Washington DC bezienswaardigheden
There's nothing quite like the majestic sight of the U.S. Capitol, with its towering 285 ft (86 m) cast-iron dome topped by the bronze Statue of Freedom, ornate fountains, and marble Roman pillars set on sweeping lawns and flowering gardens.
The political center of the U.S. government and geographic center of Washington D.C. itself, the Capitol of the United States overlooks the National Mall and the wide avenues flaring out to the city beyond. It houses the legislative branch of Congress and is home to the Senate and the House of Representatives. Inside the grand halls and opulent chambers you really get a feel for the power-playing side of D.C. - the historical vibe is so strong it can be intoxicating. The centerpiece of the Capitol is the magnificent Rotunda (the area under the dome). A Constantino Brumidi frieze around the rim replays more than 400 years of American history. Look up into the eye of the dome for the Apotheosis of Washington, an allegorical fresco.
Maybe that’s because this is, at the end of the day, a home as well as symbol. Every U.S president since John Adams has made this 132-room mansion his home. Its stature has grown through the years: no longer a mere residence, it's now the central icon of the American presidency.
Inside the house, highlights include the Gold-and-White East Room, where presidential receptions, weddings, and other galas are held; the Green Room, which was Thomas Jefferson's dining room but today is used as a sitting room; and the Oval Blue Room, the setting for the White House Christmas tree. Other rooms are the Red Room, which is used as a reception room, primarily for afternoon teas, and the State Dining Room, where state dinners and luncheons are held.
Getting inside the White House can be tough. The grounds, however, are occasionally opened for special events such as Tee-ball on the South Lawn and the Easter Egg Roll, held every Easter Monday for kids aged three to six.
Here's a local secret: if you're ever stuck in a thunderstorm while wandering around the Mall, make a dash for the Lincoln Memorial. Thunder seems to rumble like clockwork nearly every 4th of July, and everyone in the know takes shelter under the marble dome, crouching near the foot of the enormous chair in which a gigantic Lincoln holds court.
In a city of icons, the Lincoln Memorial is truly a highlight. It's the classicism evoked by the Greek temple design, or the way the memorial so perfectly anchors the Mall's west end, or maybe just the stony dignity of Lincoln's gaze and the power of his speeches engraved in the wall. Nonetheless, a visit here while gazing over the 600m Reflecting Pool is a defining D.C. moment.
For these are the steps where lovers kiss, protesters gather, and Martin Luther King Jr’s "I Have a Dream" speech seared itself into the national conscience. This stunning location is also a favorite spot for Hollywood fimls.
At 555 ft (170 m) the Washington Monument is not only the tallest building in Washington D.C., it is also the tallest masonry structure in the world. Strangely, this pale obelisk needling the sky near the Mall's west end was originally conceived as an equestrian statue to honor George Washington, the country's first president.
Inside, a glass-walled elevator quickly whisks you to an observation landing with spectacular 360-degree views. Most agree the panoramic green and marble vista of Washington D.C. and her rivers is well worth any wait to get up. On your way down, the elevator descends slowly, allowing passengers to see some of the 192 carved stones inserted into the interior walls.
In the days before September 11, 2001, it was possible to descend the 897 steps. Believe it or not, when the monument first opened the elevator was not considered safe for women so, while men got to ride in style to the top, women had to make the trek on foot!
Dedicated in 1995, this memorial to the troops who fought in the Korean War (1950-1953) lies adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial in West Potomac Park, at the south end of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. Created by sculptors Louis Nelson and Frank Gaylord, this depiction of a walled triangle intersecting a circle is assembled from over 100 tons of granite and includes 19 stainless steel statues, each over seven feet tall, which symbolize a patrol squad assembled from every branch of the armed forces.
These steel statues, when reflected on the walled triangle, appear to be 38 figures, representing the 38th parallel, Korea’s location on a map. The wall of the triangle itself incorporates over 2,500 sandblasted photographic images depicting scenes from the Korean War. The memorial’s circle encloses a reflecting pool, a grove of trees, and a ring of benches, as well as inscriptions of the numbers of people who were wounded, killed, missing in action, and more.
