After arriving in Salt Lake City late Wednesday night, we got yet another late start on Thursday morning. After grabbing a quick breakfast, we headed to downtown to check out Temple Square, the 10-acre complex in the center of town owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Salt Lake Temple itself is imposing and beautiful.
Temple Square is the most popular tourist destination in Utah, drawing 3-5 million visitors a year. In comparison, Utah’s five National Parks typically have a combined total of 5 million visitors annually!
From Temple Square we drove uptown towards the Utah State Capitol Building. In the visitors center across the street Ryan happened to overhear that there were hourly tours of the building, so we headed inside to learn more about the building.
We were absolutely blown away by the gorgeous architecture inside.
Our tour guide said that when the architect was designing the building (it was finished in 1916) his main priority was ensuring it had as much natural light as possible.
He absolutely succeeded. In the main hall, in particular, gorgeous sunlight flowed through glass in the ceiling.
The marble in the main hall came from Georgia — those pillars are solid marble and weigh about 25,000 lbs apiece. And throughout the building, gorgeous murals depict important scenes from Utah’s history. (The picture below is called Discovery of the Great Salt Lake, and shows Brigham Young discovering the Great Salt Lake.)
This is the State Reception Room, where important guests are received. It’s nicknamed “The Gold Room” because of the lavish use of gold leafing throughout.
Perhaps most amazing was the attention to detail throughout the entire building.
This chandelier weighs 3,000 lbs, and the chains suspending it weigh an additional 1,000 lbs.
It hangs from the dome above the center of the main hall.
Those marble flowers are hand-carved, and about three times the size of my hand.
The paintings were tremendous. This painting was in the Senate chamber, and represents northern Utah. (On the other side of the room is a painting of southern Utah.) And look above it … more glass paneling to let in light!
Our tour of the Utah State Capitol building was definitely the highlight of our morning! We were just blown away by how beautiful it was.
After leaving the capitol building, we took a drive through some of the neighborhoods in the city. We loved how varied the architecture was, and oohed and aahed over some pretty swanky houses nestled into the mountains!
After a quick stop at Chiptole for lunch, it was back on the road. It was about 2pm and we had nine hours of driving ahead of us to get to Colorado Springs. The trip was largely uneventful, until rain turned to snow in the Wyoming mountains! When we arrived at our hotel we were more than ready for bed.