It is also the "architectural center" of Salt Lake City and the most-visited site in the state -- more than Utah's famed national parks. Some five million people visit Temple Square annually, making it the 16th most-visited spot in the nation, according to Forbes.
Attracting visitors, however, was not part of the initial plan.
"Though it now enjoys a position of notoriety, it was never really the intent or hope of the early Mormon settlers that it would become a state, national or even internationally known site," writes C. Mark Hamilton in the Utah History Encyclopedia.
Temple Square began with a simple declaration by Brigham Young that it was the future site for the Salt Lake Temple.
"It then gradually evolved into the present sanctuary that houses within its protective walls three significant pioneer buildings, two visitor centers and historic monuments -- all within a beautifully manicured garden setting," Hamilton writes.
Brigham Young identified the temple site on July 28, 1847, and had surveyors map out the city from there. Temple Square is the block from which all addresses in the Salt Lake City area are based on.