The Birthplace of American Government
The City of Brotherly Love has what is arguably the most important historic district of any American city, an L-shaped seventeen-block swath created by an act of Congress in 1948 and encompassing more than fifteen buildings and monuments, all anchored by the Georgian- style red-brick Independence Hall.
Built in1732 as the Pennsylvania State House, it was here that the Declaration of Independence was voted on and signed on July 4, 1776, where the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1778, and where patriots drafted the U.S. Constitution in 1787.
Original copies of the Declaration and the Constitution are on display in the building’s West Wing, and the leafy Independence Mall is adjacent. Just next door is the Federal-style Congress Hall, where the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives met from 1790 to 1800 (when Philadelphia ceded its role as the nation’s capital to the newly built Washington, D.C.) and where the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, was adopted.
Nearby is the 2,080-pound Liberty Bell, forged in an English foundry in 1752 and for more than two centuries one of the world’s most important symbols of freedom.
Acting as a sort of gateway to the historic district of the region, the new, state-of-the-art Independence Visitor Center offers orientation films, an information desk, and ticketing for area attractions.