Asheville’s sister city: Dunkeld-Birnam, Scotland

DB, Scotland

Dunkeld-Birnam, Scotland | @rikkiwsalmond

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Good morning, Asheville. 👋 Or should we say “Guid mornin”?

Here’s a pop quiz – what do Asheville + Dunkeld-Birnam, Scotland have in common? They might seem completely unrelated, but they’re actually sister cities.

What’s a sister city? According to Sister Cities International, “A sister city, county, or state relationship is a broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries. A relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected or appointed official from both communities sign off on an agreement to become sister cities.”

Why have sister cities? The idea is to cultivate international relationships while having the opportunity to explore different cultures and also stimulate economic development.

Cool, so why is Dunkeld-Birnam our sister city? Dunkeld-Birnam became one of our sister cities in August 2017. Asheville sister cities representative Rick Lutovsky cited the following reasons for the development of a sister city relationship with Dunkeld-Birnam:

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 The considerable Scottish ancestral roots throughout the Southern Appalachians

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Parallel economic characteristics such as art, music, recreation and tourism

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 The striking physical beauty of our settings

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 A strong sense of community

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 An abiding love of nature + commitment to stewardship of surrounding physical environment

Dunkeld-Birnam are actually two towns, Dunkeld + Birnam, located north of Perth and any Ashevillian visiting Dunkeld-Birnam can find something to love about the towns. They have an impressive music scene – their Perthshire Amber and Niel Gow Scottish Fiddle festivals bring in visitors from all over the world.

Dunkeld was also once the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, so history lovers can head to Dunkeld Cathedral to check out the musket holes still visible from the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689.

For literature lovers, you’ll find Birnam Wood, a 900 year old oak tree, in Birnam + you may have heard of it before. The famous tree is mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. But that isn’t the only time Dunkeld-Birnam has had literary impacts. Beatrix Potter spent many summers in the village + you can find her inspirations in Peter Rabbit.

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Dunkeld-Birnam, Scotland | Screenshot

We are really excited to have Dunkeld-Birnam as a sister city, but we actually have more than one sister city. In fact – Vladikavkaz, Russia; San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico; Saumur, France; Karpenisi, Greece; Valladolid, Mexico; and Osogbo, Nigeria are Asheville’s six other sister cities.


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