While Charleston SC has several nicknames, perhaps it’s most well known as The Holy City. Replete with craft breweries serving up local beers, a quintessentially southern sweet tea vodka brewery just down the road, and ghosts galore it might not seem holy at first glance. So, how exactly did Charleston come to be known as “The Holy City?”
A quick glance at the Charleston skyline reveals a hint as to the root of the famous name. Home to over 400 churches of a wide variety of denominations the skyline is punctuated with steeples in every direction. It’s rare to find a view of the Charleston skyline where you don’t spot a stately, soaring steeple. The city’s many churches date back to it’s founding as the colony of Charles Towne in 1670. The colony was established on the basic principles of religious tolerance. From Episcopal to Baptist, Quaker to Jewish, Charleston had, and still has, a little bit of everything.
The churches themselves are a staple of Charleston’s tourism economy, drawing visitors from around the world each year. Some come to admire their varied architectural styles and features, others appreciate their historical legacy, and many are drawn to the beautiful and historic cemeteries (several of which are believed to be haunted by spirits from the past).
Though known for it’s many churches and religious history, Charleston has blossomed into a vibrant and diverse destination with so much more to offer. Named year after year as the #1 City in the World by Travel + Leisure, tourists and visitors flock to The Holy City to experience it’s unique cobblestone streets, breathtaking water views, colorful historic architecture, world class cuisine at some of the Lowcountry’s finest restaurants, and so much more. Whether you’re seeking that relaxed beach vibe, luxurious living downtown, or a great place to spend time with family and friends you’ll find it in Charleston.
Next time you hear “The Holy City” you’ll be reminded of Charleston’s historic roots, a skyline dotted with steeples, and be able to impress your friends with this little known fact about the historic southern port city of Charleston, South Carolina.