A friend and I did a walkabout at the Basilica a few days ago...back when the temperatures were more reasonable than they are right now. This is one impressive building both inside and out and is in fact, the largest Roman Catholic church in the Americas. We were there at high noon on a bright, sunny day and so the contrasts outside were very, very high. The grounds are quite large for a downtown DC facility; this is where the Pope held mass for thousands of people. Because of the hundreds of art treasures located throughout the church and probably for many other reasons, there are rather significant restrictions on taking photos. Well, that's not entirely accurate, the restrictions are MOSTLY on how the photos are used. I'm not going to test the waters on what is acceptable use, I'm just going to assume that if it's outside I can publish it, if it's inside, it's art and protected. Sigh. Back to the church...a huge building chock full of small chapels that run along the side of the main sanctuary on two levels. Each chapel has a small altar or shrine with many, many candles for the faithful to light. The entire facility is really Mary oriented and so most of the art, stations, chapels, etc., are Mary-centric. That may not be a proper description and/or I may not have used the proper terminology.The place is "other worldly" in that when you enter the grounds, but most especially when you enter the building, the hustle and bustle of DC melts away and your eyes and your attention are drawn up. But, I guess that's what church architecture is all about. I had fun, took lots of pictures, and had a sandwich in their cafeteria. In addition to being a holy place and a magnificent facility, it's a business with a gift shop, cafeteria, and souvenirs.This shot is taken from the back of the building and catches the noon sun peeking through the bell tower.