If you've been following along with the blog for a while, you know that I love castles. We visited all the ones that we could while in the UK, and we honestly can't wait to get back to see more. Here in the USA, we don't have any castles. But in Iowa, we do have an amazing State capitol building!
Side note, Raygun is a store in Des Moines that sells hilarious t-shirts, books, postcards, etc., and I always make a trip there during Annual Conference (even when I can't afford to buy anything like this year.) This particular postcard cracked me up, I wish I could have sent it to some friends back in the UK!
Even though it's not a castle, the state capitol building does a pretty job rivaling castles when it comes to beauty and grandeur. The outside alone is incredibly impressive, all massive stone with golden domes. The gold on those domes is real 24karat gold, which seems kind of crazy expensive, but it sure is beautiful.
Walking into the building is impressive as well. When standing in the entryway you can look up to the ceiling and the incredible care taken to make this place as gorgeous as possible.
While gorgeous, the building is also incredibly functional (unlike most castles these days.) In this building is where the state senate and house of representatives meet, in rooms that are both stunning and serve a purpose.
The ceiling continues to impress with stained glass and incredible chandeliers.
My favorite part of the whole building is the law library. It starts with a massive doorway that makes you feel like you are stepping back in time.
A spiral staircase in the corner beckons you to climb it to explore the stacks.
Unfortunately, visitors are only allowed to climb one level of the stairs. But even then you get a pretty amazing view of the rest of the room.
There was a display case holding some of the oldest and most valuable books the library contains. The oldest one is that tiny one on the right, printed in 1539. (Not super impressive by European standards, but pretty incredible for an American library!)
Exploring this gorgeous building was really fun, as there were visual delights around every corner. These days in the USA a government would never really dare to spend this kind of money on a building, but it sure is incredible. The state capitol building is something every Iowa resident can take pride in!