The city was founded in 1682 by William Penn and settled by Quakers. Its rapid development made it the second largest city in the British Empire just before the American Revolution; its economic power however, encouraged strong Revolutionary feelings. The home to both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Philadelphia also held great attraction for politicians and other notables such as Benjamin Franklin.
The "City of Brotherly Love" boasts ethnic diversity, with substantial communities of Italians, Irish, Eastern Europeans and Asians. All were attracted by the city&s reputation for tolerance and liberalism. Philadelphia may be one of the oldest cities in the United States, but its population is younger than the national average, with 40% between the ages of 25 and 54. The fifth largest city in the U.S., Philadelphia&s 129 square miles are home to more than 1.6 million people, or nearly six million including the metropolitan population. The city&s strength today is its great energy, supported by history, strong cultural institutions and an impressive new downtown convention center.
No visitor should leave here without discovering "America&s most historic square mile," which covers a mere four blocks just west of the Delaware River but harbors such important monuments as the famed Liberty Bell; Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was prepared and signed; Congress Hall, first seat of the new United States Congress; Carpenter&s Hall, where the delegates of the first Continental Congress met and aired their grievances against the English king; and the Old City Hall, home to the U.S. Supreme Court from 1791 until 1800. In the beautifully restored Old City stands the Betsy Ross House, a monument to the woman credited with making the first American flag. The pretty, cobbled way of Elfreth&s Alley has been in continuous residential use since 1727, earning recognition as the oldest street in the United States.
Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are some of the most outstanding museums, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum. Fine dining is available in dozens of distinctive restaurants and some of the most elegant shopping can be found within a few blocks of Center City, as Philadelphians prefer to call their downtown area.