Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C.

5 out of 5 stars 13 Reviews

1145 17th Street Northwest

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  • View from the university
    View from the university
    by alycat
  • The Basilica on a snowy day
    The Basilica on a snowy day
    by alycat
  • The magnificent basilica
    The magnificent basilica
    by alycat
  • Africancrab's Profile Photo

    Outstanding Architecture and Interior Decor

    by Africancrab Written Jul 23, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The front of the Basilica

    This is an incredibly beautiful church. I wrote an independent review, please take a look. Throughout the interior of the Basilica, images of the Blessed Virgin Mary is seen. She is highlighted especially as the Patronese of China. The wide used of mosaics is in following with the Byzantine tradition. The Basilica’s original design was meant to be Neo-Gothic, resembling a 14th-century French cathedral however, that changed to a fusion of Romanesque and Byzantine styles aimed at separating America’s national shrine from other existing forms, thus making it unique to America.

    Pope Pius X, approved plans for the initial construction in 1913; it was to be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Our lady of the conception). A generous contribution of four hundred dollars was made by the Vatican towards its construction. It is the largest Roman Catholic Church in the United States, an awe inspiring structure with magnificent features. What was interesting to see inside at the Crypt level was the seat used by Pope Benedict XVI when he visited the Shrine.

    My favorite part of the Shrine was the Crypt level and the Crypt church itself. It is the oldest part of the Basilica dating back to its initial foundation. Its elegance is understated but unmistakable.

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Basilica of the National Shrine

    by Tom_Fields Written Oct 13, 2008

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    The Basilica of the National Shrine
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    The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Roman Catholic Church in all of North America. It's a truly awe-inspiring sight, visible for miles. Visited by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, it is the nation's pre-eminent Marian shrine, and one of Washington's most visited places.

    Completed in the early 1920s, it is built in the eastern Romanesque or Byzantine style (a bit like St Sophia in old Constantinople). The Great Dome is 108 feet in diameter, and the height of the campanile (tower) is 329 feet. One of the world's ten largest churches, it can accomodate 6,000 people.

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  • mattreider's Profile Photo

    Catholic University Bascilica

    by mattreider Written Nov 4, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Although it has been closed every time I go to look at it, the National Bascilica is what you would expect as a large church in a large city. What you don't expect is the cobalt blue dome.

    An important Marian shrine that took over a century to build to its present state, it receives millions of pilgrims from around the country and the world each year. It is located at 400 Michigan Avenue in northeastern Washington, DC on land donated by Catholic University of America. Construction continues today. It is designated as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.

    The architecture of the Bascilica is very different from the High Gothic of the National Cathedral. Check out the Gardens and GIft Shop as well.

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Basilica Immaculate Conception, Interior, Part II

    by von.otter Written Jan 24, 2010

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    National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 05/09
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    Throughout the Basilica’s interior images of the Blessed Virgin are everywhere; it is Her church after all! As a testament to the Blessed Mother’s worldwide appeal her role as Patroness of China is highlighted (see photo #5) in one mosaic.

    Following the Byzantine tradition, the use of mosaics is widely seen throughout the Basilica; they are even used to spell out the Ave Maria prayer (see photos #1). It is estimated that the mosaic decoration of interior covers 75,545 sq. ft. of the Basilica.

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Basilica of the National Shrine

    by Tom_Fields Written Oct 13, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Basilica of the National Shrine
    4 more images

    The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Roman Catholic Church in all of North America. It's a truly awe-inspiring sight, visible for miles. Visited by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, it is the nation's pre-eminent Marian shrine, and one of Washington's most visited places.

    Completed in the early 1920s, it is built in the eastern Romanesque or Byzantine style (a bit like St Sophia in old Constantinople). The Great Dome is 108 feet in diameter, and the height of the campanile (tower) is 329 feet. One of the world's ten largest churches, it can accomodate 6,000 people. Be sure to visit the Upper Church, the crypt, and Mary's Garden (outside, around back).

