Aerial view of Rotunda at graduation




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: Historical Tours of the University of Virginia are offered daily when courses are in session, with the exception of home football game days. These tours cover the original University and Lawn area, and they begin in the Lower East Oval Room of the Rotunda, Sunday - Friday at 11 a.m., and Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Additionally, a History of African Americans tour will be offered each Sunday at 3 p.m. Tours are free of charge. No reservation necessary.

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

At the Center of It All

If you gaze up, you can see eternity. The center draws your eye. Almost involuntarily, your view expands outward in every direction at once, eyes following the spokes that stretch to places still unimagined. It is the oculus. The glass eye at the top of the dome. The pinnacle of the Rotunda, a

Lighting of the Lawn 2022

This year’s theme for Lighting of the Lawn is Full Power. The past few years have presented us with many challenges at UVA, yet through it all our community has remained strong. This year, UVA is back to its full potential and there is a renewed energy of excitement that we can

The Bigger Picture: Starry Night in the Rotunda

The Rotunda Dome over the weekend became the planetarium that University of Virginia founder Thomas Jefferson envisioned in his early plans, but never realized. It took modern digital technology to create the centuries-old night sky that visitors viewed in a special open house, while they


June 2 - 11, 2023
Various Locations

We’re excited to bring alumni back to Grounds this June—it’s been too long since we’ve seen you!

June 18, 2023
6 p.m. Tour; 7:30 p.m. Concert at UVA's Rotunda
Rotunda & Memorial to Enslaved Laborers

FREE (advanced registration required)

What sounds might a visitor to Monticello have heard? Music was often in the air - Thomas Jefferson was a violinist, and nearly every member of his family also

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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