Washington DC Travel & Information Guide
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The Capitol Building

The Capital

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Home to the legislative branch of the government, the Capital building overlooks the National Mall. Visitors are welcome to participate in the free guided tours, or wander the halls of the magnificent building on their own.

The Capital building is one of Washington’s unmistakable landmarks. The cornerstone of the building was laid by George Washington himself in 1793, and with the exception of certain extenuating circumstances (when the British burned the Capital),  it has housed the Senate and the House of Representatives since 1800.

The Capital building is divided into three sections: The North Wing, which houses the Senate, the South Wing for the House of Representatives and the Rotunda.

The absolutely beautiful Rotunda is the area under the Capital dome. On its ceiling is Constitino Brumidi’s fresco, "Apotheosis of Washington". The bronze 19-foot tall statue, "Freedom", tops the dome itself. No building in the District of Colombia is permitted to be taller than the statue, so nothing may stand above "Freedom".

The free 45-minute tour of the Capital begins in the Rotunda, and makes its way around the halls of the building. Along the way, tour guides point out the historical significance of the paintings and statues that adorn the halls. The tour is very informative and will instill an appreciation for the historical and architectural importance of the Capital.

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