Last week I was in the Washington DC area and I spent most of my evenings downtown. On one of those nights, I went to the beautiful Washington National Cathedral (officially the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul).
As you all know, I am not a religious person, but some churches have amazing architecture (which is why I go into so many of them). This one has to be at the top of the list (world wide). It is the sixth largest cathedral in the world. It is made of limestone from Indiana giving it a bright white appearance. It was done in a wonderful Gothic architectural style and design that is unique and not copied from any earlier buildings. Congress formed the Cathedral Foundation in 1893, but the first building foundation stone was laid in 1907 in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt. It was completed in 1990 (83 years later) when the final piece was placed with President George H.W. Bush watching.
I don’t remember exactly, but it has something like 8 separate individual chapels inside, all with their own unique style and purpose. It also has amazing large stained glass windows throughout the building, but the big ones lining the main (nave) level are all completely different from each other. They all have their own theme, including one dedicated to the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. A stained glass window with planets and space scene seemed out of place within the cathedral. This window caught my eye and I tracked down a volunteer to ask about it. This window has an actual moon rock from the Apollo 11 mission built into the glass.
There are multiple levels, some of which are off limits to the public. But you can go up into the front towers to an observation deck to look out over the city. Plus the main level and lower Crypt level are open for self guided tours. There are also a number of statues around the building and outside gardens featuring past Presidents.
As you can see from my photo, they are still repairing the structure from the damage caused in the 2011 earthquake (note the repair work to the Washington Monument is completed). They have another year to go before all the repair work is done and there is still a bunch of scaffolding inside and out at this point. They currently still have a black netting up inside the Nave level to catch any stray stones that might fall on people. This netting will come down once the repairs are complete and the beautiful vaulted ceiling will be visible again. I could keep going, but I’ll stop now. Just beautiful!!