Officials from St. Petersburg and Spain gathered from January 10 - 14, 2011, to cut the ribbon on the new Salvador Dali Museum, and to welcome a new official "Twin City" relationship between the City of St. Petersburg and Figueres, Spain - birthplace and final resting place for artist Salvador Dali.
At the Thursday, January 13, 2011, meeting of St. Petersburg City Council, Mayor Bill Foster, joined by Vice Mayor Francesc Canet, Richard Elelman, Deputy Mayor and City Councillor of Culture and the Environment and Joan Antoni Bertran, City Councillor of International Relations from Figueres, Spain, to sign the City Twinning Agreement, creating an official bond between the two cities that share in common the world's leading museums which house Dali's works.
Figueres joins two other world cities that share an official bond with St. Petersburg. In 2011, the city's Sister City relationship with Takamatsu, Japan, celebrated its 50th anniversary, which was commemorated with a visit from Takamatsu Mayor Hideto Onishi and other dignitaries in October 2011. Also, St. Petersburg signed a Cooperation Agreement with its namesake of St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2003 as part of our 100th anniversary as an incorporated city, and St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary. These inter-city relationships are fostered by the city's International Relations Committee.
Figueres, located in Spain's Catalonia region on the northeast border of Spain and France, is a city of nearly 45,000 residents. A city of monuments, medieval walls, and the formidable St. Ferran Castle, Figueres is most known as the birthplace and home of Salvador Dali and the Dali Theatre-Museum. Designed by Dali himself, the museum was built on the ruins of the old municipal theater where Dali opened one of his first exhibitions. In addition to Dali's paintings, the museum houses sculptures, mechanical devices, furniture and even Dali's remains, who is buried in a crypt in the museum's basement.
Officials from the two cities have resolved through the Twin City Agreement "to deepen and consolidate the ties of friendship, mutual respect and cordial understanding between the cities and their respective countries and in favor of world solidarity, and to promote cooperation for cultural, social, sports, educational and economic development."
The delegation from Figueres arrived on the evening of Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, and included Vice Mayor Francesc Canet, Richard Elelman, Deputy Mayor and City Councillor of Culture and the Environment and Joan Antoni Bertran, City Councillor of International Relations. In addition to attending various opening festivities for the Dali Museum, the group also met with city and county leaders, visited St. Petersburg College, attended receptions and toured the Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center and the Museum of Fine Arts. After a week of activities in St. Petersburg, the delegation returned to Spain on Friday morning, January 14.