Philadelphia is the Nation's First World Heritage City

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. 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.

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.

Seizing Opportunities as the First World Heritage City in the Nation

  1. To promote preservation and appreciation of our geographical, historical and cultural heritage through the World Heritage City designation and continued education.
  2. To provide a powerful economic and cultural stimulus to the region.
  3. To inspire citizens and residents to feel pride in their World Heritage City.

> Learn more about the Strategic Plan for Philadelphia

> Read about the World Heritage City Project

> Discover Philadelphia's National Historic Landmarks


What does it mean to be a World Heritage City? - Jill Horner (Comcast Creative) speaks with Zabeth Teelucksingh, Executive Director of Global Philadelphia Association, about Philadelphia becoming a World Heritage City:


Philadelphia World Heritage City Seal

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! Download the seal and the usage guidelines here.


PHL World Heritage City - The Film!

The Philadelphia World Heritage City film is a 28-minute documentary written and narrated by University of Pennsylvania Professor of History of Art, David B. Brownlee, Ph.D., FSAH, and produced and directed by filmmaker Sam Katz.

Created to commemorate the historic designation of Philadelphia as the First World Heritage City in the United States, the film offers an exceptional glimpse into the formation and development of 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 by the Organization of World Heritage Cities, Philadelphia should fully embrace its rich heritage as Dr. Brownlee so eloquently reminds viewers.

Click here for the movie with Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, French, or Hebrew subtitles.


GPA's World Heritage Education and Community initiatives:

World Heritage Day 2017 at Tilden Middle School:


World Heritage City Commitees

Discover who is working on this project in our city.

Do you want to be a part of this and support our work?

Join the World Heritage Society! Click here to learn more.

Stay tuned!

> Philadelphia, our Nation's First World Heritage City, in the news

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Thank you to our Founding Members

Thank you to our Founding Corporate Sponsors

Click here to discover other World Heritage Sites around the world!