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National Cathedral Tower Opens For First Time After 'Quake

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Three of the four spires on the tower at Washington National Cathedral fell off after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the area.
Patrick Madden
Three of the four spires on the tower at Washington National Cathedral fell off after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the area.

The Washington National Cathedral says it will open its central tower to visitors for one day this weekend. It marks the first time it's been opened since the earthquake last August.

The 5.8 magnitude quake caused significant damage to the Cathedral's spires, but the central tower has been deemed structurally sound and safe for visitors and will open Saturday for a "tower climb,'' a semi-regular tradition. Visitors will be able to climb the 333 steps from the ground to the top of the tower. The cathedral says the climb takes about 45 minutes and says it's not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of heights.

Those who make it will be rewarded with unobstructed views and an up-close demonstration of the Cathedral's peal bells and carillon.

Meanwhile, the repair work continues. The expected cost to fix all the damage caused by the earthquake is $20 million. The cathedral says it's raised about $2 million so far.

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