US Capitol © Leocha

This weekend we check out repairs to the U.S. Capitol dome, we get the lowdown on best views of Washington, DC, and the Top 10 airports in the world are announced.

Intensive care for a damaged dome

In a special article published by the Washington Post, repairs that will be taking place over the next two years are detailed. The cast-iron dome has stood un-repaired since the Civil War. Now the project will shroud the dome in scaffolding for the next two years as paint is stripped, cracks are filled, ornaments reattached, windows replaced and the dome is repainted.

A few things have to occur in and around the Capitol before repair of the dome begins. The Rotunda will be closed until April 28 while a bit of interior work is done to protect visitors and art from debris that could be shaken loose. After that, intense work will begin on the dome’s exterior.

Protecting the inside
A five-layered doughnut made of rope and fabric is being installed in the Rotunda this week to catch any falling debris. The “Apotheosis of Washington” fresco will be visible through the middle.

Surrounding the outside
Fifty-two miles of metal scaffolding pipe will surround the dome’s exterior. Most work will occur at night, and the functional but symmetrical lighting should make for interesting photos.

Statue of Freedom
The nearly 20-foot-tall bronze Statue of Freedom is not part of this project — except for its cast-iron base, which will be restored.

Finding the best views of Washington

The Washington Post lists its “Best Views” of our Capital City. It starts out the article with, “Washington isn’t home to the Empire State Building. Or the Sears Tower. Or the Space Needle. But we don’t need any of those, because we have something better.

We have a monument.”

A 555-foot obelisk from which you can gaze toward the Capitol to the east and the Potomac River to the west. The Washington Monument was damaged by an earthquake in August 2011, leaving it closed to visitors for more than 2-1/2 years. But workers have removed the scaffolding, and the monument soon will be back in business; it’s set to reopen May 12, setting the stage for a busy summer. (See tips for getting tickets below.)
And there are other locations across the city with awesome — in the true sense of the word — vistas, not to mention smaller crowds. Take a virtual tour here with Washington Post photographer Bill O’Leary, and learn how to take them all in when you visit in person. (First tip: Bring a camera!)

10 Best Airports in the World

The World Airport Awards are based on 12.85 million customer nominations across 110 nationalities of air travelers, and includes 410 airports worldwide. The survey evaluates customer satisfaction across 39 key performance indicators for airport service and product — from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration, through to departure at the gate.

They are the most prestigious accolades for the airport industry, voted by customers in the largest annual global airport customer satisfaction survey. The survey and awards process is totally independent and guaranteed free of any airport influence or interference in final results.

1 Singapore Changi Airport
2 Incheon International Airport
3 Munich Airport
4 Hong Kong International Airport
5 Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
6 Tokyo International Airport Haneda
7 Beijing Capital International Airport
8 Zurich Airport
9 Vancouver International Airport
10 London Heathrow Airport