Photos from the late 1960s – deep in Russia’s Soviet era – have been unearthed which show the links between Durham and the Russian city of Kostroma.

On 5th July 1968, Durham Council signed a charter of friendship with Kostroma, which is located about 250 miles north east of Moscow.

Throughout the last fifty years, hundreds of Durham residents – including teachers and members of folk and theatre groups – have visited Kostroma to learn more about its culture and way of life.

Youngsters have taken part in exchange projects, with many young people from Durham visiting Kostroma and in turn welcoming Russian young people to their city.

Kostroma is also twinned with Durham, North Carolina, USA. Later in July, youngsters from both Durhams will get together with their Russian counterparts for a programme of outdoor activities in America.

A selection of photographs – showing the first official visit of a delegation from Kostroma to Durham – are currently on display on Durham County Council’s Facebook page.

The council are also encouraging locals to dig out any photos they have of trips to Kostroma, or of visits made by people from Kostroma to Durham, so they can be included in the collection.

Durham County Council’s cabinet member for tourism, culture, leisure and rural issues, Cllr Ossie Johnson, said, “Since the charter was signed back in 1968, several thousand young people and adults have gained a real insight into life in Russia and I was lucky enough to take part in a visit myself during the Soviet era.”

“We are keen to hear from anyone else who has fond memories of their time there and are confident that the next generation will continue to benefit from our strong relationship with the people of Kostroma.”

The album of photos can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/pg/durhamcouncil/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1802648676467000.

If you have any images you would like to add to the collection, please email them to international@durham.gov.uk.

(The featured image shows the chairman of Durham Council Alderman Middlewood welcoming a delegation from Kostroma to County Hall in 1969.)

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