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  • larsy's Profile Photo

    The National Shrine

    by larsy Written Sep 12, 2002

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    A must for all Catholics, it has small Chapel coves within it like a Byzintine cove with golden icons. I recall that it had an excellent gift shop with a variety of rosaries and medals. I haven't been in six years and I think they've been doing some additional buildings. (Doesnt it kind of look like a mosque with a mineret?)

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  • kathycollins's Profile Photo

    kathycollins's Things to Do Tip

    by kathycollins Written Sep 12, 2002

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    While visiting thr National Shrine you'll see many devotions to Mary, the mother of Jesus. My favorite is this chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Ireland. It is a calming and peaceful room, with Connemara marble walls.

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  • alycat's Profile Photo

    The largest Catholic Church in United States

    by alycat Updated Mar 20, 2013

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    The magnificent basilica
    2 more images

    The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic basilica located in Washington, D.C. It is one of the largest Catholic churches in the United States and one of the tallest buildings in D.C.

    The Church is constructed on land donated by Catholic University of America, of which yours truly is a humble student!

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Basilica Immaculate Conception, The Exterior

    by von.otter Updated Jan 22, 2010
    National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
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    ALL ABOUT MARY Pope Pius IX, the same pope whose generosity for the Washington Monument was repaid with great meanspiritedness (see my Washington Monument Things-To-Do Tip for more detail), named the Blessed Virgin Mary patroness of the United States under the title of the Immaculate Conception.

    Pius X in 1913 approved plans for building a national shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin in the United States. The Vatican made a $400 contribution toward its construction; other funds were raised by parishes in the United States.

    Originally, the Basilica’s design was to be Neo-Gothic, resembling a 14th-century French cathedral. Fusing the Romanesque and Byzantine styles was meant to separate America’s national shrine from already existing forms, to be something unique.

    I attended Sunday Mass here. It was really quite easy to reach on the Metro.

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Basilica Immaculate Conception, Interior, Part I

    by von.otter Updated Jan 24, 2010
    National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
    3 more images

    Throughout the Basilica’s interior images of the Blessed Virgin are everywhere; it is Her church after all!

    Thank God, or Mary, for the Roman Catholic Church’s dedication to the arts. The glorious gold mosaics in one of the Basilica’s more than 70 chapels show the Virgin in Her many patroness positions, such as the Our Lady of Vilnius (see photo #1).

    Following the Byzantine tradition, the use of mosaics is widely seen throughout the Basilica (see photos #1 to #4). It is estimated that the mosaic decoration of interior covers 75,545 sq. ft. of the Basilica.

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  • neilepi's Profile Photo

    Be sure to visit the Crypt Church

    by neilepi Written Oct 12, 2008
    The Crypt Church of The Basilica

    The Basilica of the National Shrine is impressive. How could the largest Catholic church in North America and THE largest repository of mosaic art in the world not be? For me, though, it is not the Great Upper church which caught my imagination and inspired me. No, it was the much smaller but more intimate crypt church which has made each of my several visits worthwhile.

    The Crypt Church is the oldest part of the Basilica, dating back to the time of the founding in 1920. It is ornate but in an elegant, understated, way with muted earth tones in beige, gold, brown and cream.

    The low vaulted ceiling, pillars and tiles create an atmosphere which is more intimate than any other Catholic church that I have found in America, and I have visited quite a few.

    I highly recommend a visit, perhaps even more than one if time permits.

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  • d6676's Profile Photo

    Shrine of the Immaculate...

    by d6676 Written Sep 7, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
    The largest Catholic church in the US and the 8th largest in the world.

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  • heloise's Profile Photo

    heloise's Things to Do Tip

    by heloise Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Catholic Basilica is a wonderful work of art in itself. Inside, you'll find beautiful altars and niches dedicated to different saints. The tilework is extensive and well worth the visit!!!!!

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