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

Matthew Martinez (21 months ago)
Tip: book tickets in advance! This majestic, Gothic-style Cathedral contains a new century's desire to serve as a place of reflection, worship, and community. We pray for new presidents taking office and we pray for presidents that pass away at this cathedral. The beauty enshrined needs special guidance from the knowledgeable highlights tour. The stained-glass windows contain contemporary ideas fused with old techniques. The main circular stained-glass window contains the moments after "God said: let there be light" from Genesis. It captures the wonder of those words along with the artist's idea of the Big Bang. There is another stained-glass window that contains a piece of moon rock and planets around the display. President Woodrow Wilson is interred at the cathedral. The surrounding columns truly capture the old-world style and give a sense of wonder with the space. The ambulatory contains many beautiful works and a POW/MIA chapel. The main altar contains Jesus at the center with the various ways His followers can inherit the Kingdom mentioned in Matthew 25. The crypt contains more beautiful chapels. Take the elevator up to see the DC skyline. The beauty of the façade can be appreciated with ample time to see all of the splendor the builders wanted to capture. Take time to find Darth Vader as well.
Christopher Hansen (22 months ago)
The National Cathedral was full of so much love that my soul radiated and filled my spirit with hope and love. I was in town with friends to march at the March For Our Lives, and we paid respects to Parkland school at the national Vigil. While attending, after the services, I met the priest, and he was a gem. He let me know about the Pulse Vigil held at the same location, and he was also the same man that laid Matthew Shepard to rest peacefully a couple months back. So much love, faith, history, and art to experience. If you like this post, please give thumbs up and like. Thank you.
M Brewbocker (22 months ago)
This is a national treasure. I felt overwhelmed by the beauty, solemnity, and power. I am amazed that a structure created by man can create such a sublime experience. The staff were very helpful and the tour was super informative. Well worth 12 bucks.
Edward Blum (22 months ago)
A magnificent building, on one of the highest points in Washington. One of the largest venues for speeches, music and funerals. Acoustics have been improved, especially with electronic assistance - so even chamber music and smaller singing groups are relatively audible and clear. Now has a large underground parking garage to augment the few parking places on the grounds.
Kathy Kilgore (23 months ago)
Sunday worship anywhere is essential but to worship at the cathedral - well, I have no words grand enough to explain. We were greeted as sisters in Christ, not as visitors. We praised Jesus in song and prayer and listened to the sermon, then praised more! I sincerely wish every person on this earth would come to know Jesus as Lord, so visit the cathedral the next time you are in DC, and visit a local church this week. The stained glass windows were beautiful. The variety of worship spaces within the cathedral was a surprise, ranging from small intimate chapels to the prime sanctuary. Every inch of this glorious space has been decorated to bring Glory to God. I hope you can experience it first hand soon
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