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Press Release

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World Heritage Update

April 11th, 2023

The endeavor to seek UNESCO World Heritage List recognition has been a long journey. After two decades of passion, dedication, and steadfast focus, Historic Moravian Bethlehem is one step closer to realizing its dream.

On February 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Interior officially submitted a nomination for Historic Moravian Bethlehem National Historic Landmark District to be designated as Moravian Church Settlements World Heritage Site with Gracehill, Northern Ireland/UK and Herrnhut, Germany. 

It’s the U.S. government’s first multi-country nomination.

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites along with the City of Bethlehem, Bethlehem Area Moravians, Central Moravian Church, and Moravian University — with the additional support of Northampton County — has spent more than two decades working to add Historic Moravian Bethlehem to that list.

Now, Historic Moravian Bethlehem, a National Historic Landmark District called “Moravian Church Settlements – Bethlehem,” is one step closer to becoming a World Heritage Site.

This transnational serial nomination combines these historic Moravian Church settlements to join Christiansfeld, Denmark — which became a World Heritage site in 2015. 

Bethlehem’s special designation would add one more World Heritage Site to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — joining Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Mill Run, Fayette County.


What happens next?

Historic Moravian Bethlehem along with Herrnhut and Gracehill will now undergo a formal review process by the World Heritage Advisory Bodies. This will take approximately 18 months.  

Once approved, the nomination will be sent to the international World Heritage Committee — which meets once a year — to decide if Moravian Church Settlements – Bethlehem, Herrnhut and Gracehill will join Christiansfeld on The List. 

Bethlehem World Heritage Commission


  • Mayor J. William Reynolds, Chair
  • Curtis Barnette, Vice Chair
  • Charlene Donchez Mowers, Senior Advisor
  • Don Cunningham, Treasurer
  • Daniel McCarthy, Secretary


  • Phillips Armstrong
  • Charles Dent
  • Robert Donchez
  • Jean-Claude Dubacher
  • Tim Fallon
  • Dr. Bryon Grigsby
  • Bruce Haines
  • Dr. John Helble
  • Tony Ianneli
  • Lamont McClure
  • Alex Michaels
  • Mike Perrucci
  • Rev. Janel Rice
  • Dr. Joseph Roy
  • David Shaffer
  • Diane Shaw
  • Dan Soos
  • Congressman Susan Wild
  • LoriAnn Wukitsch

Read more about HBMS’ bid for World Heritage

• Celebrating a giant step forward: Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites honors World Heritage milestone

• World Heritage timeline and developments

• Bethlehem’s Moravian Church settlement one step closer to World Heritage Site status

• Moravian Church Settlement Sites nominated to UNESCO World Heritage List

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