Tuesday, July 31, 2012

University of Virginia: a world heritage site

Entering Charlottesville, Virginia is like stepping back in time. Charlottesville a historic little town; home of the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson and home of The University of Virginia founded by him. In the center a rotunda stands as the signature landmark of the University. A building built to resemble the pantheon of Rome.

In a brick floor esplanade a rotunda stands as a symbol of the academical village design by Jefferson. A building of bricks with its original color, including the 6 long white column entrance stands below a functioning clock. Along each side of the main entrance there is a terrace above a 9 windows room.

You can enjoy sitting in one of the wood benches underneath of one of the 5 meter trees. In spite the lawn is in a poor condition it invites you to sit in the breeze of the afternoon wind, that give you a woody tree smell that makes you enjoy a nice afternoon. To do this plan you need to go well prepared even when it is windy the temperature doesn’t go under 900 and the mosquitoes will eat you.

The heat, the tall dry grass, and the spider webs in every bush don’t seem to be a problem to all the people who come and hang out here. It’s a place very visited by tourists, you can see a lot of families walking by. As the marble steps of the rotunda is a popular point of reunion for the students and to the local families who come to play ball or Frisbee.

The building sit in a big esplanade with two flagless poles and in the middle a copper pedestal where stands a Thomas Jefferson statue.

In front of the main esplanade there is a smaller esplanade, it has a series of steps to get to the main patio in which steps there is a big white “z” painted. A path crosses this esplanade where there are a few benches. Sitting in one of these benches is nice,  even you are a couple feet away from the streets,  you can really feel the calm in this place surrounded by gardens and paths. One of this lead you to a much recent building also from the university, and the other leads you to a late 1880s gothic style chapel, now open to tourist and often witness of weddings.

If you sit in the rotunda staircase you can appreciate a 5 streets union in one traffic light which makes it kind of incredible the silence and the birds sounds you can hear just a few feet away. You can also see a similar building just in a smaller size and not in a rotunda form, but definitely the same style and time. The particular thing about this building is that also has a series of step to get to the main entrance, this one also has a painted “z” only this one in black.

The rotunda is a worth knowing landmark, there are tours around it every hour from 1 to 6 pm. And if you go between 5-7 pm you’ll presence a band practice. There are free trolleys of the university which they’ll take you from downtown to campus. 

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