De rivier Potomac begint in West Virginia en mondt uit in de Chesapeake Bay. De rijke Amerikaanse geschiedenis heeft dit gebied de bijnaam "the Nation’s River" (rivier van het land) gegeven. George Washington, de eerste president van de VS, werd aan deze rivier geboren en de gehele hoofdstad Washington D.C. ligt in het stroomgebied van de Potomac.
In Washington D.C. liggen de parken West en East Potomac. Beide liggen in het centrum met daartussen het Tidal Basin. Ze zijn zeer geschikt voor wandelen, picknicken en vissen. In West Potomac Park liggen de Constitution Gardens en de herdenkingsmonumenten voor Vietnam, Korea, Lincoln, Jefferson, de Tweede Wereldoorlog en Roosevelt. Er is een klein eiland waar eenden vertoeven en de Reflecting Pool.
East Potomac Park is meer een recreatieplek, met picknickplaatsen, tennisbanen, drie golfbanen, een groot zwembad en fiets- en wandelpaden. Aan de andere kant van de rivier ligt de nationale begraafplaats Arlington.
Stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall is a wide, tree-lined expanse of open space between the Constitution and Independence avenues. The Mall is the center of D.C. tourist attractions, fringed by the Smithsonian museums and dotted with monuments.
For here is the iconic Lincoln Memorial, fronted by its long Reflecting Pool; nearby is the Washington Monument, the top of which offers some of best panoramic views of the city. Pause to reflect on the fallen soldiers at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, or marvel at the 56 granite pillars at the National WWII Memorial. If you come in late March or early April, the cherry trees at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial will be blazing pink.
You could spend days and days studying the treasures at the Smithsonian museums on the Mall. From the massive collections in the National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of Natural History.
Part of the National Mall and National Park Service, this 7.5-acre park dedicated to America’s 32nd president features a series of four outdoor artworks depicting the Great Depression and FDR’s 12 pivotal years in office. Scenes include one of the leader’s “fireside chats” via radio, and waiting for food in a bread line.
The most famous feature of this 1997 memorial is a large-scale bronze sculpture of Roosevelt and his beloved terrier, Fala. The artwork is controversial because it depicts the president, who was wheelchair-bound in real life, sitting in a chair that is almost entirely draped by a cloak.
Park rangers are on site every day to offer interpretive tours between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. Visitor parking is available for free along Ohio Drive south of the Lincoln Memorial, or just south of the Jefferson Memorial in Lots A, B and C. No Metrorail stations are entirely adjacent to the Memorial, but the Farragut North, Metro Center, Farragut West.
Maar liefst meer dan 126 miljoen soorten van planten, dieren, stenen, fossielen, meteorieten, menselijke resten en culturele objecten treft u aan in het National Museum of Natural History. Het museum, dat in 1910 werd geopend maakt onderdeel uit van het Smithsonian Institution. Het was een van de eerste gebouwen van het Smithsonian dat speciaal werd gebouwd om collecties en onderzoeksfaciliteiten in onder te brengen. De gebouwen worden ook gebruikt door bijna 200 natuurhistorische wetenschappers. Het museum, dat 364 dagen per jaar gratis toegankelijk is, is het meest bezochte natuurhistorisch museum ter wereld en het meest bezochte museum op zich van Noord Amerika. Insider’s tip: het zal u niet verbazen dat het altijd druk is in dit museum, maar toch is het de moeite waard om een dag in de drukte te reserveren om de collecties van dit kindvriendelijke museum te bewonderen.
Meer dingen om te doen in Washington DC
First-time visitors will be forgiven for assuming Capitol Hill, the geographic and legislative heart of the city, is all about the majestic icon that sits atop its hill. While the U.S. Capitol -- with its towering cast-iron dome topped by the bronze Statue of Freedom, ornate fountains, and marble Roman pillars -- is no doubt the centerpiece of this area, there is more to Capitol Hill than its namesake building.
The Capitol Grounds is a lush landscape of sweeping lawns and more than 4,000 trees. At the base of the hill, the Capitol Reflecting Pool echoes the larger, rectangular pool at the other end of the National Mall. House and Senate office buildings surround the Capitol, while the Supreme Court, the three Library of Congress buildings, and the Folger Shakespeare Library & Theatre lie east.
