The Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The Capitol in Washington, D.C. is the government center of the United States and one of the most famous buildings in the world. It serves as the seat of Congress and is a popular tourist destination. We present the history, architecture, and interior of the Capitol and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Capitol Building: important facts

Here are some important facts about the Capitol in the USA: 

City: Washington, D.C.
US State: District of Columbia
Built: 1793 - 1800
Area: approx. 26,800 m²
Height: approx. 88 m

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Location of the Capitol

The Capitol sits on a hill in the heart of Washington, D.C., and is the focal point of the National Mall, a park that stretches for several miles through the city. Situated among other famous buildings such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial, it is the center of American political life.

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History of the Capitol

The Capitol was designed by French architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant and Irish-American architect James Hoban in 1793 and built by 1800, after the capital of the United States was moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. However, the original architecture of the Capitol was simple and modest, and it took almost a century to create the magnificent building we see today.

During the American Civil War, the Capitol was damaged and required extensive renovation. It was under the direction of architect Thomas U. Walter that the Capitol dome was given its present majestic form.

In addition to the renovation of the Capitol, many important political events have taken place at the site throughout history. These include the inauguration of many US presidents, important political debates and decisions, and many other milestones in American history.

Today, the Capitol is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Washington, D.C. As the seat of the US Congress, it is a symbol of the political power and democratic ideals of the United States.

Capitol architecture

The Capitol has impressive architecture influenced by classical Roman architecture. The structure is topped by an imposing dome approximately 88 m high. The facade of the Capitol is covered with marble and contains numerous reliefs and statues symbolizing the development and history of the United States. The interior is also sumptuous, with marble floors, stucco ceilings, and murals reflecting American culture.

Rooms in the Capitol

The Capitol has many important rooms that are used for different purposes. Some of the most famous rooms are the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Rotunda, the Library, and the Dome Room.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are where laws are passed, and political decisions are made. The Rotunda is a circular room under the dome that serves as a memorial to leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.

The Capitol Library is one of the largest and oldest libraries in the United States and houses a vast collection of documents and books relating to American history and culture. The domed hall on the third floor is mainly used for cultural and political events.

Statues and artworks in the Capitol

The Capitol in Washington, D.C., houses a remarkable collection of artwork and statues in its corridors and public areas. Among the most important works of art are Thomas Crawford's Freedom Statue on the roof of the Capitol and portraits of important political leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. However, the art in the Capitol is not just for decoration; it also provides a deeper understanding of the culture and history of the United States.

Visit to the Capitol

The Capitol is one of Washington, D.C.'s landmarks and a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can take a free tour of the building to learn about its architecture and history. A tour can also be used to understand the political processes and activities in the Capitol. It should be noted, however, that the Capitol is also an active government building, and visitors must pass through a security checkpoint before being allowed to enter it.

More tips for the USA

The Capitol in Washington, D.C., is a major attraction in the USA. But there are many other interesting places and natural wonders to explore in America, from New York City and Los Angeles to stunning national parks such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. The diversity of the USA has just something for everyone!

FAQ: Kapitol in Washington, D.C.

Do you have more questions about the Capitol in Washington, D.C.? You're sure to find the answers in our FAQ:

The Capitol is open daily, except on public holidays. Regular opening hours are from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

No, admission to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. is free.

Yes, the Capitol in Washington, D.C. is open not only to American citizens but also to visitors from around the world.

Yes, visitors must book their tour in advance through the Office of the Architect of the Capitol.

Yes, some restrictions apply when visiting the Capitol. These include, for example, a security check before entry and a ban on items such as weapons, large bags, and drinks. Photography and filming are also only allowed in certain areas. Therefore, it is important to know the current regulations beforehand to ensure a smooth visit.

No, it is not possible to stay overnight at the Capitol.

There are several parking options near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., for example:

  • Union Station Parking Garage: This parking garage is located very close to the Capitol and is easily accessible by car.
  • Senate Parking Garage: This parking garage is reserved specifically for visitors to the Capitol and surrounding government buildings.
  • Columbus Circle Parking Garage: This parking garage is close to the Capitol and easily accessible by car.
  • Public Parking: There is also public parking near the Capitol, including National Mall Parking and Massachusetts Ave NW Parking.

Please note that parking in Washington, D.C. may be limited due to events or the time of year. Therefore, it is advisable to find a parking space early or to use public transportation.

The Capitol and the White House are both located in Washington, D.C., and are only a few blocks apart. The distance between the buildings is approximately 1.6 km. You can easily reach both sites on foot or by car.

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