If you have ever heard the expression, "Get Smart," get over to the Library of Congress to witness this national monument and one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. The Library of Congress is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5:30pm. We took the Metro to the Capitol South Metro station located near the corner of 1st and C streets S.E.
The highlight of our visit in June 2001 to the Library of Congress was the glorious Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building, which rises 75 feet from the marble floor to the stained glass ceiling. More than 50 American sculptors, painters, and mosaic artists contributed their talents to the Thomas Jefferson Building. It was intended to be a showplace for the art and culture of the United States. I have traveled extensively throughout most of the world, and in my opinion these 50 American sculptors, painters, and mosaic artists have succeeded in their endeavor to make the marble columns and staircases, mosaics, and paintings in this building one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
We took a free tour to see the Great Hall and a superb view of the Main Reading Room from the Visitors' Gallery. As we went up the staircase to the Visitors' Gallery, a large mosaic portrait of the Minerva of Peace by Elihu Vedder dominated the Great Hall. Marble columns, bronze statues, paintings, murals, and mosaics are some of the most spectacular in the world. The Library of Congress collections comprise the world's most comprehensive record of human creativity and knowledge. The Gutenberg Bible and the Giant Bible of Mainz are on permanent display on the first floor of the Great Hall. There is an ongoing exhibition on display that features the Library's most treasured materials. This exhibition has rotating themes, each lasting about a year.
If you are looking for a light lunch at the Library of Congress, the James Madison Building across the street at 101 Independence Avenue has a cafeteria that is open to the public from 7:00am to 10:30am and 12:30pm to 2pm. The food is acceptable, but the view of the area is excellent. Skip the burgers and go for the salads.
If you have ever been in the Library of Congress, I think you will agree that it is truly one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
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