The Washington National Cathedral is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. Its official name is Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington.
The building has a Neo-Gothic design and it was inspired by English Gothic style churches of the fourteenth century. It is the second-largest cathedral in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world. It is also known to be the fourth-tallest structure in Washington, D.C.
The Washington National Cathedral is located at Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues in the northwest quadrant of the D.C. It is one of the most important monuments in the city and a very popular attraction among tourists. In 2009, nearly 400,000 visitors visited it. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2007 was ranked third on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture drawn by the American Institute of Architects.
The cathedral’s main designer was George Frederick Bodley, a renowned British Gothic Revival architect, who used Canterbury as an inspiration. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. also played an important part in the cathedral’s design, since he contributed a landscaping plan for its close. Construction work stopped during World War I and New York architecture firm Frohman, Robb and Little was hired to execute the building when work resumed.
As one of the most important cathedrals in the US, the state funerals for three American Presidents have been held at the Washington National Cathedral, including President Dwight Eisenhower, President Ronald Reagan and President Gerald Ford. It was also here that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the final Sunday sermon of his life on March 31, 1968, a few days before his assassination in April 1968.