on November 22, 2007
Known at the time as the Pennsylvania State House, and now known simply as Independence Hall, the building and surrounding national park in downtown Philadelphia offers a breathtaking and remarkable look back on the founding moments of our nation. It is amazing to consider what actually took place in Independence Hall -- both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated here, with many of our nation's founding fathers voicing their opinions and views that would ultimately lead to the legendary documents. Even the most casual of Americans should take a moment to go through the building -- it can be quick, and its hard to not be impressed.The building itself is in remarkably good condition. There are several areas in the building, including the seat of the court, the room where the Declaration was debated, and the reception room upstairs. All have been restored with replica furniture by the National Park Service to what it likely looked at during the time period. Next door to Independence Hall itself, but still part of the Independence Hall complex and within the secured area, is the building where the Congress met during the period before Washington, D.C. was completed. In another building in the secured area you will find draft copies (original, but not signed) of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The entire complex is run by the National Park Service. Pictures are allowed, except when around the charter documents. For the three buildings, keep the following in mind:- For Independence Hall, you need to obtain tickets from the National Park Service's Visitors Center nearby. The tickets are free, but they are for a specific time, so plan ahead. It is highly advisable to go early in the morning, especially during peak tourist season. The tickets are for a tour of Independence Hall run by a Park Ranger -- I found it highly informative and worthwhile. You can't get into Independence Hall without a tour guide.- The Congress Hall is inside the secured area and only accessible by tour, however the tours, which launch every twenty minutes, do not require tickets. I found it worthwhile, but certainly not as interesting as Independence Hall- Finally, the building with draft copies of the Charter documents has no tours and no tickets necessary. There are always Park Rangers inside talking about the significance of what you are looking at, but you can enter and leave at any time.It goes without saying that this is one of the most significant historical sites in Philadelphia, and should not be missed. It is easily accessible from most of the downtown area, and is not hard to find. Very Highly Recommended.
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