Washington D.C. Washington, the capital of the United States is situated on the Potomac River in the District of Columbia. Thedistrict is a piece of land, which does not belong to any one state but to all the states. The district is named inhonour of Columbus, the discoverer of America. The name of the capital always goes with the abbreviation D.C.not to be mixed with another Washington, one of the 50 US states. Washington was founded in 1791 for the purpose of serving as the capital of the United States of America. Itis one of the few capitals that were specially built to house the American nations government. It is not a verylarge city, but it is very important as the capital of the USA. In the political sense it is the centre of the republic.The US Presidents live and work here, the Congress and the Supreme Court are all in Washington D.C. The capital owes a great deal to George Washington. He chose the place located midway to keep at closetouch as possible between the states. A hundred square miles were taken from states of Maryland and Virginia.The location of the city on the Potomac River was the result of a political compromise between the wishes of thenorthern and the southern states. The capital was founded in 1791. George Washington called upon a famousFrench engineer, Pierre LEnfant, one of the keen and sympathetic French supporters of the new republic ofAmerica. LEnfant designed a city with the orderly street plan that has been followed to this day. Washington is quite new, as it didnt exist for two hundred years. The population of the city is nearly millionpeople. The city was built to a preliminary plan. The city is divided into four sections: NW, NE, SW, and SE.Numbered streets run north and south: First Street, Second Street… Lettered streets such as A-street, B-streetrun east and west. Bear in mind that every section has an independent street system. If you’re looking for ThirdStreet, you need to know what section of the city it is in. A rectangular network of streets combines with wide avenues, which radiate from two main centres. One ofthem is the Capitol and the other is the White House. Washington has many historical places. The largest and tallest is the Capitol, where the Congress meets.There is a law in Washington against building structures higher than the Capitol; therefore it presents a differentappearance from New York with its skyscrapers. The Capitol got its name in analogy with the ancient romancathedral - Capitol. It is a very beautiful building with 36 white marble columns. The columns represent the statesin the Union at the time this impressive structure was designed. The great central dome appears too heavy forthe low façade. Topping the dome is the 19-foot bronze statue of Freedom by Thomas Crawford. Beneath thedome is a monumental hall called the Rotunda, decorated with works of art relating to American history. Bothchambers of the Congress are open to public. Behind the Capitol, in the separate buildings, stand the SupremeCourt and the Library of Congress. It holds five million books. The White House or the Executive Mansion, as it was originally known, the residence of thepresident, is the oldest public structure in the capital and one of the most beautiful. It was built in1799. It is a two storied white building. It is said that in 1812 when England was at war withAmerica the British entered the city and some of the buildings, including the Capitol and the houseof the president were set on fire. Two years later in order to hide the marks of the fire, the brownstone walls of the presidents home were painted white and it has been the White House ever since. The WhiteHouse has 132 rooms and 20 bathrooms. The president and his family live on the upper floors. Thousands ofAmericans flock to visit Presidents home and office. They are admitted to see the Green Room; the Blue Room,where ambassadors and ministers of foreign countries are received; the State Dining Room and the East Room,used for public receptions. The Oval Office – the Presidents Office – is in the west wing of the White House. Not far from the Capitol is the Washington monument, which looks like a very big pencil. It raises 160 metres and it is empty inside. A special lift brings visitors to the top in 70 seconds, from where they can enjoy a view of the city. It is not only the tallest structure in Washington, D.C., but also the tallest stone monument in the world. The Jefferson Memorial was built in memory of the third President of the USA Thomas Jefferson, who was also the author of the Declaration of Independence. The circular colonnaded structure of Jeffersons memorial is an adaptation of Jeffersons favored Pantheon in Rome. He liked this style. The Memorial is surrounded bycherry trees. The Lincoln Memorial is devoted to the memory of the sixteenth President of the USA, the author of theEmancipation Proclamation, which gave freedom to Negro slaves in America. The memorial is of white marble.Its architectural lines are similar in plan to those of the Greek Parthenon, the temple to the goddess Athena onthe Acropolis in Athens. Its beauty and purity of design equal the best of the ancient times. The memorialchamber contains a colossal statue of Lincoln and two huge inscribed stone tablets. Washington is also famous for Grant Memorial, and New Vietnam Veterans Memorial.On the south side, the unmistakable red building popularly known as "The Castle" houses part of the world-famous Smithsonian Institution which administers sixteen of Washingtons museums, art galleries and researchinstitutes, including the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of History and Technology, theNational Museum of Natural History, and National Collection of Fine Arts. Across the Potomac River is Arlington National Cemetery, wheres many of the nations honored dead areburied, including John and Robert Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, William Howard Taft (the 27 thPresident), Pierre Charles LEnfant and many others. There are five universities in the city. The national Academy of Science, Georgetown University and GeorgeWashington University are among them. Washington is a mood and you have to share it.
Reread the text and complete the sentences according to the contents of the text. 1. The District of Columbia belongs neither to the northern nor to the southern states, but … 2. The name of the capital always goes with … 3. The city was built on … 4. Washington was designed by … Five Different Washingtons There are at least five different Washingtons each has its supporters who earnestly believe that theirs isthe only true Washington. The first is Washington-the-Capital, an official city of great monuments and memorials. Over 43% of theland of the District is occupied by the Federal Government. The second is Old Washington, the sleepy Southern town of sleeping porches, devoted Negro servantsand old families who were actually born here. Old Washington is dying off now. The third is Washington-the Town-of-Terror, "The Crime Capital of the World", and a horror of racialmixing producing violence too terrible to speak of. The fourth Washington is University-Washington, the northwest section of pleasant homes on tree-linedstreets, where almost everyone is white, well educated, and has a high income. The fifth Washington is Negro Washington, largely low-income and low-education, though the city has arelatively large number of professional and middle-to-upper-income Negro families. But the majority of theNegro population lives in badly overcrowded houses, its children go to decrepit schools, separated from andlargely unseen by the other Washingtons. Answer the questions. 1. What different Washingtons can be seen within the city? 2. What part of the capital is usually visited by tourists? 3. What part of Washington are tourists never taken to? Why? Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution, with 16 museums and the National Zoo, is the worlds largest museumcomplex. It was established with a $500,000 gift given to the American people by James Smithson, anEnglish scientist. Nine of the twelve Smithsonian Museums are located on the Mall between the Capitol andthe Washington Monument: • Museum of American History • Museum of Natural History • Air and Space Museum • National Gallery of Art • Hirshhorn Museum • Arts and Industries • National Museum of African Art • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery • Freer Gallery of Art The National Zoo is world famous for the display, breeding, and study of wild animals. This 163-acrepark contains more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 species.