The most impressive part of the North Elevation of the National Cathedral is a rose window put on the end of the northern transept. A rose window, the charactaristic feauture of Gothic churches, is a circular stained glass window, with mullions and traceries generally radiating from the centre. Its origin is to be found in the Roman oculus (the...more
I paid attention to numerous works of art in the Washington National Cathedral: wood carvings, architectural sculptures, mosaics and wrought iron pieces. There are also more than 1,500 separate pieces of needlepoint in the Cathedral, some of them are very large in size. Needlepoint is a form of canvas work created on a mesh canvas, something of a...more
Rose window is a round window with a rose-like pattern. Washington National Cathedral has three rose windows of which the West Rose above the west front portal, called the Creation Rose, is made of more than 10,500 pieces of stained glass. An extraordinary artist Rowan LeCompte spent over 30 years creating 45 of the 215 stained glass windows in the...more
I like an organ (Johann Sebastian Bach :-), saxophone (Kenny G = Kenneth Gorelick :-) and trumpet (Louis Armstrong :-) most of all single musical instruments I have ever heard. Thus I certainly wanted to hear sounds of the 10,650-pipe Great Organ in the Washington National Cathedral. But the organ recitals were given excusively on Sunday after 5 pm...more
The rose Space Window with the stained glass called “Scientists and Technicians Window” commemorates man’s first steps on the moon and America’s exploration of space. It's put on the south aisle of the Washington National Cathedral and contains a piece of lunar rock that was presented to the Cathedral by the astronauts of Apollo 11, the first...more
I coudn't take a good picture of the whole southern side of the Washington National Cathedral because it's located almost on the edge of downhill of Mount Saint Alban covered by the Bishop's Garden. And keep in mind that the exterior of the Cathedral is almost the length of two football fields. I've got to know that the Cathedral weighs 150,000...more
The southern transept of the Washington National Cathedral ends with facade with impressive portal over steps and huge southern rose window called the Space Window or "Scientists and Technicians Window" above. Its side walls are supported by well seen, powerful flying buttresses.Most of the cathedral is constructed using gray Indiana limestone....more
I had to walk a bit up to get to the cathedral. First I saw its North Elevation. It is well seen from the distance and gives a visitor good orientation on how the cathedral is designed. Washington National Cathedral is a cross-shaped church and consists of a very long rectangular west-east oriented mass intersected by a transept put closer to the...more
There is the modest in size baptistry next to the southern entrance to the Washington national Cathedral. Well, I used to see large baptistries, sometimes forming the seperate building in Europe, like for example the famous and the most impressive baptistry I have ever seen in Parma, Italy. Well, this one in the National Cathedral is decorated with...more
I entered the National Cathedral through the North Transept. At first, I saw on a wall: US national flag by a white marble tablet erected by the Daughter of the American Revolution "To the glory of God and in honour of the signers of the constitution of the United States of America." The tablet showed the list of signatories of the United States...more
When I finally managed to park my car (details in my Warnings Or Dangers tip) in Cleveland Park and got off the car first of all my ears relaxed and enjoyed loud sing of somewhere hidden birds. I was in an upclass, green district full of fall trees and pretty houses. Up the street I saw towers of the Washington National Cathedral partly hidden...more
The grounds upon which the Washington National Cathedral stands are called "a close." I found it a bit strange. As I know, in Shakespeare's language the noun close means a road, usually with private houses, not open at one end. Anyway, this fifty-nine acres area is home to the offices of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, 3 schools, a college,...more
I walked South Road from the West Facade along the southern elevation of the Washington National Cathedral. First I visited a charming shop located in the Herb Cottage (details in my shopping tip) and saw pretty tiny sculpture of a child by the cottage (open my next pictures). Then I walked along a stone wall to the gate located just opposite to...more
The Bethlehem Chapel is absolutely the most beautiful place I have seen in the Washington National Cathedral. The cathedral foundation stone which came from a field near Bethlehem and was inset into a larger piece of American granite was laid in this place. The underground chapel located below the nave was the first completed part of the cathedral,...more
