Washington Monument to reopen after nearly 3 years

(Mary Terriberry/Shutterstock.com)

(Mary Terriberry/Shutterstock.com)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

The Washington Monument, one of the US capital's most recognizable sights, was to reopen Monday, three years after sustaining damage from a rare earthquake.

The popular tourist attraction is the US capital city's tallest building at 555 feet (170-meters).

The obelisk, built in honor of the first US president, George Washington, was closed after engineers found 150 cracks in the structure following a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in the neighboring state of Virginia in August 2011.

The structure was covered in scaffolding for months on end as the landmark underwent $15 million in repairs, half of which was funded by a private citizen.

"This enduring spirit of public-private partnerships has made it possible for visitors to once again enjoy the Monument and its unmatched view of Washington" said US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement.

Jewell will attend a reopening ceremony attended by US celebrities, with accompaniment by the United States Navy Band.

Public tours recommence after the ceremony, with tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis, officials said.

The Washington Monument, completed in 1885, is located in the middle of the National Mall, between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial.

The 2011 quake rattled a large swathe of the US East Coast, a region not usually prone to earthquakes.

It was centered in Louisa County, northwest of Richmond, and also caused significant damage to Washington's National Cathedral.


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