Thursday, January 24, 2008


Gothic breezeway, Washington National Cathedral

Architectural structures offer so many photo opportunities. This is the breezeway on the northeastern side of Washington National Cathedral that connects the cathedral proper with church offices on the back. To the left is a quiet little garden space I'll post a picture of later.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 1/08


Anonymous said...

I really like your picture of the colonnade, or covered passageway by the Garth. That's what we call this area. A Garth is an enclosed Garden in a monastery or cathedral cloister, the cloister being a covered passage on the side of a court or monastery that is open on one or both sides.

D.C. Confidential said...

Anon: Thank you for the information! I had no idea that's what those are. A Garth... Good to know!

By the way, I love a good alliteration and Gothic cathedrals are proving full of them:

Gothic gargoyles and grotesques gardening in Garths of grandeur greet the garrulous and graciously guarantee reverential gratitude...

Oh yes! Very good!

Thanks for stopping by. I learned something new today and that's always a very, very good thing in my book!

Lara said...

what a wonderful framing!

Bobbie said...

I'm enjoying reading and seeing these pictures of the National Cathedral. This building will last and be an ancient artifact someday.

Bev said...

At first I thought this was a the cloisters of an Oxbridge college. I didn't think there were many old things like this in the US lol You have proved me wrong!

D.C. Confidential said...

Lara: Thank you! I really made an effort to line this one up so the lamps and columns and arches would be symmetrical. It was a fun shot. Right before I took the picture, a man walked through the colannade and up the stairs on the left!

Bobbie: I'll be posting a few more pictures of this beautiful building over the next week or so. And, yes, in a few hundred years, it will be a lovely artifact.

Bev: Old in America is relative! This cathedral is only 100 years old. Compared to some of the grand cathedrals in your country, we've got a lot of catching up to do!

The oldest church in the U.S. is actually in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was built by Spanish priests in 1610. Here's a link.

There's some dispute as to which is the oldest cathedral in America: The Cathedral of San Fernando in Texas or the Cathedral of St. Louis in New Orleans or the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore. Even Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York, the largest church in America, is only 150 years old.

That's probably too much information, but in light of Europe's great churches, we're just tykes by comparison! I'm just glad we have them, though. It gives us something with gravity to photograph!

Bev said...

DC, thanks for the link. What a beautiful church, beautiful in it's simplicity, illuminated by the Mexican sun. Perhaps nearer to what the early Christians intended as Christianity was orginally quite a simple and unpretentious grass roots religion. This was before the Catholic influence, when things got a little more ornate.

Love the beautiful architecture and art inspired by religious faith though, among the best in the world. You have already done a picture of the 'feet' columns holding up the cathedral, and whole structure of churches are highly symbolic, don't you think, with the spires pointing to the sky and the cross shapes of the buildings, and the stained glass windows which have to be seen inside, illuminated by the light of faith. My favourite churches in this country (both of which I have visited) are Durham Cathedral (listed somewhere as one of the seven wonders of the world) and Lincoln Cathedral (which is quite near to where I live). Plenty of gargoyles on that particular building!

Bev said...

By the way, a church dating from 1610 is pretty damn old. I take it all back lol

D.C. Confidential said...

Bev: I just had a look at Durham Cathedral. It was built in 1093! Good Lord! In 1093, it was still only Native Americans and buffalo in this country! A cathedral that has been around for 10 centuries... That's just astonishing and incomprehensible to this colonial.

And Lincoln Cathedral, same time period. Wow. They're both beautiful structures. Thank you for pointing them out! Our little cathedral has a long way to go.

As for the church in New Mexico, I love the humility of it, too. Another humble little church is the Mission Dolores in San Francisco, California. It was built in 1776. Most of the Spanish mission churches in the U.S. Southwest and California are humble, adobe structures. It wasn't until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that cathedrals, as we know them, came into existence in this country.

Oh, now you're inspiring me to go out and photograph more religious structures!

Lisa Sarsfield said...

Very beautiful. I can almost imagine the knights and princess's. I really enjoy your architecture photos and composition.