Gargoyle is a waterspout, usually in the form of an ugly creature, sticking out from the gutter of a building. I wonder whether you know how it's called in your native language (if it's not English). I didn't know the Polish name but now I know that it derives from unpleasant word vomitting :-). Anyway, I had a lot of fun looking for and taking...more
It's said that the west end of the Gothic (mostly) Washington National Cathedral, completed in 1990, is reminiscent of Bristol Cathedral. Well, the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity which is the Anglican cathedral in the English city of Bristol and is commonly known as Bristol Cathedral looks different in details (compare the...more
The Good Shepherd Chapel located in the crypt is the smallest and the most modest chapel of the Washington National Cathedral. It's open daily 6 am - 10 pm for private prayer whereas the other, larger chapels may be close for service (check up-to-date schedule here). There is nothing there but a sculpture of a shepherd with his lamb which...more
The rectangular Resurrection Chapel in the crypt of the Washington National Cathedral is decorated with colorful mosaics portraying the apperances of Jesus ofter his resurrection. Similarly to the the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea it's built in Romanesque style but looks like the older one. The semicircular shape of the mosaic put behind and up...more
I reached the crypt level of the Washington National Cathedral by descending the Parclose Stairs. I had to get next steps down to enter the large, impressive, arched interior of the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea. It's the deepest chapel in the crypt located directly under the crossing and the center belltower. The round pillar in the center is...more
I was very surprised when I got to know that the construction of the Washington National Cathedral took 83 (!) years from 1907 until 1990 although the idea for a national cathedral was as old as Washington itself. It was born in 1791, when US Congress selected the site to be the capital of the United States. More, I still saw (in 2004) scaffoldings...more
The Washington National Cathedral is is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and the second largest in the United States after Saint John's in New York City. St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is the largest church in the world. The cathedral has two levels: - the Nave (Main Level) - the Crypt (Lower Level).It's impossible to get lost on the main...more
Cleveland Park is located northwest of downtown Washington, DC, approximately 3 miles (5 km) from the White House (map here). It would be rather long walk, not interesting, rather boring in the beginning and uphill in the end. Better do not waste you time. I got there by car.
It was not difficult to get from downtown Washington DC to the Washington National Cathedral in Cleveland Park. This time luckily navigating was quite easy. The key name is Massachusetts Avenue which goes northwest from Union Station to the cathedral, at the ebd of the itinerary watch and follow the sign, turn right to Wisconsin Avenue, the Cathedral is up on your right. Well, the only problem was counting all those numerous (10!) streets (take 5th) leaving huge roundabout (unique in the USA) called Dupont Circle. This Dupont had to be really someone great and probably French as they love roundabouts in France. Well, problems started when I finally teached the cathedral hill. Read my Warnings Or Dangers tip.
Get driving directions from here
BY METRO + METROBUS/FOOT :-)
Take a red line metro to Tenleytown/AU station (map here) and take any "30" series bus going south on Wisconsin Avenue or walk. It's 1.5 half mile (2.5 km) downhill walk. Details here
Details on public transportation in my Washington DC's Transportation tips.
This charming shop is located in the Herb Cottage which was completed as the temporary baptistry of Washington National Cathedral in 1904, several years before the Cathedral itself was begun. Then "the Old Baptistry" served in the beginning as a small shop for plants and seeds under the auspices of the All Hallows Guild and eventually by 1958 the...more
This large museum store offers religious and non-religious gift items, music CDs and tapes, reproductions reflective of this Gothic Cathedral, and books. It's open daily from 9.30 am until 5.00 pm. I paid attention to Christmas decorations, books on the cathedral (expensive) and replicas of a Cathedral gargoyle (from some $10 up). As usual in...more
There were some places to park a car very close to the cathedral edifice but they were decorated with those signs with a red mysterious writing: "tow away" and below "if towed..." and very expensive phone number. Hmm... "tow away" is a basic English phrase to learn for a foreign driver.
