This past November, Philadelphia received some big news that would make our Founding Fathers quite proud – it was named a UNESCO World Heritage City. This exclusive award isn’t handed out to just any location. To be considered, a city has to meet several strict qualifications. It’s a pretty remarkable feat for Philadelphia, especially since it is the first city in the United States to receive this award.So, who decided this?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is the driving force behind these awards. Their goal is to encourage international cooperation in the conservation of the world’s cultural and natural heritage, and recognize their remarkable history. These cities, which they select as World Heritage Cities, are meant to be preserved and recognized for their important contributions.
What did Philly do to get this title?
Philadelphia was considered UNESCO-worthy because of its association with historical documents that have influenced democracy and lawmaking around the world – think the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. These two historical signings occurred in the city’s Independence Hall, which is already recognized as a World Heritage Site. Philadelphia also had to meet one of ten meticulous qualifications which range from excelling in architecture and technology to being able to represent “a masterpiece of human creative genius.”
What does this mean for Philly?
Along with this title come a few perks. A Global Philadelphia Association study shows that they could see a 10% increase in foreign tourism, and more tourists means more revenue. This can be huge in helping preserve important historical sites that contribute to Philadelphia’s heritage. Secondly, Philadelphia is now part of a network of the 266 other World Heritage Cities that work together in many business and educational aspects. The city plans to network with these other cities to promote educational exchange programs and joint research projects.
Where can I find other World Heritage Cities?
Italy and Spain boast the most cities recognized, with nearly two dozen National Heritage Cities in both of these countries! France, Mexico and Germany each follow with 11 cities of their own.
UNESCO has recognized the educational value of Philadelphia, now see this city’s heritage for yourself on a class trip to Philadelphia!