Had a great tour of the U.S. Capitol on September 12, 2013. It was our tour guide's 26th birthday. I asked her why she didn't take the day off on her birthday. She said there was nowhere else she'd rather be than taking a group through our nation's Capitol and sharing her insights enthusiastically. I'll second that!
At the very last of the tour there is a giant memorial to Flight 93 with the names of all passengers and crew.
Our tour guide had been animated in recounting historical anecdotes throughout our tour. Her commentary had been informative and funny.
As she spoke of Flight 93 her demeanor was different. We were standing in the U.S. Capitol, and she acknowledged that the general consensus is that the Capitol was the probable target of the terrorists aboard Flight 93. She noted that many of the people working in the Capitol yesterday (Sept. 11th, 2013) were also present there on September 11th, 2001.
She pointed out that the passengers knew from their cell phone conversations that the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon had already occurred, and they understood the intent of the terrorists was to inflict further damage. They determined to prevent that even at the cost of their own lives.
Our tour guide became visibly choked up and had difficulty continuing as she declared, "These people were HEROES!"
It was a great thing to see the profound effect, the awareness, and the gratitude still deeply felt and humbly expressed twelve years later after these Americans' deliberate sacrifices to prevent further damage to their country and to their countrymen. I am getting choked up a bit writing this.
May we never forget the infamous attacks of September 11th, 2001 (or of September 11th, 2012.) May we never forget the true heroes ... the FDNY and the everyday American HEROES of Flight 93!
"No greater love hath a man than this: that he lay down his life for his brother."
All roads lead to Rome, and in Washington all roads lead to the US Capitol Building. It might not be the centre of Washington, but it's the centre of power in the US. The building probably holds more power and influence than any other building in the world. And it shows in the design. Sitting high up on a hill overlooking the National Mall, the US Capitol Building is a massive, pristine white structure. It's neoclassical design is like three European parliaments rolled together with an immense cupola placed on top. It's beautiful, it's imposing, it simply dominates everything in its shadow.
The US Capitol Building evolved more than it was constructed. The original design was described by Thomas Jefferson as possessing "Grandeur, Simplicity, and Beauty". It was a much smaller building, lacking the wings and dome it has now and inspired by Versailles in France. It was set on fire by the British when Washington was invaded in 1812, but was rescued by a fortunate rainstorm. The building was restored but the rapidly growing young country provided more politicians than could fit under one roof. Two wings were added but this doubled the size of the building and the existing dome was not big enough.
So in 1855 work began to replace the less impressive copper dome with the magnificent cast iron cupola we see today. Gone was the simplicity, and instead a glorious 40 columned crown was built, drawing inspiration from the great religious buildings of Europe: St. Paul's Cathedral in London and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It topped off a building which now covers a ground area of nearly two hundred thousand square feet. It hosts not only the US Senate, but also the House of Representatives and the old Supreme Court. It has become possibly the most impressive government building in the world.
...Holds the Legislative Branch of the US Government we call Congress.
The Legislative Branch is bicameral, composed of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
Popularly elected, Senators and Representatives are responsible for advocating the interests of the constituents they represent. Numerous congressional committees are organized to study issues of public policy, recommend action, and, ultimately, pass laws. Congress plays an important role in the system of 'checks and balances;' in fact, the two-house (bicameral) organization of Congress acts as an internal check, for each house must separately vote to pass a bill for it to become a law.
In addition to lawmaking, Congress has a variety of functions, including appropriation of funds for Executive and Judicial activities; instituting taxes and regulating commerce; declaring war and raising and supporting a military; setting up federal courts and conducting impeachment proceedings; and approving presidential appointments.
By clicking on the picture you will see a US Flag flying over the North wing. This is the Senate side and indicates that the Senate is in session. A flag flies over the South wing, when the House is in session.
The Capitol Building first thing in the morning as they wash the steps. To the far right there is a man protesting. (I will have a close up of this man on my USA page later on.)
