Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is one of the many fantastic Los Angeles attractions that architecture buffs won't want to miss. The contemporary Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles was built in 2002 and cost $163 million. Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo designed the structure, and while the boxy, sandstone-colored exterior doesn't mimic your standard cathedral, the interior is more traditional and quite beautiful. The lofty ceilings and translucent alabaster that lines the walls create an inspirational effect, and beautiful colonnades abound. Various artworks from renowned artists adorn the walls in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, only adding to the overall beauty.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

The Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles is the third-largest cathedral in the world, and it serves as the Archdiocese, or mother church, for more than 4 million Catholics. Sunday Mass at this cathedral, which is also known more simply as the Los Angeles Cathedral, is open to everyone, even if you aren't Catholic, and is highlighted by music from the massive pipe organ. The organ at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was built in Iowa and it is just as impressive as the overall church itself. Thanks to the organ and the acoustical advantages of the lofty interior, the Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles is often sought out for musical recordings and concerts.

The organ at the Los Angeles Cathedral is just one of many highlights. Other things worth noting are the large mausoleum, the awe-inspiring main entrance, and the 20,000-square-foot plaza. The mausoleum houses more than 6,000 crypts, and as such, it is the largest mausoleum in the country. Some notable people are buried in the mausoleum, including actor Gregory Peck. The main entrance boasts 25,000-pound bronze doors and is adorned with a postmodern statue of the Virgin Mary. Created by the renowned sculptor, Robert Graham, the bronze doors were inspired by the famous Ghiberti bronze baptistery door that can be found in Florence, Italy. When visitors aren't admiring all that there is to see in the cathedral's interior, relaxing in the plaza will prove inviting. This large plaza boasts meditation gardens that lend to the peaceful appeal of the Los Angeles Cathedral.

While art enthusiasts who are visiting Los Angeles can always visit museums like the Museum of Modern Art, taking some time to admire the artworks at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels can also be rewarding. A number of excellent tapestries can be found inside the church, some of the more notable of which were done by a Colombian painter by the name of John Nava. Nava's tapestries depict various scenes of saints taking communion, and although they are contemporary pieces, they look as if they might date back a few centuries at least.

For those who wish to visit the Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles, it can be found downtown at 555 W. Temple Street. The Cathedral closes daily at 6 p.m., and it opens at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. on Saturdays, and 7 a.m. on Sundays. Free, self-guided tours can be enjoyed on any given day at the Los Angeles Cathedral, though visitors might wait until Wednesday to drop by. From 12:45 until 1:15 p.m. on most Wednesdays, the cathedral hosts a free organ concert that has become one of the city's top weekly events.

Top image: slasher-fun (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

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