Washington D.C. (District of Columbia) is the capital of the
country named after the first president of the USA, George
Washington. This is ah American political centre of the country
situated on the Potomac River. The central part of D.C. is
called the Mall. This is a square where museums and art
galleries belonging to the Smithsonian Institution are situated.
The Capitol and the White House (the residence of the President)
are found there too.
The Capitol Building is one of the most impressive buildings in
Washington. It is easily recognisable because of its large dome,
which is the fourth largest dome in the world, rising 180 feet
above the ground and weighing almost nine million pounds. Around
the large dome there are 36 marble columns, each representing
the 36 states of the Union when the dome was built. Above them
there is another set of 13 columns that represent the 13
original colonies. There is a law that no building in D.C.
should be taller than the Capitol, so it can be seen from any
part of the city.
The Library of Congress was established by an act of Congress in
1800 when President John Adams signed a bill which moved the
seat of government from Philadelphia to Washington. In 1814 the
library was burned by the British. Thomas Jefferson, who had
already retired, offered his collection of books as a
replacement of the burned ones. His collection included books in
foreign languages and volumes of philosophy, science,
literature, etc. In 1815, Congress accepted Jefferson's offer
and the foundation was laid for a great national library which
opened to the public on November 1, 1897.
The White House is the oldest public building in the District of
Columbia. Here every President, except George Washington, has
conducted the government of the nation. In the past 200 years,
the White House has become the symbol of American Presidency all
over the world. The White House was rebuilt several times to
suit the needs of its residents. Tourists can visit the House
except for the rooms that the President and his family occupy.
Washington D.C. is also famous for its numerous monuments,
museums and art galleries. The Smithsonian Institution, which is
the world's largest museum complex, consists of 16 museums and
the National Zoological Park. The entrance to all of them is
free of charge all year round. The National Museum of American
History was opened in 1964. It houses various collections and
objects of transportation, communications, agriculture,
medicine, science, and technology. The National Air and Space
Museum which was opened in 1976 offers its visitors a great
collection of flying machines and spacecraft never before stored
in one place. For more than 27 years, this museum has been a
must for visitors of Washington, perhaps because it is so niuch
fun for children and grown-ups. Twenty-three galleries house
dozens of airplanes and spacecraft, missiles and rockets,
engines, propellers, models, uniforms, instruments, flight
equipment, medals, etc. The Museum is also the home of the first
airplane, the 1903 Wright Flyer.
The National Gallery of Art was created by the resolution of
Congress accepting the gift of Andrew Mellon, an art collector.
The paintings and sculptures given by Andrew Mellon have formed
a huge collection of contemporary art.
The Zoo is located in Rock Creek Park which occupies a hillside.
The Zoological Park has about 2,800 animals of 435 species. The
Zoo's mission is to study and protect the animals.
The Washington Monument towers over everything in the capital
and reminds people of George Washington's contribution to the
nation. The monument is a classic obelisk the first stone of
which was laid on July 4, 1848. The Washington Monument is open
every day except December 25. A lift carries visitors to the
500-foot level in 70 seconds. From the observation floor which
is 500 feet above the ground people can enjoy the view of the
In 1867, Congress signed an act for the building of a memorial
to Abraham Lincoln. But nothing was done until 1914 when the
building began at last. The memorial looks like a Greek temple
with the statue of Lincoln inside. The statue is 19 feet tall
and 19 feet wide and made of 28 separate blocks of white marble.
The 36 columns around the memorial represent the states of the
Union at the time of Lincoln's death. The names of 48 states in
the Union when the memorial was completed in 1922 are carved in
the walls. Park rangers, who work there, are available to answer
questions and give talks.
In Constitution Gardens near the Lincoln Memorial there is the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This is a black granite wall with a
mirror like surface and 58,209 names carved on it. The names go
in chronological order according to the date of death.
Thomas Jefferson's importance as one of the great figures in the
Nation's history demanded to build a memorial in the capital.
The memorial was finished in 1943 on the 200th anniversary of
Jefferson's birth four years after President Roosevelt laid the
cornerstone. The memorial appears most beautiful in early spring
when the Japanese cherry trees are in bloom. The trees are a
gift from Tokyo given in 1912.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is one of the most expansive
memorials in the USA. It is divided into four outdoor galleries
with trees, waterfalls and statues. Each room has the spirit of
this great man. The memorial stands in West Potomac Park.
Arlington National Cemetery is the best known one among more
than 100 national cemeteries in the USA. All who are buried here
have one thing in common: service to their country. Thousands of
veterans from American wars are buried in Arlington. The grounds
of Arlington National Cemetery are divided into numbered and
lettered sections. There are special rules for visitors. For
example, fresh cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time.
Flags decorate each grave on Memorial Day weekend but are not
permitted at any other time.
Most of those who live in Washington work for government. The
others live in the outskirts of the city, in the so-called
villages. The Metro system of the city is very well-organised.
300,000 people take advantage of the Metrorail every day going
from one place to another.
The city is planned well: streets running from south to north
are numbered; those going from east to west are lettered. Large
streets are called avenues and bear the names of big states. So
it's hard to get lost in D.C. Moreover, names and destinations
of all tourist attractions, such as museums, art galleries, and
historic places are indicated on signs, so it's easy to find
your way around while doing, the sights.
ПЛАН-ОТВЕТ. WASHINGTON, D.C.
1. Предоставить общую информацию о Вашингтоне (capital,
named after Washington, political centre, the Potomac River, the
central part is the Mall).
2. Рассказать кратко об основных достопримечательностях
Вашингтона (the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, the
Wliite House, Arlington National Cemetery).
3. Рассказать кратко о музеях и галереях города (the Smithsonian
Institution, the National Museum of American History, the
National Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the
4. Рассказать кратко о памятниках великим президентам США (the
Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson
Memorial, Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial).
5. Рассказать о жителях Вашингтона и планировке города (work for
government, outskirts, "villages", Metrorail, numbered and
1. What does "D.C." mean?
2. Why is Washington considered a political centre of the United
3. How is the central part of Washington called?
4. What is the Capitol Building and what is it famous for?
5. When was the Library of Congress established?
6. What is the oldest public building in D.C?
7. What museum complex is there in Washington?
8. What museums comprise the complex? What can you tell about
some of them?
9. What's the Zoo's mission in Washington?
10. What monuments to American presidents are there in
11. What can you tell about some of them?
12. Who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery?
13. Who usually lives in Washington?
14. What can you tell about the plan of the city?