During our east coast trip in America, we got a chance to visit the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. We had 24 hours to visit most of the iconic and historical places and monuments in the city. The best thing about visiting the attractions in the city, they are free. Most of the museums, including the U.S. Capitol Building do a free guided tour to learn more about the history of America and significant events of the human civilization. Before I’m going to show you the places we have visited, I just want to share you a brief history of city itself.
Washington D.C. is situated on the east coast of the USA, along the banks of the Potomac River. The city has an area of 68 square miles and it has a population of over 650,000 making it the 22nd most populous city in the United States.
Washington was founded as the nation’s capital after the signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790. The land was donated to the government by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Washington D.C. occupies the entire federal district therefore it is not considered as a state nor part of any U.S. state. A trip here will give you a sense of the power and history this district represents in honouring the people who moulded America into what it is now.
Majority of the visitors start at the National Mall, a mile-long national park often referred to as “The National’s Front Lawn”. It showcases the country’s most famous monuments and museums.
One can begin the tour of the the Mall at the Zero Milestone, the proposed citation point of road distances in the United States.
Below is the aerial view of The National Mall (numbers in image correspond to numbers in list of landmarks, museums and other features below.)
1. Washington Monument 2. National Museum of America History 3. National Museum of Natural History 4. National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden 5. West Building of the National Gallery of Art 6. East Building of the National Gallery of Art 7. U.S. Capitol Building 8. Ulysses S. Grant Memorial 9. United States Botanic Garden 10. National Museum of the American Indian 11. National Air and Space Museum 12. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden 13. Arts and Industries Building 14. Smithsonian Institution Building (“The Castle”) 15. Freer Gallery of Art 16. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery 17. National Museum of African Art
We stayed in Washington D.C. for a day and we managed to visit most of the important and historical monuments and buildings learning the founding history of the United States.
To the south, stands the Washington Monument in honour of the first president of America, George Washington. Rising 555 feet (169 meters), this markable obelisk is the world’s tallest stone structure and the centrepiece of the National Mall.
Along The Reflecting Pool, it is surrounded by the country’s historical tributes to its heroes and founding fathers.
In Vietnam Veterans Memorial engraved in its granite walls are the names of 58,272 soldiers who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.
To commemorate the soldiers of the Korean War (1950-1953), the Korean War Veterans Memorial has a life-like statues representing a squad of US soldiers who served in the Korean War.
The Lincoln Memorial, a Greek-style structure inspired by the Parthenon, was built to commemorate the U.S.’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, who unified America by establishing the 13th amendment declaring emancipation of slaves and all Americans must be treated equally.
On the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial is where Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous ” I have a dream” speech.
Built in neoclassical style, the Jefferson Memorial lies just across the Tidal Basin to commemorate the 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson. He was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.
The Library of Congress or known as the Jefferson Building has the world’s largest collection of books and classified collections and materials from all parts of the world.
The Smithsonian Institution or also known as The Castle serves as the information centre for the Smithsonian Museums around the district. All the Smithsonian Museums have no entrance fee.
There are 11 Smithsonian buildings situated along The Mall. One of them is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum where you can bring your family or friends and learn about the historic air planes and aircraft that was used throughout our history.
The Madame Tussauds Wax Museum here in Washingon D.C. is the only place where you can get face-to-face to all 44 US presidents.
The Pentagon serves as the headquarters for the U.S. department of defence that accommodate over 26,000 military and civilian employees.
The federal government has 3 branches in running of the USA equally. The style of government was modelled after the Roman empires.
The 3 branches are: the Executive branch symbolize by The White House. It is the official residence and principal workplace of the U.S.’s president.
The Judicial branch symbolized by the Supreme Court. The Supreme court has 9 justices who are appointed for life by the president. It has the final decision in many important cases just like the constitution.
Lastly, the Legislative branch symbolized by the Capitol Building. The U.S. Capitol Building, on top of Capitol Hill, is the nation’s seat of federal government. It is the meeting place of the U.S. Congress who represents all the 50 states and the senate . On top of the Capitol Building is a dome, inside of it is called the” Rotunda”. The Capitol Building is also used for inauguration of the new president.
Washington D.C. is a city that reflects the ideals and aspirations of the people who shaped and fought for America to become one of the leading nations of today. If ever you are going to visit the American east coast, make sure to visit Washington D.C.