One of the most iconic and impressive structures in Washington D.C., the Library of Congress contains a staggering 120 million items, including 22 million books plus manuscripts, maps, photographs, films and prints. But don't expect to see many books: Most are shelved on more than 500 miles of closed library stacks housed in the three different buildings. The Library - the world’s largest - is still nonetheless fascinating.
The centerpiece of the LOC experience is the historic 1897 Jefferson Building, where you can wander around the spectacular Great Hall, ornate with stained glass and marble. The artwork of the Great Hall reflects the beauty that emerges from such amassed wisdom, such as the goddesses and cherubs who represent different fields of knowledge. Multimedia kiosk provide the minutest details of the library’s awe-inspiring collection.
Anyone over the age of 18 carrying photo ID can use the library, and more than a million people do so each year.
For under the Smithsonian banner are 19 world-class museums, 9 research centers, and the National Zoological Park. Its collection of some 140 million spans the entire world including artworks, scientific specimens, artifacts, and other objects. So large is the collection that only one percent is on display at any given point.
The Smithsonian Institution includes such popular attractions as the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of African Art, the Freer Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American Indian, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery.
The Institution also includes low-key but fascinating collections in the Anacostia Community Museum, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and the National Postal Museum. All the museums have stunning permanent collections, but always be on the lookout for temporary exhibitions.
More than four million people visit Arlington National Cemetery, which contain the graves of soldiers of every war the United States has fought since the American Revolution. The cemetery is also a resting place for such American leaders as John F. Kennedy, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Medgar Evers.
At the end of Memorial Drive is the Women In Military Service for America Memorial, honoring women who have served in the armed forces since the Revolution. On the slopes above are the Kennedy gravesites; an eternal flame marks John F. Kennedy’s grave. The Tomb of the Unknowns holds unidentified bodies from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Soldiers march before it 24 hours a day, performing an impressive ceremonial changing of the guard every half hour.
The somber, sobering Holocaust Museum is unlike any other museum in Washington D.C. In remembering the millions murdered by the Nazis, it is brutal, direct and impassioned. Its exhibits leave many visitors in tears and few unmoved.
The Holocaust Museum uses its collection of more than 12,500 artifacts to reveal the Jewish experience in three parts: Nazi Assault, Final Solution, and Last Chapter. Visitors are given the identity card of a single Holocaust victim, narrowing the scope of suffering to the individual level while paying thorough, overarching tribute to its powerful subject.
Apart from the permanent exhibits, the candlelit Hall of Remembrance is a sanctuary for quiet reflection; the Wexner Learning Center offers text archives, photographs, films and oral testimony available on touch-screen computers. If you have young children in tow (the museum recommends not bringing children 11 and under).
Ford’s Theatre heeft vele bestemmingen gehad sinds de realisatie in 1833. Zo was het ooit een kerk, een pakhuis, een theater en een kantoorgebouw. Het is nu Nationaal Erfgoed. Dit gebouw is helaas het meest bekend als de plek waar acteur John Wilkes Booth de moord pleegde op President Abraham Lincoln op die vreselijke avond van 14 april 1865. Lincoln was daar met zijn vrouw om een voorstelling van Our American Cousin te bezoeken en sinds die avond is Ford’s Theatre een van de belangrijkste historische bezienswaardigheden van Washington D.C.
Direct nadat hij was neergeschoten, werd President Lincoln naar de overzijde van de straat gebracht, waar hij in Petersen House overleed. Bijna 70 jaar later, in 1932, werden beide gebouwen tot historisch erfgoed uitgeroepen. Tegenwoordig valt Ford’s Theatre onder het beheer van de National Park Service.
Open to the public since 1974, this distinctive round building on the National Mall is dedicated to contemporary and modern art in the United States. From the outside, the museum appears to be a solid, windowless concrete cylinder perched on four squat blocks; the interior, though, features a hollow cylinder lined with windows which look onto a central courtyard and allow in natural light.
Designed by an art collector for an art collector, the Hirshhorn was originally conceived by architect Gordon Bunshaft to house a bequest of 6,000 artworks by financier Joseph Hirshhorn. Hirshhorn’s art collection is composed of work by the greatest living artists of his 20th century life: Picasso, Matisse, Willem de Kooning, Louise Nevelson, Jackson Pollock and many more. The museum is surrounded by a four-acre, two-level sculpture garden highlighting works by Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, and more recently, Jeff Koons.
