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The capital of the United States, Washington DC is teeming with various attractions, so be prepared for the fact that you won’t be able to see everything for the first time. That’s why it is better to make a list of the most interesting places.
Washington is a multifaceted city. Making a tour around the US capital, you can in a matter of minutes, as if on a time machine, move from the era of American Aborigines into the era of abstract modernity. Here you will find the collection of the greatest Washington DC places to visit.
- Place to visit number 1: The White House
- Place to visit number 2: The Library of Congress
- Place to visit number 3: The National Theater
- Place to visit number 4: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
- Place to visit number 5: Georgetown
- Place to visit number 6: The Supreme Court of the USA
- Place to visit number 7: Albert Einstein Monument
- Place to visit number 8: The Heurich House Museum
- Place to visit number 9: Old Post Office Pavilion
- Place to visit number 10: Chinatown
- Place to visit number 11: The National Museum of Natural History
- Place to visit number 12: Freer Gallery of Art
The first stone to the building of the future official residence of the presidents of the United States, world-famous as the White House, was laid October 13, 1792. The project was designed by the architect James Hoban, with the active participation of George Washington.
The first president of the United States not only introduced his corrections to the Khoban project, but also was an active participant in choosing a location for construction. According to Washington, this should have been a place on the Potomac River, which would not exceed ten square miles. On November 1, 1800 the construction, for which 2.5 million dollars was spent, was completed.
The building of the presidential residence is executed in the Palladian style, which is based on elements borrowed in the ancient Greek temple architecture and strict observance of symmetry. The interior of the White House is made in different styles, each of them has not only the original decoration and purpose, but also its own names:
- The Oval Blue Hall is intended for official receptions,
- the Green Hall is for informal meetings.
The office of the presidents is the Oval Office. Visitors of the White House can see the personal belongings of former US presidents, as well as members of their families.
The White House is located is an integral part of the Presidential Park occupying an area of 7.2 hectares. The ensemble of the White House also includes amazing gardens – on the west side there is the Rose Garden created by the wife of
Woodrow Wilson, and at the East Wing there is the beautiful Garden of Jacqueline Kennedy.
Interesting: Some scientists note that for the first time the name of the White House was used in 1811, that is, 11 years after the construction was completed. At the same time, historians do not name the origin of the name.
The Library of Congress was founded in 1800. It is one of the largest libraries in the world and is the oldest state cultural institution in the United States. In addition to its unique library collections, it attracts the attention of numerous visitors with its architecture. The building complex of the Library of Congress includes three buildings on the Capitol Hill, connected by underground passageways, and a depository in Virginia.
The history of the Library is filled with numerous dramatic events, as well as the history of the Capitol building, in which it was located almost throughout the entire 19th century. Several times the library suffered from fires, most of the books that entered the library as a gift from the third US president Thomas Jefferson perished. In 1897 a new building of the Library was erected, in the architecture of which elements of the Italian Renaissance can be traced.
Over the project of the new building, 26 artists and 22 sculptors worked, and as a result of their joint creative efforts, a true work of art turned out. In addition to its architectural charms, the Library was a real engineering miracle of the time – it housed its own power station, fireproof book depositories, as well as special elevators for books.
The Library of Congress collection contains:
- more than 132 million copies of books published in 470 languages,
- hundreds of thousands of microfilms,
- about 5 million maps,
- numerous engravings,
- comic books,
- over 1 million copies of newspapers produced over the last three centuries.
This is really a unique and versatile collection of literature.
Interesting: The main facade of the building of the Library is decorated with a magnificent fountain, remotely reminiscent of the famous Roman fountain of Trevi.
The National Theater in Washington is the oldest theater in the United States, which has been producing plays since 1835. The performances, plays and musicals of the National Theater are comparable in level with the Broadway ones. Five times the building was reconstructed in the same place, the last major reconstruction took place in 1984.
