On the new (still-unnamed) plaza next to City Hall Monday, Mayor David Condon announced Spokane’s newest sister city.
San Luis Potosi is a city (in a state by the same name) in central Mexico, which Condon says was chosen after the local Sister Cities Association wanted to pursue a partnership with a Mexican city and San Luis Potosi was included on a “website of Mexico cities that are looking for partnerships in the United States.”
Condon says he looked for cities with similar industries and higher education opportunities. Spokane’s other sister cities are Jilin City, China; Nishinomiya, Japan; Limerick, Ireland; and Jecheon, Korea.
Condon plans to visit San Luis Potosi this weekend to sign the official agreement. In the meantime, he admitted, he’ll practice his the pronunciation of the city’s name, which he stumbled over at the announcement. Let’s all learn together:
Here are some looks at the city from Google street view.
While San Luis Potosi is generally described as a safe city, the area is not without its risks.
“Defer non-essential travel to the state of San Luis Potosi, except the city of San Luis Potosi, where you should exercise caution,” reads a recent Mexico Travel Warning from the U.S. State Department. “Violence and criminal activity along highways are continuing security concerns. U.S. government personnel may not travel outside the City of San Luis Potosi and must abide by a curfew of 1 am to 6 am within a secured venue.”
Lonely Planet describes San Luis Potosi this way: “The city's colonial core is made up of numerous beautiful plazas and manicured parks that are linked by attractive pedestrian streets. Although not as striking as Zacatecas or Guanajuato, this lively city's cultural elegance is reflected in its delightful colonial buildings, impressive theater and numerous excellent museums.”
And here’s a bit of history from the Mexico Tourism Board:
The city of San Luis Potosi owes its early importance to the discovery of a large silver and gold deposit in 1592. Though its mines never rivaled those of Guanajuato or Zacatecas, the city became an important administrative and commercial outpost. In the 17th century it assumed the role of Mexico’s most important northern city, whose domain once stretched from Louisiana to New Mexico. It is a metropolis that combines its mining past with the magical touch of beautiful buildings from Mexico's colonial past. In 2010, the historic center of the city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site within El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (the Royal Road of the Interior Land) National Historic Trail.
It is one of Mexico’s most picturesque towns, whose central historic center features tiered esplanades, several handsome plazas, flower-filled parks, and an active cultural scene. Following independence, the city played important roles in various political upheavals. General Santa Ana trained his troops here before confronting the invading Texans at the Alamo in 1846. In the 1860s, ousted president Benito Juarez twice established the city as Mexico’s provisional capital. In the 20th century, San Luis was instrumental in Mexico’s 1910 revolt against an aging dictatorship. One of its principal leaders, Francisco Madero, was jailed here in 1910 before fleeing to San Antonio, Texas and issuing the Plan de San Luis Potosi. This document declared invalid the election results, and called on Mexicans to revolt on November 20, the day Mexico’s bloody civil war erupted.
The mayor also announced the start of a new series of cultural celebrations. The first will be “Fiesta Spokane,” a month of events starting Sept. 2 to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Over the following months, the city will hold similar events focused on Native American, African American and Asian American cultures. Learn more about Fiesta Spokane here.