Consider this the ultimate grand tour.
Neoclassical architecture (buildings designed with Classical Greek and Roman elements) has dazzled humans around the globe for nearly 300 years. Although those ancient civilizations have been at the foundation of many art and architecture movements—Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque to name a few—neoclassicism is characterized by a more wholesale revival of classical forms and structures. Many of the most recognizable government buildings around the world, from royal family homes to legislative buildings in the New World, have been designed, or redesigned, in this style.
The movement began in the middle of the 18th century in Italy, England, and France in the wake of the discovery of archaeological ruins of Herculaneum (in 1709) and Pompeii (in 1748), as aristocratic men embarked on cultural tours of Europe, typically with extensive stays in Italy, as part of their education. It flourished as an expression of restraint, rationalism, and reason in reaction to what was beginning to be viewed of as the decorative excesses of the Baroque and Rococo periods of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Throughout the second half of the 18th century and most of the 19th century, neoclassicism remained the predominant building style in Europe, spreading from Western to Eastern regions of the continent and much of Latin America and the United States, where newly formed governments sought to emulate the architecture of ancient Greece, the birthplace of democracy. Today, neoclassical buildings are nearly synonymous with government buildings in the U.S., from courthouses administrative buildings to national monuments. Read on to discover 21 of the most influential neoclassical buildings around the world.