What’s Doing in Savannah

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Main sanctuary, Temple Mickve Israel

Indeed, cotton played a huge role in the city’s history, as the invention of the cotton gin occurred on a plantation just outside of the city. The Savannah Cotton Exchange soon followed, and the building remains to this day. The city negotiated a peaceful surrender to Union forces in 1864, which helped it avoid the devastation that other southern cities underwent, although the Civil War did cause severe economic loss as a result of the Union blockade.

Today, tourism is a major industry in Savannah, as it is one of the country’s most popular vacation spots. The city’s port continues to be an economic driver and many corporations, including Gulfstream Aerospace, a major manufacturer of business jets, make their home there. Over 50 million people have visited the city in the past ten years. If you want a taste of American history mixed with southern hospitality and haunted houses, then Savannah might be the choice destination.

WHAT TO DO

Start your Southern adventure at the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, a mansion built in 1819 for Alexander Telfair. In 1886, the structure opened to the public as a museum, and is currently filled with unique art and sculptures. One of the main attractions is the Bird Girl, a statue featured in the 1997 movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

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Temple Mickve Israel, the third oldest synagogue in America, dates back to 1735 and is the only neo-gothic Jewish sanctuary in the United States. The current edifice was built in 1876 to reflect the city’s Victorian era architecture. The congregation thrived in its early days thanks to the region’s policy of religious tolerance. The temple, which is open to the public, allows visitors to learn about the history of the Jewish community in Savannah.

Christ Church, considered the “Mother Church of Georgia,” is one of the oldest churches in the state of Georgia. The historic house of worship was founded in 1733 as a mission of the Church of England. In 1736, Reverend John Wesley became its minister, founded the Colonies’ first Sunday school, and published the Colonies’ first English-language hymnal. Tours are available, providing the opportunity to learn more about this historic landmark. Visitors are welcome to enjoy a contemplative stroll through its cemetery and also the gardens across the street.

Continue your visit at City Hall, which was constructed between 1903 and 1906. The building, which was the first municipal government structure in Savannah, is known for its distinctive gold dome and clock tower. Visitors can enjoy a free tour of the hall on the first Tuesday of every month, but space is limited so be sure to call in advance to reserve a spot.

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