Rotunda in the summer




The Rotunda at the University of Virginia was designed by Thomas Jefferson as the architectural and academic heart of the University’s community of scholars. He named the University’s original buildings the “Academical Village.” As the phrase suggests, the Academical Village is based on the Jeffersonian principle that learning is a lifelong process, and that interaction between faculty and students is vital to the pursuit of knowledge.

Jefferson modeled the Rotunda after the Pantheon, a second-century temple in Rome. Construction began in 1822 and was completed in 1828, two years after Jefferson’s death on July 4, 1826. Built at a cost of almost $60,000, it was the last structure to be finished on the Lawn. Together with Monticello, the Academical Village is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hours of Operation

The Rotunda is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Historical Tours: Regular historical tours are offered at 11 a.m. every day during the academic year (except home football game days) and leave from the Rotunda's Lower East Oval Room. Tours are free of charge.

Student Study Hours: During fall and spring semesters the Rotunda is open to students for studying from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday - Tuesday, and until midnight during exams.

For more information about visiting the Rotunda, please call 434-924-7969.

In the News

‘Brighter Than Ever’: A 20th Lighting of the Lawn for the History Books

Jubilant students, faculty and staff gathered on the University of Virginia’s Lawn Monday evening for the 20th anniversary of Lighting of the Lawn, a beloved tradition launched by students to forge unity after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

This year’s theme, “Brighter Than Ever

Rotunda Show Lights Up Grounds

The University of Virginia’s historic Rotunda was aglow Friday and Saturday during a two-night projection mapping show that drew a crowd of excited onlookers. They were masked and spaced apart, but still came together for the second of five projection mapping shows planned through the “Brighter

Ph.D. Students Transform Rotunda Into Planetarium, Realizing Jefferson’s Vision

The night sky is being recreated in the Rotunda’s Dome Room for a limited time, thanks to a trio of University of Virginia Ph.D. candidates – not from astronomy or computer science, but from the English department.


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This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.
Thomas Jefferson, 1820