A fine (and world-class) city

It is a medieval city well known for its stunning cathedral, ancient buildings and cobbled streets - just like Canterbury, York and Lincoln. And now Norwich has soared above all of England's historic gems to enter a global super group alongside the likes of Paris, Prague and Vienna.

It is a medieval city well known for its stunning cathedral, ancient buildings and cobbled streets - just like Canterbury, York and Lincoln.

And now Norwich has soared above all of England's historic gems to enter a global super group alongside the likes of Paris, Prague and Vienna.

Our fine city has earned the honour of becoming the first in the country to be admitted to the prestigious World League of Historical Cities, which seeks to conserve and regenerate some of the most stunning places on the planet.

Norwich had to fight its way through a rigorous application process which assesses each city's heritage and the quality of the work carried out to protect, regenerate and promote its ancient treasures.

While members include such iconic cities as Barcelona, Rome and Budapest, England was not represented - until now.

Norwich's Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (Heart), which has leading author and anglophile Bill Bryson as its patron, pushed through the bid with the help of former Lord Mayor of Norwich Felicity Hartley.

Most Read

Heart's chief executive, Michael Loveday, also gave a talk about Norwich at the league's last conference in Australia in November, and has just discovered the bid was successful.

"This is really excellent news, particularly as there weren't any English cities until Norwich got in," he said.

"We say Norwich is the best heritage city outside London, there is no other heritage city that has the same range of history - not just buildings but things like the archive centre with major collections and the museums, the fact the first woman to write a book in English came from Norwich - all of that impressed them."

He thinks it will prove extremely positive for Norwich, not only to benefit from collaborating with some of the most well-regarded heritage specialists in the world but, perhaps, more significantly, to be associated with them and thus boost the city's tourism and economy.

"Eventually we would like to get World Heritage Site status, and being in this league is a mark of quality that we will need evidence of," he added.

"It's a long and hard process but being involved with some of the best heritage cities in the world is a step in the right direction and gets Norwich seen as that kind of place.

"Heart knows that Norwich has the best heritage on offer in the UK, but being England's sole representative can only help raise our profile."

Norwich will be able to work with people from the member cities and use their ideas and success stories to help further improve the city's heritage, and vice versa.

The World League of Historical Cities was instigated by the city of Kyoto, Japan, in the 1980s, when it held a conference in the hope of an exchange of expertise from other cities.

It became a league in 1994 and has 70 members in 50 countries.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter