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Washington D.C. LOCATION Washington, D.C. is the capital city of the United States. It is not a state. The President of the United States and many major national government offices are in the city. Washington was named after the first U.S. President,George Washington. The "D.C." stands for "District of Columbia", a special area that is not a state. Itwas designed to be a capital, unlike most other capitals in the world. It lies on the Potomac River. The area for the capital wasgiven up by twoneighbouring states,Maryland and Virginia, so that it would be on neutral ground. The old Washington part now called theMall area is where all of the most important buildings are situated. They are theCapitol, theSupreme Court, theLibrary of Congress, theWashingtonMonument, theLincoln Memorial, theWhite House and many others. The majority of these buildings are made of whitemarble, in the neo-classicist style. Washington, D.C. has a very special place in the hearts of American people. They are very proud of it and even though many of them have never visited the city, they learn about every important building in D.C. and about its history at school. HISTORY Washington, D.C. wasplanned before it was built.Pierre L'Enfant drew a plan for the city that said where all the streets, parks, and important buildings would be.Unlike most U.S. cities, D.C. has many roundabouts or traffic circles. The city was supposed to have long and wide avenues, and many open spaces for monuments and parks. TheNational Mall, a large park that connected the US Capitol to the Washington Monument, was one of the most important parts of L'Enfant's plan. Did you know? Thefirst capital city of the United States wasNew York City. At this time, Congress met in City Hall (from 1785 to 1790). When the capital was moved toPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania (from 1790 to 1800), the Philadelphia Congress Hall became the capitol. In1800, the capital moved again toWashington, D.C., and a new capitol building was built. Why D.C.? DC isnot a city or state, and so it has to be in something, so it's ina district that we named Columbia. But why Columbia, you ask? Columbia was one of the old poetic names for our nation, kind of like we use "America" or "the States" or "Uncle Sam" today. It references to Christopher Columbus THE MALL The National Mall is an open park indowntown Washington, D.C. It has many museums, like theSmithsonian and theNationalGallery of Art. It is found between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial (with the Washington Monument in the centre), which are about three kilometres apart. It is a popular place, and is used for exercise, recreation, music concerts, festivals, and protests. It is also visited by many tourists - over 25 million people come to the Mall each year. There is theReflection Pool (= areflecting pool orreflection pool is a pool of water that is in many memorials. It is usuallyshallow and calm, so that a visitor can see a reflection of the memorial in the water. Visitors are also supposed to think about what the memorial means while looking at the pool. The most famous reflecting pool is the one leading up to the Taj Mahal.) Protests andrallies also happen at the National Mall. One of the most famous was theMarch on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in1963, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave hisI Have a Dream speech. A rally in 1969 to end the Vietnam War was the biggest protest on the Mall. Over 2 million people came and marched to the White House. THE CAPITOL The United States Capitol is the building where the United States Congress meets. It is the centre of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is on top ofCapitol Hill at the east end of the National Mall. The capitol has a large “wedding-cake style”dome in the centre, above a rotunda - a large space that is shaped like a circle. TheRotunda is where high members of Governmentlie in stateafter their death so that people can come and see them for the last time. Eleven presidentshave lain in state in the Rotunda for public viewing, most recently Gerald Ford. There are also twowings that are connected to the rotunda on opposite sides. Thenorth wing is where theSenate meets and thesouth wing is where theHouse of Representatives meets. These wings are also calledchambers. On the top floors of the chambers are galleries, or balconies where people can watch the Senate and House of Representatives from above. The Statue of Freedom is on top of the capitol. The Capitol is where you would expect Senators and Representatives to be all the time. They aren't. They do most of their work in their offices and they only go to the Capitol to vote. When they are needed to vote, a bell rings in their offices, they go downstairs, take a private subway into the Capitol and vote. Then they go back to their offices. THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT When you stand on the stairs of the Capitol, in front of you in the distance there is a large, tall, whiteobelisk –Washington Monument. The monument is made ofmarble,granite, andsandstoneand it is the world´s tallest stone structure (170m). It was built fromcontributionsgiven by the people of Washington, D.C. The costs were much higher than expected and they had to stop because the American Civil War started. Construction continued after the war ended, but the type of sandstone was changed. Because of this, about halfway up, you can see a change in colour of the monument. THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL Behind the Washington Monument there is theLincoln Memorial. It is a square, Pantheon-like white building with columns around it. Itwas built to remember Abraham Lincoln, who was the 16th President of the United States and led the nation during the American Civil War. There are wide stairs leading into it and a large statue of Abraham Lincoln sits inside. Somequotations from his famous speeches are inscribed on the walls. They mean that Abraham Lincoln will forever be remembered here, just like he will be remembered by the people of the United S