Moravian colony of Bethlehem joins efforts of several countries for inscription on World Heritage List


The historic Moravian colony of Bethlehem is poised to go international.

According to a statement from the city of Bethlehem, the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission announced that the preserved 14.7-acre settlement in the heart of Bethlehem has been authorized by the US Department of the Interior to participate in a multi-country nomination. to the UNESCO World Heritage List historical establishments of the Moravian Church in Europe and North America. The settlement had been on UNESCO Tentative List since December 2016 after a 14-year campaign for a spot.

The Bethlehem Settlement, which includes 10 structures, several ruins and a cemetery, was added to the shortlist in 2016 as a possible extension of the Establishment of the Moravian Church in Christiansfeld, located in Denmark, which is one of 1,154 sites on the World Heritage List. With 18 other US sites on the tentative list, including the brooklyn bridge, the Dayton Aerospace Sites and Ellis Island, the Moravian colony of Bethlehem had a slim chance of making the list anytime soon.

However, as the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. Bethlehem Colony will be joined with Hernnhut Colony in Germany and Gracehill Colony in Northern Ireland to develop a proposal to join Christiansfeld as a collective World Heritage List for Moravian Church settlements.

If added, Moravian colony will join 24 other World Heritage List sites located in the United States Independence Hall and Fallingwater (which is part of a collection of architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright on the list) are the only two located in Pennsylvania. The United States as a whole has the 12th most sites on the list. Italy has the most with 58.

The addition of Moravian settlements to the list would be the first multi-country cultural World Heritage nomination for the United States. There are two natural sites on the list which are shared by the United States and Canada – Waterton Glacier International Peace Park and one park collection between Alaska, the Yukon Territory and British Columbia.

Germany currently has 51 sites on the list, the third largest, and Great Britain, which contains Northern Ireland, is eighth with 33 sites. Christiansfeld is one of the 10 locations in Denmark.

Although this is a big step forward for the Moravian colony of Bethlehem, there is still a long way to go. This week, representatives of historic Moravian Bethlehem and the historic Moravian communities of Herrnhut, Gracehill and Christiansfeld met in Bethlehem to work on the nomination, the statement said. Applications require a detailed set of documents, so the submission date has not yet been determined.

According to the press release, “the final decision for inscription on the World Heritage List will be taken by the World Heritage Committee, composed of representatives of 21 nations elected from among the members of the World Heritage Convention, and advised by the International Council of monuments and sites. “

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Connor Lagore can be reached at [email protected].


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