Washington D.C. is a city of history and landmarks. Although it is primarily associated with buildings involved in the United States' government, since it is the nation's capital, political structures are not the only things it has to offer. Incredibly, one of the largest and most prominent buildings in the city is not involved in the government at all, but is in fact a church- the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Any tour of the city should stop at this remarkable structure, and you can take home our professional image of it for display on your refrigerator.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is impressive in size alone. Even its name looms above the titles of other buildings! It is in fact the tallest building in Washington D.C., and that is not the only honor its size lends it. It is also the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and is among the top ten largest churches in the world. It can seat 3500 people for masses or other services, and its grand dome is over 100 feet in diameter.
Of course, the shrine has more to offer visitors than its grand size and architecture. It was conceived as a project to honor the Virgin Mary, often seen as the patroness of the United States. It took 40 years for the church to be built after a design was chosen, though those were not years of constant construction- the building was affected by the Great Depression and WWII in its ability to gather resources. However, people remained committed to finishing it, and it was finally dedicated in 1959. Since then, it has been visited by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI and honored by both of them.