Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 30, 2018

Wonderful Washington D.C.


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Our armchair travels through the United States have taken us to the nation’s capital Washington D.C. This is a compact city on the Potomac River and borders the states of Maryland and Virginia. It is known as The District of Columbia. It was the 1st President of the U.S. George Washington who commissioned architect Pierre-Charles L’Enfant to plan the city. He did making a street grid that was intersected by broad avenues.

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The Capitol building is known around the world as a symbol of the U.S. It is the seat of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The huge dome on top was based on the dome of St. Peter’s in Rome, Italy. There is a marble terrace that offers great views over the mall and the city. The interior has impressive frescoes, reliefs and paintings, especially the rotunda under the great cast-iron dome has a ceiling painting by Constantino Brumidi and huge paintings that depict scenes from American History on the walls.

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The former Chamber of the House of Representatives has statues of leading historical figures. The small Senate Rotunda takes you into the lovely restored Old Senate Chamber. This is where the Senate met until 1859 and the Supreme Court until 1935. Free tours are available. When the House or Senate is in session you must contact your Senator or Representative for a pass and foreign visitors can arrange visits with the Visitor Center.

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The Library of Congress is accessible by an underground passage with historical exhibits from the Capitol. This is the world’s largest library, modeled after the Opera House in Paris, France. Free tours are available of the interior. On display, you’ll find one of the three surviving complete Gutenberg Bibles, an earlier hand-printed Bible, Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s personal library and galleries that have exhibits on various topics and the work of editorial cartoonists and graphic artists.

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The White House is the official residence of the President of the U.S. It has been home to all of the presidents except for the 1st U.S. President George Washington. Tours are given of the interior and must be reserved well in advance through your Congressional office or embassy.

Nearby you’ll find the White House Visitor Center with impressive interactive exhibits that show details of the White House and the presidential families.

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The Ellipse a 54-acre stretch of lawn offers summer concerts by the U.S. Army Band.

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Next door to the White House you’ll find the fascinating 1833 Greek Revival Treasury Building

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and the 1871 Executive Office Building.

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You’ll find one of the city’s best-known statues of Andrew Jackson,

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Lafayette and other important figures overlooking the White House from Lafayette Square.

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The Lincoln Memorial stands at the end of the mall and is separated from the Washington Monument by a reflecting pool.

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At the very center of the memorial, you’ll find a 19-foot seated statue of the 16th President of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln. It is surrounded by 36 columns representing each of the states in existence at the time of Lincoln’s death. This memorial is the most famous work designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French. The murals on the inside walls representing important events in Lincoln’s life are the artwork of Jules Guerin. It was from the memorial steps that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous speech “I have a dream…” in 1963.

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The Washington Monument rises 555-feet high and is a familiar icon of the National Mall. It was constructed to honor the 1st President of the U.S. George Washington. You can ride an elevator to the top for great aerial views of the mall and the city. The base of the monument is surrounded by 50 American Flags forming a circle.

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The National Air and Space Museum offers a collection of air and spacecraft that made history like the original 1903 Wright Brothers Flyer and Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis which was the first plane to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. There are permanent and changing exhibits that illustrate the science, history, and technology of aviation and space flight. Many of the exhibits are interactive.

You can also visit the Albert Einstein Planetarium, an IMAX theater and the Public Observatory.

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The National Gallery of Art is housed in two buildings. Among the artwork on display here are European and American paintings, sculptures and decorative arts. Temporary exhibits highlight art from cultures around the globe.

Also located on the mall are other art museums which are part of the Smithsonian Institution.

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The Freer Gallery of Art offers nearly 30,000 pieces of Asian artwork including Buddhist sculptures and Persian manuscripts.

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The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery has over 1000 pieces of art, principally Chinese jade and bronze, Chinese paintings and lacquerware and ancient Eastern ceramics and metalware.

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The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden looks at the history of modern art from the mid-1800s with over 12,000 pieces of art and sculpture.

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One of the highlights of the garden is Burghers of Calais by Rodin.

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The National Museum of African Art displays many art objects with diverse artistic styles from all over the African continent among them sculptures, masks, costumes, household objects, and ceramics.

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The National Museum of American History traces the political, cultural, scientific and technological history of the U.S. since the Revolution. There are displays of important pieces of Americana such as the original American flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to the national anthem “The Star Spangled Banner”. You’ll also get a detailed look into how Americans lived through the years. You’ll even find such things as the actual ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz”.

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The Museum of Natural History offers a look into the natural world with permanent and changing exhibits. Among the most popular is the renowned Hope Diamond. Ocean Hall has impressive underwater photography and the replica of a 45-foot North American Right Whale. The Hall of Human Origins follows human evolution over six million years in response to a changing world. Children enjoy the Interactive Discovery Room.

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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has a wall inscribed with the names of all American servicemen and women who lost their lives or are missing.

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The Vietnam Women’s Memorial has a bronze sculpture of three servicewomen helping a wounded soldier.

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The  Korean War Veterans Memorial has 19 steel sculptures of soldiers.

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The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was dedicated in 2014.

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The National Zoo is also a part of the Smithsonian. Here you can see 2,000 different animals, birds, and reptiles in their natural habitats.

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You can see giant pandas, Sumatran tigers, red pandas, Sumatran tigers, western lowland gorillas, Asian elephants, cheetahs, white-naped cranes, and North Island brown kiwis.

