What to See

West Elevation

Rose Window

The “Creation” Rose window contains more than 10,000 pieces of glass and celebrates when God declared, “Let there be light.”

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Ex Nihilo

“Ex Nihilo” by sculptor Frederick Hart captures the dawn of humankind and focuses visitors on the Cathedral’s creation story.

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St Peter

St. Peter is often depicted as the most “human” of Jesus’ followers -- stubborn, rash and yet the pillar of the Church.

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St Paul

St. Paul persecuted the early church, but found himself a new creation in Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus.

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Yuppie Gargoyle

The Yuppie gargoyle was given in honor of a prominent New York corporate executive, who was delighted with the finished product.

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State Symbol Gargoyle

State symbols abound at Washington National Cathedral, including the Missouri bear and the St. Louis Arch.

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Space Window

The “Scientists and Technicians Window” commemorates America’s exploration of space and man’s first steps on the moon.

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War Memorial Chapel

A tribute to members of the Armed Services, War Memorial Chapel tells stories of sacrifice and the struggle for freedom.

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Wilson Bay

Woodrow Wilson is the only U.S. President buried in the District of Columbia.

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Jackson-Lee

The memorial to two Confederate generals has become the subject of recent controversy.

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Church Triumphant

The south rose window, the Church Triumphant, contains imagery from Revelation and St. John’s vision of the throne of God.

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St. John’s Chapel

The chapel’s red needlepoint kneelers recognize noted Americans with symbols of their contributions to our national life.

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Central Tower

Each of the four grand pinnacles atop the central tower will need to be restored or recarved following the 2011 earthquake.

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Carillon

The Cathedral is the only church in North America that houses a 10-bell peal and a carillon in a single tower.

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Bishop Gargoyle

A cathedral is a cathedral because it is the bishop’s church. So it’s only natural that one of the gargoyles features a bishop.

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"Evil Too" Gargoyle

This “Evil Too” gargoyle was carved after a student at Mt. Holyoke College won a nationwide contest.

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Last Judgment Rose Window

The largest and oldest of the three rose windows includes a life-sized figure of Christ sitting in judgment at its center.

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St. Mary’s Chapel

The stained glass windows in this chapel depict the parables of Jesus while the altar reredos reflects scenes from Mary’s life.

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Vader

The most popular site at the Cathedral? A stone carving of Darth Vader, installed in 1986 on the north “dark” side of the Cathedral.

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Central tower

Each of the four grand pinnacles atop the central tower will need to be restored or recarved following the 2011 earthquake

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Peal Bells

The Cathedral’s 10 peal bells don’t produce music that you could sing along with, but it’s a sound you’ll never forget.

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Flying Buttress

They look like mini bridges or arms surrounding the cathedral. But what purpose do they serve?

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Pinnacles

Sure, pinnacles are decorative and intricately carved, but they also serve a key purpose in Gothic architecture.

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“The Master Carver” Gargoyle

“The Master Carver” is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Cathedral’s master carver, Roger Morigi.

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American Rattlesnake Gargoyle

The American Rattlesnake was meant to represent American wildlife and one of the country’s first flags in the fight for independence.

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Flying Buttress

They look like mini bridges or arms surrounding the cathedral. But what purpose do they serve?

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Saints Carving

The figures carved into the Cathedral’s eastern wall include its two patron saints and St. John, all looking for the Second Coming of Christ.

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Bethlehem Chapel

Bethlehem Chapel was the first portion of the Cathedral to be completed, in 1912. Services have been held daily ever since.

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Christ in Majesty Window

The Christ in Majesty window completes the Cathedral narrative that begins with creation and ends in the redemption of the world through Christ.

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