WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Washington National Cathedral will be offering tours of its unique stone carvings for the first time since the building was damaged by an earthquake last year.

Tours exploring more than 100 gargoyles perched on the cathedral’s facade will begin again on Sunday at 2 p.m. The gargoyles include monsters, dogs and horses, as well as Star Wars” villain Darth Vader.

The cathedral had been forced to suspend the tour, as well as other regular events, following a 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23. The quake caused stonework to fall from the building’s towers and other damage. The cathedral reopened to the public in November.

Repairs are expected to take years. As of February 2012, the cathedral had raised $2 million toward the estimated $20 million restoration.

National Cathedral opened its central tower for one Saturday in March for a semi-regular tradition known as a “tower climb”. The climb from the bottom floor, up the 333 steps to the top of the tower takes approximately 45 minutes.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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