DC day 1: The Library of Congress, the neighbor of the US Capitol
Washington Travel Blog› entry 940 of 1090 › view all entries
Sana had done her homework well! When I asked her what she wanted to see in DC she came up with several things, amongst them were two items I had never seen before. One of them was the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Very remarkable since I use the website of the Library of Congress very often for my research for my blog. The Thomas Jefferson Building turned out to be conveniently located next to the US Capitol, our planned starting point for today.
The Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. It houses the largest library (together with the British Library in London) in the World, 150 million items. The collection is public, but only members of congress and some other officials can actually take books with them.
Established in the year 1800 the institution was destroyed only 2 years after its foundation by the War of 1812. President Thomas Jefferson came to the recue and sold his entire private collection of 6487 books, initiating a new start for the library which grew significantly afterwards. The Thomas Jefferson Building was built in 7 years, starting in 1890. The architects were inspired by the European building style and took several trips to Europe to prepare.
The trips paid off! The outside of the structure is impressive, but surpassed by the inside which is just incredible. It contains one of the richest interiors in the US. My first association upon entering the building was, very disrespectful, with the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
Visitors are allowed to peek into the main reading room but are asked to keep moving and to refrain from taking pictures. So I took my pictures elsewhere, in the impressive Great Hall. Enjoying the many wise quotes on the walls, like: "In books lies the soul of the whole past time" and "Science is organized knowledge".
After this impressive start of the DC visit we walked along the whole National Mall from the Capitol to the National Gallery Sculpture Garden and the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, to the Tidal Basin to the White House to Georgetown. Many steps but worth every step!
More pictures below!