Until recently, I hadn’t stepped foot inside of a church in years. There was an awkward feeling that I didn’t belong, because I didn’t believe. Luckily, I have gotten over that apprehension and have been able to explore some of the most beautiful art work in the country as a result. Which is how I found myself at The Basilica of St Lawrence while visiting my parents in Asheville North Carolina.
The Story of the Basilica starts in 1905 when Spanish Architect Rafael Guastavino came to Asheville to work on Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate. After that job, Guastavino realized he had fallen in love with the mountains and the area and would like to make it his home. He also decided that Asheville was in need of a grand Catholic church. With the help of the architect Richard Sharp Smith, who also worked on the Biltmore mansion, and funds raised by Catholics in the community, he built the beauty that stands today. It is the only basilica in western North Carolina, topped with one of the largest freestanding elliptical domes in the United States.
While one might be interested in its exterior and massive dome spanning 58 feet by 82 feet, the interior is a hidden gem, teeming with religious art. Highlights include Italian-made statues, beautiful stained glass windows from Germany, and a frescoed high altar cut from Tennessee marble.
Closest Supercharger Asheville NC 7 mi
800 Brevard Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
Basilica of St Lawrence
97 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801