The largest Roman Catholic church in North America and one of the 10 largest churches in the world, this unique Roman-Byzantine building is set beside the Catholic University of America. The preeminent Marian shrine in the US, 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 but was delayed by financial setbacks during the Great Depression and World War II. Formally opened in 1959, the basilica today boasts gilded mosaic ceiling work in the Redemption Dome and more than 70 individual chapels full of art and sacred artifacts.
One-hour guided tours are available Monday through Saturday from 9am to 3pm (excluding between noon and 1pm) and on Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30pm. No tours are given on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.