If you’re a fan like me of the thriller by Dan Brown “The Lost symbol” and are in or going to be in the Washington DC area, here are a list of places you can actually visit from the book. Enjoy!
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry:
The book opens at 1733 16th St. NW at the House of the Temple in the temple room of the regional headquarters of the Scottish Rite Masons, a branch of Freemasons. You will notice their seal on the cover of the novel. Although it’s eluded to that this is an exclusive location free ours are given of the facility. If you would like to know more about this temple or the Freemasons check out our in depth article here.
The Capitol Building:
Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist and Brown’s main character, finds a bloody invitation awaiting him in the center of the floor of the Rotunda. The clue was directly beneath the famous fresco, “The Apotheosis of Washington” which references the most famous of all masons George Washington. Brown also muses to a statue of Washington that used to reside in the Capitol Building where Washington is bare chested and pointing skyward. Langdon’s clue points to a hidden chamber in the “SBB,” or sub-sub basement; I have asked while on tour and the response was, ”It doesn’t exist.”
Library of Congress:
Langdon and Solomon find themselves on the run and escape the Library of Congress by riding on conveyor belts that transport books among the library’s three buildings. The belts still exist to this day, but they haven’t functioned in years. If you would like more information on this building you can read our article about it here.
National Gallery of Art:
While this is an intended destination, Langdon never actually enters the gallery; instead he and Solomon use the internet to view the engraving “Melencolia I” by Albrecht Dürer. You can do the same by clicking here.
United States Botanic Garden:
Certainly a strange place to conduct an interrogation, but the CIA security director utilizes this location for just that. With the architect of the Capitol in hand she brings him to this most humid sanctuary on the Mall, the jungle. The US Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America, and the jungle is located at the center of the conservatory.
The plaza is located at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave NW. Langdon and Solomon use one of the three giant bronze medallions at the plaza which contains the nation’s great seal embedded in it. It is believed by some that the unfinished pyramid and the all-seeing eye on the seal are Masonic symbols; they can also be found on the back of the $1 bill. If you trace a six-pointed star on the seal, the vertices land on the eye and on the letters M-A-S-O-N! Langdon and Solomon use this information as a ploy and evade the CIA.
George Washington Masonic National Memorial:
Continuing the ruse Langdon and Solomon developed will examining the Great Seal in Freedom Plaza they indicate that there next stop must be in Alexandria Virginia, which is where the George Washington Masonic Memorial lies. This works out well because it is in a completely different direction than there intended destination. While Robert Langdon never actually goes to this Masonic Memorial, it doesn’t mean that you should skip it. It is a bastion of information on George Washington and the Masons; and it certainly catches the eye. Simply take Blue or Yellow line trains to “King Street” station, which is also mentioned in the book.
Robert Langdon and Solomon need transportation and a convincing way to conceal their movements, so the head for the “Metro Center” stop on the metro line. Once there instead of choosing the Blue line which will take them to “King Street” and the Masonic Memorial, they most likely choose the Red line which would lead them towards the National Cathedral.
Washington National Cathedral and Cathedral College:
A mason of the 33rd degree awaits Robert at this the 2nd largest church in the United States. The dean of the cathedral who was blind in the book, but is not in real life, helps Langdon on his journey. When you are in front of the church if you look south you will see the cathedral college, which houses the kitchen where are two characters conducted their science experiment.