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U.S. Capitol

The United States Capitol

The Capitol is the seat of the United States Congress ergo the legislative branch of government, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Covering over four acres, the United States Capitol Building and its iconic dome is a magnificent building lying on the eastern end of the National Mall. An archetype of 19th century neoclassical architecture, the Capitol’s design is derived from ancient Greece and Rome which evokes the principles that our Nation’s founders were trying to emulate. The original building began construction in 1793 with George Washington laying the cornerstone and the century that followed witnessed a whirlwind of struggles for this building. Among some of those struggles are being set on fire by the British during the war of 1812, only to be saved by a rainstorm, and construction being halted in 1861 when the building was used as a Union hospital and barracks.

Today between 3 and 5 million people visit the Capitol each year and it is home to countless important works of American art, most notably in the centrally located rotunda area. Inside the rotunda, located 180 feet below the peak of the Capitol dome, are 8 historical paintings, including depictions of events from the American Revolution, the landing of Columbus, and more. Above these paintings along the base of the interior band of the dome is the Frieze of American History, which depicts 19 various scenes from American history, including the birth of aviation, Pocahontas, the Battle of Lexington, and so forth.   

The Capitol has an extensive and complex history, and the building itself is in constant development since its inception. Hear about the troubled past of the Capitol Building, from growing pains to invading armies on our National Mall Segway Tour.

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