Balikesir, Turkey, province of Balikesir
On 2 November 2006, Schwäbisch Hall became one of about 50 German towns that are twinned with a Turkish municipality. Mayor Hermann-Josef Pelgrim and a delegation of 18 travelled to Balikesir to join its mayor Sabri Ugur signing the twinning charter.
The twinning charter was then countersigned by the two mayors, Sabri Ugur from Balikesir and Hermann-Josef Pelgrim from Schwäbisch Hall, during the Cake and Source Festival of Hall's salters on 26 May 2007 when a large delegation from Balikesir was present.
The town of Balikesir has 300 000 inhabitants and is located in the equally named province of Balikesir, between the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Sea resp. between the cities of Istanbul and Izmir. The province has a surface area of about 14 500 km² and 1.5 million inhabitants, ranking in size among the top 20 of Turkey's 81 provinces.
Rewarding attractions are, among others, the Yildirim Mosque built in the mid-14th century, the mosque of Zaguos pasha and its bath house as well as the clock tower, built in 1827 by Mehmet pasha that was inspired by the Genoese Galata tower in Istanbul.
Balikesir is favourably located, offering many options for excursions, p. e. to Izmir, the Aegean coast or the nearby bird reservation.
The city of Balikesir was a major factor in the foundation of the Ottoman state and of the Turkish republic.
Balikesir is of old the centre of a predominantly agricultural region, featuring milk production and vegetable growing. Many industrial companies from other major cities are relocating into this region, though. The province of Balikesir generates 70 percent of Turkey's supply in olive oil.
Balikesir has a university with 7 faculties and approx. 25 000 students.
Meetings of young people, schools, associations, churches, management, law, the fire brigade, police etc. are taken very importantly.