Reading Test 1.2

Read the passage below and then answer the questions

1. In 1877, on July 4, in order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of America’s independence from England, the French government presented the United States with a colossal statue that has come to be one of the most beloved symbols of America. This statue was meant as a universal symbol of liberty and democracy. The gift was presented in honor of the alliance between France and the United States during the Revolutionary War. The formal name of the figure is Liberty Enlightening the World, but it is universally known as the Statue of Liberty.

2. Once the French government donated the money for the project (by fundraising amongst the population even schoolchildren and ordinary citizens gave, as did 181 French municipalities), the French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and engineer Gustav Eiffel were put in charge of the design. This project was an important gesture of the French government and they therefore chose the best engineer of the country – maybe you remember the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Eiffel Bridge in Porto, Portugal. The massive structure was assembled in Paris, where it was put on exhibit before being dismantled, then shipped to New York and finally reassembled on Bedloe Island, which was later renamed Liberty Island. This island is only a few miles away from Manhattan and Ellis Island, the famous island where millions of immigrants arrived on American soil. The statue was the first symbol of the United States that one could see from the arriving boats and this symbol of liberty soon became the emblem of the country in the eyes of foreigners.

3. The statue is made of thin copper sheets, each just a tenth of an inch thick. They are riveted to an iron framework, which forms the shape of the statue. The statue itself is 151 feet tall, but it stands on top of a large pedestal made of concrete and granite, which was designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt. The total height of the statue and the pedestal is 305 feet, making it a spectacular sight on the New York City skyline, visible from miles away. The statue represents a robed woman, figure representing Libertas, the Roman Goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet.

4. [1] Due to the difficulty and expense of working on an isolated island, construction took nearly ten years. [2] After the construction of the statue was completed in 1886, President Grover Cleveland came to New York to preside over the dedication ceremony. Several years later, Bedloe Island and nearby Ellis Island became part of a processing center for European Immigrants coming to New York. During the sixty years that the Ellis Island complex was open, it welcomed approximately sixteen million people entering America. The site is now the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, and it hosts roughly a million visitors every year. After the unveiling, the Statue of Liberty became a beacon of freedom for both newly arriving immigrants and longtime city dwellers. Unfortunately, after decades of exposure to pollution and harsh ocean air, time had taken its toll on Lady Liberty, as the statue is sometimes called. [3] A full century after the dedication, a restoration program was launched to repair the huge damage from age and the elements. [4] Funded by both the French and American governments (the French government is still actively involved in this project), the renovation of the statue required enclosing it in a scaffold while workers renovated the copper sheeting and replaced the glass torch with a gold one. The newly restored monument was unveiled a few years later, on July 4, 1986, as vibrant and inspiring as ever. Lady Liberty was designated a national monument in 1924 and is part of UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1976. Ever since, millions of visitors visit this beacon of liberty every year – there are almost more visitors on Liberty Island than on Ellis Island!