WASHINGTON D.C., the Nation's Capitol

What to see

Lincoln Memorial Cherry Blossoms Smithsonian Institute Supreme Court
Roosevelt Memorial Washington monument Vietnam Veterans Washington Post
Jefferson Memorial State Capitol Ford's Theater Watergate Building
Roosevelt Memorial the White House Library of Congress Washington Cathedral
       
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cover new england

This is an extract of the main sights in this district, with small photos. You will find the full description and full-sized photos in my e-book View America: Mid Atlantic

In the travel series View America, this book describes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC. Each state is described with its own brief historical background and its main sights, points of interest and tourist attractions.

It is not a traditional travel story, but a non-commercial and more or less objective chronicle of an in-depth exploration of these states. My book does not describe lodgings, restaurants or entertainment, except where these may interact with the narrative. It is illustrated with more than 120 full-sized photos.

 

OVERVIEW

WASHINGTON, D.C. (District of Columbia) is the capital of the United States. It was named after George Washington, the first American president. A distinction was to be made between the state of Washington and the city of Washington, and so the city of Washington is always designated by the additional letters "DC", that stand for District of Columbia.

The city, county and federal district together occupy an area of 159 km2. The Washington metropolitan area covers 24 counties in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, with a total surface of about 18,000 km2.
Washington City has approximately 572,000 inhabitants, but in the entire metropolis the populace accounts some five million inhabitants.

There is simply an incredible number of famous buildings and monuments to visit. The Capitol, Supreme Court Building, Union Station, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), National Archives Building, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Tidal Basin (with the Japanese cherry trees), Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

 

THINGS TO SEE

Cherry Blossoms - Jefferson Memorial - Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial

After a ride along the Pentagon, we visited the really exceptional decoration of the stately rows of Cherry Blossoms, along the banks of the Potomac river. These cherry trees were donated by Japan in the early 20th century. When they are flowering, they present an outstanding view, that attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Across the Potomac river is the Jefferson memorial. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial is located in the same beautiful context. It was constructed with huge blocks of granite, on which are engraved the themes of his speeches about the depression and World War II. Roosevelt was a very social President for his times, and was greatly loved by the people. So much even, that he served four consecutive terms in office, even during the bad times of depression, drought and war threats!

Cherry Blossoms 1 Cherry Blossoms 2
Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms

Lincoln Memorial - Washington Monument

In the center of the city, the extraordinary Lincoln memorial shows the stately image of the seated Lincoln, the 16th president. He led his countrymen into and out of the civil war, during his two terms in office. A nice anecdote : don't be mad at me if I goof about a date or a location, because even the builders of the Lincoln memorial blundered, when they hammered in the dates on which every state joined the Union. The date for Ohio is one year off!...

At the end of the well-known pond stands the famous obelisk, the Washington monument. The obelisk is one hundred and sixty-nine meters high, and just for fun, in 1899 the Washington politicians gave birth to a law, whereby it was prohibited to erect a higher building in D.C...

Lincoln memorial 1 Lincoln memorial 2
Lincoln memorial
Lincoln memorial
Washington monument 1 Washington monument 2
Washington monument
Washington monument

Pentagon - Iwo Jima Memorial - Arlington National Cemetery

The Pentagon is actually located in Virginia, but it is unquestionably a part of the military history of the United States. The Iwo Jima memorial (or Marine Corps War memorial) stands next to Arlington National Cemetery. It is dedicated to all personnel of the Marine Corps, who have died in the defense of their country since 1775 ! The concept of the statue is based on a photo, taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Arlington National Cemetery is also located in Virginia. This military cemetery was established during the civil war, on the lands of Arlington House, which previously belonged to the family of general Robert E. Lee. A most remarkable ceremony is the Changing of the Guard. It is considered a high honor to serve as a ceremonial guard at the Tomb.

Pentagon Iwo Jima monument 2
Pentagon
Iwo Jima monument
Arlington cemetery 1 Arlington : changing of the Guard 2
Arlington
Changing of the Guard

Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Korean War Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans memorial is also called the Wailing Wall. On the wall are inscribed some sixty-five thousand names of American soldiers that were killed or went missing in Vietnam. Apparently this is the world's most visited monument! Next to it is the Korean War memorial. It commemorates the Korean War of 1950 -1953.

Many other buildings and monuments !

There is a host of other interesting buildings and monuments to see. The National Archives, the Bureau of Engraving & Printing (where the dollars are printed...), Ford's Theater (where Lincoln was assassinated), the Library of Congress (the world's most extensive library), the Supreme Court, the Washington Post and Watergate Building (President Nixon's doom...), and the Washington National Cathedral (the sixth largest cathedral in the world). And last but certainly not least, the White House !

the White House