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 (technically a grotesque) on one of the Cathedral’s northwest towers.
- The Cathedral is a solid masonry construction: no structural steel supports the building.
- Limestone from the state of Indiana is the primary building material.
- The Cathedral’s central tower is the only place in North America to house both peal and carillon bells.
- The official name of Washington National Cathedral is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
- The Cathedral grounds, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., is home to one of the few old growth forests still standing in the nation’s capital: the 5-acre Olmsted Woods.
- 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
The amount the Cathedral receives from the federal government or national Episcopal Church.
The total weight of the Cathedral’s limestone
The weight of an average piece of stone at the Cathedral.
The weight of the Moses boss stone above the west balcony, the heaviest in the Cathedral
The number of boss stones in the Cathedral, which function as structural key stones
The number of angels atop the two west towers.
The diameter of the Cathedral’s largest stained glass window, the north rose.
Height of the central tower above sea level, making its top the highest point in the District of Columbia.
Height of the two west towers
Height of the central Gloria In Excelsis Deo (Central) tower
The weight of the largest of the 53 carillon bells, measuring eight feet, eight inches in diameter.
Number of gargoyles on the Cathedral.
Number of stained glass windows in the Cathedral.
Number of pieces of glass it took to construct the west rose window.
Number of needlepoint pieces in the Cathedral.
Number of pipes in the Great Organ.
The number of people interred in the Cathedral, including President Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller.
How many visitors and worshippers come to the Cathedral each year.