The theater was founded by prominent citizens of the city under the primacy of William Corcoran, who wanted to have a chic theater in their capital. The first production was “The Man of the World”. The theater worked almost continuously, its audience was, basically, the highest society of the city – a few blocks from the building of the theater is the White House. The name of the theater changed several times, depending on the change of ownership. For a while, it was even ruled by the famous actor Joseph Jefferson. Now the National Theater has a hall for 1676 seats. It played such famous premieres as “Madame Butterfly” and “West Side Story”. On its stage at different times you could see such world stars of the theater as:
- Jenny Lind,
- Sarah Bernhard,
- Vivien Leigh,
- Catherine Hepburn,
- Helen Hayes
- and many others.
Even now, the National Theater retains the tradition of putting on Broadway plays.
Interesting: It survived five huge fires in the XIX century, one of them flared up right during the production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is one of the major architectural landmarks of Washington, inaugurated on May 2, 1997. It was made by the famous architect Laurence Halprin and is a huge brilliant stone of rectangular shape, its length is 2.4 m, and height – 1.6 m. On the monument there are the initials of the great politician, as well as the years of his life.
3 Reasons why Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is one of the favorite places to visit:
- The area around the memorial is very well maintained and neat.
- This place is very quiet and cozy.
- Many locals believe that this memorial brings good luck in all business affairs, some come here to ask advice from the former president.
In 2004, an attempt was made to commit the act of vandalism, which, fortunately, was prevented. In its history, the monument was restored more than once, the last restoration was carried out in the summer of 2009.
Interesting: Not far from Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial there is a lively city center where you can enjoy your leisure time.
Once Georgetown was a transshipment port at the confluence of the Potomac River and the Creek Creek. In the middle of the 18th century a city was founded here, named after George II. Now only one square mile of Georgetown has countless cultural, entertainment and nightlife venues – like a city in the city. The streets in Georgetown are built up with mansions adjacent to shops, discos and restaurants.
The rapid development of Georgetown began after the end of the War of Independence – the homes of wealthy merchants began to appear here, and the banks of the river filled warehouses and houses of artisans. In 1871, Georgetown became part of the city of Washington.
Gradually, with the construction of railways, Georgetown until the middle of the twentieth century lost its importance as an important river port and lost its original aristocratic splendor. In 1950, Congress officially declared Georgetown a district of national historical significance.
Here lived members of such clans as:
Interesting: Nowadays on the streets of Georgetown you can meet diplomats, politicians, famous journalists and social activists.
The building of the Supreme Court of the United States, recognized in 1987 as a national historical monument – one of the main attractions of the capital of the United States. It is located on Capitol Hill, very close to the Capitol and the Library of Congress. The residence of the Supreme Court is the embodiment of the ideas of democracy and personal freedom, so characteristic of American psychology and expressed in many grandiose monuments of architecture.
Until 1935, Supreme Court sessions were held in another building, which was under the jurisdiction of the Congress. The construction of the new building began in 1932, the architect of the project was an architect named Cass Gilbert, famous for his skyscraper projects in New York. He developed a grandiose building project, driven by the idea that the main building of the American court should serve as a real symbol of justice. As a result, the structure was made in neoclassical style, the main entrance of which is decorated with majestic marble columns.
The entrance to the Supreme Court building is decorated with two marble sculptures:
- the female is the personification of meditations on justice,
- and the image of a man symbolizes the rule of law.
Interesting: Above the entrance there is the motto “Equal justice by law.” Above the motto there is a sculptural composition, symbolizing the enthronement of Freedom, which is guarded by Order and Power.
The monument to the famous scientist is located near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the National Academy of Sciences.
The memorial to Albert Einstein was created by sculptor Robert Berks and is open to the centenary of the birth of a physicist – April 22, 1979. The monument is made of bronze and represents a tousled and slightly slovenly scholar, sitting on the steps of white granite. In the hands of Einstein holds a sheet on which there are three famous formulas:
- the quantum theory of the photoelectric effect,
- the general theory of relativity,
- the theory of heat capacity.
The memorial is considered very successful and accurately conveys the character of Albert Einstein, because during his lifetime he was carried away only by science, and not by appearance.
Interesting: The tuberculate sculpture is also admired because of its location on a circular platform, on which there is an extensive map with the data of the location of asteroids, comets, stars, meteorites and planets.
