The Crypt

The chamber underneath the Capitol's Rotunda is known as the Crypt. In church architecture the term is used to designate the level under the chancel that is used for chapels and occasionally for burials. The Capitol's Crypt was never intended for either of these purposes and was built solely to support the floor of the Rotunda. Forty stout stone columns support brick arches that in turn support the Rotunda's stone floor. They also help support the weight of the Capitol's dome.