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Notable Architecture

Top Rated Attractions in Richmond

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Maymont Mansion

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.

St. John's Church

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.

Virginia State Capitol

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.

Berkeley Plantation

Built in 1726 as the home of Benjamin Harrison IV and his wife, this Georgian mansion features beautifully-landscaped grounds filled with magnificent gardens and terraces. A knowledgeable guide dressed in a period costume will lead you through the plantation itself, which is filled with valuable antiques and furniture. The tour also includes a visit to a museum of Civil War artifacts. Special group rates are available.

Shirley Plantation

Built in 1613, this is the oldest plantation in Virginia, and a National Historic Landmark. It has been carefully and very well-preserved, and features original woodwork and furnishings, as well as the only example of an original "Flying Staircase" that's left in the country. Amazingly, it is still in operation today. Visitors may come for a pre-planned tour seven days a week.

Richmond Floodwall

A protective barrier and part of the city's largest flood-protection system, built to shield the city from flooding up to a height of 32 feet in case of the James River swelling and overflowing, the Richmond Floodwall has been made using 3.2 miles of concrete, steel, earth and rock. The wall is also a popular spot for runners, hikers, bird watchers and kayakers. The area is also a trendy fishing spot, especially during Spring season. Built after the extensive damage caused in Richmond between 1969 to 1987 due to excessive and repeated flooding, the wall also offers scenic views of the river.

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