National Mall

The National Mall is a national park in downtown Washington DC, stretching between Independence and Constitution Avenues from The Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. One of the purposes of this park is “to provide a monumental, dignified and symbolic setting for the governmental structures, museums and national memorials.”

Among the main attractions in the National Mall are:

a. The US Capitol- also referred to as the Capitol Building or Capitol Hill, is the home of the US Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the country. The original building was completed in 1800 and was subsequently expanded, particularly with the massive dome. This was to accommodate the growing number of representatives as more states were admitted. Like the other principal buildings of the executive and judicial branches, the Capitol is built in white exterior with a neoclassical style.

b. Washington Monument- is an obelisk completed in 1884 to commemorate George Washington, once the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first US President. It is the tallest obelisk and stone structure in the world, standing more than 555 feet, or almost 170 meters tall. Today it is still undergoing refurbishments due to the 2011 earthquake.

c. Smithsonian Institution- established in 1846, it is a group of museums and research centres administered by the US government. The administrative building is also known as The Castle was originally designed by architect James Renwick, Jr (who also designed St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York), and completed in 1852.

The institution overlooks twenty museums and galleries, of which eleven are situated around the National Mall area. The most popular ones include: Air and Space Museum, American History Museum and Natural History Museum, all three of them located inside the National Mall.