For higher education, there are a variety of opportunities in and around Provo, but Brigham Young University is the city?s main claim to fame. The campus currently has approximately 30,000 students enrolled. BYU was founded as and continues to run as the leading Mormon institution for higher learning in the country. Its cultural offerings and sports programs play an important role in Provo. Other schools include Utah Valley State College, located in nearby Orem, and Utah Technical College located in Provo.
The Provo Arts Council offers a variety of programs. The First Friday Downtown Concert Series and Gallery Strolls offers residents a chance to hear from top notch local musicians and artists. Concerts are held at the Provo Tabernacle. Attendees also have the opportunity to stroll the various downtown galleries with a different artist featured each month. Other community events include the Blue Sky Series of outdoor concerts held during the summer months, the Freedom Festival Fine Art Exhibit, the Children's Celebration of the Arts and the First Night Art Exhibit - an annual invitational show held at the historic County Courthouse. Candy Windows, a fun way to celebrate the holidays and enjoy the talent of local artists who use candy to create art, is now also an annual event. In addition you will find many city and canyon parks, museums, and one of the nation?s largest Fourth of July celebration.
The Timpanogos Cave National Monument allows visitors to explore the beauty of three natural limestone caverns that are connected by man made tunnels. Also nearby is the Sundance Resort, Robert Redford's 6,000-acre retreat in Provo Canyon. This retreat features skiing, dining, summer theatre, hiking, fishing, art workshops and concerts. These are just a few of the many attractions in and around Provo.
The mountains surrounding Provo provide for all types of recreation including hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, hunting and fishing. In the winter, the mountains provide some of the best skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling in the world. During the spring and summer, the area offers water sports of every kind. The Provo River is known for its premier trout fishing.
There are numerous shopping areas located throughout the city. Downtown Provo offers a number of unique retail stores, art galleries and a variety of restaurants. The University Mall and the Shops at Riverwoods feature a number of large retailers, retail stores and entertainment.
The history of Provo dates back to the time of the Ute Indians, the initial inhabitants of the area. The Indians settled in villages close to the lake both for protection from other tribes and also to be close to their primary source of food - fish from the lake. The first European settlers in the area were Spaniards in 1776. Fur trappers and traders frequented the area in the early decades of the nineteenth century. It is from one of these trappers, Etienne Provost, that Provo takes its name.
The modern history of Provo dates back to 1849 when the first Mormon colony in Utah outside of Salt Lake Valley settled in the area. In 1875, Brigham Young Academy was founded. This institution later changed its name to Brigham Young University and has played an integral part in the growth of the Provo area. Today, Provo has grown from being known as a quiet, small Mormon city to a thriving metropolitan area with an excellent quality of life.
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