The Central Grounds at the University of Virginia include an abundance of historical sites. Designed by Thomas Jefferson as an open rectangle, rather than a single building, the Academic Village is one of the most notable features of the University. This includes The Lawn, where Jefferson placed fifty-four lawn rooms. Along with Monticello,The Lawn itself is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the years, students, including literary figure, Edgar Allen Poe, resided in these very rooms. Pavilions, which housed faculty, also line The Lawn. Similar to the gardens on the back side of The Lawn, no two Pavilions are the same. By designing the architecture this way, Jefferson illustrated his visionary talent and zeal for the unexpected. On the other side of The Lawn lie additional rooms, known as the Ranges, and serpentine walls, an architectural wonder of period.
Beyond the Academic Village, the University features twelve libraries, including the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. This centrally-located building houses manuscripts and artifacts. Nearby, an outdoor exhibit of the Berlin Wall sits behind glass. Combined with the significance of U.Va.’s past and presence, this piece of history serves as a symbol of international freedom. Come experience this profound piece of art and artifact without leaving the country.
Along with other historical buildings, The University Chapel draws in visitors. Built in 1889, the nondenominational church displays a Gothic Revival. The chapel was a gift from the Seven Society, one of the secret societies at the University of Virginia. While the chapel primarily functions as a venue for various events today, its church bell still holds traditional significance. When a member of the Seven Society dies, other members ring the church bell seven times, signifying his membership in the secret community. If you are lucky enough to meet your spouse at the University of Virginia, you can even get married in this beautiful building.