The Organization of the World Heritage Cities was created on September 8, 1993, in Fez (Marocco). In commemoration of this big event, September 8 was declared “Solidarity Day of the World Heritage Cities” and all these cities are welcomed to commemorate it every year by organizing different activities that aim at highlighting their uniqueness.

The OWHC urges the administration of each member city to take advantage of this day to stress the important responsibility of the city to protect as well as promote the world heritage and especially the privilege of having a part of that heritage in their city.

As part of the Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities, 2016 edition, here are a few examples of the activities that are organized in our cities:


In order to celebrate the 23rd Anniversary of the Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities, and to remember the founder of the OWHC, Jean-Paul L'Allier, the city of Cuernavaca (Mexico), organized a series of activities for September 8th. Guided tours of the city were offered and a lyric Gala, performed by "Las más Bellas Plegarias" was presented in the Cathedral of Cuernavaca. Here is a video of their activities:

Cuernavaca festeja 8 de septiembre


From September 8 to 11, the City of Quebec (Canada) and the Îlot des Palais invited the population to participate in the walking tour On the UNESCO trail 2, on the occasion of the Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities of the UNESCO and to mark the 31st anniversary of the inscription of the Old Quebec on the Heritage list. The free guided activity offered to walk around the Old Quebec to discover the reasons for its inscription. Three major sites opened their doors and unveiled some of their well-kept secrets: the Augustinian Monastery, the Ursulines Monastery and the Citadelle of Quebec.


San Antonio (United States) created the World Heritage Festival, which celebrated the first anniversary of the San Antonio Missions as a World Heritage Site designated by the UNESCO. The festival took place from September 7 to 11 and offered many activities to promote the San Antonio Missions, celebrate the city’s history and culture, and raise funds to preserve, maintain and connect the Missions to the river and other cultural heritage sites. The inhabitants of San Antonio had a chance to not only celebrate their unique history and culture, but to also give back to the community. Read more about the Festival HERE.


On September 8, the City of Philadelphia (United States) and the Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) commemorated the Solidarity Day during a celebration in front of 450 representatives from city and state government, as well as other World Heritage Cities. During the event, John Smith, Board chair of GPA, presented the GPA’s World Heritage Strategic Plan. The goals of this Strategic Plan are to:

  • Promote preservation and appreciation of our geographical historical and cultural heritage through the World Heritage City designation and continued education
  • Provide a powerful economic and cultural stimulus to the region
  • Inspire citizens and residents to feel pride in their World Heritage City


September 8, 2016 marked the reintegration of the city of Potosi (Bolivia) among the active members of the OWHC. Throughout the day, several activities were organized by the Directorate of International Relations and the Directorate of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, for the citizens of Potosi. In the morning, the historic center was closed to offer free touristic heritage circuits, Mayor Williams Cervantes gave a press conference on the reintegration of the city, a cultural celebration was held in the Plaza de Armas and balloons were released. Welcome again to the city of Potosi! Full article HERE.


In Arequipa (Peru), the following activities were organized on September 8, in collaboration with local Universities:

  1. 10 am: Hoisting of the OWHC flag in the Central courtyard of the Arequipa Municipality
  2. 11 am: Visit of Historical Center
  3. Seminar on Arequipa, World Heritage
  4. Dissemination of the work of the OWHC in the world


In Segovia (Spain), on the morning of September 8, the OWHC flag was hoisted in the Visitor Reception Center. In addition, the Department of Tourism encouraged the population of Segovia to participate in a cycling tour to celebrate this day, under the theme of Heritage and Mobility. With their own bikes, the citizens joined together to go around the city, directed/guided by Bicicla, and visited much of the historic center. Full article HERE.


In Bamberg (Germany), the World Heritage flag was hoisted at the Old City Hall, at Geyerswörth Castle and at Maximilian Square. Moreover, Solidarity Day 2016 marked the end of the successful exhibition “Heaven’s Garden on Earth” shown at several market gardens.


In Vilnius (Lithuania), different activities were organized in order to highlight the uniqueness of their World Heritage site and its outstanding universal value and to stress the importance of a community involvement in the protection and management of Vilnius cultural heritage. The lecture “Community Involvement: Maintenance of Vilnius World Heritage Site” was given by Director of Vilnius Old Town Renewal Agency Gediminas Rutkauskas in Art Incubator Hall, Uzupis District. Afterwards, an excursion “We create the history of the city” was offered, guided by the private guide company “Gatves gyvos”. Buildings that were renovated from public – private partnership resources were presented. Article and pictures HERE.


