Liverpool's bid to become a World Heritage Site has been approved by the United Nations in China.
Liverpool has some of the UK's most stunning architecture
The site includes the Pier Head, with world-famous buildings and historic docks.
"This new status is not just looking to the past. It is confirmation Liverpool is very much a world city of today," said council leader Mike Storey.
The honour follows Liverpool's successful bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2008.
The city's bid was based on Liverpool as a maritime mercantile city and reflected the city's significance as a commercial port at the time of Britain's greatest global influence.
The area covered includes the waterfront, the commercial district - an area of warehouses and merchants' houses around Duke Street -and the cultural quarter around William Brown Street.
Heritage Minister Lord McIntosh said: "This is wonderful news for Liverpool.
"I hope these developments will lead to considerable economic benefits both by encouraging more people to visit the city to see its wonderful heritage of architecture and by industry to invest in a city that offers so many attractions."
World Heritage Sites are selected by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.
They have to be sites recognised as being of outstanding universal value.
"This is the news we have been waiting for," Mr Storey said.
"Combined with becoming European Capital of Culture in 2008 Liverpool is rapidly becoming a city of world significance again."
The decision was made at a meeting of the committee in meeting in Suzhou, near Shanghai on Friday.