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Jefferson Memorial

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  West Potomac Park, Tidal Basin near 15th St SW and Ohio Drive; closest Metro Smithsonian. Daily 8ammidnight. Admission free.

  Completed in 1943 and modelled on his country home, Monticello, the Jefferson Memorial consists of a shallow dome hovering over a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third US president. The interior walls, encircled by an Ionic colonnade, are carved with Jefferson's words, and an inscription around the frieze reads: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

  The Tidal Basin, which fills most of the space between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, was created in order to prevent the western end of the Mall, including the spots where the two memorials sit, from being inundated by Potomac floods. The reflections off it are especially pretty in spring (usually late April), when the rows of Japanese cherry trees come out in full bloom.


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