You do not have to be a Christian or even terribly religious to appreciate the beauty of South Carolina’s many houses of worship. Whether the building is built in a grand style reminiscent of Europe or is a building which emphasizes simplicity, there are several buildings throughout this state that would be well worth your time to visit and explore.
In various parts of this state, the churches exemplify the different styles of architectural styles that have come and gone over the course of South Carolina’s history.
For instance, many of the state’s churches are built in what is called the Carpenter Gothic style. This style combined the Gothic Revival of the late nineteenth century with the simplicity of wooden materials. A Carpenter Gothic church or synagogue will tend to be small but will still have the pitched roofs and elongated windows that you might see in a European cathedral.
Chance to experience history
Religion has an important role in South Carolina’s long and rich history, and many of South Carolina’s churches have historical significance or, at least, interesting stories that represent snippets of a bygone historical era. Many of the buildings, for instance, pre-date the Civil War, and some of the buildings in the Low Country date back to colonial times. Some of the other churches also have significance because recently freed slaves built them immediately following the end of the war.
In addition to some beautiful old headstones, you may even find the grave marker of a noted historical figure if you visit the church’s cemetery.
Even if you are not an architecture buff, many of the houses of worship in this state were designed to be an oasis for your mind and imagination by appealing to your sense of beauty. In some cases, these building do so using grand designs, elaborate furnishings, and exquisite works of art that you don’t have to be a scholar to love.
In other cases, while the church itself may be simple, it is surrounded by palm trees, the ocean, mountains, or any number of South Carolina’s other wonderful and unique natural features.
Many churches and synagogues both old and newer try to take the best of both worlds by offering a beautiful space for worshipers in a landscape that it is also among the best South Carolina can provide. One such example is the Glassy Mountain Chapel in Landrum, which is within the Greenville area. On a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon, you can hop over there and take in both the chapel and the mountains and cliffs surrounding it.
Rewarding for the religious, spiritual or just curious
If you are, for example, a committed Christian, you would probably find it fun to travel around and see different churches, since it would also give you an opportunity to have a different type of worship experience and may be a chance to learn more about your faith or a different Christian denomination. If you more of a spiritual person, or are not affiliated with a given religion, visiting the state’s churches can still be your chance to experience some peace and quiet in the midst of your often stressful and chaotic life.
Finally, even if you have no real attraction to religion at all, or even some aversion to it, you may still appreciate seeing how other people see themselves in relation to the universe, as the design of each and every house of worship expresses that vision in some way.
Excuse to Travel
The neat thing about South Carolina’s beautiful churches and synagogues is that you can find them all over the state. They are along the coast and in the major cities, but you can also find them nestled in villages, forests, and mountains of the state. While you might not have time to see all of the best examples of houses of worship in one trip, doing a “steeple chase” tour of the state’s churches is a great way to get away and explore South Carolina for an afternoon or even a weekend.
If you are visiting South Carolina for a vacation or business, or even if you’ve lived in South Carolina all of your life and are just looking for an excuse to explore the state more, you may want to consider visiting this state’s many and widely varied houses of worship.