Visit Darth Vader Spotted at Washington National Cathedral

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Darth Vader Spotted at Washington National Cathedral

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My daughter and I took a quick trip to the Washington National Cathedral around lunch time during the week. We were virtually alone. But the one person we spoke to is a gentleman, who is national parks tour guide. He told us all about the church. Did you know that the Washington National Cathedral is the first and last great cathedral built in the 20th century? The Cathedral was built using the original Gothic construction methods just like Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The Washington National Cathedral aka The Nation’s Cathedral is an architectural jewel. One interesting tidbit is that this Cathedral will outlast all other. He told us that if all the great US cathedrals went without maintenance, this is the cathedral that would outlast all others. Furthermore, due to the construction, the National Cathedral is likely to survive all cathedrals in the world.

Washington National Cathedral, Washington DC

The architectural techniques that created the Notre Dame were somehow lost through the centuries and rediscovered in the 20th-century to build this magnificent building. It makes it the only 2oth century cathedral and the last. The wonder of the building still amazes visitors every day. Even after the earthquake many years ago which dislodged some of the gargoyles, the Washington National Cathedral remains structurally sound.

The National Place of Worship

The only thing that differs in the techniques of this Cathedral and all other great gothic cathedrals is electricity and power tools built the church while the others used hand tools. Some Cathedrals may look like they are made using the same technique. For example, Saint Patrick’s in New York looks Gothic but uses plaster and lath to simulate the arches inside. Because of the unprecedented precision, the use of power tools, and architectural technology, the Washington Cathedral will out survive St James Cathedral in Seattle, St Patricks in New York and all others built in the USA and Europe.

Stain Glass

Keeping with tradition is important here, and it is especially important to maintain the stain glass tradition of great cathedrals. The stain glass techniques are faithful to the original methods even if the topics are modern. Inside stain glass windows dedicated to Bible stories, the resurrection and Apollo’s journey to the moon are as lovely as Notre Dame’s Rose Window.
The Washington National Cathedral

Stain glass devoted to the Apollo Moon mission and space travel

Go Around Noon

My daughter and I recommend that you visit around visiting during off hours, but, go more than once for several reasons. The first and most important is the traffic is terrible in Washington, DC. If you go at noon time, you have the best chance of avoiding DC traffic. Secondly, the number of people visiting the site is very low at lunchtime. Last but not least, the tour guides are around and free to show you around, and will give you pointers on the Cathedral. As I said, we met an excellent guide who told us about the construction and helped us out a lot with a small private tour. We thought this guide is actually, one of the highlights of the trip.

When we finished, we hurried back to home so that we could avoid the traffic. Everything in DC is always about the traffic. So be forewarned – you are going to run into traffic anywhere you go in DC.

Our Favorite Pictures

The Washington National Cathedral

Walking through the residential neighborhood to the front of the cathedral

The view as we walk to the entrance - majestic

The view as we walk to the entrance – majestic

The Washington National Cathedral

The front of the Washington National Cathedral

The Washington National Cathedral

Entering the sanctuary approaching the altar

The Washington National Cathedral

Up to the inner altar

The Washington National Cathedral

Looking back from the altar, the sheer size of the church is impressive

The Washington National Cathedral

Chapel one of many side chapels

The Washington National Cathedral

Another side chapel

The Washington National Cathedral

A baptismal naive

The Washington National Cathedral

We went to the observatory and walked it to see the surrounding neighborhood

The Washington National Cathedral

I believe the Washington National Cathedral is the greatest church built in the 20th century, maybe of all time. Please don’t miss it. P.S. you will love the Gargoyles decorating the outside of the church. Keep an eye out for Darth Vader. He is one of the Gargoyles guarding the outside of the church.

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

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