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.




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!





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.
June 27, 2016









Thank you William Harvey and Cultures in Harmony for this fabulous video and for including Philadelphia World Heritage City Project.‪  #‎Americancultureis‬




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Jill Horner speaks with Zabeth Teelucksingh, Executive Director of Global Philadelphia Association, about Philadelphia becoming a World Heritage City.   
July 1, 2016


We would like to thank our funding members. Click here for more information.

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. 


World Heritage Brochure    

Read here the introduction about Philadelphia on the Organization of World Heritage Cities website. Text written byDr D. Brownlee, Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor, Chair of the Graduate Group in the History of Art, UPenn.

For further information, please contact John F. Smith III at [email protected], (215) 241 - 7921, or Zabeth Teelucksingh at [email protected], (215) 851 - 8112.

Did you know? All the facts about Philadelphia as a World Heritage City candidate! Download our proposal


You will find here Alan Greenberger's presentation in Arequipa, Peru, leading to the World Heritage City's designation of Philadelphia



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