"The place where all directions begin" Top 5 Page for this destination Temple Square Tip by Segolily
Temple Square, Salt Lake City: 33 reviews and 58 photos
Temple Square is the figurative and literal center of the city. The city is layed out in a grid. All directions begin at the southeast corner of the Temple Square Block- the intersection of South Temple and Main Street. If for example an address is 1350 South 500 East it is 13 and a half blocks south of Temple Square and 5 blocks east. The blocks are large- seven blocks equal a mile.
Temple Square is also the center point of the majority religion, the Mormons, officially The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (shortened to LDS). It is a force of life here that cannot be ignored and provides the strong family centered lifestyle and a little bit of a culture shock for new residents.
Surrounded by a tall sandstone wall Temple Square consists of 5 buildings, all of which are open to visitors except the Temple.
The Salt Lake Temple itself was begun almost as soon as the pioneers arrived in the valley, though it took close to 40 years to complete. In 1857 what had been built was razed and plowed under rather than allow the US Army that came to quell the supposed "Mormon Rebellion" to destroy or perform sacrilege on it. The granite that forms the temple's outside walls was mined from the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon 20 miles south. Before a railroad was built the granite blocks were painstakingly transported by ox cart. It was finally completed in 1890 and celebrated widely. It is the largest of the 131 temples the church has scattered across the world. As with all LDS temples only members of the church in good standing are allowed inside.
Directly west of the Temple is the egg-shaped Tabernacle. This is a large assembly hall finished in 1869 (pre-railroad). It seats about 8,000 uncomfortably and is open to all. The principle builder had built ships and used ship building techniques to fashion a roof supported by the outside pillars providing a completely open hall without interior support. However the acoustics were horrible. Eventually a U-shaped balcony was added for more seating. This improved the acoustics but the many pillars to support it left difficult sightlines for some of the outer main level seats. I guess you can't have everything. The famous Tabernacle organ is found here. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings here every Sunday morning. (Though during the busy summer season they move across the street to the larger conference center). Besides being where Mormon leaders addressed their congregated followers each April and October in "General Conference", the Tabernacle has been used as a civic assembly hall hosting national and world leaders, as home of the Utah Symphony, as concert hall and has hosted various other functions as needed. As the city has grown and other facilities have taken over, including the church's own new Conference Center, the Tabernacle has had less to do. But it is still a venerable old and beloved building.
The other meeting house on the square is the Assembly Hall. Built of left over blocks from the Temple it is the site of various smaller assemblies. Fitted with spires on each corner and peak it is a striking building. The interior is exquisitely designed and provided much entertainment for me as a young child as speakers droned on and on. Every Friday and Saturday night free concerts are held here.
There are two Visitors Centers on opposite corners of the square where information about the Mormon religion can be answered.
The Square connects via the Plaza to the adjoining Church Office Building block, all of which are beautifully landscaped with seasonal flowers, fountains and, at Christmas time, lights and nativities.
This is the heart of the LDS Church and serves somewhat as a Mecca for faithful members all over the world. Marriages being one of the ordinances performed in the Temple, most days of the week you may see wedding parties gathered on the east side for photographs. For many years it was also the number one tourist attraction for the city, I don't know if that is still true. Visitors will be greeted by Sister Missionaries serving here full-time and voluntarily from all over the world for a period of 18 months. They are friendly, and willing to answer any questions. Some people are uncomfortable with this. But they will not bite, nor follow you relentlessly if you don't want them to. If you aren't interested in hearing about religion just say so and you will be left alone. They will still share any other information about the buildings and Square activities that you wish to hear.
My pictures are from a recent Spring time excursion to see the flowers.
Address: 50 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, 84150
Directions: In the heart of the city. Parking is available street side. A new walking mall just south of the Square will have parking available when it is finished.
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