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Basilica of Saint Lawrence, Asheville

4.7
#2 of 20 in Historic Sites in North Carolina Mountains
Church Tourist Spot
Designed by Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino, Basilica of Saint Lawrence has the largest freestanding elliptical dome in North America, measuring 18 by 25 m (58 by 82 ft). Marvel at the saint statues from Italy and German stained-glass windows. In 1993, the site was granted the status of a Minor Basilica by Pope John Paul II. The surrounding grounds feature a life-size statue of the Virgin Mary. See representations of Mary, Christ, and the apostles elaborately memorialized in stained glass. Visit two chapels with marble reliefs, mosaics, icons, and statues. If you'd like a guided tour, you must reserve your spot at least a week prior. You can schedule a 25-minute tour after mass on weekends, or opt for more in-depth weekday tours that last about 45 minutes. Self-guided tours are also an option--pick up a brochure inside the building. Put Basilica of Saint Lawrence on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Asheville vacation route planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
865 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • We have visited the Basilica several times and are always impressed with it. Attending mass on a Sunday is such a special experience. Having seen the Gaustavino's work at the Biltmore, the Basilica an...  more »
  • Beautiful and unique architecture make this church a must stop. The Architect who built this church also worked on the Biltmore mansion  more »
  • My daughters and I walked in while my wife was at a nearby spa. Had no expectations, but we were all surprised at the dome. Beautiful interior and a hidden gem that we did not expect. Mass here must b...  more »
Google
  • Every year we go for a stunningly beautiful Christmas Eve Mass. Always standing room only with people of every walk of life. Love the worship!
  • The beautiful ceiling was done by the same man who installed the tile at the Biltmore.
  • Beautiful architecture and history. We received a personal tour after mass.
  • Very nice architecture. The dome on the inside is very impressive
  • If you want to experience European architechture and a little bit of Spain (Rafael Guastavino) just enter and be silent. I am not Roman Catholic, yet I have sought refuge and peace here for decades. Sometimes the fragrance of the incense lingers while you look at the stained glass and dome structure. This is a true oasis from the hyperbolic tourism madness that plagues most of downtown.

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Where to stay in Asheville

To take advantage of the best Asheville has to offer without breaking the bank, stay at one of the city's small motels, many of which offer free breakfast buffets and plenty of secure parking. Asheville's historical district contains most of the city's bed and breakfasts, allowing you to stay within a short walk of downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment. The area also boasts numerous budget-friendly hostels, offering inexpensive private rooms for backpackers. For something completely different, rent an eco-friendly cabin in a wooded area just a short drive from the city.
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