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National Cathedral Gargoyle Tours Resume

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Tours of the National Cathedral's gargoyles, including the infamous Darth Vader, pictured, resumes on Sunday.
Robert Williams: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rwillia532/5770240862/
Tours of the National Cathedral's gargoyles, including the infamous Darth Vader, pictured, resumes on Sunday.

Starting this weekend, the Washington National Cathedral will be offering tours of its unique stone carvings for the first time since the earthquake last summer.

There are more than one hundred carved gargoyles and grotesques perched around the outside of the cathedral.  They help divert rain water from the building's stone facade. The sculptures include monsters, dogs, and horses, as well as the villian Darth Vader from the Star Wars franchise, a relic of a design contest in the 1980s, when schoolchildren submitted ideas for gargoyles to grace the church.

The cathedral had to suspend the tour, as well as other regular events, following the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the region back on August 23. It caused some stonework to fall from the cathedral's towers.

While the building reopened to the public in November, repairs are expected to take years and to cost $20 million dollars. As of February, the cathedral had raised $2 million toward that goal.

The tour starts Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Reservations are not required, but visitors, who are advised to bring binoculars, may reserve spots online.

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