Affiliated with but not a part of the Smithsonian, the National Gallery needs two buildings (connected by an underground tunnel) to house its stunning collections (more than 110,000 objects) of painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the present. Kids love the walking escalator that traverses the two buildings and conveniently empties into the airy cafeteria.
The original neoclassical building, known as the West Building, exhibits primarily European works, from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, including pieces by El Greco, Monet, and Cézanne.
Across 4th Street NW, the angular East Building is where you'll find the Calder mobile along with other abstract and modern works. Across 7th Street from the West Wing sits the National Gallery Sculpture Garden, a beautifully landscaped park of open lawns, a pool with a spouting fountain, and 17 sculptures.
A visit to George Washington's Virginia home, Mount Vernon, is an easy escape from Washington D.C. – one that the president himself enjoyed. It's also a journey through history: the country estate of this quintessential gentleman has been meticulously restored and affords a glimpse of rural gentility from a time long gone.
On the Potomac banks, the 19-room mansion displays George and Martha's colonial tastes, while the outbuildings and slave quarters show what was needed for the functioning of the estate. George and Martha are both buried here, as requested by the first president in his will.
The modern Ford Orientation Center is a must-see on the grounds. It features a 20-minute film that shows Washington's courage under fire, including his pivotal crossing of the Delaware River. Another highlight is the sleek Reynolds Museum and Education Center, home to galleries and theaters, which provide more insight into Washington's life.
If you've ever wanted to step into James Bond's shoes and live a glamorous spy life, the International Spy Museum is the place to learn the secrets. One of Washington D.C.'s hottest attractions, the museum is flashy, over the top - an engaging, fun museum that illustrates high-tech gadgetry, notorious spy cases, secret methods, and the not-so-pleasant consequences of being an international person of mystery.
Set out front of the National Academy of Sciences Building, this whimsically enormous memorial of Albert Einstein contemplating the universe was dedicated on April 22, 1979 to mark the centennial of the scientist’s birth.
The 4-ton bronze statue of Einstein depicts him holding a paper inscribed with his three most important contributions to science: the photoelectric effect, the theory of general relativity, and the equivalence of energy and matter (e=mc2). The uniquely mottled texture of the statue’s bronze is the signature style of its sculptor, Robert Berks, who also created the famous bust of JFK found in the lobby of the nearby Kennedy Center. The memorial’s 28-foot-wide black granite base is inlaid with over 2,700 metal studs, which were mapped out by astronomers from the U.S. Naval Observatory and meant to represent the stars, planets and more as they appeared on the dedication date.
Feel the reverence of history and the weight of time at Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria, where visitors today sit in the same pews where George Washington and Robert E. Lee once worshipped. Commenced in 1767, Christ Church is a living testament to American history, and so is the site's cemetery, which memorializes 34 Confederate prisoners of war who perished in prison camps during the Civil War.
Christ Church measures a mere 60 feet by 50 feet, but despite its small size, the brick landmark looms large over the town and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. The church consists of the main worshiping space, galleries in the upper level, a tower and the cemetery. Today, there are still regular services and events, as well as a congregation of more than 2,000 members. Tradition has it that every new president visits Christ Church on Washington's birthday.
Centered around an elegant traffic circle at the intersection of Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts Avenues, this upscale yet urban neighborhood is full of refined pursuits, as well as much of the city’s gay community. While here, be sure to soak up the people-watching scene around the fountain at Dupont Circle itself, and stop into the unique Kramer Books & Afterwords, a combination café and well-curated bookstore.
Dupont Circle’s graceful marble fountain was designed and built by the same architectural team behind the Lincoln Memorial. Installed in 1921, the fountain replaced a memorial statue of Civil War rear admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont that was moved to the prominent Du Pont family’s estate in Wilmington, Delaware. In the neighborhood surrounding the traffic circle and fountain, you can feast your eyes on Impressionist masterpieces at the elegant Phillips Collection; tour the 19th-century Anderson House.
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