Mosaics, domes and arches beautify St. Louis basilica


We drove past the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis almost daily during our visit to the city. I always mentioned to Lisa that we should stop and shoot some photos of the exterior. It was an amazing looking building.

The one time we tried to stop and get some photos was on a school day, during drop-offs. Sooooooo, no photos that day. The week passed and we didn’t get our photos.

We made a run to a grocery store and restaurant for a late lunch on our last day in St. Louis. I realized we were a few blocks away. We decided to stop and get our photo.

As we approached the cathedral, Lisa decided to take a peek inside. If there were services going on, we’d leave. As we approached the front door, a gentleman advised us that a tour of the cathedral was about to begin.


Aha! Just what we were hoping for. We listened to the tour guide discuss the history of the cathedral.

While we listened, we were impressed with the height and designs of the ceiling. The cathedral had beautiful artwork on the ceilings and arches.


The cathedral is built in the Byzantine tradition, with domes, soffits, arches, pendentives and lunettes paved with mosaics, according to a handout available to visitors.

About 83,000 square feet of mosaic art covers the cathedral interior.

The cathedral was built beginning in 1907. The artwork took about 75 years to complete.


Pope Paul VI once called the cathedral the most beautiful in “all of the Americas,” according to the brochure.

The lower level of the cathedral is home to a museum of mosaics. Due to time constraints, we didn’t make it there. Next trip to St. Louis will have to require a longer tour of the cathedral.

It also houses the crypt where two cardinals and an archbishop were laid to rest.


Outside, a statue called “Angel of Harmony” stands for racial justice and peace.


The cathedral is representative of the large Catholic presence in St. Louis. The metro area is among the largest catholic school systems in the United States.

The basilica was very interesting to visit. I’ve visited churches in other countries, but always feel odd doing the same in the United States. I have no idea why, as some of our churches are well worth the visit. Just remember to be respectful of church members.

For more information on the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, please visit its website at