US capitol Building



Tour the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC

The Capitol Visitor Center, the new main entrance to the U.S. Capitol, is located below the East Plaza of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues. The Visitor Center is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Inauguration Day.

Guided tours of the Capitol begin at the Orientation Theaters on the lower level of the Capitol Visitor Center. "Out of Many, One," a 13-minute film, illustrates how this country established a new form of government, highlights the vital role that Congress plays in the daily lives of Americans, and introduces you to the building that houses the U.S. Congress.

Tours are free, but tour passes are required.

You line up to get free tickets to tour the capitol building and receive a ticket with a tour time. Then you do whatever you want and just make sure you are back at the time listed on your ticket.

uscapital The line for tickets to tour the US capitol building in Washington, DC.

It's not as bad as it looks. Once the ticket booth opens up the line goes pretty fast.


uscapital Here's another view of the line.

In this photo you can see the US Botanical Gardens greenhouse. To the right of that you can see the National Museum of the American Indian, and to the right of that in the distance is the Washington Monument.



uscapital Here is a view of the capitol building from about where the ticket booth is.


uscapital Map of Capital Square Southwest


This placard is in the area and gives directions to various points. In the map you can see that the House and Senate office buildings surround the capitol building. It also points out where to go for the tour.



uscapital James A. Garfield Monument

This is the James A. Garfield monument and is located in one of the traffic circles (roundabouts) in front of the capitol. Garfield was a U.S. president who was assinated in 1881.



uscapital U.S. Capitol Building

This photo of the capitol building was taken from the same location as the above photo of the Garfield monument.



uscapital James A. Garfield Monument

The figures at the base of the monument represent different phases of Garfield's career. The student represents his early career as a teacher; the warrior represents his military service; and the statesman represents his polital career as Representative, Senator and President.



uscapital U.S. Capitol Building

Another view of the capitol building from the front. In this view, you can see the dome over the rotunda, and you can just see the tops of the other two smaller domes to each side of the larger one.



uscapital Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

This is part of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial. It is the largest statuary group in Washington. The figure of Grant is among the largest equestrian statues in the world.



uscapital This is another part of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial.


uscapital This is also a part of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial.


uscapital And here is a close-up of the rearing horses.


uscapital Looking out from in front of the Capitol building

You can see the National Mall with the Washington Monument in the distance. Along both sides of the National Mall are the buildings of the Smithsonian Museum as well as the National Gallery of Art, all of which have no admission fees. Beyond the Washington Monument is the World War II Memorial, a reflecting pool and the Lincoln Memorial. In the foreground of this photo is the reflecting pool in front of the capitol. Most people have seen the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial, but many people do not know that there is one here also.



uscapital A view of the dome on the U.S. capitol Building.

This dome was designed after the dome on St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in Rome, which was designed by Michelangelo after the dome on the duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) in Florence. This dome however is cast iron rather than masonry, but it does have two shells like those other domes. It is possible to climb to the top between the shells, but access to this is not open to the public. There are also two smaller domes, one over the areas on each side of the rotunda.



uscapital A view of the National Mall from the portico of the U.S. capitol Building.


uscapital National Mall

Another view of the National Mall from the portico of the U.S. capitol Building. From this view you can see the equestrian statue of Ulysses S. Grant and the location of the reflecting pool.



uscapital Here is a view inside the dome over the rotunda of the U.S. capitol Building.

The "Apotheosis of Washington" is the very large fresco painted by Italian artist Constantino Brumidi in 1865 and visible through the oculus of the dome in the rotunda of the United States Capitol Building. The fresco is suspended 180 feet (55 m) above the rotunda floor and covers an area of 4,664 square feet (433.3 m2). The figures painted are up to 15 feet (4.6 m) tall and are visible from the floor below. The dome was completed in 1863, and Brumidi painted it over the course of 11 months at the end of the Civil War.
The windows running all around the "drum" allow a lot of light to enter.



uscapital Here is a view of a portion of the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC


uscapital The Rotunda

In this view of the rotunda, you can see a portion of the drum below the dome with the windows, as well as the frieze depicting significant events in American history that rings its upper walls.



uscapital Po'Pay

Every state sent two statues to the capitol of people who are significant to thier history. This is a statue of Po'Pay, an American Indian holy man from New Mexico.



uscapital Here are some more of the statues.


uscapital This is an area under one of the smaller domes. There is a gift shop in this area.


uscapital A tableau shows some renovations that were done, showing the structure of the dome.


uscapital Inside one of the smaller domes.


uscapital A view of the old Supreme Court Chamber.


uscapital Another view of the old Supreme Court Chamber.




uscapital Chief Washakie from wyoming.
uscapital Sakakawea from North Dakota, A member of the Lewis and Clark expedition.


uscapital Another ceiling in the capitol.


uscapital Abraham Lincoln

A bust of Abraham Lincoln along with a plaque that records the quartering of troops in the U.S. Capitol Building in response to President Lincoln's call for volunteers, April 15, 1861.



uscapital A view of the fountain in front of the capitol building.


uscapital Another view of the front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC


uscapital Some flowers on a nearby fence.








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Contents © Copyright 2001 Author: Lee Briggs except where noted. All rights reserved.