Christchurch in Canterbury, New Zealand and Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain
Santiago de Compostela: population of approx. 100,000, (excluding a student population of nearly 40,000) the capital city of Galicia in north west Spain and located 600 km from Madrid (the Spanish capital) and forever linked to New Zealand’s second biggest city, Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island by their antipodean connection to each other. They are because of that fact «sister cities».
Map courtesy of Geographx www.geographx.co.nz
How is this so?
In the 19th & 20th centuries “the Antipodes” specifically meant in the English context the furthest colonies and settlements you could have from England, “the mother country”. Christchurch’s name is very English whilst indicating its religious and educational antecedents.
Definition of “Antipodes”: a plural noun, defined as points diametrically opposite to each other on the earth. In other words: the furthest point you can physically go, whilst still remaining on the same planet (Earth).
Seven (7) kilometres from Arthur’s Pass, in Canterbury is the actual and precise mathematical/geographical antipodean point to Santiago de Compostela (confirmed by Geographx, Wellington www.geographx.co.nz). Christchurch (approximately 150 kilometres from Arthur’s Pass) is geographically linked forever to Santiago de Compostela.
Christchurch’s genesis is similar to Santiago de Compostela’s rise from the 9th century because of their heavily laden religious connotations and connections. Both cities are separated by 1,000 years.
On the other hand, Christchurch and Santiago de Compostela by their geographical locations have been linked since time immemorial. And, an amazing 20,000 kilometres in distance separates Christchurch from Santiago de Compostela.
Furthermore, because of their respective educational institutions and longstanding traditions, these two cities are also very dynamic and vibrant places attracting students from around the world.
An association of English settlers established the city of Christchurch in 1848. One of these English settlers, a certain John Robert Godley, having attended Oxford University at Christ Church, suggested the name “Christ Church”. Oxford University’s largest College and the Cathedral Church for the Anglican Diocese of Oxford (UK) was founded in 1524. In 1504, Pope Julius II approved the foundation of a university in Santiago de Compostela but "the bull for its creation was not granted by Clement VII until 1526” (Encyclopaedia Britannica: A New Survey of Universal Knowledge, 1956. Article Universities) and therefore overlapping the establishment of Christ Church in Oxford.
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