Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah (must see)

In the early days of America, Roman Catholics were prohibited from settling in the South, out of fear that they would become more loyal to the Spanish southern colonies, and move away from the English northern colonies. As a result, Savannah had no Catholic church until 1799, when French migrants from Haiti who were fleeing the French Revolution established their first. In 1873, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was built and completed with the addition of the majestic twin spires in 1896, when the brick structure also received a coating of stucco and whitewash.

The Cathedral has several notable artistic and architectural features. These include the Great Rose Window, a Gothic quatrefoil with St. Cecilia in the center, while the windows radiating from the center contain figures playing musical instruments. The Original Window of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the few to survive the great fire that ravaged Savannah in 1898. The Transept Windows feature the assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven surrounded by angels and saints, reminiscent of Murillo's painting of the Immaculate Conception. Lastly, the church houses several murals dating back to 1912, depicting saints and other religious figures with encoded symbols indicating their lives and deaths.

Why You Should Visit:
Lovely experience from an artistic point of view. Many locals refer to the Cathedral as "America's Sistine Chapel"; amazing stained glass work, ceiling paintings, and altar.
The exterior French Gothic architecture is a free 'trip' to Europe; you will be most impressed if you have not traveled extensively outside of the U.S.

Tip:
Take time to sit with the docent and listen to his tour of the building – you'll be glad you did.
The donation box as you exit is unique, so be sure to drop in a few bills and turn the handle.

Mon-Sat: 9–11:45am / 12:45–5pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Savannah. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Map

Sight Name: Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Sight Location: Savannah, USA (See walking tours in Savannah)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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