Celebrating the 2019 Philadelphia World Heritage Day at Independence Hall

Forty years ago, in October 1979, Independence Hall became a UNESCO World Heritage site, the only UNESCO World Heritage site in the Greater Philadelphia region. With this designation, tourism and visits to historic Philadelphia and Independence Hall have skyrocketed and had a record number of visitors in 1987 with the Centennial Celebration of the establishment of the U.S. Constitution.

Independence Hall, of course, was the sight of the founding of the new republic in 1776, with the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence during the Revolutionary War. The building’s historic significance and impact on the world has served as a model for new nations creating democracies and celebrating individual life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Forty years later, on May 23, 2019, under a half sunny and half stormy sky, Independence Hall was honored during Philadelphia World Heritage Day, an annual event that recognizes the city of Philadelphia's designation as a World Heritage City by the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC). This recognition is celebrated on the fourth May each year. 

The 2019 Philadelphia World Heritage Day event included remarks by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilman Mark Squilla, Global Philadelphia Association Executive Director Zabeth Teelucksingh and Board Chair Robert J. McNeill, and National Park Service Director Cynthia McLeod, who each emphasized the importance of Independence Hall's anniversary celebration and what it has meant for Philadelphia’s status. Independence Hall's UNESCO World Heritage plaque was recently relocated to one of the walls outside the building, providing easier access for every tourist to see.

As a token from the historic day, all guests went home with a copy of the Declaration of Independence, a document that will always be attached to this city’s history and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Independence Hall.

Click here to view photos from the day's event.


Written by Kyle Purchase on behalf of the Global Philadelphia Association