By Stephen Schwendiman
Temple Square, a hub of activity for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is also a hub of activity for tourists.
Tour organizer for Hyde’s Encore Tours and Travel Jolene Dearden said Temple square is the number one attraction for tours through Utah.
According to the Utah Travel council’s Internet site www.utah.com, Temple Square attracts close to 5 million people annually and is one of the major tour sites of the West.
Dearden said she believes the site is popular because people are curious about the LDS culture.
It also helps that everything to see at Temple Square is free which isn’t true of a lot of other places, she said.
“It’s a very concentrated area,” said Kim Farah with the media relations department for the LDS church.
Farah said it is not just the temple that attracts people. The history of Utah is bound together in Temple Square.
Every thread of our culture can be found there, she said.
Farah said it is not only LDS people visiting the area but people from all over the world.
Brian Hamada, a visitor to Temple Square from Glendale Calif., said he brought his family to Temple Square to show his sons the heritage of the LDS church.
Hamada said he is fascinated with the LDS church and the wealth of information in the Temple Square area.
Diane German, a visitor to Temple Square from Indiana with her son, Jake German, said the reason her family was at Temple Square was because they were taking a tour through the Rocky Mountain region stopping at points of interest along the way.
German said she was impressed with the beautiful gardens at Temple Square.
Farah said she believes the Church’s genealogical library across the street from Temple Square aids in bringing visitors.
Dearden said Temple Square’s visitors are comparable with other religious sites throughout the nation.
As far as religious sites go, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. probably gets more visitors than Temple Square, she said.
Dearden said there are other religious sites in Utah that attract tourists such as the Cathedral of the Madeline in Salt Lake City.
SLC First Presbyterian administrative assistant Jane Nixon said the historic church gets visitors all of the time.
She said she believes visitors come to look at the stain glass windows, which provide the church with a breathtaking environment.