Virginia State Capitol Building, Richmond

Virginia State Capitol Building, Richmond (must see)

Only two state capitol buildings in the US were designed to recreate ancient world architecture. In Vermont, the State House has elements based on Athens' Temple of Hephaestus. The Virginia State Capitol Building's design was credited to none other than Thomas Jefferson, who worked closely with architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau to recreate an ancient Roman temple from southern France, Maison Carrée at Nîmes. It was the first modern building in the New World to be designed based on a classical Roman temple. It was also the first state capitol building built in the US after the Revolutionary War. A statue of Jefferson stands in the plaza of the Capitol Extension.

The building was completed in 1788, with the first General Assembly meeting held inside the building in 1792. During the Civil War, the building also served as the capitol building of the Confederacy. The building has been renovated several times in its history, with the most significant changes occurring in 1904 when two large wings were built to allow space for the growing assembly. When even more space was needed, a considerable expansion project was commenced underground to preserve Jefferson's original building's beauty. The 2007 project added 27,000 square feet of space and cost $104.5 million.

Why You Should Visit:
The Virginia State Capitol building is one of the most beautiful and unique state capitols. The design, chosen by Thomas Jefferson, was drawn from a plaster model he had made of the first-century Roman temple in France.

The building itself was featured in a national TV documentary and named one of the "10 buildings that changed America." If you're interested in history, architecture, or government, this tour is a must-see.

The Capitol Building houses many portraits and artworks of famous Virginians. In the central Rotunda, you will find Jean-Antoine Houdon's marble statue of George Washington. This is the only statue made while Washington was alive. The 6'2" statue was considered to be a perfect likeness.

You can tour the building on your own but plan on joining one of the free guided tours for the best experience. Guided tours include the Rotunda, the Old House and Old Senate chambers, and one of the 1906 legislative chambers. Group tours are available for parties of ten or more. Inquire at the Visitors Center for information about tours.

If your a fan of Virginia or just historic buildings, don't miss the Virginia Shop on your way out. Meriwether's Café offers made-to-order fresh food and takeout service if you get hungry.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Richmond. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Virginia State Capitol Building on Map

Sight Name: Virginia State Capitol Building
Sight Location: Richmond, USA (See walking tours in Richmond)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Richmond, Virginia

Create Your Own Walk in Richmond

Create Your Own Walk in Richmond

Creating your own self-guided walk in Richmond is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Richmond Introduction Walking Tour

Richmond Introduction Walking Tour

After settling Jamestown in 1607, several expeditions up the James River led to an interest in the area inhabited by the Powhatan Nation. But the first European settlements didn’t come for more than a hundred years when in 1737, planter William Byrd II had the original town grid laid out.

He named the town “Richmond” after an English town. He felt the view of the James River was similar...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Maymont and Carytown Walking Tour

Maymont and Carytown Walking Tour

Maymont, a picturesque and spacious Victorian estate in Richmond, Virginia, is a popular outdoor attraction nestled in the very heart of the city.

Home to the beautifully landscaped Japanese and Italian gardens surrounding the opulent, historic Maymont Mansion, it represents a remnant from America's Gilded Age. Nature enthusiasts can also explore the Maymont Wildlife Center, home to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Historical Homes Walking Tour

Historical Homes Walking Tour

Being one of America’s oldest major cities, the capital of Virginia, Richmond, is rich with historic homes, dating back well into the 1800s and beyond. Those passionate about storied buildings will surely find plenty to their taste here.

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum, The White House of the Confederacy – home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the Civil War, and the John Marshall...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles