North America, United States
Located at the west end of the National Mall in West Potomac Park in Washington, the Lincoln Memorial is one of the most iconic monuments in the United States.
The memorial was designed by architect Henry Bacon in the style of a Greek temple. Bacon felt that a memorial to a man who had defended democracy ought to be based on a structure found in the country of where democracy had been born – Greece. It features 36 columns which represent the number of US states in existence at the time of Lincoln’s death. The memorial is made of stone from a variety of different states – the exterior is made of white marble from Colorado, the interior of limestone from Indiana, the ceiling of marble from Alabama and the floor of pink marble from Tennessee.
Inside the temple are three chambers. In the central chamber is the famous 19 foot tall statue of Lincoln which was carved by the Piccirilli brothers under the supervision of the statue’s sculptor, Daniel Chester French. Directly behind the statue is the inscription carved by Royal Cortissoz: “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever”. The two flanking chambers pay tribute to two of Lincoln’s most famous speeches – the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address. Above the speeches are two beautiful murals painted by Jules Guerin which represent some of Lincoln’s greatest accomplishment.
Building began on the memorial in 1914 and it was opened to the public in 1922. Since then it has become a symbol of, amongst other things, racial equality and has been the site of many large speeches and protests. Most famously it was in front of the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King gave his “I have a dream” speech in 1963.
Today the Lincoln Memorial is an incredibly popular tourist attraction with around 6 million annual visitors. Entrance to the memorial is free and it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week apart from Christmas day.
|Type of Activity:||Monuments|