In the Amazonia exhibit, you can see the colorful underwater life in the Amazon. Besides cheetahs at the Cheetah Conservation Station, you can also see Grevy’s zebras, Dama gazelles, vultures and red river hogs.

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The Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin are in honor of the 3rd President of the U.S. Thomas Jefferson. The design of the memorial is based on the Roman Pantheon. The low dome is supported by 54 Ionic columns and inside is a 19-foot statue of a standing Jefferson.

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Around are excerpts of the Declaration of Independence and other writings. The monument stands at the far end of the Tidal Pool with cherry trees around the edge, a gift from Japan. When the trees bloom in the spring they are celebrated by the Cherry Blossom Festival.

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The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial reflects twelve years of American History through four outdoor rooms. Each one is devoted to one of the 32nd President of the U.S. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s terms of office as he guided the country through the Great Depression and WW II.

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Washington National Cathedral is an English-style, neo-Gothic cathedral and one of the world’s largest. There are impressive artistic details in the cathedral like the stained glass windows and hand-embroidered kneelers commemorating war heroes and historic events. The cathedral is the final resting place of the 28th President of the U.S. Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller. The state funerals for Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan and Ford took place here. The top of the 300-foot central tower is the highest point in Washington D.C.

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The Bishop’s Garden on the south side of the cathedral has plants from medieval gardens, those mentioned in the Bible and others native to the area. There is also a fish pond.

The 59-acre Cathedral Close was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. in the early 20th century and was modeled after the walled grounds of medieval cathedrals.

Georgetown Historic District

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This is a wonderful area of the city to explore. Here you’ll find the Georgetown University. Many historic homes, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and small museums. The C&O Canal, a 184-mile waterway along the Potomac River begins here and is popular for walking and cycling.

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Dumbarton Oaks is a 16-acre estate with formal gardens and a Byzantine and Christian art collection.

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Dumbarton House has Federal-style furniture, paintings, textiles, silver, and ceramics and has one of the five original known copies of the Articles of Confederation.

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Tudor Place is a 19th-century mansion that was built by Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Martha Custis Peter and her husband. You can see items from George and Martha Washington’s Mount Vernon home. The Federal-period gardens have plants and trees from the early 19th century.

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The Kreeger Museum has a large art collection from the 1850s to the 1970s.

Washington D.C. Off the Beaten Path

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In the northern part of the city, you’ll find the summer cottage of the 16th President of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s Cottage was the place he came to relax. You can sense the spirits about the house and get a tour.

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The National Arboretum is the place to go if you want a walk in the woods, see meadows and glades. There is a garden with Corinthian pillars that were once part of the Capitol. Among the trees here are New York sugar maples and California giant sequoias.

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Theodore Roosevelt Island was named after the 26th President of the U.S. This is a wildlife preserve sitting in the Potomac River.

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It is a place that is car and bike-free. Here you can walk tranquil trails and enjoy the birds and wildlife. A footbridge connects it to the mainland.

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Anderson House offers visitors a look at the ballrooms, tapestries, and chandeliers. It is the headquarters of the Society of Cincinnati, an age-old patriotic group.

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Congressional Cemetery is the burial ground for famous Washingtonians since 1807. You can find the resting places of people like J. Edgar Hoover

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and composer John Philip Sousa. It is an interesting place to visit and also doubles as a members-only dog park.

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The Fridge is an amazing art gallery in Capitol Hill specializing in street art.

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All you have to do is follow the murals and graffiti that lead into the alley beside the oyster shop on 8th St.SE and delight in the public art there.

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James Smithson the founder of the Smithsonian Institute is at rest in the Smithsonian Castle. It is located at the mall.

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Also at the mall is the George Mason Memorial. Mason was the statesman who wrote the Bill of Rights prototype. You can find his statue here.

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Hillwood Museum and Gardens will make you feel like you are in Russia. Cereal heiress Marjorie Post lived in the USSR in the 1930s. She bought a lot of furniture, paintings and Faberge eggs and they are now all on display here.

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The Woodrow Wilson House is where the 28th President of the US lived after his presidency. It is a 1920s manor. It is an interesting house to tour.

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Walk up the Spanish Steps that were modeled after those in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy. At the top, you can get a spectacular view of Embassy Row.

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The United States Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the U.S. You can delight in roses, orchids, and ferns.

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Then you can seek out the smelly highlight here known as the Amorphophallus titanium or corpse flower a flower whose name translates to “giant misshapen penis” and wafts a corpse-like scent. You do not find them everywhere.

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  1. When I saw the title of your post, I at first thought it was meant sarcastically. I’m glad to see that it wasn’t. Although I reside near Washington, D.C., I have only been to a handful of these places.

    Not interested in seeing (or smelling) the corpse flower, though.

    Very informative, RasmaSandra.

    • Glad you enjoyed the tour, Pamela. No matter what else is happening it is a lovely and very interesting city. Of course, you would not like the corpse flower but it does interest many people. Perhaps with a gas mask? lol Hope you enjoy your day.

  2. thank you for sharing so many wonderful pictures while all we hear out of the capitol city is politics and more politics glad to see it truly is beautiful
    come see us at

    • Glad you enjoyed the tour. Washington DC has lots to like and you can ignore the politics. Ages ago my senior class trip in high school was to this lovely city.

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