Washington DC

I will be your guide round the capital of the USA. I’d like to represent an excursion to you.

Washington DC is the nation’s capital city and is the home of the federal government. Founded in 1790, Washington was named after the 1st president of the US, George Washington. As for me I was greatly interested in what does “DC” stand for? As it turned out DC stands for District of Columbia. It is called District of Columbia, because it was built on land of the Territory of Columbia, a 10 square mile piece of land. The territory of Columbia was named such after Christopher Columbus. The city is located on the north bank of the Potomac River and is bordered by the states of Virginia to the south-west and Maryland to the other sides. 

I suppose it’s interesting to notice that untill the late 18th century, America was under the rule of the British Crown. When the colonists declared their independence from Great Britain, the Revolutionary War began. After a long and hard struggle, the British finally granted America its freedom to be an in-dependent nation. George Washington was named the nation’s president. Under a new government, with a strong leader in place, the next task was to decide on a site for a national capital. Finally Con-gress decided to make the capital a “federal city”, completely separate from all states. President George Washington picked out that spot 16 miles away from his own home at Mount Vernon. The loca-tion of the city on the Potomac river was the result of a political compromise between the wishes of the northern and the southern states. Washington was founded in 1791. The city was built to a prelimi-nary plan designed by Pierre L’Enfant a French artist and engineer who had formed a friendship with George Washington while serving in the Revolutionary events. He was requested to design a plan for the national capital. The fact that the area was largely undeveloped gave the city's founders the unique opportunity to create an entirely new capital city. L'Enfant developed a Baroque plan that features ceremonial spaces and grand radial avenues. The result was a system of intersecting diagonal avenues su-perimposed over a grid system and this fact impressed me so much. Moreover I’d like to emphasis that a rectangular network of streets combines with wide avenues which radiate from two main centers. One of them is the Capitol and the other is the White House. It’s interesting to notice that when L’EnFant laid the plans for Washington DC, he designing it in the mold of Paris. L'Enfant specified in notes ac-companying the plan that these avenues were to be wide, grand, lined with trees, and situated in a manner that would visually connect ideal topographical sites throughout the city, where important structures, monuments, and fountains were to be erected.

As far as everybody knows Washington is not the largest city in the country, for it cannot be com-pared in size with the cities like New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los-Angeles. Unlike traditional sky-scraping US cities, Washington DC has a sprawling, horizontal old-world feel. But in the political sense it is the center of the republic. It is the home of government. The US Presidents lives and works here, the Congress and the Supreme Court are all in Washington DC. Washington DC is the most magnificent city in the US in that no other city more readily and enthusiastically celebrates…well, celebrates America! Sure, other cities have monuments and memorials that evoke patriotism, but only Washington DC is dominated by these icons. You can scarcely look anyway in DC and not see some monument, or gift, or remembrance, or tribute to someone or something. You can tour national monuments such as the Jef-ferson Memorial, the Lincoln memorial or Washington monument, play on the Mall, visit the White House, Capital, the Supreme Court and take advantage of the Smithsonian museums. That is precisely the places which I’d like to highlight.

The Capitol is the most recognized symbol of democratic government in the world. The US Capitol has housed Congress in 1800. The Capitol is where Congress meets to write the laws and where presidents are inaugurated and deliver their annual State of the Union messages. The Capitol building dominates all Washington. It stands on the crest of a hill rising above the Potomac River. The Capital consists of a central building crowned by a great dome and connected at each end by galleries with a large wing. The north wing contains the Senate Chamber, and the south wing – the House of Representatives. The great central dome appears too heavy for the low façade-topping the dome is the 19-foot (5,8 mi-ters)bronze statue of Freedom by Thomas Crawford. She watches, calm and unruffled, over all the things that are done in her name in the building below. The 36 columns which surround the lower part of the dome represent the states in the Union at the time this impressive structure was designed . Beneath the dome is a monumental hall called the Rotunda, decorated with works of art relating to American history.   

Across the street from the Capitol buildings is the Supreme Court that heads the judicial branch of the American government. It is headed by the chief justice of the US, who in ceremonies of state is the  third-ranking official, after the president and vice president. The number of judges on the court is fixed by Congress, not by Constitution. The Supreme court was originally composed of six members, but was subsequently both increased and fixed at nine members. Justices of the Supreme Court and all other federal judges are appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. 

The National Mall is a large, open park area in the center of the city. Located in the of the Mall are the Washington Monument  and Jefferson Pier 

At the center of the cross rises the elegant Washington monument, a marble obelisk with an obser-vation deck at the top. The Washington Monument is the only vertical object in the horizontal cityscape of Washington, DC. Nothing else comes even close to it in height. The city revolves around the thin. 555-foot (170 meters arble obelisk. It’s noticeable that there aren’t many places in the main portion of the district where you can’t catch a glimpse of the Washington monument looming somewhere in the distance. Suppose it’s a marvelous site.

The Jefferson memorial is the memorial to the 3rd president. As an original adaptation of Neo-classical, architecture, it is a key landmark in the monumental core of Washington DC. The circular, colonnaded structure in this style was introduced to this country by Thomas Jefferson. 

The Lincoln Memorial. The 1st organized effort to erect a monument to Abraham Lincoln in Wash-ington came 2 years after his death, in 1867. The Lincoln Memorial was set high on an artificial plateau and dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1922. The Memorial is of white marble. The structure itself has the motif, that symbolizes the Union. The 36 columns surrounding the walls represent the 36 states in the Union at the time of the death Lincoln. 

The White House. Originally the White House was grey and was called the Presidential Palace. It was built from 1792 to 1800. At this time, the city of Washington itself was being built. President Wash-ington never lived in the Presidential Palace. The first president to live there was John Adams, the 2nd president of the US and his wife. Mrs Adams did not really like her new house. In her letters, she often complained about the cold. 50 fireplaces were not enough to keep the house warm. In 1812 when the US and Britain went to war the Presidential Palace was burned. After the war it was recovered and to cover the marks of the fire, the building was painted white. It became known as the White House. The White House is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the US. Every year more than 1,5 million visitors go through the 5 rooms that are open to the public.

The Smithonial Institution is an educational foundation charted by Congress in 1846 that maintains most of the nation’s official museums and galleries in Washington, DC. Scientific institutes, art galleries, zoo – all the results of a capricious gift from an Englishman who never saw America in his life. James Smithson had a brilliantly successful career as a chemist and mineralogist. He left all his fortune (half a million dollars) to the US to found “an institution for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men”.

Conclusion. From the beginning of the 20th century the USA became the world’s leading country. Thousands of tourists visit Washington every day. People from all parts of the US come to see their capi-tal, and also people all over the world. Washington greets tourists with the Cherry Blossom festival every spring. The pink and white blossoms of the Japanese cherry these near the Washington Monu-ment create a magnificent delicate picture. And I wish to hope that sooner or later we would be able to visit this magnificent city too and I hope its possible as “better late than never”. Charles Dickens “It is sometimes called the city of Magnificent Distances, but it might with greater propriety be termed the city of Magnificent Intensions”.