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Washington, DC: Gargoyles, and Darth Vader

USA versions of medieval freaks and monsters festoon Washington National Cathedral. Darth Vader was added in the 1980s after suggested by children. He's near the top of the northwest tower between two arches, but you'll need binoculars or a telephoto lens to see him.

Washington National Cathedral

3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC
Washington National Cathedral. On the east side of Wisconsin Ave. NW just north of Massachusetts Ave. NW. Darth Vader is near the top of the northwest tower between two arches, but you'll need binoculars or a telephoto lens to see him.
M-F 10 am - 5:30 pm, Sa 10 am -4:30 pm, Su 8 am - 6:30 pm. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Visitor Tips and News About Gargoyles, and Darth Vader

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Gargoyles, Washington National Cathedral

I got a guided tour with a walking group, that included a person with a tripod and zoom lens. A lot of the gargoyles and grotesques are up high, and the show better with a little shade, ie not noon light. Binoculars are helpful. Some near person level on the women's entrance to the cathedral on the side.

[Toby, 07/25/2014]

The Master Carver.

Gargoyles, Washington National Cathedral

The National Cathedral is the 6th largest cathedral in the world and likely to be the last Gothic cathedral ever built. It has 112 gargoyles (rain-diversion devices with a spout) and over 1,000 other grotesques (without a spout). When people think of gargoyles, most envision monsters and dragons and the like. Many of the National Cathedral gargoyles, on the contrary, are very whimsical and quirky. For example, the "Angelic and the Mischievous Grandsons" and "The Birdwatcher" were suggested by their respective donors. "The Master Carver" with a devil hoof and steam rising from his head is one of the stone carver's representation of the boss.

Angelic gargoyle gets into the cookie jar.

All 112 gargoyles can be seen here. They're arranged in just the right way to help visitors find the gargoyles while they walk around this beautiful building.

[Marv Solberg, 11/25/2007]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Moon Rock in a Church WindowMoon Rock in a Church Window, Washington, DC - < 1 mi.
Big Green ChairBig Green Chair, Washington, DC - 1 mi.
Rock Beats Scissors: Mandela vs ChurchillRock Beats Scissors: Mandela vs Churchill, Washington, DC - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Defiant POW Capt. Rocky Versace Memorial, Alexandria, VA - 7 mi.

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