This year in Oaxaca (Mexico), a special ceremony took place at the Liceo Federico Froebel de Oaxaca, a school that have participated in the past in the Youth on the Trail of World Heritage program. City officials, specialists represented by the newly appointed "Chronicler of the City", Mr. Jorge Bueno, and the Patrimonitos Oaxaqueños (young protectors of the Oaxaca heritage) were present. Moreover, significant media coverage was done during the event, in order to inform the community about the values of the OWHC. A special moment of the ceremony was the unveiling, in the school library, of a plaque paying tribute to the recently deceased and previous "Chronicler of the City", Mr. Rubén Vasconcelos Beltrán.


The City of Vigan (Philippines) organized the UNESCO World Heritage Cities Solidarity Cultural Festival, which took place from September 4 to 10. A great variety of activities, events and shows were offered to the citizens:  Walk for a Cause for the out-of-school youths of Vigan, Food and Trade fair, Folkdance Competition, Eucharistic Celebration & Renewal of Pledge to Heritage Conservation led by City Mayor Juan Carlo S. Medina, etc. CLICK HERE to see the full report of the Festival and many pictures!


As part of the Solidarity Day, the city of Morelia (Mexico) organized the Third Colloquium Valladolid Morelia "Morelia 25 years as World Heritage", during which 3 conferences were held, in addition to 8 workshops with people dedicated the conservation of cultural heritage. Moreover, a Solemn Council Session was held, during which were invited Dr. Esperanza Ramírez Romero and Dr. Jaime Hernández Díaz, distinguished citizens of Morelia who participated in the integration of the file that was sent to UNESCO in 1991. Alfonso Martínez Alcázar, Mayor of Morelia, attended to both events, expressing his firm commitment to support the actions that the OWHC set, all in favor of preserving heritage.


In Sintra (Portugal), the municipality of Sintra offered free entrance and guided visits to many of their monuments. Until mid-September, a photographic exhibition of the Portuguese World Heritage UNESCO sites was open to the public. Also as part of this celebration, the municipality of Sintra, in partnership with the Parques de Sintra Monte da Lua (Parks of Sintra Monte da Lua) signed on September 1st a protocol for the establishment of the World Heritage Office in the historic center of Sintra.



In Arequipa (Peru), the following activities were celebrated on September 8:

  1. 10 am: Hoisting of the OWHC flag in the Central courtyard of the Arequipa Municipality
  2. 11 am: Visit of the Historical Monument from which originates the foundation of Arequipa (District of San Lázaro)
  3. 12 am: Press conference on the launching of the General Program of the World Congress and on the actions to be carried out before and during the Congress
  4. Class for the Touristic assistants (youth of Arequipa)
  5. Seminar on Arequipa, World Heritage (Press and guests)


In Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic), many activities were held during the weekend before September 8. Among other activities, baroque fireworks, the Czech folk band Bratri Ebenové, the Krumbenowe – a faire on prehistoric and medieval culture, a craft market and entrance to museums and galleries were all offered for free. CLICK HERE for more details and pictures. 


In Philadelphia (United States), the Mayor Michael A. Nutter declared Tuesday, September 8, 2015 as “Solidarity Day of the World Heritage Cities” in Philadelphia through a proclamation issued at a joint press conference with the Global Philadelphia Association.


In Quebec (Canada), as part of the 30th anniversary of the inscription of its World Heritage site on the UNESCO List and as part of the Solidarity Day, the City of Quebec, together with the Urban Heritage Society of Quebec / Îlot des Palais, organized several activities to celebrate these important events. The City of Quebec also held a press conference during which the city unveiled the concept of a bronze medallion that will be installed in front of the City Hall and on which his engraved "Old Quebec, UNESCO World Heritage site ".


In Angra do Heroismo (Portugal), the theme of this Solidarity Day was "Craftsmanship and Visual Contamination". The program promoted by the municipality was for users of social institutions, including the Terra Chã Community Centre. It started at 9:30 am with a visit to Azulart (ceramics workshop), followed by a visit to the Cheese dairy Vaquinha at 10:30 and it ended at 11:30 am with a visit to the Pottery of São Bento.


In Segovia (Spain), in accordance with the OWHC Regional Secretariat for Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, the Solidarity Day is dedicated to the "Craftsmanship and Visual Contamination in World Heritage Cities". The Department of Tourism of the City of Segovia has prepared for this open house day program that aims to promote knowledge of local craftsmanship and awareness of the protection of this cultural heritage. A total of 12 spaces participated in this event. Click here for more information. Moreover, the Mayor Clara Luquero, received the young Mónica Fraile de la Paz, first person from Segovia Ambassador of World Heritage, who will promote Segovia in many Greek institutions. Click here to read more about it!


In Toledo (Spain), many free activities have been organized: panorama commented on the tourist train of Toledo; access to the Posada de la Hermandad and to the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci, the inventor; free entrance to museums and guided tours in heritage and archaeological sites of Toledo.


