Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

One of the largest collections of mosaics in the world, the Cathedral of St. Louis, with its Romanesque facade and Byzantine interior, was named a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1997 because of its artistic significance. (St. Louis boasts two basilicas; the other, the Old Cathedral at the foot of the Gateway Arch on the riverfront, was designated a basilica for its historical significance.) Only a mile west of Saint Louis University’s campus at 4431 Lindell Boulevard, it is certainly worth a visit during the Congress. The cornerstone was laid in 1908, the superstructure was finished by 1914, but the mosaics — composed of 41,500,000 tesserae in more than 7,000 colors, and covering 83,000 square feet — were not completed until 1988. Its beauty and grandeur make it a taste of Hagia Sophia in the middle of the United States!