Washington National Cathedral

Washington, D.C., United States

The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in Washington, D.C. The Neo-Gothic design was closely modeled on English Gothic style of the late 14th century. It is the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, the second-largest in the United States, and the highest as well as the fourth-tallest structure in Washington, D.C.

The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation erected the cathedral under a charter passed by the United States Congress in 1893. Construction began in 1907, when the foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and a crowd of more than 20,000, and ended 83 years later when the 'final finial' was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Decorative work, such as carvings and statuary, is ongoing as of 2011. The Foundation is the legal entity of which all institutions on the Cathedral Close are a part; its corporate staff provides services for the institutions to help enable their missions, conducts work of the Foundation itself that is not done by the other entities, and serves as staff for the Board of Trustees.

Most of the building is constructed using a buff-colored Indiana limestone over a traditional masonry core. Structural, load-bearing steel is limited to the roof's trusses (traditionally built of timber); concrete is used significantly in the support structures for bells of the central tower, and the floors in the west towers.

The pulpit was carved out of stones from Canterbury Cathedral in United Kingdom. Glastonbury Abbey provided stone for the bishop's formal seat. The high altar, the Jerusalem Altar, is made from stones quarried at Solomon's Quarry near Jerusalem, reputedly where the stones for Solomon's Temple were quarried. In the floor directly in front of that altar are set ten stones from the Chapel of Moses on Mount Sinai, representing the Ten Commandments as a foundation for the Jerusalem Altar.



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Founded: 1907-1990
Category: Religious sites in United States


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tammy Lagowski (9 months ago)
Amazing!!! The service was great the garden, while not yet all pretty and ready for spring the trees were blooming and it was well maintained. The church itself was beautiful and there was so much to see. All of the staff and people that attended were so friendly. There was no garbage laying around, signs to explain the decor etc. The stained glass windows were breath taking. The girl who sang had the voice of an angel as well. She was so good.
Charles Meyer (12 months ago)
Spectacular visit. I had visited for several events. But never realized all the beauty and complexity the Cathedral offered. I think the magic of the self guided tour was made possible by the audio device rented for $5. The audio presentation was wonderful and enlightening. It brought the building to life
Mark Weinress (12 months ago)
Beautiful cathedral for a tourist visit or for services. It is the National Cathedral of the Episcopal church (the proper name is Cathedral Church of St Peter & St Paul), but all are welcomed to attend mass. It is certainly one of the premier gothic-style religious buildings in the US, and it's grandeur and the details of the stone carving are a wonder to experience.
Larsa Rasho (14 months ago)
My DC oasis. You feel like you're in England with the structure of the church. Such a beautiful, calming, and majestic place to be. The grounds are stunning and of course the church interior will take your breath away. I attend Sunday services as often as I can. Visit if you haven't!
Chad Robbins (15 months ago)
Washington DC never ceases to amaze even me. There is always something cool around the block. If you do get a chance to visit Washington and see the Capitol, White House and other places that make this the cradle of democracy, you'll want to wash the political dust of yof you by visiting one of my favorite places in DC: National Cathedral. Astonishing in its beauty and grandeur, it is one of the top 10 largest cathedrals in the world. And, per usual in Washington DC, at the core of the massive stained glass windows is a piece of rock from the Moon gathered by the Apollo Mission. The Cathedral employed the same stone masons and artisans that built the European sisters to NC. It took over 95 years to complete.
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