Tuesday, September 25, 2012

D&C's DC: The House of the Temple

The House of the Temple is a huge Masonic temple in DC that is the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction. Completed in 1915, the building apes the appearance of that Wonder of the Ancient World, the Tomb of Mausolus, and is full of berserk and beautiful Egyptian-influenced architecture. This building is one of those great lesser-known tourist spots, and they welcome visitors and encourage cameras. I've visited it twice and both times found a great relaxed chummy welcome there, a contrast to the baroque and very formal atmosphere there.

A sphinx in front of the building.

From the rear.
And now a bunch of photos of the interior...just feast your eyes on that sumptuousness.

The Temple will be featured in the upcoming film version of The Lost Symbol; my guide seemed pleasantly surprised when I dismissed Dan Brown's books as poorly written (my honest feeling) and expressed my skepticism of conspiracy theories. We did have a fun tour and my guide had an irreverent sense of humor that was most appealing. It's gorgeous but also unreal, like you stumbled on the set of an old movie set in Atlantis, and you keep expecting to see Lionel Atwill or Boris Karloff to come around the corner and demand you as a sacrifice.

The House of the Temple is open for tours Monday thru Thursday; it's closed Fridays and weekends. A small admission is charged, unless you're a Mason and then admission is free. It's an architectural marvel and worth checking out when you visit the nation's capitol.

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