AN HISTORIC agreement has been signed in China by The Lord Mayor of York.

Cllr Dave Taylor recently returned from the city of Nanjing after visiting four cities and speaking at two conferences about protecting heritage and tourism.

The Lord Mayor gave a presentation about the city at the World Historical and Cultural Cities Expo, and Mayor of Nanjing, Miao Ruilin, agreed to work with him by signing a Memorandum of Understanding.

This will focus on building links in tourism, education, science, technology and culture.

The Lord Mayor follows in the footsteps of Cllr John Galvin and Cllr Keith Hyman who also visited China when they were Lord Mayor in recent years, to further existing ties and seek out new connections.

Cllr Taylor said: “It felt like a very fruitful visit, to form a Sister City relationship with Nanjing, and to see great possibilities in exchanges between our museums, learning opportunities for our hospitals, and the growth of two-way tourism.

“We even witnessed a light-show on the city walls akin to Illuminating York and an incredible fashion show as part of the opening ceremony to the conference.

“Doors are opening in China and we have the chance to walk through them to do business.”

The Lord Mayor was able to use his experience as a marketing director of York’s Inward Investment Board, and was the only representative to promote his city with a presentation of images with captions in Chinese and two videos, one of which was in Chinese.

He added: “I’m indebted to Ollie Bostock, of Hewitt and Walker, for the videos of York, which went down so well, and to Will Zhuang for translation and advice.”

York may be dwarfed by the seven million population of Nanjing, but there are some similarities: both are ancient cities with great historical power.

Nanjing was a former capital of China, while York was once the capital of the North of England.

York’s city walls are the best preserved in England, while Nanjing boasts the best preserved ancient city walls in the world.

The Lord Mayor also visited Suzhou, known as the Venice Of The East for its canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and classical gardens.

The University of York already has a strong research collaboration with Nanjing in Spintronics - an area of nanotechnology.

It is hoped the visit will build upon that to establish stronger business and tourism connections.