It was 1792 when a design competition for the U.S. Capitol Buliding was held. The Ground Breaking Ceremony took place September 18, 1793. Through many years and several Architect changes, the Senate wing was finished by1800 but the House wing wasn't completed until eleven years later. Though the House of Representatives moved in by 1807, the House wing was not completed until 1811.
I put free as the cost for touring this attraction because we did not pay to see the exterior of the building. We made a brief stop on our way to the Library of Congress. My curiosity could not wait, so was my husband's impatience to go get library cards for the library of Congress. So My daughter and I, run up to the front of the building, and admired the structural details, the beautifully kept facade and grounds. Architecture is one of the many things I admire when I travel; this one is one of those that caught my attention. Reminded me of Rome, the roman style structure looks like a cathedral one would find in Italy.
It is the location of the galleries of Senate and House of Representative; you can tour them when either is in session. You will of course need a gallery pass from your senator or representative (this limits it to residents and citizens of the United States). Not to worry, if you are an international visitor, you can get a gallery pas from the Senate appointment desk located on the upper level of the Capitol Visitors Center.
We did not go on a tour, but look forward to doing so before we leave the East coast. The visitor center is easily accessible and is free to tour as well. It was rather crowded on this day because it was incredibly hot outside.
Tours of the Capitol Building is available Monday - Saturday from 8:50 am - 3:20 pm. Tickets required as explained above.
This imposing building, completed in its original state in 1811 stands proudly on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the Mall. Since then additions have been added to it, the last being in 1958 with the extension of the east portico. There is an underground visitors centre which was opened in 2008 but there are tough security checks to get there. Tours can be made Monday to Saturday from 8.30 to 4.30, and are free but you must book in advance. Don't bring a backpack as only small bags are allowed inside, no liquids either!n You can book online at www. tours.visitthecapitol.gov
Going on a parliamentary tour is free in many nations. The U. S. Capitol Building is no exception – get your political juices flowing with a tour of the United State’s political nerve center. Be on the lookout for statues of two famous residents from each of our 50 states, plus some of the most stunning, baroque and neoclassical architecture in the nation.
The Capitol Visitor Center, where all tours begin, is open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Inauguration Day. Tours of the U.S. Capitol are conducted from 8:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Visitors with official business appointments may enter the Visitor Center as early as 7:15 a.m.
All tours are free of charge and may be booked at: http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/visit/book_a_tour/index.html.
This is one of the most important foundations of our beloved democracy. Senators and representatives shape our U.S. legislative policies from here.
Hours: The Capitol Visitor Center is open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Inauguration Day. Tours of the U.S. Capitol are conducted from 8:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Visitors with official business appointments may enter the Visitor Center as early as 7:15 a.m.
I love the look of this building. The dome, the symmetry, the sloping lawn . . . and, of course, what it represents.
Guided tours are available Monday thru Saturday (but not on Sundays), and you must get tickets (they are free). Please see the website I've listed below for details. (Tour hours or availability may change if security levels change; check the website before you visit. The site also has a list of items you are not permitted to bring into the building.)
The underground center is really nice and quite interesting. The new tour takes you through the atrium, explains the artwork on the ceiling, gives information on the building and its history, but we did not visit either of the chambers. Our tour was fairly short, about an hour, and included a short intro video that gave some history.
The underground center is a self-guided area. If you're interested in the history of the city of DC, I strongly suggest taking some time to go through the museum there. It's very detailed, going from just before the founding of the city to modern times. I found it fascinating.
If you would like a more detailed tour, call the office of your House Representative (they tend to be easier to get in touch with than Senators). I've done the Representative tour and he brought us into the chambers as well as through the traditional tour areas. But that tour is longer, so it would also depend on your time frame.
The tour guide was very good at answering questions about history, architecture, etc. The Rep didn't have the same background, but was happy to point out important people to us and show where various people sat, etc.
Either way, make sure you book in advance. Tickets are free, but you need an appointment.
The Capitol building is an iconic symbol for not only DC but also USA in general as it is recognizable all over the world. It was completed in 1813 in neoclassical style. It is a huge impressive structure that houses both the Senate and House of Representatives. By the way the Capitol is the zero point from where major avenue intersect, and also the point from where the quadrants of the district of Columbia are divided.
