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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is unlike any other church in the world.

The Romanesque-Byzantine style was chosen for the National Shrine to permit the building of the exterior at one time and the interior at another; to harmonize with the architecture of Washington, DC; and to be distinct from the Washington National Cathedral, the Gothic Episcopalian cathedral whose construction was underway at the time.

Today, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Roman Catholic church in North America, and it is among the ten largest churches in the world. It is constructed entirely of stone, brick, tile and mortar—without structural steel beams, framework or columns.

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