 km from Ankara in the Central Anatolia region. This gateway to Cappadocia, dominated by Mount Erciyes (3916 m), is a major economic and industrial hub, the 4th biggest in Turkey, with some one thousand plants in operation here. It underwent rapid urbanization starting in the 1950s, and now has close to one million inhabitants.
Cooperation rooted in the territory
A cooperation agreement was signed by both cities in 2010. The large number of Strasbourg residents originating from Kayseri has given a special meaning to this partnership between two cities linked by fortuitous migration.
Heritage and urban development
Architectural heritage and urban development are at the core of the exchanges between the two cities and this can be seen in particular in the links between ENSAS, the Strasbourg National School of Architecture and the Erciyes University Faculty of Architecture in Kayseri.
The cities played facilitating roles (contacts, technical and financial support), in line with Strasbourg’s desire to get the people involved in exchanges and in particular students.
Specifically, urban planning and architecture workshops in Kayseri and Strasbourg enabled students and teachers (some 20 per city and session) to reflect together on iconic sites, compare their approaches and enrich the work and reflections of the authorities in both cities by taking a step back and a fresh look at development projects under way.
In Kayseri, the workshop focused in particular on the renovation of the historic Germir quarter, formerly a city of 6,000 inhabitants (1,200 freestone houses) where the three Turkish, Armenian and Greek communities lived side by side.
The construction of a tram line in Kayseri in 2009 and the recent project to develop the city transit network are all the results of broader reflections on public transport and its integration into the urban environment, with Strasbourg giving Kayseri the benefit of its own experience in this area.
Presidency of the CUF Turkey country-group
In addition to Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries presiding the CUF (United Cities France) organization, Strasbourg has also taken over the presidency of the Turkey country-group, an asset to Strasbourg in terms of the visibility of its partnership with this country.