As I had already known it I started to drive in my usual in Europe way when I look for parking place. I drove cirle way always right starting from smaller circles to larger ones. I didn't have exact map of the area but free map of Washington, DC. Well, in case of getting lost I had a software map in my laptop in a trunk. Anyway, driving along long rows of parked cars I thought how many cars the locals had per one family/house, 5 or more?
When I finally found a gap exactly for my long (in my European mind) car and parked the car almost in Paris style (bumper to bumper) I noticed small, funny, suprisingly yellow not red, vertical pipe just by the back door. Oh my God, I surely knew well that parking by any hydrant is strictly forbidden in the USA. More, your car maybe towed away that must be very expensive, I guess. Well, just in case of real fire of a house you might be charged of possible loss, poor you and your kids in that case. Hmm... in some European regions (if you drive more to south and east in Europe) noone cares about any hydrants.
OK. No way, I continued "circulating" and after maybe long 20 min. I was lucky to find place for my tired Buick Le Sabre, by coincidence even not very far from the cathedral, maybe some 500 yards along 36th street (map here).
Now, I got to know that 18-month garage construction project began in July 2005, details here. Bravo! I knew that the USA was a car country :-) although temporarily the construction may cause even more problems.
Luggage and bags:
If you you want to walk downhill and back up squeeze your luggage to minimum especially when you unluckily weigh some extra kilograms/pounds more than you would like to.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Shoes? Yes, it's not a mosque. Clothing? What you want but do have something on, it's pretty cold inside in summer and you may always meet some conservative madams. Check my next pictures, please. Weather gear? I needed umbrella in October.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: It's a civilized country, no worries :-). There is a toilet paper (soft one and with nice aroma) and hand dryers in toilets, opps... restrooms.
Photo Equipment: To take good quality pictures inside the cathedral take a tripod although I didn't see any crazies carrying tripods. Well, if you have a large, heavy camera fix it to higher speed in a digital one or choose appropriate film, say 400 DIN (= lower quality as well), keep your camera steady and... good luck; excuse, no chance (look at my picture) if you suffer from Parkinsonism though.
If you want to take mysterious pictures with a fog don't go to Foggy Bottom (it's a sunny district) but just to Cleveland Park.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: No camping or picknicking in cathedral grounds! And just in case... do not enter any private property, you maybe shot at place, it's the Federal City :-).
Miscellaneous: Keep smiling :-) God loves it and you :-)
If it didn't start to rain I would probably take longer walk off the beaten path around Cleveland Park. Although with all those additional kilograms (pounds) I had unfortunatelly gained doing nothing (read: writing VT-pages) I didn't want to go too far downhill. Anyway, I eventually took a short trip down the Bishop's Garden of the National Cathedral and along residential streets as well. I enjoyed especially concert which local birds gave for me. It's strange but those small birds, hidden among tree branches occupied only some trees and completely ignored others of the same species. Why? Anyway, I think that I have seen official bird of Washington, DC called Wood Thrush but I am not a bird specialist (except for roasted chicken).
The other my (even more Urszula's) enjoyable activity in upclass, residential American neighbourhoods was looking at beautiful and kitchy (well, it's a matter of taste), larger and smaller, highly ordered and somewhat messed houses and frontyards. I was always fascinated by diversity and quite often by good taste of their owners or designers (in upclass districts!).
Unfortunatelly in Cleveland park I was at the beginning of my long Southern oddysey thus I wasn't yet so crazy to take pictures of private houses although quite many were worth of it in Cleveland Park. It usually takes me a few days to catch the full photography bug especially for taking pictures of human beings and their properties haha. But at least I took a picture of house entrance decorated for incoming Halloween. These large round vegetables with orange flesh are called pumpkins. Well, well, Americans, believe or not, there are quite many people on our planet (and on VT) who have never seen any pumpkin besides it's a key word for everyone visiting the USA in October haha. Warning: in the South locals pronounce "pumpkin" a bit different than in DC :-).