The Secret Tour Of The U.S. Capitol Dome

The exclusive tour of the U.S. Capitol reserved for Congress members The U.S. Capitol is one of the best-known historical American landmarks but there is a secret tour that...

(Photo: U.S. Capitol)

The exclusive tour of the U.S. Capitol reserved for Congress members

The U.S. Capitol is one of the best-known historical American landmarks but there is a secret tour that you probably haven’t heard about. Here is an exclusive look at the secret staircase in the dome of the U.S. Capitol.

The U.S. Capitol dome completed construction in 1866 and was designed by architect Thomas U. Walter. The dome is made of cast iron and was designed around the roof of the atrium.

(Photo: racmccaf)

There is hallow space between the dome and atrium, based on the double dome of the Pantheon in Paris. This hollow space contains a 365-step staircase that winds up outside the atrium and leads to the cupola or roof of the dome.

Views from the top of the cupola are stunning and you can see everything in Washington. This sounds like a cool way of seeing Washington but this special tour is exclusive for members of Congress and their guests but it’s very rare that tours go all the way to the top.

(Photo: AOC)

The peak of the Capitol is a room called the “Tholos” which is at the very top and it looks out onto Washington in every direction, making this place truly unique. The special tour was offered to the public in the past but was closed due to several visitors passing out on the walk up and had to be carried down.

The Architect of the Capitol finished a $60 million dome restoration in 2016 that is expected to preserve the dome for the next 50 years. Though you’re unable to take the tour now it is possible they may re-open the tour in the future.

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