Monday, November 9, 2015

Independence Hall, in the background, helped Philadelphia become America"s
first World Heritage City.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
America"s birthplace has
been named the country"s first World Heritage City, putting it on par with
Jerusalem, Cairo, Paris, and other places recognized for their impacts on the
course of human events.The Organization of World Heritage Cities added
Philadelphia in a vote at its biennial conference in Arequipa,
Peru.Philadelphia, the nation"s fifth-largest city, qualified because
Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The Declaration of
Independence was signed at Independence Hall in 1776.
Four years later, the
Articles of Confederation, which united the 13 colonies, were ratified.
The
U.S.
Constitution was debated and signed at Independence Hall in 1787, with
George Washington presiding."The universal principles of freedom and democracy
set forth in these documents are of fundamental importance to American history
and have also had a profound impact on lawmakers around the world," according
to UNESCO"s website.The Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center are
nearby, part of the three-block Independence Mall park created in the 1950s at
the expense of dozens of colonial-era and early American buildings, including
what was left of the home where Washington lived as president.Related: Philly
Just Got Bike Share — and It"s Awesome
Pope Francis brought
Philadelphia some world attention with his visit in September.
(Photo: Scott
Weiner / Retna Ltd.
/MediaPunch/IPX)
A consortium of city government and
business leaders started campaigning for the honor three years ago at the
suggestion of Richard Hodges, then the director of the University of
Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, who asked simply: "Why
isn"t Philadelphia a World Heritage City?"The designation, held by about 260
cities, also reflects Philadelphia"s evolution into an economic and
educational hub and its resilience — a theme of the organization"s
conference, Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger said.Denis Ricard, OWHC secretary
general, was particularly taken during his visit last year with how the city
has transformed its naval shipyard into a booming industrial park.Being a
World Heritage City will create more opportunities for cultural collaboration
and exchanges, akin to a grander version of Philadelphia"s sister cities
program, said John Smith, a lawyer who helped lead the campaign through the
non-profit Global Philadelphia Association.Related: Which Historical U.S.
City
is More Revolutionary?
It will also help boost tourism, he said."Philadelphia
has a lot going for it, but certainly isn"t as well recognized as New York or
Washington in international parlance," said Smith.
"Philadelphia has to start
thinking of other ways to establish itself as a bona fide world city."Recent
events have helped.Philadelphia hosted Pope Francis in September and will
welcome the Democratic National Convention next summer.
It was also the site
of the Gold Cup Final, an important soccer match between Jamaica and
Mexico.Related: 8 Wonderfully Weird Museums in Philadelphia
Philadelphia was
already renowned for its rich history and vibrant arts scene, including The
Barnes Foundation museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Sylvester
Stallone ran up the steps in "Rocky.""People for a long time have raised
questions about how confident Philadelphians are in themselves," Smith
said.
"We think this will be a huge boost to the city"s ego.
Once you get
foreign cities and foreign countries to believe in you, it"s easier to believe
in yourself."9 Secrets of the Real Sleeping Beauty Castle"Let World traveling
club Travel inspire you every day.
Check out our original adventure travel series, "A Broad Abroad."Independence
Hall, in the background, helped Philadelphia become America's first World
Heritage City.
The Organization of World Heritage Cities added Philadelphia in
a vote at its biennial conference in Arequipa, Peru.
Philadelphia, the
nation's fifth-largest city, qualified because Independence Hall is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site.
The Declaration of Independence was signed at
Independence Hall in 1776..Independence Hall, in the background, helped
Philadelphia become America's first World Heritage City.
The Organization of
World Heritage Cities added Philadelphia in a vote at its biennial conference
in Arequipa, Peru.
Philadelphia, the nation's fifth-largest city, qualified
because Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Declaration of
Independence was signed at Independence Hall in 1776.

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