Washington, city of Monuments and memorials | Sunday Observer

Washington, city of Monuments and memorials

28 January, 2018

 The capital of the United States, Washington DC remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, given its rich cultural and historical heritage. Named in honour of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. According to official information the bordering states of Maryland and Virginia donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria.

Today, Washington is best known for government, museums and the National Mall.

As one of the world’s greatest cities to visit, with its vast museums, monuments, politics and history, Washington fascinates first time visitors to the city. A novice traveller, navigating along the historical buildings, well-planned city structure, hype shopping malls and serene environment would definitely finish up a day-tour by falling in love with this city – for its pleasant and delightful experience, attached with a nostalgic feeling.

If you are a first time visitor to this calm and cool city, it is always advisable to pick some travel tips from a previous visitor – going beyond the guidebook- in order to maximize your travel experience. Since there are various landmarks and sites which you wouldn’t want to miss –and want to dig up more treasures to enrich your experience- early planning would be necessary.

Major tourist spots in Washington DC include, the Capitol Hill, Washington Monument, the White House, Smithsonian Institution Building, Lincoln Memorial, Newseum and Washington National Cathedral. A majority of those who visit Washington wouldn’t miss visiting some of the following key attractions.

Capitol Hill is the largest historic residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C., stretching easterly in front of the United States Capitol along wide avenues. It is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Washington DC.

Capitol Hill’s landmarks include not only the United States Capitol, but also the Senate and House office buildings, the Supreme Court building, the Library of Congress, the Marine Barracks, the Washington Navy Yard, and Congressional Cemetery.

The National Mall

The long, grassy National Mall is home to iconic monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. It is a landscaped park, and an official unit of the United States National Park System. It is located near the downtown area of Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States.

It is the central point of most sightseeing visits to Washington, DC. The tree-lined open space between Constitution and Independence Avenues extends from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol Building. Ten of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution are located in the heart of the nation’s capital, offering a variety of exhibits, ranging from art to space exploration. West Potomac Park and the Tidal Basin are adjacent to the National Mall and home to national monuments and memorials, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Its lawns and pathways are often crowded with school groups, joggers and softball teams. The expansive lawn area often becomes a site for protests and rallies.

Washington Monument

Among the major attractions on the National Mall is the famous Washington Monument. The monument honouring the first President, George Washington, is the tallest structure in the nation’s capital and towers 555 feet above the National Mall. If you ride the elevator to the top, you can get a spectacular view of the city.

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is a monument honoring the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

It is located on the western end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., across from the Washington Monument. The exterior of the Memorial echoes a classic Greek temple and features Yule marble from Colorado. The Memorial’s interior is divided into three chambers by two rows of four Ionic columns, each 50 feet tall and 5.5 feet across at their base. The central chamber, housing the statue of Lincoln, is 60 feet wide, 74 feet deep, and 60 feet high.

The north and south chambers display carved inscriptions of Lincoln’s second inaugural address and his Gettysburg Address. Bordering these inscriptions are pilasters ornamented with fasces, eagles, and wreaths.

The inscriptions and adjoining ornamentation are by Evelyn Beatrice Longman: “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” Beneath these words, President Lincoln sits immortalized in marble as an enduring symbol of unity, strength, and wisdom.

The Memorial is replete with symbolic elements. The 36 columns represent the states of the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death; the 48 stone festoons above the columns represent the 48 states in 1922.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is yet another place you shouldn’t miss. The memorial, set on the corner of the Tidal Basin in the heart of Washington DC, honors Dr. King’s national and international contributions and vision for all to enjoy a life of freedom, opportunity, and justice.

The centerpiece is the ‘Stone of Hope’, a 30-foot statue of Dr. King, with a wall that is inscribed with excerpts of his sermons and public addresses.

Smithsonian Museums

The federal institution has multiple museums scattered throughout Washington, DC. What is distinct about Washington is that many of the city’s museums (including all of which are under the Smithsonian umbrella) are free. It is an added advantage for any traveller digging into history and culture in the city.

Ten of the buildings are located on the National Mall from 3rd to 14th Streets between Constitution and Independence Avenues, within a radius of about one mile. There is so much to see at the Smithsonian; it is impossible for a traveller to complete the entire range within a day. You could easily spend a week inside the Museum of American History and the Air and Space Museum.

The natives say, Washington is a city best seen on foot. It is true when it comes to your shopping time. Washington’s downtown, Georgetown is a paradise for shoppers. But the city’s, 14th Street scores more as far as choice is concerned. The shops down 14th Street offer trendy goodies and designer wear that you won’t find elsewhere in the city. (Background information through the internet)