One of the most representative buildings in the United States, The Capitol was my first stop in Washington. I made a booking with a month in advance just to be sure that one of my best friends, doing an internship there, could be my guiding tour. So I knew my visit would be special!
Some interesting facts
My guide told me that the Capitol was one of the first modern buildings on the continent. Since they laid the foundation, in 1793, the Americans knew that the building will be the place from where the country would be run.
And now comes the funny part…
Right after the hall where you buy tickets, we entered a room with a white star on the ground. It is made of marble and it’s surrounded by dark red strings – meaning a warning that one should not step on it. The guide said: „The Americans wanted this spot to be the center of their country. Then, they realized that they are pretty close to the beach and there’s so much territory in the West!”
…and some rules
In the building, all states are represented by statues depicting famous people for each one.
And I found out why Washington is not a place for skyscrapers: there is a law according to which a building in Washington should not exceed the height of the Capitol dome! So, the city is still a breezy one, abundant in green space and with many friendly squirrels than you could imagine.
The Capitol is full of interesting paintings, but none of them compares to the marvel of The Apotheosis of George Washington painted on the dome by Constantino Brumidi in 1865.
Be careful: the dome is under restoration until 2017, but you can still see the painting! The process will not bother you in admiring the Statue of Freedom from the top of the dome.
A secret pass…
From the Capitol we passed on to The Library of the Congress through a passage, once secret. This library is the biggest in the world, with more than 160 million books. If you could read 100 books per day, you’ll still need 4.384 years to read them all! Here I saw the Gutenberg Bible, the first printed book in Western Europe.
…and a forbidden place
Lucky me to have had a guiding tour and a friend by my side! Thanks to him, I gained access to a place that is generally forbidden for tourists: the reading room – an amazing round hall that has a stunning dome ceiling. Unfortunately, the guards didn’t allow me to take photos to show you all that beauty. They stopped me after the first one! But I am sure you are now curious enough to go and discover it for yourself.