Capitol in Washington (USA) – description, history, location. Exact address, phone number, website. Reviews of tourists, photos and videos.
According to toppharmacyschools, Washington DC is the most honored city in North America. This is not only the capital of the United States, but also one of the national symbols of freedom, because the first American president, George Washington, who founded it, made a lot of efforts in the fight against the British colonists for the independence of his country.
Washington today is the main political center of America. It was in this city that the main representative offices of the judicial, executive and legislative branches of government, 174 foreign embassies, the headquarters of the largest banks and foreign exchange funds, and most importantly, the presidential residence, or the White House, were located. Washington itself is governed by a mayor, but the highest authority is Congress, which can amend council-approved laws and exercise control over the administration of the city. The building of the meeting of Congress – the Capitol – is located in the heart of the US capital and is one of the main attractions of America. We can say that the Capitol in Washington is a worthy monument on an honorary pedestal.
The Capitol is one of the tallest buildings in the city. Its height is 88 m. From the top floor, which can be reached by elevator, offers a stunning panorama of Washington.
History of the Washington State Capitol
The snow-white Capitol is located on the hill of the same name, which, in turn, was named after one of the seven ancient Roman hills. The history of the creation of the Capitol is quite impressive. This abode of representatives of the city authorities was built by more than one generation of architects, each of whom faced seemingly insurmountable difficulties.
It all began in the spring of 1792, when President George Washington announced a competition among architects for the best building design for a government building after the extravagant designer of the city, P. S. Lanfant, was removed from his duties. However, the jury members of the competition were quite disappointed when they were presented with a little more than a dozen worthless projects. At the very last moment, with a great delay, another work was sent – its author was a 33-year-old Scot, William Thornton. The most interesting thing is that this young man worked as a doctor, but, inflamed with the desire to win the competition of the president himself, he learned architecture in a matter of weeks. Thornton’s design was recognized as the best, and the architect was instructed to oversee the construction of the Capitol, which began in September 1793.
Already at the very beginning of the construction of the Capitol, problems arose: the material was supplied slowly, with long interruptions, there was an eternal shortage of funds and labor. Because of this, only the foundation of the building was laid for three whole years. Exactly 10 years after the start of construction, the government allocated about 50 thousand dollars for this project, and Thornton was replaced by Henry Latrobe, who by that time had established himself as the best architect in Philadelphia. He did his best: in 1800, Congress met for the first time in the unfinished Capitol.
In 1813, Latrobe was forced to freeze construction because of the war with Great Britain, and exactly a year later, the unfinished Capitol was burned by the British. Almost everything was destroyed. 20 years of overwork became a pile of ashes and a pile of rubble. Nevertheless, Latrobe began work on the restoration of the building he had already fallen in love with. However, in an effort to make his brainchild even more beautiful than before, the architect got too carried away and began to spend exorbitant amounts on building materials. The best is the enemy of the good: Latrobe was excommunicated from project management.
In 1818, then-President of the United States, James Monroe, appointed Charles Bulfinch, who was widely known in Boston, as the chief architect of the Capitol. This man was much less sensual and did not have the design taste and flair of the genius Latrobe at all. Nevertheless, by 1823 the conservative Bulfinch, who had redesigned the designs of his predecessor, completely rebuilt the central part of the Capitol, keeping within 12 thousand dollars.
The pride of the architect was the large wooden dome he designed over the famous Rotunda, which connects the northern and southern parts of the building and symbolizes the unity of America. Today there is a painting gallery and a small sculpture museum.
In 1827, the main building work was completed. Approximately 7 years later, the Capitol had running water, and 10 years later, gas and electricity were installed. A little later, a luxurious library was made in the building, which burned down in the winter of 1851. Today, the library is located directly opposite the Capitol, literally across the street.
In the mid-19th century, famed Philadelphia engineer Thomas Walter was commissioned to “expand” the newly built Congress Building. After 9 years, the architect proposed to replace the wooden structure of Bulfinch with a large cast-iron dome more proportional to the size of the Capitol. Walter does it in the style of European cathedral architecture. Also at this time, he completes the northern, southern and western terraces of white marble. In 1863, a significant event took place – a 6-meter statue of Liberty, created by T. Crawford, was installed on the roof of the Capitol. Abraham Lincoln himself, the 16th President of the United States, was present at this historic moment. By 1865, the north and south wings of the government cloister were completed by Walter, thereby doubling their size.
Subsequently, landscaping work was carried out near the Capitol: F. L. Omstead, the best qualified “gardener” in America, worked on the landscape design. Several outbuildings also appeared, central heating was installed and elevators were launched. And in the 70s of the 20th century, the facade of the eastern side of the central part of the Capitol was extended by as much as 10 meters.
Visit to the Capitol
About 4.5 million tourists visit the famous Congress Building every year. In total, there are 540 rooms in the Capitol, but tourists will be able to see only 2 rooms. The first and second floors house the offices of the Congress, while the third is occupied by the House of Representatives, the Rotunda, and the Senate. Guided tours of the Capitol are absolutely free.
Getting to the Capitol is not difficult. The main building of the country stands in the very center of Washington, and all the main streets of the capital lead to it.
This government building with a rich past will impress neither history buffs nor art connoisseurs, nor those who are interested in architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries. The majestic Capitol, spectacularly illuminated at night, strikes with its monumentality and grace at the same time. During the day, he appears in the form of a divine abode, where the fate of the most important city in America is decided.
At the entrance to the Capitol, you will need to present a ticket, which will be given to you absolutely free of charge at a kiosk nearby after presenting your passport. Together with a tour group, you will be able to watch the meetings of the Congress and the Senate from special galleries. Of all the 540 rooms of the Capitol, the famous Rotunda is open to the public, where you can appreciate a small collection of paintings and sculptures.