An interesting sightseeing destination is the Georgia state capitol located in downtown Atlanta and a fascinating site for anyone interested in the history of Georgia. The neoclassical architecture and stunning gilded dome is a focal point that stands out among the city's high rises and corporate buildings. The Georgia capitol building is open to the public on weekdays with guided tours available for small groups three times each day. If you are traveling with a large group, pre-scheduled tours are recommended.
Constructed between 1884 and 1889, the state capitol in Atlanta signified the symbol of the new south that emerged following the reconstruction period following the Civil War. The city of Milledgeville was initially the capitol of Georgia from 1804 to 1868 when the state's legislature voted to make Atlanta the capital city. It has remained the center of activity for Georgia's state government since that time.
For vacationers visiting the Georgia capitol building, it is conveniently located near Georgia State University and the Five Points MARTA transit stations, making it easy to reach from any hotels in Atlanta. When visiting the Georgia state capitol, which is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can take a guided tour of the public gallery, as well as observe government officials at work in the Senate or House of Representatives. The capitol building is open for tours during most months, except during January through March, when an orientation is given instead of a tour due to the Georgia General Assembly being in session.
Two other areas of historical interest to visitors at the capitol are the art and flag collections. The state capitol in Atlanta has one of the finest collections of historic flags in the state. Beginning in 1905 when 26 Civil War flags were returned to Georgia, a program was put into place to preserve the flags for future generations. The collection includes an impressive collection from the Civil War through current military conflicts. While some of the flags are in storage for safekeeping, many are displayed along the Hall of Valor at the capitol.
The extensive art collection at the state capitol in Atlanta dates back to the nineteenth century. During the early 1800s, life-size portraits of important individuals were commissioned for display in Milledgeville, the designated state capital at that time. The five portraits, of James Oglethorpe, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and George Washington, were the beginning of the art collection that now boasts nearly 300 works, including sculptures and statues. The museum is open to the public throughout the year.
Another point of interest for anyone touring downtown includes Underground Atlanta, located near the Georgia state capitol. In this six-block area, visitors can walk the original streets of the city. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Underground Atlanta provides a unique vacation experience where you will enjoy fine restaurants, retail, and specialty shops, while strolling streets from the past noted with plaques and historical markers.
There are options to tour sites around Atlanta that, like the Georgia capitol building, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They include Swan House, the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Georgian Terrace Hotel, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and Atlanta's last railway passenger terminal, at Brookwood Station. This historic Southern city is an unforgettable destination, and learning more details about its past through visits to the capitol and other significant sites is sure to enhance your time in Georgia.