Washington, (D. C.) is the capital of the United States of America. It is situated on the left bank of the Potomac river, between the states of Maryland and Virginia, it is outside the jurisdiction of any state and subjects only to the control of the Federal Congress. Washington was founded in 1791, the city was named after Washington, the first President; the district was named Columbia, in honour of Columbus, the discoverer of America. The city, specially built to be the seat of the Federal Administration, became the capital of the USA in 1800. It contains the government department buildings, the Federal Administration and the residence of President. Now Washington occupies the territory of about 160 square kilometres.
The population of the capital is 3 million people, the majority of the inhabitants are Black Americans. Washington is often called the city of the underprivileged and poor Blacks. The city’s crime and unemployment rates are very high. In spite of its problems, Washington has another nickname – the American Paris. There’s hardly a park, a square in the capital without a monument or a memorial.
Now Washington is a large scientific and cultural centre, but it is a city with almost no industry. Washington doesn’t produce anything, except government laws.
The seat of the US Government is the Capitol. It is situated in the very heart of the capital, on the Capitol Hill. The Capitol is the highest building in Washington. There is a law not to build houses higher than the Capitol, that is why there is no sky-scrapers in the capital of the USA.
The White House is the official residence of all American presidents. It was first occupied in 1800. The House has 132 rooms, 54 of which are reserved by the First family. The Lincoln Memorial is devoted to the memory of the 16-th President of the USA, who gave freedom to Negro slaves. The memorial was completed in 1922. In the twilight the Memorial emits the light. The marble figure of the murdered President, which is inside, gazes towards the Washington Monument, reminding people of the Civil War’s drama. The Washington Monument was erected to the memory of the first President of the USA in 1888. It is also called “The Pencil”. It is one of the highest stone constructions in the world, it is 188 metres high and you may ride up in the elevator in 70 seconds to the top of the monument. On a clear day you can see splendid views of the city, Maryland and Virginia states.
The Jefferson memorial was built in the memory of the third President of the USA, Thomas Jefferson, who was the author of the Declaration of Independence.
On the bank of the Potomac river the Arlington National Cemetery lies, where American soldiers and president Kennedy are buried.
Pentagon, the residence of the US Military Department, is situated in the suburb. It was built in 1943. It is a huge five-storey and five-sided building where the headquarters of the Department of Defence, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are located. It is the largest office in the world, it has more than 17 miles of corridors, 32000 people work there. Inside the Pentagon yard there is a subway station and two helicopter pads. The capital is the seat of the Headquarters of FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). Washington is a large cultural centre. It has 7 universities. Three leading universities are Georgetown University, George Washington University, Govard University.
The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum complex and an important centre for research. The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846. It was the gift of the English scientist who never visited America. James Smith gave 0.5 million dollars to the USA to build educational establishments for the future generation. Now the Institute includes 13 museums among which are the National Museum of History and Technology, the National Museum of Natural History, the John Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, the National Air and Space Museum (the NASA), the Zoo and so on. There are 80 movies in the capital. The sights of the capital are visited by 8 million tourists every year. Washington has one of the most up-to-date subways. The avenues of the capital are wide and long, most of them are called after states. Numbered streets run from north to south, lettered streets run from east to west.
Washington is a green city, it has a lot of gardens and 6 parks. The most beautiful park of the city is Great Falls Park. 3000 cherry trees were planted in the centre of the capital, it was the gift to America from Japan.