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San Marcos, Nicaragua

Origin of the partnership

There has been a partnership between Jena and San Marcos in the department of Carazo in Nicaragua (Central America) since 1998. The town twinning is coordinated in San Marcos by the town twinning association APRODIM (Association for the Integral Development of Municipalities) and in Jena by Eine-Welt-Haus e. V. (One World House).

Other European twin towns of San Marcos are Biel (Switzerland) and Helmond (Holland).

Geography and society

San Marcos is a medium-sized Nicaraguan city with 32,000 inhabitants, 13,000 of whom live in the city center and 19,000 in the rural zone. With a territorial area of 108 km² (Jena: 114.2 km²), the population density is 279 inhabitants/km² (Jena: 874/km²).

The city lies at an altitude of 550 m above sea level and has a temperate subtropical climate with average annual temperatures between 24 and 30ºC.

It has been a city since 1905.

There is a health center in the city center of San Marcos, where seven doctors and two dentists offer free outpatient diagnostics, although medicines must be paid for. There are also ten private medical practices. The health center is also responsible for organizing vaccination campaigns, vermin control, general hygiene in the town, supervision of schools, etc.

The nearest hospital is in Jinotepe, 5 km away. There are health posts in four villages in the rural area of San Marcos where the population can find medical care on weekdays. In the villages of Dulce nombre and San Pedro de los Molina, there has been a Mutual Aid Health Insurance Fund (Mutua) for two years.

Education and culture

The municipality of San Marcos has 44 schools at pre-school, primary and secondary level, spread across the town center and the rural area. Some of these schools have a partnership with educational institutions in Jena.

There is also a municipal grammar school and a special school for disabled children and young people. Both institutions are supported by Jena: more than 160 primary and secondary school pupils, apprentices and students receive financial help from Jena sponsors and the One World House contributes to the renovation of the building of the school for the disabled.

Preschool children are also cared for in the CDI (Center for Child Development).

Day care and child feeding facilities are also available in the rural area.

San Marcos has been a university town for a number of years: Keiser University, which was founded as the Latin American campus of the US University of Mobile, is located here.


Like Nicaragua in general, the municipality is characterized by agriculture. Due to the stable climate in the Carazo plateau, the region is ideal for growing coffee. Coffee is produced partly by private cafetaleros and partly by cooperatives, an increasing number of which have switched to organic production in recent years.

The "town twinning coffee", which bears the name "San Jena", is also produced without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The coffee beans are prepared for export in a local processing plant.

Other agricultural products include citrus fruits and staple foods such as beans, maize and millet. In addition to crops, many farmers have a few pigs, chickens or a cow whose meat is sold on the local market.

Larger industrial settlements are limited to so-called free trade zones, where mainly cheap textiles are produced for export. Like many other towns in the department, San Marcos is known for its numerous small craft businesses that produce furniture, utensils and artistic products. There are also several master craftsmen's workshops where you can have shoes or clothing tailored to your body.

Nicaragua's relations with Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany is represented in Nicaragua by the German Embassy and the bilateral Chamber of Foreign Trade. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Association for International Cooperation are also on site. In addition to the city partnership between Jena and San Marcos, there are 29 other collaborations between German and Nicaraguan cities.

Since the 19th century, around a thousand German immigrants have settled in Nicaragua and, conversely, several hundred Nicaraguans live in Germany today.

The South American country is also becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Around 18,000 visitors come from Germany every year to get to know the country and its people better.

Germany supports the country with numerous programs, particularly in the area of water, which aim to promote the sustainable use of national water resources and ensure better access to drinking water for the population.

In 2017, the German school in Managua celebrated its 50th anniversary. It has already been awarded the "Excellent German School Abroad" seal of approval twice and offers graduates the opportunity to study in Germany.

Project selection

As mentioned above, there are many educational partnerships between institutions in San Marcos and the city on the Saale. One example of this is the cooperation between the specialist service for youth and education and the Eine-Welt-Haus e. V. in Jena on the one hand and the Samuel Calero kindergarten and the Aprodim association in San Marcos on the other.

The project, which is designed as a long-term partnership, has been running since 01.04.2015 and is expected to end on 31.03.2020. 20 children from the Samuel Calero kindergarten will have their kindergarten fees paid and grants will be awarded for materials required for educational work in San Marcos and Jena. The Anne Frank daycare center and the Munketal Montessori daycare center maintain regular educational and cultural exchanges with the Samuel Calero kindergarten. The Eine-Welt-Haus Jena e. V. publishes current reports on the projects.


Twin town San Marcos - Contact details

City of San Marcos
Mayor Julinda Tellez
Alcalde Municipal
San Marcos, Carazo

APRODIM San Marcos
Tel. 00505 2535-3309 Oficina
Tel. 00505 8252-4926 Móvil