Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Washington, D.C., United States

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a 2-acre (8,000 m²) national memorial in Washington, DC. It honors U.S. service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for during the War.

Its construction and related issues have been the source of controversies, some of which have resulted in additions to the memorial complex. The memorial currently consists of three separate parts: the Three Servicemen Memorial, the Vietnam Women's Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, which is the best-known part of the memorial.

The main part of the memorial was completed in 1982. The memorial is maintained by the U.S. National Park Service, and receives around 3 million visitors each year.

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Founded: 1982
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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

D Patterson (2 months ago)
Very humbling place. Sacred ground for those who have went on bravely before us, that gave their all so others will live free. Forever we are in debt to you. Untill Valhalla....
Henry Nalence (3 months ago)
Very detailed and it was nice that there were veterans shading over named with a paper and pencil.
joek2k (3 months ago)
What a heart-breaking memorial dedicated to our fallen Vietnam war heroes. Seeing all the names on the wall makes you feel appreciative of the sacrifices our fellow Americans had to endure for our freedom. My grandpa's best friend died in the Vietnam war from a north Vietnamese sniper when he was just 20 years old. When I was there, I etched his name on a piece of paper and handed it to my grandpa for something he can hold onto and remember him for. There are nearby small park benches if you don't want to visit the wall and just standby and the memorial is always clean.
Jordan Gensemer (3 months ago)
I think this is a really touching place to go and to see all the names of those people that were lost in the war. I think that the area around was very nice as well. Could've used a little TLC but for the most part really nice.
BradJill Travels (10 months ago)
Another touching monument along The Mall is that of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. During my last visit in May 2016, I enjoyed seeing the monument in front of the row of trees flush with green, a benefit of visiting during the warmer months of the year. This is a good time of year to take photographs of this particular monument. I've always been impressed with the simplicity of this monument, being two walls set at an angle cut into the ground. It is a respectable yet haunting design and leaves you with deep impressions, regardless if you know veterans or victims of this most tragic war. In addition to seeing the list of soldiers killed in battle during the Vietnam War engraved along this monument walls, there is also a statue of three soldiers in combat gear that you can see nearby. This is worth seeing. Also worth taking time to visit is the Vietnam Women's Memorial, which commemorates the 265,000 woman that served during that period. This monument is just a couple minutes walk east. Note: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial can be quite crowded due to its importance as well as it proximity to other famous and popular memorials nearby. If you want unobstructed photographs or more peaceful, quiet visits, it is best to visit very early in the morning, just after daybreak. At this time, you can view prior to the large crowds arriving.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.