Washington, D.C.

The City of Washington, which covers the entirety the federal District of Columbia, is the national capital of the United States of America.

Established in 1790 to serve as the nation's capital, Washington is not just the center of American political life, but also much of its culture and arts. A small city, with less than 600,000 residents in a metro area of 5.5 million people, Washington's 68 square miles (177 square kilometers) are filled with some of the world's most important treasures in the areas of art, history, culture, and architecture.

Washington is home to the National Mall & Memorial Parks, which encompasses sites stretching from the United States Capitol Building to the Potomac River and bordering the White House, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and countless other sites. The city is also home to the Smithsonian Institution, one of the world's largest and most important museums (and which is actually a collection of museums), the Washington National Cathedral, the National Archives, the National Zoo, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, amongst many other sites. Some of America's most prestigious universities are also located in the city, including American University, Georgetown University, Howard University, and The George Washington University.

Washington's culture is a unique blending of Northern and Southern U.S. traditions, giving it all of the sophistication of a city like New York, Boston, or Philadelphia while still retaining the somewhat slower pace of cities like Savannah and Charleston. The culture is also greatly impacted by the city's seven major sports franchises, the famous Washington Metro system, and the city's suburbs in the states of Virginia and Maryland.

Washington has ten sister cities: Bangkok (1962), Dakar (1980), Beijing (1984), Brussels (1985), Athens (2000), Paris (2000), Pretoria (2002), Seoul (2006), Accra (2006), and Sunderland (2006).