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Designed by Thomas Jefferson with architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau, this Classic Revival building was modeled after a Roman temple, the Maison Carrée in Nimes. It was completed in 1788 and is the second oldest capitol in continuous use in the country. The focal point of the building is the central rotunda featuring a life-size statue of George Washington, said to be the only one for which he actually posed. A smaller dome displays busts of the eight American presidents from Virginia. The old Hall of the House of Delegates, where the legislature met until 1906, is now a museum. Free tours, lasting about 30 minutes, are offered here. Visitors can stroll around the Capitol grounds and see the nearby Executive Mansion.
Founded in 1847, Hollywood is one of the oldest cemeteries in Richmond. Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General J.E.B. Stuart, Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, novelists James Branch Cabel and Ellen Glasgow, and 18,000 Confederate soldiers, 11,000 of the unknown, are a few examples of the historical figures buried here. Hollywood has the city's best view of the James River. When the cemetery was first established, neighbors declared that the rushing of the falls would, literally, wake the dead. Guided tours are available on the last Sunday of each month through October.
It was here that the Virginia Convention of 1775 met to discuss the question of taking arms against the British. One of the oldest wooden buildings in Virginia, delegates to the Convention - including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Patrick Henry - had convened in this very spot. And it was here where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech and said the following famous lines: "Give me liberty or give me death!" Visitors can reenact this experience by watching the live performances offered by professional actors and further enrich their knowledge of history by visiting the city's first public cemetery.
Built-in 1893, this beautiful home on the James River is a classic example of Victorian architecture and landscaping. Maymont Mansion is filled with period furniture including a magnificent swan bed. Trees and plants from all over the world were cultivated here by the owners. The English, Japanese and Italian gardens are romantic spots for strolling and picnicking. A carriage collection, children's farm, and small zoo are other favorite attractions.
The Fan District is full of richly detailed turn-of-the-century townhomes. Each is unusual with architectural features including spellbinding stained glass, grimacing gargoyles and intricately carved columns. Most are surrounded by fragrant flowers, carefully tended by the buildings' owners. The area is named for its fan-shaped layout, designed during Richmond's streetcar era. The Strawberry Street Cafe is just one of many favorite Richmond restaurants that nestle along the Fan's folds.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts contains comprehensive collections of works from ancient times to the present. Permanent exhibits include pieces from ancient Greece, a tapestry hall, a medieval chapel and the largest collection of Faberge eggs outside of Russia. A regular schedule of temporary exhibits rounds out this comprehensive art museum. A peaceful sculpture garden provides a place for a quiet rest beside the rushing fountains. Admission is free, although USD5 donations are suggested.
Virginia War Memorial or The Carillon was built in 1932 to honor the fighters who lost their lives in World War I. It was designed by Ralph Adams Cram and is a highlight of the Byrd Park. The Colonial Revival style structure has 56 bells which are played on important occasions. The memorial also hosts private and corporate events.