Join me for a private tour of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Our tour guide will walk us through the upper church level and the crypt level.
About the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception:
In 1846, an excerpt from a Massachusetts newspaper told of "a magnificent Catholic church [to] be built at Washington, D.C. after the manner of the great cathedrals of the Old World from subscriptions of every Catholic Parish in America.”
Spanning the late 19th, 20th and now 21st century, American Catholics would indeed build a sanctuary that rivals those of Europe and the world, not only in size but in stature as well—in sacred art, architecture, history and heritage.
Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of the Immaculate Conception, the Basilica is the nation’s preeminent Marian shrine. With over 70 chapels and oratories that relate to the peoples, cultures and traditions that are the tapestry of the Catholic faith and the mosaic of our great nation, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is indeed, America’s Catholic church.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception contains the world’s largest collection of contemporary ecclesiastical art.
The Basilica’s artistic embellishment, both inside and out, is in keeping with the Romanesque-Byzantine style of its architecture.
Romanesque art is very enthusiastic in its use of figurative or stone sculpting. The exterior of the Basilica contains both heroic size figures of saints and finely sculpted tympana and archways. Tympana sculpted in relief ornament the interior east and west entrances and various niches in the nave and chancel areas. Stained and faceted glass windows decorate both the Upper and Lower Church areas.
Byzantine art is remarkable in its use of mosaic and marble. Above the spring line, this includes the mosaic ornamentation of the seven main domes along the many side chapels and oratories. The current calculation of the mosaic interior of the Basilica is 75,545 sq. ft. Below the spring line, the church is adorned with beautiful marble claddings. The finer marbles open out allowing the marble veining to form symmetrical patterns.
The brilliant mosaics, stained glass windows, and polished stone carvings throughout the Basilica, and in its more than 70 Chapels and Oratories, express the reality of God dwellin