The Heurich House Museum, known as the Brewmaster Castle, was built in 1894 by German immigrants. It was the private residence of Mr. Heurich, one of the richest citizens of Washington and a well-known benefactor.
This luxurious mansion is designed in Romanesque style, combining an architectural silhouette and laconism of exterior decoration. The main element of the composition is a four-level tower with massive walls and narrow windows. The interior of the house is preserved almost in its original form, including the original antique furniture.
It displays the history and traditions of people who lived here more than 100 years ago:
- the richly decorated rooms,
- spiral staircase with a harmonious combination of brass,
- marble and onyx,
- skillfully carved wooden fireplaces amaze with its magnificence.
Interesting: In 2003 the mansion was transformed into a house-museum. There are weekly excursions, as well as rental of halls for solemn events.
Old Post office Pavilion is a unique architectural monument located between the White House and the Capitol. The building was built in 1899.
Its semicircular arches and squat cluster columns amaze with its splendor. The old tower with a clock, about 95 meters high, occupies the third place among the high-rise buildings of the capital. From the observation deck on its upper level, an impressive panorama of Washington and its environs opens, including the Bells of Congress with a unique sound range. On the territory of the tower there is a small museum with the exhibits depicting the long history of the building.
In 1978, the 10-story structure was renamed Nancy Hanks and transformed into a shopping center with:
- a wide variety of shops,
- food courts,
- entertainment centers.
Some government offices are also located here. Old Post Office Pavilion is a significant sight of Washington. Daily free excursions are very popular among tourists.
Interesting: Old Post Office Pavilion is a striking example of Romanesque architecture.
Chinatown is one of the most interesting places in Washington. Active construction in this area began in the 30s of the twentieth century, when on the recommendation of city authorities from the central areas of the city, Chinese people began to come here.
Nowadays Chinatown is a world famous tourist area with a lot of places to visit:
- restaurants of Asian cuisine,
- souvenir shops,
- the famous Arch of Friendship, made in the style of traditional Chinese gates.
Chinatown is famous for its traditions – the annual celebration of the Chinese New Year, various festivals and bright costumed performances. In the old building of the Patent Office there are two museums that are part of the famous Smithsonian Institution:
- the National Portrait Gallery,
- the Museum of American Art.
Interesting: The Arch of Friendship was built in 1986 and is decorated with seven roof-pagodas with bright paintings, as well as 272 dragons in the style of the imperial dynasties of Qing and Ming.
Everyone knows that dinosaurs are very popular among children, especially boys. In Washington DC, you can meet these long-extinct giant reptiles in the National Museum of Natural History, which presents an exposition of skeletons of dinosaurs. However, it should be noted that in this museum, there is something to look at for parents as well.
The National Museum of Natural History will surprise you with its exposition of stuffed animals in natural growth will make you reverently tremble with delight. Besides, you will have the opportunity to view more than 125 thousand exhibits:
- minerals and precious stones.
A nice bonus is that it is not forbidden to take pictures here.
Interesting: The most interesting exhibit is the legendary Hope diamond of 45.5 carats.
If you are pursuing the goal to get acquainted with Oriental art, then certainly go to Freer Art Gallery, which presents a unique collection of works of art of the East, collected by the businessman Charles Lang Freer.
The walls of this establishment were built in the style of the Italian Renaissance in 1923. The outer lining is made of pink granite, and the floors are covered with polished marble in the form of slabs.
One of the walls is painted with the image of two peacocks, which became a symbol of the disagreements that arose between the artist and his boss regarding the fee due for work. Unique exhibits created on the lands of Central Asia, Persia, China, Japan, will tell about the East so much that you will certainly want to know even more.
The most popular among such items is an Indian bronze sculpture dating back to the 10th century, entitled “Queen of the Families Mahadevi portrayed in the image of the goddess Parvati.” No less attention is enjoyed by visitors of the gallery of works of Japanese wooden sculptural art, in particular, the sculpture of the 12th century “Bosatsu”.
The room of peacocks amazes tourists with its beauty. Initially, it was painted by Whistler for one rich British ship owner. After the restoration, it looks fantastic.
Interesting: The museum fund today has about 28 thousand exhibits and is rightfully one of the richest art museums in the world.