Capitol is one of the most recognizable historic buildings of Washington, which became the symbol of the American people and the government, where there are meetings of the legislative body of the United States. An impressive example of neoclassical architecture accommodates hundreds of congressional offices and historic museums and galleries, which are visited annually by millions of tourists.
Myths and facts
The first stone in the Foundation of the Capitol was laid by George Washington in 1793. Thomas Jefferson insisted that the building was called the House of Congress, and the Capitol is named one of the seven hills on which the Ancient Rome. On Capitol hill there was a temple of Jupiter, which was about the session of the Senate.
The construction of magnificent buildings was slow, and the first meeting of Congress passed in is not yet completed North wing in 1800. Four years later the unfinished building was set on fire by British troops. Due to the strong downpour has managed to avoid complete destruction and construction resumed the following year.
Only in 1826, after changing a few architects, completed the building installed the dome. Since that time the majestic dome of the Capitol in Washington became a symbol of American democracy.
But a decade later it became clear that the Capitol could not accommodate the growing number of legislators arriving from the joined States. New design extended more than two times the building was designed by architect Thomas Walter. The dome was also replaced by a large iron, weighing 4000 tons, made in the image of the domes of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. In 1863, in its upper part has been installed a 6-metre bronze statue of Freedom.
In 1960, the Capitol was declared a national historic landmark. To visit it, but you can use the free tour.
What to see
The neoclassical building, towering 88 m, is the fifth tallest structure in Washington. Its size is impressive: 229 m long,107 m wide, on five floors there are 540 rooms, the most famous among them is the rotunda, a large Domed hall and national hall of Sculpture.
The building is crowned by a Central dome above a rotunda with a height of 57 m. In the North wing houses the Senate chamber, South – house of Representatives. Above them are the gallery, which visitors can see these houses. Underground tunnels with its own metro connect all buildings in the complex.
The famous attractions include the mural on the inside of the Capitol dome, representing the “Apotheosis of Washington” surrounded by Olympic gods. The fresco painted by Greek-Italian painter Konstantin Brumidi in 1865.
The frieze around the base of the dome represents the history of the United States from the landing of Christopher Columbus to flight of the first American pilots – the Wright brothers.
Eight large paintings for the rotunda shows the development of the United States as a nation and the discovery of America.
National Sculpture hall of the Capitol contains a collection of statues of historical figures, donated by each of the States. The most famous is the bronze statue of king Kamehameha donated by the state of Hawaii.
In the basement below the rotunda is the tomb of George Washington. Although, actually, he’s not buried there, and the crypt was converted into a Museum of historical artifacts.
Steep metal stairs lead from the basement to an open area at the top of the Capitol dome. 365 stair steps represents each day of the year.
From the observation deck offers a magnificent view of the city and the Park around the Capitol. The Park covers an area of 53 hectares is located the oldest Botanical garden of America, which grows more than 100 species of trees and thousands of flowers.
What else to see in the United States: Montezuma castle in the valley of Arizona, the Rock Palace in the wilderness of Colorado, the fairy castles of Disneyland in Orlando, the city of a thousand Buddhas in California.
Capitol (Capitol) is open from 8.30 to 16.30 from Monday to Saturday.
Closed thanksgiving, Christmas, New year and inauguration day.
Visits only possible as part of guided tours (required to receive free pass).
How to get there: within walking distance to three metro stations: Union Station, NW, Massachusetts-Avenue.