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Washington, the Nation’s Capital.

A visitor to Washington, D.C. is impressed by the straight tree-lined avenues of the capital city and grand houses in neo-classical style.

Washington, D.C. is situated on the Potomac River. The author of the design for the capital city was the French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant. His design is based on Versailles, a palace near Paris. The capital city is criss-crossed by broad avenues, which meet in spacious squares and circles.

Creating Versailles from the marsh was no easy task. Building went slowly, and people were reluctant to move to the new capital. For years, pigs roamed through unpaved streets. There was said to be good hunting right near the White House!

Matters were not helped when, during the War of 1812, the British burned parts of Washington. This episode did, however, give the White House its name. The president’s house was one of the buildings burned, and after the war it was painted white to cover up the marks.

The central place of the city is the Mall, a large open space, a kind of park, stretching from the building of the Capitol to Lincoln Memorial, with Washington Memorial in the middle. The Mall is often used by people for public meetings, picnics, games, concerts, etc.

On both sides of the Mall are the numerous buildings of the Smithsonian Institution – a group of museums, scientific buildings and collections. James Smithson was an English scientist of the 19th century, who although having never set foot in the United States left his entire fortune to this country, asking to use it in order to found “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge”. The Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846, and it includes now thirteen museums which have at least a little of everything.

Of all the Smithsonian museums, the most visited – indeed, one of the most visited museums in the world – is the National Air and Space Museum. The museum has aircraft and space craft that were important in aviation history.

There is only one business in Washington, and this business is government. The executive departments are located in Washington. Most of the people who live in Washington work for the federal government.

When you are in Washington, you can visit the White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. You won’t see the President at work, because the offices and the living quarters of the White House are closed to the public. But you can visit Capitol Hill, and there you will be able to see the work of the other two branches of government: the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court have public galleries.

the Potomac River [pə΄toumæk] – река Потомак

Pierre Charles L’Enfant [΄pjer΄∫arlen΄fa:n] – Пьер Шарль Ленфан

Versailles [və΄seilz] - Версаль

Paris [΄pæris] - Париж

the White House [΄wait΄haus] – Белый дом

the Mall [mo:l] - Молл

the Capitol [΄kæpitol] - Капитолий

Lincoln Memorial [΄linkoln mə΄moriəl] – Мемориал Линкольну

Washington Memorial [΄wo:∫iŋtənmə΄oriəl] – Мемориал Вашингтону

the Smithsonian Institution [smiθsonjən insti΄tju:∫n] – Смитсонианский институт

the National Air and Space Museum [΄næ∫nl ΄εər ənd spies mju΄ziəm] – Национальный Музей Космонавтики и Воздухоплавания

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue [pensil΄veinjə΄ævənju:] – Пенсильвания Авеню, дом 1600 (адрес Белого дома)

Capitol Hill [΄kæpitol ΄hil] – Капитолийский Холм

the Senate [΄senit] - Сенат

the House of Representatives [΄hauz əv repri΄zentətivz] – Палата Представителей

the Supreme Court [΄sju:prim΄ko:t] – Верховный Суд

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