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17 Most Sacred Places Across the US and the History Behind Them

  Thanks to its large size, the U.S. is home to huge amounts of history, with some of these being sacred places. They’re places that everyon...

 Thanks to its large size, the U.S. is home to huge amounts of history, with some of these being sacred places. They’re places that everyone should try to visit to learn more about their home country. Here are 17 of the most sacred places across the U.S. and their histories. 

Crater Lake, Oregon

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This lake was formed by the implosion of Mount Mazama around 7,000 years ago. It has since become one of the most sacred places for Native Americans. This is supported by the National Park Service, which writes, “Makalaks (now Klamath Indians) held the belief that this place was so holy that looking upon it would lead to death.”

Mount Shasta, California

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Mount Shasta has become a key component of many stories told by Native Americans. They believe it to be one of Earth’s vortexes, and this has made it a popular place for spiritual seekers to gather. It’s also a volcano of great beauty that brings a sense of culture to California. 

Taos, New Mexico

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Taos is home to one of the oldest communities in the country and is well-known for its historic buildings. It’s now home to many retreats and spiritual centers, which gives a person the opportunity to try meditation and healing practices. The Taos community also has great respect for its environment and tries to be as sustainable as possible. 

The Salt Lake Temple, Utah 

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It took over 40 years for this temple to be built, and it was finished in 1893. The reason for this was that it was built from quartz monzonite, which had to be dragged from the nearby mountains. The temple is especially significant for Mormon history as it’s a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Chapel in the Hills, South Dakota

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This chapel is an exact replica of the Borgund Stave Church in Norway. It’s now a tourist attraction and a place of worship, as the chapel makes sure to retain its religious traditions. It was built in 1969 as a way to celebrate the Scandinavian heritage that’s found in America. 

Bighorn Medicine Wheel, Wyoming

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The Forest Service writes that the Bighorn Medicine Wheel is sacred to Native Americans. It’s an archeological complex that’s been used by many tribes long before the Euro-Americans came and is still used in the present day. The medicine wheel is used for ceremonies and is also a place for prayer. 

Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia

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This church is considered the spiritual home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as it’s where his father preached, and just adjacent to the church is his grave. It holds an important place in history, as Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the main advocates for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. 

Chimayo, New Mexico

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Chimayo is one of the most-visited holy sites in America. It was built in 1816 and is also known as El Santuario de Chimayo. It’s a spiritual pilgrimage site that is known for its “holy dirt.” This dirt is supposed to have healing properties, which is why it attracts thousands of pilgrims each year. 

The Islamic Center, Washington, D.C.

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This church was built in 1954 and was one of the first mosques built in the United States. It’s seen as a symbolic and sacred building because it represents the bridge between American and Islamic cultures. It’s been the host to many historical events, such as George W. Bush’s speech after 9/11.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption, Baltimore, Maryland

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This was one of the first cathedrals built in America. It was constructed in 1821, shortly after the production of the U.S. Constitution. It’s supposed to be seen as a symbol of religious freedom and has been visited by many significant figures, such as Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. 

Gurdwara Sahib of San Jose, California 

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Built in 1984, this is the largest Sikh temple in the United States. This makes it an important part of the Sikh culture. It’s not only a religious place for practice, but it’s also open to all members of the public, helping them understand more about the religion. 

Devil’s Tower, Wyoming 

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This is a huge rock formation that’s sacred to Native Americans. It plays an important part in tribal culture as it’s a place where many tribes hold ceremonies and go to pray. Devil’s Tower became the U.S.’s first national monument as a way to preserve its history. 

Mount Taylor, New Mexico 

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Mount Taylor has been a sacred place for many Native Americans. The National Trust for Historic Preservation writes, “Visible from up to 100 miles away, the mountain has been a pilgrimage site for as many as 30 Native American tribes, with special significance for the Acoma people.” The mountain has been used for many ceremonies and pilgrimages.

Medicine Tree, Montana

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The Medicine Tree has always been an important part of Native American history, as it’s where leaders went to seek guidance and make decisions. It’s also seen as a national landmark, as it’s just a lone, tall tree. There are ongoing efforts to try and preserve the tree, but environmental issues make it difficult.  

Temple Emanu-El, New York

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This is one of the largest synagogues in the world, not just in America. It’s located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which also makes it one of the most visited synagogues. Temple Emanu-El has been beautifully decorated with stained glass and gilded ceilings. 

Snoqualmie Falls, Washington

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Sacred Land Film Project writes, “Snoqualmie Falls, 30 miles east of Seattle, Washington, is sacred to the Snoqualmie Tribe of the Puget Sound region. They believe it is the place where First Woman and First Man were created by Moon the Transformer, himself the son of an Indian woman and a star.” It’s a 268-foot waterfall that’s nothing but beautiful. 

Shockoe Bottom, Richmond, Virginia

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Shockoe Bottom is regarded as a sacred memorial place for descendants of the slave trade. It was the second-largest slave trading center in the United States, giving it a lot of historical and emotional weight. This sacred ground is a place to remember the injustice and suffering that were faced by slaves.

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