general facts

- Washington is not a state and not in a state --> independent federal district
- the population is about 630,000 (metropolitan area about 31/2 million)
- 3/4 of the population is non-white
- since 1964 the people living in Washington have the right to vote for the president
- was planned as a capital --> the streets are organised in a special pattern; the National Mall is in the centre of the town, other buildings are arranged around it
- the layout of the city reflects also the system of government (White House is connected to the Capitol, where Congress meets, and to the Supreme Court)
- the names of the streets are given in a special way, too (the horizontal streets are named with letters; the vertical ones with numbers)
- few factories, most of the people work in offices
- government is the largest employer in the city (345,000 people)
- more than 600 parks; Washington has a larger variety of trees than any other city
- no skyscrapers because there is a rule, that no building should be higher than 40 metres; this rule ensures that the Capitol and the monuments can be seen from anywhere in Washington

Close Up Foundation

- founded in 1970
- aims are to learn something about the political system and about Washington
- people should be involved in all that happens around them
- the people learn what it means to live in a democracy
- students and teacher from all parts of the country are participants
- in one year there are 27,000 participants
- the programme is divided into political and cultural information


- the Capitol: it is the building where Congress works
- the House of Representatives: the representatives work here
- the Lincoln Memorial: memorial of Abraham Lincoln (1732-1799)
- the National Mall: it is a promenade between Capitol and Lincoln Memorial
- the Oval Office: this is a room of the White House were the President works
- the Pentagon: here is the defence office
- the Senate: here is the American Senate
- the Washington Monument: a 170 metres high obelisk for George Washington
- the White House:
* oldest public building in Washington; the title was given later
* home of the most famous government people and the official residence of the president
* every president, except George Washington, lived in the White House
* until 1834 the White House had no running water; gas lamps 1848 installed
* opened for two hours a day from Tuesday to Saturday
* you can't visit the president or the room where he works
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial:
* one of the most recent monuments; for many people the most moving one
* it should remember, that this war divided the country; also the many died people and many people, fighting in the war were even still teenagers
* some people thought the war should not be, others wanted this
* average age of the soldiers in this war was 19
* in this war 58,123 men died or are still missing


- the Supreme Court: this is the most powerful court in the USA
- the Smithsonian Institution: 
* here are several museums
* the money for the Smithsonian Institution was from a wealthy Englishman, who gave all his money to the USA
* today there are 13 Smithsonian museums in the USA (12 in Washington and 1 in New York)
* the most popular ones are the National Air and Space Museum where you can see the Apollo 11 spaceship
* here are also libraries and an observatory
- FBI Headquarters:
* FBI means Federal Bureau of Investigation
* FBI was founded in 1908 by J. Edgar Hoover
* he founded the FBI because he wanted to fight against crime throughout the nation, that's why the name is 'Federal'
* in this building there are many laboratories (hair, pieces of cloth, paint); from a piece of paint they can say what make and model the car is
* the agents watch the evidence and the other information here
* often the work of the agents is not dangerous and with guns, because often it is only a paperwork
- Bureau of Engraving and Printing:
* the money of the USA is made in this institution since 1863
* 2,300 people work here day and night and six days a week
* most of the money is made to replace old money
* visitors can watch how money is made, and they also can see a $100,000 bill
* every day $22,5 million are printed
* the visitors also can learn that for the printing of money no trees are cut down, because the bills are made of cloth
* the $1 bill is used for only about 18 months, than the bill is destroyed an a new one is made
* there are many security guards watching the people, that no money is stolen

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