Courts, Libraries and Memorials: It is D.C after all!

Slept in today and had breakfast in out hotel room. We caught the metro to our first stop for the day, The Supreme Court!

The Supreme Court building officially opened in 1935. Prior to that the courts were using other government building space. There are displays at the entrance building which share the history and significance of the building and it’s facade.

Supreme Court Bar

John Marshall was the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court whose opinions lay the foundation for the United States constitutional law.

John Marshall statue


Spiral staircase

After exploring the public areas inside the Supreme Court we headed out to look at the exterior facades.

The exterior West (front) facade of the building has the saying ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ above the entrance.

West facade

The entrance of the building is flanked by two marble statues. One is the Contemplation of Justice marble sculpture holding a blind figurine signifying impartiality.

Contemplation of Justice

The other is male sculpture holding a tablet/book with the word ‘Lex’ which means law in Latin.

Statue of Lex

We walked through the side of the Supreme Court building to the East facade, back of building.

East facade

Next stop the Library of Congress -Thomas Jefferson Building. This next to the Supreme Court so a short walk away. It houses the largest rare book collection in North America.

We joined a free guided tour within library which started with a short film about the library and its history. The interior of building was  designed in Italian Renaissance style.

The Great Hall was in the beautiful Italian Renaissance style. There were paintings above the windows with quotes below representing knowledge, wisdom, learning and philosophy.

Mosaic tile picture before entering the main reading room was beautiful with gold tiles and different coloured blue tiles creating depth.

Picture made of mosaic tiles

We proceed through to the balcony which looks into the main reading room. The dome inside has a circle of evolution has 12 cultures that have contributed and shields of the states.

After the reading room, our library guide took us to the lower ground area which houses The Giant Bible of Mainz and The Gutenberg Bible. The Giant Bible of Mainz was handwritten and took 15 months to write. However, Gutenberg created the first printing press so books can be easily printed. The Gutenberg Bible is the first book to be printed in Western Europe from movable metal type.

The Giant Bible of Mainz
The Gutenberg Bible

Our library guide too us to the Thomas Jefferson Library collection recreation. The books with the green ribbon is his original collection with less than 250 left to complete the collection. He had 6487 books to start.

Thomas Jefferson Library collection recreation

Another key thing to see at the Thomas Jefferson Buildig is the Waldseemuller Maps. It is the first map to use the name ‘America’. The 1516 Carta Marina incoporates greatly expanded and corrected geographical information.

Waldseemuller Maps

After a very interesting morning learning about parts of American history, we had lunch at Astro Fried Chicken and Doughnuts. We had the chicken fingers and chicken sandwich (fried chicken in a plain doughnut) as well as creme brulee doughnut (award winning/most popular) for dessert.

After lunch, we visited the International Spy Museum. The International Spy Museum is very interesting. Starts of with getting us to remember a spy identity and details then we were ushered through to a theatre where we watched a clip about spying. Then we went through a suite of interactive displays, videos and photos of spy related things including spy disguises, microdots, hidden cameras etc. Took us approx 2.5 hours. Go if you have time but otherwise it is not high up on my places to visit in D.C.

International Spy Museum

After doing a bit of shopping we caught a metro to Smithsonian and walked to the memorials.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial (presidential memorial) dedicated to one of America’s most important founding fathers Thomas Jefferson.

From the Jefferson Memorial we had a good view of the Washington Monument as well as the purple coloured sky and its reflection on the Patomac River.

We walked to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was in memory of the 32nd president of the United States.

After that we walked to Martin Luther King Jr memorial in memory of a leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Some of his famous quotes are chiselled into the wall of the memorial.

Then it was a long walk to the National World War 2 Memorial. The fountain was all lit up, a very pretty sight at night. A lovely tribute and memorial.

We caught a wonderful view of the Washington Monument’s reflection in the Reflecting Pool at night as we walked to the Lincoln Memorial.

The Reflecting Pool at night

The Lincoln Memorial looks great at night all lit up. A wonderful tribute in memory of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States who led the United States through it’s Civil War.

After a full day of seeing some of the sights in D.C we had a late dinner =(more like supper) at Founding Farmers. Shared the Farmers platter and a side of cucumber and snow peas. J had a beer and I had a cocktail ‘Orchid’.


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