The United States Capitol from the Northwest

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The United States Capitol from the Northwest ( 480x640 )
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The United States Capitol is one of the widely recognized buildings in the world. It is located in Washington, D.C., at the eastern end of the National Mall on a plateau 88 feet above the level of the Potomac River, commanding a westward view across the Capitol Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument 1.4 miles away and the Lincoln Memorial 2.2 miles away. It is the focus by which the quadrants of the district are divided., although it is not the geographical centre of the city.

The capitol building is home to the Congress of the United States, the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is a symbol of the American people and their government, an art and history museum, and a tourist attraction visited by millions every year.

In the central part of the building, there is the central dome and rotunda. At its two sides there are two wings, each serving for one chamber of Congress. The north wing is the one of Senate and the south one belongs to the House of Representatives. Galleries are situated above both chambers, so people can watch.

The building was built in the neoclassical style. It was designed by William Thorton. The construction started in 1793 – on 18 September George Washington laid the cornerstone. It was built by slaves. The Senate wing was completed in 1800, while the House wing was completed in 1811. Shortly after completion, it was partially burned. Reconstruction began in 1815, and was completed by 1830. The building was expanded dramatically in the 1850s.

The Ground of Capitol covers approximately 274 acres consisting mostly of lawns, walkways, streets, drives, and planting areas. Today's grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, noted American landscape architect, between the years1874 and 1892.

The Capitol shows also a history of American art. In 1856 Italian-American artist Constantino Brumidi painted murals in the hallways of the first floor, Senate side of the Capitol. They are known as the Brumidi Corridors.

The Capitol Complex consists of the Capitol, the House and Senate Office Buildings, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Grounds, the Library of Congress buildings, the Supreme Court Building, the Capitol Power Plant, and various support facilities.
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