The Washington Monument reopens to visitors after years of work to replace elevators and security systems.
First lady Melania Trump attended the unveiling of the monument and tried out the new elevator, climbing to the top of the monument in the company of fourth graders from a nearby elementary school.
The legendary monument was closed for almost eight years. It was originally closed after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in 2012 caused 150 cracks in the walls of the monument.
The monument was briefly opened in 2016 but soon closed again due to problems with the elevator.
“We completely redesigned the Elevator,” said Jeffrey Reinbold, head of the National walk and Memorial parks. – There are new cables, new electronics, and redesigned engine. We’ve also added a new screening system.”
According to Reinbold, the first time the number of visitors will be limited to 40-50 people in half an hour until the optimal mode of inspection is developed. At the same time, over time, the administration expects to return to the previous figures of attendance – about 500,000 people a year.
Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis from Thursday. Booking tickets via the Internet will begin on October 19.
The monument, named after the first President of the United States, George Washington, is one of the most memorable elements in the architectural landscape of Washington and one of the most popular attractions on the National Mall.
The 169-meter high obelisk began construction in 1848. Due to the Civil war and lack of funding, the construction took almost 40 years. At the time of completion, in 1884, the building was the tallest in the world, but in 1889 it was overtaken by the Eiffel tower.
This time the repair of the monument was financed not only from the budget but also from donations of philanthropist David Rubinstein and other sponsors.
The Washington Monument is still the tallest building in the American capital.
The National Park Service has planned a series of events in honor of the monument.