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Capitol dome closes tomorrow until 2014, so catch the view today (PHOTOS)

If you're not occupying any other public space in central Denver today, it might be time to visit the Colorado Capitol building and climb those 99 steps from the third floor to the dome observation area. Tomorrow will be too late, since the dome is closing for repairs until some undetermined date in 2014 -- depriving tourists, buses of school kids, wandering minstrels and Coloradans in general of spectacular close-ups of the dome's architectural magnificence as well as panoramic views of the city and the mountains beyond.

The dome is closing for repairs to its iron framework as well as a touch-up of the gold leaf on the exterior, last replaced in 1991. The staircase within the dome shell leading all the way to the lights at the top has been closed for years, as has the stairway to the upper-upper observation deck (blame 9/11 for yet another idiotic security measure). But today it's still possible to get above the stained glass portraits of sixteen early Colorado movers and shakers and see City and County building, Colfax, the Front Range and more at their stunning best.

Here are some more pix.

Looking west.
Looking west.

The now-closed upper stairway.
The now-closed upper stairway.

Looking southwest.
Looking southwest.

Looking east.
Looking east.

More from our Kenny Be/Comics archive: "Dome repair to be financed by State Capitol condo project: Kenny Be's Fotochop Friday."