The Washington National Cathedral

The National Cathedral, completed in 1990, is the culmination of a two-century-long plan for a majestic Gothic style cathedral. The Cathedral is 57 acres. The cathedral consists of a long narrow rectangular mass, the eight bay nave and the five bay chancel, intersected by a six bay transept. Above the crossing, rising just over 300 feet above grade, is the Gloria in Excelsis Tower. The Cathedral is the sixth largest in the world, second largest in the United States. The top of the tower is the highest point in DC.

Included among the many, many grotesques (carvings) located on the National Cathedral is one of Darth Vader from Star Wars. The gargoyles on the building act as drains, as each gargoyle has a pipe running through its mouth. The grotesques are similar ornamental carvings but without the pipes. Darth Vader is located on the back of one of the front towers, the tower on the left from the viewpoint of a person looking at the front of the Cathedral.

National Cathedral stone mason Joe Alonso impacts people's souls with stonework. CNN's Kim Uhl and Chris Ford report.

Washington National Cathedral, whose official name is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. It is of neogothic design, and it is the sixth largest cathedral in the world, the second largest in the United States, and the fourth tallest structure in Washington, D.C.

The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, under the leadership of the nine Bishops of Washington, erected the cathedral under a charter passed by the United States Congress on January 6, 1893. Construction began on September 29, 1907, when the foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and a crowd of more than 20,000. Construction lasted 83 years. The last finial was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990. The foundation operates and funds the cathedral, which does not receive government funding.

The cathedral is located at Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues in the northwest quadrant of Washington. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2007, it was ranked third on the List of America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

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