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Twins so hard to tell apart ... PHOTOS: Exhibition marks Coventry's 60-year link with Russian city.

Byline: By Barbara Goulden

AN EXHIBITION celebrating a 60-year link between Coventry and what is now the Russian city of Volgograd has opened at the city's Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

Video films and architectural photographs of both cities are on display at the museum, in Jordan Well, city centre, until November 14.

And organiser Derek Nisbet says that at first glance it can be a "guessing game" about which city is which. It was back in 1944 that Coventry became the first city to officially twin with another.

In those days Volgograd was called Stalingrad and both places had suffered huge destruction as a result of the Second World War, which was not to end until the following year.

The exhibition officially opened on Monday and among the first to visit it was keen amateur photographer Andy McGeechan, who lives in Pioneer House, Hillfields, Coventry.

Mr McGeechan, aged 44, said: "I like the colour in the street scenes and the fact that there are no people on these pictures.

"They are not staged and apart from the reflection of an old Russian church in a glass-fronted office building, they could have been taken anywhere."

Mr Nisbet, whose Talking Birds art and drama group was sponsored by Coventry City Council to organise the display and video clips, said: "The photographs in the exhibition are presentday scenes taken by Alan Van Wijgerden, who has lived in Coventry for the past 45 years, and Leonid Toprover, who was born in Volgograd.

"Without the index it can be hard to tell which is which."

Mr Van Wijgerden, who was born in Britain and lives in Spon End, Coventry, explained: "The idea was to make Coventry look like a foreign town to its inhabitants - from the decay of the London Road cemetery, which is surely a gothic paradise, to the glistening glass windows of modern skyscrapers like Friars House."

CAPTION(S):

TC311006_1 GUESSING GAME ... Visitor Andy McGeechan has to look closely to decide which pictures belong to which city. Picture: Ted Cottrell
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 2, 2006
Words:339
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