Cordoba (Spain) has decided this year that the Regional Secretariat for Southern Europe and the Mediterranean would dedicate this day to the “Craftsmanship and Visual Contamination” Program. From the Tourism Office of the City of Córdoba, in collaboration with the Municipal Urban Management Department and the Cordoba Association of Craftsman, a program of guided tours and educational workshops were organized in order to bring the citizens closer to the arts and crafts of this city. Click here for more information.


In Granada (Spain), the city organized several activities open to the public throughout the weekend previous to the Solidarity Day, from Friday September 4 to Sunday September 6. The musical performances, guided tours, museum visits, workshops and exhibitions were taking place in the Albaicin and the arts and crafts were the main topic.


The Municipality of Évora (Portugal) celebrated the Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities through a series of symbolic acts, most notably the raising of the OWHC flag in the City Hall at 17:30, followed by a street entertainment show with Seven Dixie in the Sertório Square. The complete article HERE.


The city of Valparaiso (Chile) made the most of the Solidarity Day to emphasize on the important responsibility of the city to protect and promote World Heritage, by launching its Photo Contest.


In Vilnius (Lithuania), cross-institutional seminar “Improvement of Fire Risk Prevention in Vilnius Old Town” was organized celebrating the UNESCO World Heritage Cities’ Solidarity Day on September 8th, 2015. Fire Safety Plan of Vilnius Old Town, the Recommendations for Managers of Cultural Heritage Properties, experience of fire drills and preventive fire safety measures were broached during the seminar. The solemn event was organized by Vilnius Old Town Renewal Agency (as in 2014) and took place in Vilnius Emergency Response Centre.


In the city of Oaxaca de Juárez (Mexico), the Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities was also commemorated on September 8. There was a press conference to publicize this important event, a ceremony was held with students in exchange from other countries as well as a forum with a journalist of the city, the Director of the House of the Oaxacan Culture and the Director of the Historical Center.


The Deputy Mayor for Urbanism of Brussels (Belgium), Mr. Geoffroy Coomans of Brachène, commented: "On the occasion of the anniversary of the OWHC on 8 September, I was particularly pleased to welcome in our beautiful City Hall, Basilio Horta, Mayor of Sintra and President of the OWHC for this workshop day entitled "Inscription in the UNESCO list of World Heritage: new prospects for local development.". This is also the first time that the Belgian World Heritage cities were gathered together. A prelude to the creation of an association of Belgian World Heritage cities based on the model of the OWHC. "

In Philadelphia, in the United States, the Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by Councilman Mark Squilla and other officials, gathered to officially rename Walnut Street between 5th and 6th streets “World Heritage Way”, in recognition of the presence of Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in celebration of the Organization of World Heritage Cities’ Solidarity Day of the World Heritage Cities.

In Segovia, Spain, the city celebrated Solidarity Day of world heritage cities by giving free access to 3 of their centres: the Didactic Centre of the Jewish Quarter; the San Andrés Gate and the House-Museum of Antonio Machado. 

In Cidade Velha, Cape Verde, a colloquium was organized to promote the importance of heritage. Topics such as administration of an historical site as a safe haven, or the importance and challenges for the preservation of the title World Heritage, were broached. 

In Granada, Spain, the city planned several activities during the weekend before the Solidarity Day. Those activities took place in the Albaicín district, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In Puebla, Mexico, the mayor José Antonio Gali Fayad and many officials did a walking tour of their city to initiate restoration projects of 7 heritage constructions.

In Oaxaca, Mexico, is organized a meeting-workshop about the management of historical centres. 

In Quebec, Canada, the city celebrated the Solidarity Day by organizing many activities in its historical centre. Among others, walking tours and a conference named “Quebec, World Heritage City”, proposed a discovery of the Old Quebec historical district.

In Cordoba, Spain, the Regional Secretariat for Southern Europe and Mediterranean organized the 2nd edition of its competition Young Photographers’ competition on World Heritage Cities. This competition is for young person between 10 and 16 years old who, through their photographs, have to show the elements that brought the cities of this Regional Secretariat to be declared World Heritage Cities.

In Regensburg, Germany, the Regional Secretariat of North West Europe also organized a photographs’ competition named Modern Life in an Old City. The title of the competition intends to generate photographs showing modern aspects of life in a World Heritage City.

In Évora, Portugal, the OWHC flag was hoisted at the City Hall and many promotion actions were made during cultural activities around the 8th of September. Click on this link to see a video on the Solidarity Day (Portuguese):

In Sintra, Portugal, the municipality offered free entrance and guided visits to many of their monuments, such as the Regaleira Palace. They also organized a light show in their art museum. 

In Cracow, Poland, the Deputy Mayor of the city, Ms. Magdalena Sroka, proceeded to the opening of a photo exhibition on September 8th. This exhibition presents the results of transformations that have taken place in the Old Town of Cracow from 2011 to 2013, since the establishment of a cultural park, set up by the Mayor, Mr. Jacek Majchrowski. 

