We recently spent five days in our nation's capitol, Washington DC.  Our first stop was the Washington National Cathedral.

Since the cathedral isn't in the main tourist area and some walking distance from the nearest Metro stop, I decided to book Old Town Trolley tours. The hop on/hop off trolley tour offered a relaxing, narrated tour of the city from their Welcome Center up to the cathedral. 

The Cathedral is officially known as the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. The foundation stone was laid in 1907 in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt, and the Cathedral was completed 83 years later when the final finial was placed in the presence of President George H.W. Bush. The Cathedral is the sixth largest in the world. Built of Indiana limestone, the Cathedral's architectural style is Gothic...

with pointed arches, ribbed vaulting, large windows, flying buttresses...

and characterized by great height and pointed arches. The piers soar nearly 100 feet to the vaulted ceiling. The flags hanging down represent each state in the United States, the District of Columbia and U. S. territories in the order the states entered the union. One state each week is remembered in prayer services..

These Gothic features are not only beautiful but serve a structural purpose. The weight of the roof passes downward along the vaulting and then onto the piers, where it is resisted by the flying buttresses. Because the walls do not support the weight of the roof, they can be thin and tall, permitting large windows decorated with stained glass...

Throughout the cathedral, the architecture, art, wood, stone, wrought iron and stained glass inspire. Over the next several blog posts I will show you more of the beauty of our nation's Cathedral. 

For more information visit www.nationalcathedral.org.

All photos in this blog post were taken by my husband and me during our visit in September, 2013.

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