ALLENTOWN, PA – Today, the National Park Service announced the historic Moravian Community of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania will be added to its U.S. World Heritage Tentative List.

“The addition of Moravian Bethlehem, already designated a National Historic Landmark District, to a list of culturally significant international landmarks is phenomenal,” Dent said. “The Moravian District is a source of pride for the city of Bethlehem and the surrounding Lehigh Valley, as it has provided a unique, historically rich, and culturally significant way of life for over 300 years. The United States is filled with a number of important historical sites, so to even be considered is an honor.” 

Operated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Heritage Program promotes local and international cooperation for the preservation of natural and cultural heritage in an international setting. The preserved sites are nominated by a 21-nation World Heritage Committee. Although the United States is not a member of said committee, they are able to submit a list of tentative sites they would like to see designated as World Heritage Sites. In order to be considered, sites must meet one or more of the ten criteria UNESCO has listed. Currently, there are 1,052 designated World Heritage sites, of which 23 are located in the United States. If selected, Moravian Bethlehem would join Independence Hall in Philadelphia as the second historical site located in Pennsylvania. Other sites on the Tentative List include Civil Rights Movement sites in Alabama; Dayton Aviation sites in Ohio; Ellis Island; and Mount Vernon, amongst others.

“This designation is an incredible commendation not just for the 15th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, but the United States at large,” Dent continued. “The City of Bethlehem, which is set to recognize its 275th anniversary this month, could not have asked for a better anniversary and Christmas gift.” 

Public comments regarding these planned additions to the Tentative List will be accepted on or before December 27th.

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* Public comments may be directed to Jonathan Putnam, Office of International Affairs, National Park Service, 1201 Eye Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20005, or by e-mail (jonathan_putnam@nps.gov), by phone (202-354-1809) or fax (202-371-1146).

CONTACT: Emily Rauch (202) 225-6411