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Heritage and Culture of Utah
In a way, Utah's Heritage and Culture reaches all the way back to the age when dinosaurs ruled the eastern part of the state; living and dying, then leaving behind a wealth of fossils. Ancient Pueblo cultures, known as the Anasazi and Fremont Indians, raised corn in southern Utah from about 1 A.D. to 1300, and left remnants of their art, lives, and beliefs scattered across the state in petroglyph and pictograph panels, and ruins of their homes and places of worship. Forbearers of the Ute and Navajo Tribes roamed the region for centuries before the arrival of explorers from outside the region.
In 1776, as Americans battled for independence from England, Catholic Fathers Dominguez and Escalante explored and documented Utah's terrain. They were followed by other Spanish explorers and Mexican traders. In the 1820's fur trappers, including Jedediah Smith, William Ashley and Jim Bridger, discovered northern Utah's abundant trapping opportunities. During 1847, 1,637 Mormons migrated to the Salt Lake Valley seeking religious freedom, followed by soldiers, miners, and Spanish sheep herders. By the time the first transcontinental railroad was completed at Promontory, Utah in May of 1869, more than 60,000 Mormons had come to Utah by covered wagon or handcart.
Utahns, regardless of varied ethnic and religious backgrounds, share a sense that Utah's past is an important part of the state's future. From early settlement days, the cultural arts have been an important component of cities and towns across the state. Today, this tradition remains. Utahns actively support the arts and their ability to thoughtfully mirror and joyously celebrate life.
Mormon Heritagein Utah
In 1847, Brigham Young and the first party of Mormon emigrants reached the Salt Lake Valley. The story of the Mormon exodus from the mid-west to Salt Lake has become well-known, but most tourists are still curious about Mormon culture and about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or LDS Church), as the Christian religion is officially known.
Some visitors want to know about the earliest Mormons who practiced polygamy, minted their own money, and made their own laws - all of which are forbidden by the LDS church today. Others take note of the lasting impression made by the "second wave" of Mormons; hundreds of Europeans who converted to Mormonism in the mid-1800's, and left their home countries to travel to Utah. Following the routes of earlier explorers, Mormon pioneers formed the settlement and transportation patterns of the state. Differences in ancestry and economic status marked the architectural and agricultural styles in various areas.
For all Utahns, members of the LDS church or not, Mormonism is a unique heritage which has shaped the past, and continues to impact the state's future. Today, approximately 70% of Utah's residents are members of the LDS church. Mormonism today is a part of everyday life throughout the world, but because of the concentration of LDS church members in Utah, Mormon culture distinguishes the area. Many Utahns help shape public issues in accordance with standards and ideals of their spiritual beliefs. The result is a modern, forward-thinking state, known for citizens who believe in community and family values, volunteerism, and civic pride.
What follows is a brief list of historic sites and buildings important to Mormonism. There are many others throughout the state, and this list is intended only as an introduction to Mormon culture. All of these sites are open to the public, with the exception of temples. Only members of the Mormon church are permitted to enter LDS temples. However, visitors are welcome to enjoy the interesting architectural styles of the buildings' exteriors, adjacent visitor centers, and the landscaped grounds surrounding these houses of worship.
From its majestic alpine mountains to its rugged red rock canyons, Utah has served as the ideal playground for some of the most colorful figures of the Old West. Its prime location between California and the middle of nowhere along the western trails created a sparsely populated landscape from which cattle rustlers and bandits could steal their way into western legend. Despite the dominance of the Mormon religion, the wide-open area sheltered some of the West's most reviled and revered cowboys. Butch Cassidy, Billy the Kid, and the Rough Riders all set up camp within Utah's borders. Most of the territory once dominated by the great cowboys is still untouched and can be conveniently visited today.
The Old West way of life is still strong within Utah. Modern-day cowboys still ranch on Utah's soil and Native American tradition and present-day customs have a strong influence on Utah's overall cultural climate.
There are so many activities to enjoy in Utah; it's not uncommon for travelers to need to relax and rejuvenate before heading home. Utah's spas offer the perfect solution. Come nurture your body, mind, and spirit in a serene mountain setting, at the hands of a certified specialist!
Whether you seek a day spa treatment in a quiet town, a destination spa at one of Utah's famous resorts, or anything in between, Utah is ready to pamper you and set you on track toward healthful living. From traditional massages, to body wraps, salon services, fitness, aromatherapy treatments, and more, Utah's spas offer a wide range of services designed to refresh and bring self-awareness to any traveler. Come for an hour, or for a week or more. It's the perfect inclusion to any trip!
If you heard amazing stories about Utah's incredible snow...believe them. Better yet, come try it for yourself. It truly is the "Greatest Snow On Earth!". It should be no surprise that the Headquarters for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Associations are in Utah, and that Utah's mountainsides welcomed the world's best athletes during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. This winter, come experience for yourself, the venues that were used throughout the Olympics! Aside from these, many other mountain sites are available for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and other adventures.
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