Rotunda and Central Grounds
The original Grounds of the University, including the Rotunda and the Lawn, were designed by Jefferson to be what he called an "Academical Village." The Academical Village includes a rectangular, terraced green space known as the Lawn; two parallel rows of buildings, the Pavilions, connected by colonnaded walkways and student rooms; and the Rotunda, which closes off the north end of the Lawn. The Rotunda, a half-scale interpretation of the Pantheon in Rome, is the signature landmark of the University and its Dome Room originally housed the University library. The Pavilions are in the Federal style and no two are alike. The top floors of the Pavilions originally served as living quarters for the professors, while the ground-level floors served as classrooms and offices. Pavilion VII, the University's first building, is home to the Colonnade Club, a faculty organization.
Behind the Pavilions on each side of the Lawn are the Gardens. The Gardens are enclosed by serpentine brick walls, whose curve helps to stabilize and strengthen the walls, which are remarkable for being only one brick thick. Parallel to the Lawn and behind the Gardens are the Ranges, rows of rooms in which graduate students now live. West Range No. 13 is preserved as the Edgar Allan Poe Room. A plaque over the door of No. 31 marks the room of Woodrow Wilson.
In 1987 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added the University of Virginia and Monticello to the list of World Heritage Sites. These sites include the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Versailles and many other international treasures that should be protected and cherished by all the peoples of the world. The nomination for Monticello and the University of Virginia read, "(I) as a unique artistic achievement, a masterpiece of creative genius; (IV) as an outstanding example of a type of a building or architectural ensemble which illustrates a significant stage in history; and (VI) because Monticello and the University of Virginia are directly and tangibly associated with ideas, beliefs, and events of outstanding universal significance."
Conducted tours of the Rotunda are offered daily at 10:00am, 11:00am, 2:00pm, 3:00pm and 4:00pm. No admission charge. Self-guided tours only during Thanksgiving, closed 3 weeks during Winter Break and during graduation in May.