The city is situated in central Utah, on the Jordan River at the southeastern end of Great Salt Lake.
As of January 2021, the population of Salt Lake City is about 200,000 people.
The city covers a total area of 287 square kilometers (111 square miles).
The average altitude is 1,288 metres (4,226 feet) above sea level.
Originally, the Salt Lake Valley was inhabited by the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute and Ute Native American tribes.
The city was founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and a band of 148 Mormons as a refuge from religious persecution. Laid out by Young according to Joseph Smith’s plan for the city of Zion, the city was divided into 4-hectare (10-acre) blocks bounded by wide streets grouped around the Temple Block (now known as Temple Square).
Due to its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, the city was originally named Great Salt Lake City. In 1868, the word “Great” was dropped from the city’s name.
Mormon immigrants from the East and Europe flocked to the “New Jerusalem,” the “City of the Saints,” in the Provisional State of Deseret (a Book of Mormon word interpreted as “honeybee”).
The California Gold Rush of 1849 contributed to the city’s growth.
After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), Utah passed to US sovereignty and became a territory in 1850. Salt Lake City was the territorial capital from 1856 to 1896, when it became the capital of the new state.
Conflicts between Mormons and U.S. officials led to the so-called Utah War of 1857–58, when General Albert Sidney Johnston’s troops marched through the city to establish Camp Floyd west of Utah Lake. Social and religious conflict between Mormons and non-Mormons continued to influence the life of the city for a century.
The opening of the mining industry in the early 1860s and completion (1870) of the Utah Central Railroad, connecting Salt Lake City with the Union Pacific at Ogden, along with other rail
connections, made the city a thriving hub of Western commerce.
The city’s population grew steadily in the first half of the 20th century, reaching a high in 1960 before declining. The number of residents began rising again in the 1970s and achieved the 1960
level in the early 21st century.
Salt Lake City was the host of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
Today, the city is the world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
Temple Square is a 4-hectare (10-acre) complex, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the center of Salt Lake City. The usage of the name has gradually changed to include several other church facilities that are immediately adjacent to Temple Square. Contained within Temple Square are the Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake Tabernacle, Salt Lake Assembly Hall, the Seagull Monument, and two visitors’ centers. The square was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1964, recognizing the Mormon achievement in the settlement of Utah.
The Salt Lake Temple is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. At 23,506 square meters (253,015 square feet), it is the largest temple by floor area. Dedicated in 1893, it is the sixth temple completed by the church, requiring 40 years to complete, and the fourth temple built since the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846.
The Utah State Capitol is the house of government for the US state of Utah. The building houses the chambers and offices of the Utah State Legislature, the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, the State Auditor and their staffs. The capitol is the main building of the Utah State Capitol Complex, which is located on Capitol Hill, overlooking downtown Salt Lake City.
The Natural History Museum of Utah is a museum located in Salt Lake City. The museum shows exhibits of natural history subjects, with an emphasis on Utah and the Intermountain West. The mission of the museum is to illuminate the natural world and the place of humans within it. A new building, named the Rio Tinto Center, opened in November 2011. The museum is part of the University of Utah and is located in the University’s Research Park.
Red Butte Garden and Arboretum consists of a botanical garden, arboretum, and amphitheatre operated by the University of Utah, in the foothills of the Wasatch Range in Salt Lake City. It is open year-round to the public. Red Butte Garden contains over 40 hectare (100 acres) of botanical gardens and several miles of hiking trails through native vegetation. Red Butte Creek runs within the northern part of the garden.
Utah’s Hogle Zoo is a 17-hectare (42-acre) zoo located in Salt Lake City. It houses animals from diverse ecosystems. It is located at the mouth of Emigration Canyon. Hogle (pronounced “ho-gul”) is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
In the modern day, Salt Lake City has developed a strong tourist industry based primarily on skiing and outdoor recreation.
It is the industrial banking center of the United States.
Salt Lake City has a thriving festival culture. Various festivals happen throughout the year, celebrating the diversity of the valley’s communities. From culture, food, religion and spirituality,
to dance, music, spoken word, and film, almost any type of festival can be found. Many of the festivals have been ongoing for decades.
The city is considered a bicycle-friendly city.