The largest Roman Catholic church in North America and one of the ten largest churches in the world, this unique Roman-Byzantine building is set beside the Catholic University of America. The preeminent Marian shrine in the U.S., the Basilica is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Designed by Charles D. Maginnis, an Irish-born architect famous for building churches all over America, construction of the Basilica began in 1920; delayed by financial setbacks during the Great Depression and World War II, the Basilica wasn’t formally opened to the public until 1959.
Gilded mosaic work on the ceiling of the Redemption Dome was completed in 2006, and as of 2012, the Basilica now houses a total of 70 individual chapels full of art and sacred artifacts.
1-hour guided tours of the Basilica are available from Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (no tours from 12 noon-1 p.m.) and Sun from 1:30-3:30 p.m. No tours are given on Thanksgiving or Christmas Days.