Welcome to Pennsylvania
One of the original 13 colonies to be settled in the United
States, Pennsylvania was founded by an English Quaker, William
Penn, in the 17th century: hence the name of the state which
literally means Penn's Woods'. There are certainly woods in
Pennsylvania (particularly in the Allegheny National Forest in the
north), but also a great deal more besides in this diverse state,
which spans more than 300 miles (483km) from Delaware Bay to the
Above all else Pennsylvania is the most historically significant
state in the nation, particularly its main population hub, the
eastern seaboard city of Philadelphia, where America's founding
fathers shaped the nation after Independence. The Liberty Bell
seldom tolls today, but it draws millions of visitors annually to
the city's Historic Independence National Park.
The other main metropolis is Pittsburgh on the western side of
the state, where the smoke-belching steel mills of the early 20th
century have given way to urban redevelopment highlighting the
region's natural beauty.
In between its two major cities, Pennsylvania, bounded by six
other states (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West
Virginia and Ohio), offers everything from honeymoon retreats,
family style resorts, ski-lodges, an eclectic mix of architecture,
scrumptious home-style fare, historic treasures, panoramic
cityscapes, pastoral pleasure, artists' colonies and country inns.
Whatever a visitor wants out of a sojourn in this state, he or she
is bound to find. Even chocolate lovers will discover paradise
here, for this is the location of Hershey, home of the world-famous
Hershey Bar, which offers up its favourite Chocolate World
attraction for the tasting.
State capital is the city of Harrisburg in the north, with its
exceptionally handsome capitol building and impressive State
Museum, covering Pennsylvania's 300-year history, and the National
Civil War Museum which focuses on the human side of the
Information & Facts
Like all other US States lying in the continental zone,
Pennsylvania's climate varies according to area and altitude, and
though the state experiences the four seasons, each can vary in
temperature depending on location. Summers, in general, tend to be
long, hot and humid, particularly in the southeast. The mountainous
areas are likely to be cooler and although humid, they are usually
less so. Autumns are usually moderate and pleasant (a good time to
travel to Pennsylvania), while winters are cold with snow,
especially in the mountains. The area around Lake Erie usually
experiences cooler temperatures, with the lake regulating the
change of seasons. July tends to be the state's warmest month, and
although temperatures can reach over 90°F (32°C) in the southeast
and southwestern areas (near Pittsburgh), average temperatures are
usually about 80°F (27°C). January is the coldest time of year,
with temperatures dropping to about 23° F (-5°C). Tornadoes and
floods can occur.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).