Philadelphia is the Nation's First World Heritage City

After being granted the status of an Observer Member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities ( in 2013, the City of Philadelphia has become the Nation's First World Heritage City in the United States in 2015, formally receiving the designation this evening through a vote taken by the XIII World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in Arequipa, Peru.

The designation comes as the result of a two-year campaign and is expected to enhance the City’s international stature and provide a new growth engine to drive tourism and commerce in the region.


Click here for the Strategic Plan




Click here for the Chinese subtitles or here for the Spanish subtitles.

The Philadelphia World Heritage City film, a 28-minute documentary directed by the renowned Filmmaker, Sam Katz, and narrated by Dr. David Brownlee, Professor of 19th Century European Art, at the University of Pennsylvania, was created to commemorate the historic designation of Philadelphia as the First World Heritage City in the United States, by the Organization of World Heritage Cities.

Sam Katz’ film offers an exceptional glimpse into the formation and development Philadelphia, illustrating the city’s leadership role in the fields of art, transportation, urban planning, medicine and more.

The film spans centuries, touching upon the formation of some of Philadelphia’s unique neighborhoods and how far Philadelphia has come from the idealistic plan envisioned by William Penn in the 17th century.

Now, with a World Heritage City designation, Philadelphia should fully embrace its rich heritage as Dr. Brownlee so eloquently reminds viewers.



The star at the right of the tower represents what we, as Philadelphians, aspire to for the next generations.
The lines to the left of the tower, represent the "ideas" that propel us as a city, and the "place" that put us on the map.
Independence Hall symbolizes the modern democracy and popular sovereignty we can all be proud of!







Become a member of the Society by contributing to the Global Philadelphia Association: click here!


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Jill Horner speaks with Zabeth Teelucksingh, Executive Director of Global Philadelphia Association, about Philadelphia becoming a World Heritage City.   

All the latest info, press release and news coverage here...



We would like to thank our founding members. 

Click here for more information to become a World Heritage Society Member.


We also thank our Founding Corporate Sponsors



Historically, Philadelphia was the home of the founding concepts of religious tolerance and liberty; groundbreaking developments in urban planning; the search for political freedom and the creation of a nation based on the principles of democracy and human rights; and contributions to medicine through three centuries - to name only a few criteria of world heritage that might be emphasized in a proposal for UNESCO World Heritage City designation.

These themes and others are embodied in an extraordinary inventory of historic structures that are already being preserved and are worthy of world-wide celebration.

Observer Membership with the Organization of World Heritage Cities based on the City's current credentials, and subsequently under the UNESCO standards, would have major benefits for Philadelphia's renown as an international city. 


Click here to see the large format full-color map which features the World Heritage sites.
Click here for an interactive map.