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Visit: Free hour-long guided tours are available most Sundays after the 12 p.m.

mass (subject to change if other events are scheduled).

Standing in for good, you'll find a more traditional approach to religious sculpture--288 angels. When the Kennedy Expressway was built in 1960, many residents left the area and in 1988 the building was closed and prepared for demolition.

Head up to the Pilgrim Observation Gallery near the Wisconsin Avenue entrance for magnificent 360-degree views of Washington, D. Visit: The Pilgrim Observation Gallery is open Monday thru Friday from 10 a.m. Fortunately, the remaining parishioners and the priests of Opus Dei were able to work together and officially save it three years later.

Major repairs soon began, including the preservation of the 26 nine-foot tall angels that line the roof.

Like most Italian Romanesque churches inspired by St. Mary of the Angels was designed in the shape of a cross, with a large dome in the center and two bell towers at its sides.

Visit: Mass is given in three languages--English, Polish, and Spanish.Medieval labyrinths, intricate stained glass, even a sculpture of Darth Vader-- There's no question that America's churches are just as intriguing as their European counterparts.And not just in grandeur--the stories behind these architectural masterpieces are downright biblical.As befitting our capital, the 517-foot-long building is an imposing ode to worship.The design is Neo-Gothic through-and-through, from its limestone exterior with its steep arches to its stained glass windows and flying buttresses. Several guided tours are available for from per person, including an inside look at the Cathedral's art and architecture among other behind-the-scenes tour options (online reservations are required).

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