Category: North America

The center of Washington was laid out on the north side of the Potomac according to the draft of the French L’Enfant initiated by George Washington in 1790. The strict checkerboard pattern is similarly noticeable as in Manhattan, but it is more strongly interrupted by diagonals than there. The naming of the streets – if not numbered – has been determined by American history. In addition to states such as New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Pennsylvania, there are keywords such as Independence and Constitution. The diagonals are each aligned with places at their intersection points.

At two of these intersections are the capital’s central buildings, the Capitol and the White House, both of which have a high symbolic value. The White House was built from 1792 in the classical style and is the residence and official residence of the American President. The Capitol with its distinctive dome structure is the seat of parliament where the Senate and the House of Representatives meet; it was started in 1793 but was not completed until the middle of the 19th century. The name was taken from one of the seven hills on which Rome was built. In the immediate vicinity of the Capitol there are other important parliamentary institutions: House Office Building, Senate Office, Supreme Court and the Library of Congress.

At the intersection of the two axes from these buildings stands the Washington Monument, which commemorates the city’s founder, namesake and first President of the USA. The Lincoln Memorial near the Potomac and the Roosevelt Memorial on the island of the same name in the Potomac also commemorate outstanding American presidents.

Between the Washington Monument and the Capitol are the parks “The Mall”, which are bordered by numerous federal agencies – including the departments of justice, agriculture and trade, the FBI and NASA – and cultural institutions. The departments correspond to the federal ministries in Germany.

Already outside the city limits in Arlington (Virginia) is the Pentagon, the pentagon building built by the Ministry of Defense in 1941/42, in the midst of numerous other military facilities and monuments (e.g. National Cemetery). Military facilities, such as the Navy, are also located in southern Washington. In addition to the government agencies, numerous educational institutions are located in Washington.

A large part of the population lives on income below the poverty line, in some cases in the immediate vicinity of institutions of global importance such as the White House or the US Congress. Only Georgetown is considered to be an affluent district with a population of European descent. The university of the same name is located on its western edge. For more information about the continent of North America, please check

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