Holy City of the Wichitas

It’s time for another field trip!

Over Labor Day weekend my mom came for a visit. The weather was still pretty hot, but we wanted to show her the sites around Fort Sill. So on a cooler Sunday afternoon we took a drive out to the mountains and discovered another treasure inside the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

The Holy City of the Wichitas is located midway between Mt. Scott and the nature center in the refuge. The buildings were constructed in the 1930’s to accompany the already popular passion play that was held every year.

holy city entrance

The longest running Easter play in the US

Obviously we weren’t visiting during Easter, but the scenery and tour of the buildings is pretty fantastic without an event going on.

entering the city

The setting of the Wichita mountains in the background gives you the feeling that you are in Israel walking among ancient ruins.

inside the chapel

There is a chapel that is quite popular for weddings. The paintings on the walls and ceiling were done by Irene Malcolm, who used only native flowers to create the pigments in the paint.

Painting of Saint Peter

After you leave the main visiting area, you can enter the Moses room which tells the story of how God gave the law to his people.

Moses and the law

 

Mount Sinai

And then you can tour the buildings used during the Easter play. You can grab a free map from the gift shop before you go, or you can try to guess the buildings by their location and design!

tomb

Herod's Court

Herod’s Court

The view from some of the heights is pretty amazing – and you can even climb up to the top of some of the buildings!

great view of the mountains

holy cross

The Holy City is free to visit and tour. They do take donations towards upkeep. It’s a great stop when you are driving through the mountains as they have small picnic areas and there are plenty of great photo opps.

As a bonus, driving up to the city there is a huge prairie dog town! The little critters were crossing the road right in front of our van and didn’t seem to mind having their pictures taken.

prairie dogs

And I finally got to see the buffalo herd! We took a short detour on our way out of the wildlife refuge and as we turned a corner they were right beside the road.

where the buffalo roam

The kids had fun showing Grandma the mountains and all the animals that lived there. And we had a lot of fun talking about the buildings and what happened in Scripture at each location. Sometimes the girls guessed what a location was before we could even check the map!

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