Famous landmarks, renowned museums, historical monuments, center of power. All this and more is Washington D. C. the capital of the United States, once created on the drawing board. But Washington D. C. is so much more than the seat of government, history and culture. It is a place where life pulsates, where there are great restaurants to discover, nice stores, pretty little boutique hotels and a vibrant nightlife.
Tip 1: U.S. Capitol
Three to five million people visit the symbol of political America, which also adorns the back of the 50-dollar bill, year after year, where the Senate and House of Representatives have been meeting for more than 200 years. Laws are drafted, debated and passed there in the plenary chambers, the presidential inauguration takes place there, and it is a frequent target of demonstrations.
Today the Capitol, which owes its name to the most important of the seven hills of Rome, occupies an area of 16300 square meters and with a length of 229 meters, a width of 107 meters and a height of up to 88 meters, is the center of the Capitol complex. And although it is not the geographical center of the District of Columbia, it is the center from which Washington is divided into its quadrants in a checkerboard pattern.
The monumental building, which alone has 658 windows, 540 rooms on five floors, and 850 corridors, received National Historic Landmark status in 1960 and was added to the “List of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks” by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1986.
Tip 2: Lincoln Memorial
The 16th President of the USA, Abraham Lincoln, is depicted on the 1 cent coin. The Lincoln Memorial was shown on the reverse of the penny until 2008. The monument at the end of the National Mall was built between 1915 and 1922 for the president of the American Civil War and the liberation of the slaves.
The building, which resembles a temple, is enclosed by 36 Doric columns. This is because during Lincoln’s time in office, the United States consisted of 36 states. Lincoln’s second inaugural speech is carved into the stone on the north side, and the famous Gettysburg Address is carved into the stone on the south side. Inside is a 5.80-meter-tall white marble statue of Lincoln. Sculptor of the statue was Daniel Chester French. By the way, the large statue was assembled from 28 pieces.
The ceiling of the interior is made of marble treated with kerosene. Thus, a little daylight comes through and illuminates the interior.
On August 28, 1963, 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial to hear Martin Luther King Jrs. Famous “I have a dream” speech. One of the most important events of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Tip 3: National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art is an art museum located directly on the National Mall. The museum consists of two buildings that are connected by a tunnel. By the way, the entrance is free.
The museum was built in 1937, by order of Congress and with the support of Andrew Mellon, who donated his art collection. Other donors were Paul Mellon, Lessing J Rosenwald, Samuel Henry Kress, etc. The West Building opened in 1941, built in neoclassical style, like many of Washington’s buildings. The East Building, also very geometrically built, was designed by architect Ieoh Ming Pei and opened in 1978. In 1999, the adjacent Sculpture Garden was added to the ensemble. The NGA is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.
The works on display at the National Gallery of Art are paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures and show the development of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The collection includes the only works by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas. The West Building contains the works of great European artists from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century and American artists to the early 20th century. The East Building features primarily modern and contemporary art with works by Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Andy Warhol and changing exhibitions.
Tip 4: White House
The White House is the residence and official residence of the President of the United States of America. After several fires and renovations, it has its current form. Mostly only the central part of the White House Complex is shown on photos.
In addition to the Executive Residence (main building), it consists of the West Wing (west wing) with the Oval Office and the East Wing (east wing), as well as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which stands apart. Incidentally, the building has only been officially called the White House since 1901, when Theodore Roosevelt was president.
The famous address of the White House is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The location was chosen by George Washington. At the same time, the White House was Washington’s first building. The Irish architect James Hoban took as a model the Leinster House from Dublin, today the seat of the Irish Parliament. The first occupant of the White House was the second President John Adams in 1800.
The complex has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 8 staircases, 3 elevators, a swimming pool, tennis court, movie theater and bowling alley. After Barack Obama took office, the basketball court was expanded and somewhat enlarged.
The National Christmas Tree has stood in front of the White House every year since 1932. It is so important that its erection is presided over by the First Lady and the lighting switch-on is seen live on television. Small Christmas trees in the area leading to the large National Christmas Tree are named Pathway to Peace.
Tip 5: National Mall
The National Mall & Memorial Parks is an elongated park in downtown Washington DC. Like a huge promenade, it stretches from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, along famous Washington museums, monuments and landmarks.
“The Mall” is 4 kilometers long and 91 meters wide. And as a park, it is popular. On sunny days tourists and visitors stroll here, people jog (for example, after your work) and families make trips. And again and again you can see school classes visiting a memorial or museum.
The most important and striking monument is certainly the Washington Monument: At the central point between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial stands the huge obelisk. By the way, the Washington Monument is reflected in the elongated Reflection Pool. Other monuments on the Mall are: The Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Second World War Memorial, Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.
9 of the Smithsonian Institution’s 14 museums are located along the Mall. Among them are: The National Gallery of Art with Sculpture Garden, The National Museum of American History, The National Museum of National History, The National Air and Space Museum, and The Hirshhorn Museum.
The National Mall is also consistently the site of major events and large-scale functions. Like the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech. In July 2007, one of the Live Aid concerts was held here. And for the swearing-in of the Presidents of the United States at the Capitol, large crowds gather.