I wanted to watch congress in session but it’s not the easiest thing to when you have to plan your visit 6 months in advance because you must request a visit through a Congress Member(or through your embassy in DC for non American visitors). There are also short tours of the building on first come first served basis but we were late at Capotol Guide Service kiosk where you obtain the free tickets so we missed that too, it’s a pity because I wanted to check the Rotunda with the cast-iron dome that houses the painting “The Apotheosis of Washington” and some other nice murals and statues.
So, what we did was just walking around the Capitol, there are some nice spots, especially in front of reflecting lakes (the Mall side but also from the back side). On the top of the dome is the statue of Freedom, it was placed there in 1863 and faces east away from the Mall, probably because it faces Great Britain but some others say it faces the staue on the Supreme Court building which is the statue of Justice.
The Capitol is where the United States of America Congress meets; it is also the legislature of the Federal government of the United States. The governing system for America is quite complicated with Federal laws, State laws and even County laws. The Capitol sits atop Capitol Hill on the National Mall.
Opening Hours :
Visitor Center - Monday to Saturday 08:30 to 16:30 excepting Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Inauguration Day
Tours are conducted from 08:50 to 15:20, Monday to Saturday
Visitors with official business appointments may enter the Visitor Center as early as 07:15.
As with many of the buildings on National Mall, The Capitol operates restrictions on sizes of bags which you are allowed to take into the building. It is recommended that you do not bring large daypacks, backpacks or luggage; any bag larger than 14" wide x 13" high x 4" deep is prohibited.
Liquids restriction : as with other buildings on National Mall, you are not allowed to enter with cans and bottles, whether full or empty.
Our most unusual experience in Washington was our tour of the U.S. Capitol Building. We previously visited the nearby offices of our representative to procure tickets to watch Congress in session from the balcony. We actually took a special underground, open-air people mover that whisked us from that building to the Capitol itself. In the Capitol, we saw the Rotunda and the traditional tourist circuit, but then went into the balcony area to watch Congress conduct its business. Of course, now that I am older and more jaded by Washington politics, their bickering and backing of unpopular bills doesn’t seem quite as inspiring, but from a thirteen-year-old’s perspective, there is no better way to witness government in action. While at the Capital we also had a brush with fame. While we were waiting in line, Senator Bob Dole came walking down the hallway. My dad casually waved at him and Senator Dole waved back – as if he was already an acquaintance. Maybe it impressed a few people.
The United States Capitol Building is one of DC's iconic symbols for good reason. One of the country's most impressive buildings from an architectural viewpoint, its importance is not merely symbolic. Home to both the Senate and House of Representatives, the cornerstones of the checks and balances theory behind US government, the Capitol Building is more so the seat of US policy making than the White House. Theoretically a good thing though in recent months one might reconsider.
The impressive 19th century neoclassical architecture was designed by a no namer who won a $500 competition and building commenced in 1793 though not completed until 1813 after which it partially burned down. The present structure which has cone through considerable renovation over the years clocks in at over 175,000 square feet!
The Capitol is located on Capitol Hill at the east end of the National Mall. Visitors must obtain free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis, at the Capitol Guide Service kiosk located along the curving sidewalk southwest of the Capitol, near the intersection of First St., S.W., and Independence Ave. Ticket distribution begins at 9:00 a.m; the capitol is open from 9:00am to 4:30pm, Monday-Saturday, closed Sundays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
The U.S Capitol building, home of the U.S government, stands at the centre of Washington. Broad avenues radiate from it and it's the centrepoint that divides the city's quadrants. The west facade with its sandstone walls below the magnificent dome looks particularly attractive when viewed from The Mall.
After standing in line on a hot sunny day, for what seemed like ages, I finally got to enter the building from the east side. As I didn't have any of the relevant passes, I didn't get to see a great deal of the interior. I did though enjoy the Statuary Hall, a place full of statues of distinguished citizens from each state.