From its 112 gargoyles to the 215 stained glass windows, the Cathedral features a dizzying array of whimsy and wonder

Did you know?

  • The Space Window on the south aisle of the Cathedral contains a piece of lunar rock.
  • There is a sculpture of Darth Vader on the Cathedral.
  • The Cathedral’s central tower is the only place in North America to house both peal and carillon bells.
  • The Cathedral labyrinth is a medieval design based on the one in the floor of the nave at Chartres Cathedral in France.
  • The official name of Washington National Cathedral is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
  • The Cathedral is home to one of the few old growth forests still standing in the nation’s capital, Olmsted Woods, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.
  • The Cathedral was completed 83 years to the day after it was begun (September 29, 1907–September 29, 1990).
  • The first tract of land for the Cathedral site (30 acres) was purchased in 1898 for $245,000. Two other parcels of land were purchased later, bringing the total cost to $291,427 and the total area to 57 acres.
  • Washington National Cathedral is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and the second largest in the United States. (The largest Church in the world is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The largest cathedral in the United States is Saint John the Divine in New York City.)

By the numbers

  • $65 million: how much it cost to build the Cathedral.
  • $0: The amount the Cathedral receives from the federal government or national Episcopal Church.
  • 150,000 tons: the total weight of the Cathedral
  • 300 pounds: The weight of an average piece of stone at the Cathedral.
  • 5.5 tons: The weight of the Moses boss stone above the west balcony, the heaviest in the Cathedral
  • 762: the number of boss stones in the Cathedral, which function as structural key stones
  • 288: number of angels atop the two west towers.
  • 26 feet: the diameter of the Cathedral’s largest stained glass window, the north rose.
  • 676 feet: Height of the central tower above sea level, making its top the highest point in the District of Columbia.
  • 24,000 pounds: the weight of the largest of the 53 carillon bells, measuring eight feet, eight inches in diameter.
  • 112: the number of gargoyles on the Cathedral.
  • 215: the number of stained glass windows in the Cathedral.
  • 10,500+: how many pieces of glass it took to construct the west rose window.
  • 234 feet: Height of the two west towers
  • 301 feet: Height of the central Gloria In Excelsis Deo tower
  • 1,500+: number of needlepoint pieces in the Cathedral.
  • 10,650: number of pipes in the Great Organ.
  • 220+: The number of people interred in the Cathedral, including President Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller.
  • 418,000: How many visitors and worshippers come to the Cathedral each year.

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