Charleston Churches and Cemeteries

Charleston, South Carolina is nicknamed the “Holy City”. Unlike other Holy Cities like Jerusalem, Rome or Mecca, it’s not the center of a great religion and/or a place of pilgrimage. Rather, Charleston is called holy because of the sheer number of churches. Back in colonial days, each colony was dominated by one established church. Think the Puritans in Massachusetts or the Quakers in Pennsylvania. But from the very outset, Charleston was a cosmopolitan city. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics and even Jews lived side by side. We take this for granted today, but it was pretty revolutionary at the time. Because of this history, there are a lot of old churches in the narrow streets and alleys of the city. I walked around on a sunny afternoon and snapped some photos of some of the most famous Charleston churches.

Charleston Churches

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Charleston Cemeteries

Back in the day, it was common to bury people in the church yard. Thus most of these old Charleston churches have cemeteries attached. As the city has grown, burials have moved to larger cemeteries at the edge of town, such as Magnolia Cemetery. But thankfully for history buffs like me, the old graveyards are still there in the heart of the city, many with people who died before the American Revolution.
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Have you been to Charleston? If so, what did you think of the many old churches there? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs regularly at

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3 Responses

  1. April 12, 2017

    […] shiny and new. Even our oldest buildings are a century old at most, while Charleston has houses and churches from before the American Revolution. I took a lot of pictures on the trip, so I’ve broken it […]

  2. April 12, 2017

    […] I paid $50 from my meager savings, leaving me with just $15 for the rest of the trip. That meant I would be eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches that weekend. I would also be sitting on a bus for 13 hours each way and sleeping on the basement floor of a Unitarian church. […]

  3. May 24, 2017

    […] sprawl like any other American city, the core of Charleston still has a lot of historic houses, churches and alleys. As a big architecture fan, I love these old Charleston houses with their wraparound […]

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