The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
In keeping with the commitment to the Year of Adventure 2013, I ventured out to visit this place that had been on my list of places to visit for over a year now. Unwilling to let the cold weather deter me, I set out to conquer DC traffic. It was, surprisingly, easy to find and there was tons of free parking. Fabulous!
The Basilica is the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and one of the ten largest in the world and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, and Mother Teresa have visited this place and walked through its hallowed halls.
The Basilica is Byzantine-Romanesque in style and I was astounded to learn that it held within its walls, seventy chapels and oratories, that connect to the culture of America—relates to people from all walks of life.
In addition to attracting nearly one million visitors annually, the Basilica also contains the largest collection of contemporary ecclesiastical art. It was quite difficult to tell the difference between a painting and a rubbed mosaic. An example of this is below. I had to go right up to the wall on which the mosaic was made in order to tell that it was, indeed, mosaic tiles.
Pretty remarkable, right? I took hundreds of photographs while I toured this space. To keep this post as short and sweet as possible, I will do a Part Two of the Basilica at a later date. For now, be amazed at the incredible mosaics and art and architecture of a beautiful building.