The White House in Washington D.C. is the residence and seat of government of the current President of the United States. Tours take place a few days a week and can only be booked through a member of Congress.
The White House is the official residence of the incumbent President of the United States of America, probably known worldwide. In addition to the president's study, the Oval Office, it also houses the office of the vice president.
The White House was given its name by Theodore Roosevelt in 1901 after smoke damage to the sandstone of the building was whitewashed following a fire in the first half of the 19th century.
In addition to the main villa, the Executive Mansion with its characteristic columns, which is usually pictured, it also consists of two outbuildings, the east and west wings.
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Construction of the White House
The foundation stone for the White House was laid on the founding day of the new American capital, Washington D.C., on 13 October 1792. John Adams was the first president to live in the White House. He moved in in 1800.
Since then, every sitting president has lived there. Nearly 20 marriages have taken place there and even a child was born there - Esther, the Clevelands' second daughter, was born in the White House.
With the private rooms of the presidential family and the representative state rooms on the ground floor of the Executive Mansion, the White House has a total of 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, 3 lifts, 8 staircases, a tennis court, a cinema hall, a pool, a bowling alley and a basketball court.
The estate is surrounded by four gardens, the North and South Lawns, the White House Rose Garden and the Jaqueline Kennedy Garden. Every year at Christmas, the National Christmas Tree is erected under the supervision of the First Lady, accompanied by months of festivities.
Next to the Oval Office, the East Room is probably the most famous room in the White House, where official receptions, press conferences, but also concerts and balls take place.
White House: Monitored like Fort Knox
The White House is certainly one of the best guarded buildings in the world. Aircraft approaching the White House despite the ban on overflights are closely watched. There are interceptor jets and anti-aircraft missiles in case of emergency. The Secret Service and the Park Police as well as cameras and sensors monitor the entire grounds, and snipers patrol the roof.
However, should things get dicey, the members of the government find shelter in the air-raid shelter under the East Wing, from where it is still possible to control the state. Incidentally, the first evacuation in the history of the White House took place in the wake of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.
Visit to the White House in Washington D.C.
The White House is located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. and can be reached by public transport via the blue or orange underground line via the "Federal Triangle" station. For visitors, the White House is rather difficult to access. Guided tours do take place, but these can only be reserved through a member of Congress.
Those who don't want to go through this trouble are best satisfied with a visit to the Visitor Centre, where films, maps and exhibitions about the White House are on display. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get closer than the so-called ellipse, a park in front of the estate. But even from there you have a wonderful view of this internationally significant villa.