Washington National Cathedral, United States (with Map & Photos)

Detailed information about the attraction. Description, photographs and a map showing the nearest significant objects. The name in English is Washington National Cathedral.

The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, which belongs to the Episcopal Church, is called the Washington National Cathedral by the Americans. The adopted and almost official name emphasizes the importance of the temple for the whole country. It is no coincidence that Congress named this cathedral, the sixth largest in the world and the second largest in the United States, the National House of Prayer. It was the funeral service for presidents, senators, astronauts, victims of wars and disasters, here Martin Luther King delivered his last Sunday sermon, here during the Second World War they prayed for the whole nation.

Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral

The huge building of Indian limestone in the neo-Gothic style looks old, but was built in the 20th century. Although the idea of ​​erecting a national cathedral was born during the planning of Washington by the architect Pierre Lanfant, construction began only in 1907. Emphasizing the importance of the future cathedral, the highest place in the city was allocated for it. President Theodore Roosevelt spoke at laying the foundation. The temple was built for 83 years - it was completely finished only in 1990.

Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral

Over the years, the cathedral has been designed by various architects, from George Frederick Bodley to Philip Hubert Frohman, but the building does not look eclectic. The influence of medieval Gothic (mainly English) is visible in everything - in pointed arches, buttresses, flying buttresses, stained glass windows, carved stone decorations and three towers. The central tower "Glory to God in the highest" is 206 meters high and is one of the highest points in Washington. It can be climbed by 333 steps of a spiral staircase - it is not easy, but the views of Washington DC are worth it.

The building is replete with decorations: wood carvings, wrought iron details, reliefs, frescoes, mosaics. There are 112 gargoyles, 288 figures of angels, 231 stained-glass windows. Of the stained-glass windows, the most famous is the so-called space one, dedicated to the landing of a man on the moon (a fragment of lunar rock is embedded in the image). The main altar is made of stones brought from the Jerusalem quarry of King Solomon, where, as many believe, stones for the First Temple were mined. In the floor in front of the altar, ten slabs are embedded from the cave of Moses on Mount Sinai, in which, according to legend, he was waiting to receive the Ten Commandments.

Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral

Among the numerous gargoyles and chimeras there is an unexpected sculpture - the head of Darth Vader, the protagonist of the Star Wars movie epic. In the 1980s, the administration of the cathedral, together with the children's magazine National Geographic World, announced a competition for the best chimera. One of the winners, a Nebraska boy, drew Darth Vader as a symbol of evil. The movie hero was sculpted by the sculptor Jay Hall Carpenter, who has been decorating the cathedral for twenty years. A tourist who wants to see such an unusual sculpture for a church should leave the cathedral through the wooden doors that are near the statue of Abraham Lincoln, turn right and turn around to the nearest (north-western) tower. It's nice to have binoculars with you - Darth Vader is very high up.