In Québec City, Canada, for example, the city celebrated Solidarity Day of world heritage cities by the awarding of prizes for the 5th edition of the Jardin du patrimoine (heritage garden) photography contest.

As part of this contest, many citizens of the city of Québec submitted photographic works on the theme “Parks and Places in the Historic District “.

Click here to see the winning photographs.

In Cordoba, Spain, the flag of the OWHC was highlighted and an open house was organized.

In Grenada, Spain, a culture and family day was organized. In addition to open houses in various places, many activities were available, such as a crafts market, video projections, public readings, exhibitions, special visits, menus specially created by restaurant owners, etc.

In Segovia, Spain, it was decided to organize an open house giving access to a multitude of heritage places.


In Évora, Portugal, the flag of the OWHC was highlighted and a football tournament as well as painting workshops were held.

In Guimarães, Portugal, the raising of the flag of the OWHC took place, and a few activities were associated with the theme of the next world congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities: “Heritage Cities, Sustainable Cities”.

Finally, here are a few pictures of the activities that happened in Hoi An, Vietnam.


In Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic, an event took place on the main square of the city center, during which the municipal authorities held an award ceremony for a Drawing Contest, in which dozens of young people between the ages of 10 to 15 years participated. There were also music and dance groups that gave performances on the main square as well as a festival of traditional gastronomy in which the citizens of the city took part.

Also, in Oaxaca City, Mexico, where the OWHC will hold its 12th World Congress in November 2013, a civic ceremony was held on the main square in cooperation with the primary and secondary schools of the city. As part of this event, the people of the historical center branch of Oaxaca City organized educational activities related to heritage.  


In addition, in Bordeaux, citizens marked Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities as part of an intervention project of the local heritage of world mankind entitled Younesco (in French only). This event is held in conjunction with Agora 2012, the biennale of architecture, urban planning and design. Bordeaux residents took advantage of this event, which is held from September 13 to 16, to enhance their heritage treasures at the centre of public life where prizes will be awarded as part as the architecture competitions and public debates on the place of heritage within society. A great event which the Bordeaux citizens are capable of holding. For more details on Younesco or Agora 2012, click here.

Finally, the city of Québec marked the 17th Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities by awarding the prize for the 4th edition of the Heritage Garden Photography Contest.

As part of this contest, several tens of citizens of the city of Québec took part by presenting their photographic works on the theme “architecture in the historic district of Old Québec”. Click here to see the winning pictures of the Contest.


First of all, the city of Bamberg, Germany, commemorated the Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities by collecting donations for the restoration of Pakistani World Heritage sites that have been devastated following the terrible flood of last summer. The mayor of Bamberg, Mr. Andreas Starke, and the World Heritage site Manager of the city, Mrs. Dr. Karin Dengler-Schreiber, collected donations. To download the summary of this activity of September 8th, click here

Next, the city of Québec, Canada, celebrated Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities by organizing many activities. To download the press communiqué concerning all the event of September 8, click here (only in French).

In the first place, a conference given by geographer Henri Dorion as well as historian and photographer Pierre Lahoud was held at theMusée de l'Amérique française, one of the most beautiful heritage sites of the city of Québec.  The picture below illustrates this conference in which the two professors compared the city of Québec to other cities that are on the World Heritage List, by pointing out their identity and common challenges.

On the other hand, the event Archives à voix haute (Archives read aloud) was held at the Artillery Park, right in the middle of the historic centre of Québec. This event involved performers of the city who read selected excerpts from archives that allowed spectators to guess, sense and see the city through the eyes of the people who lived in other times.

Furthermore, the city of Nessebar, Bulgaria, marked Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities by launching its restoration project of the church of St. John the Baptist, one of the iconic churches of the city's cultural heritage. Heritage specialists, municipal representatives, as well as members of the local community and of the media attended this event at the Nessebar Ancient Museum. The mayor of Nessebar, Mr. Nikolai Dimitrov, participated in the event with the Deputy Mayor for Culture, Education and International Collaboration, Ms. Eli Kirilova. To download the communiqué of the city of Nessebar concerning Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities, click here

In addition, the Mexican cities of Puebla and Oaxaca contributed to celebrate Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities within the scope of theIII Encuentro Iberoamerícano de Patrimonitos that was held on September 8, 2010, in Oaxaca, Mexico. The mayor of Puebla, Ms. Blanca Alcalá Ruiz, participated in the event as a representative of the OWHC. To download the communiqué of the city of Oaxaca concerning Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities, click here (only in Spanish).


Finally, the city of Zanzibar, Tanzania, celebrated Solidarity Day of World Heritage Cities by doing a clean-up of its beaches.