Friday, January 1, 2010


The Reichstag is one of Berlin's most historical landmarks. It is home to Germany's parliament - the Bundestag.

There was a need for a large parliamentary building in Berlin after the German Empire was founded in 1872. The imposing neo-renaissance building was built between 1884 and 1894. In 1916 the inscription Dem Deutschen Volke, To the German People, was added.
Much of the Reichstag was destroyed in a fire in 1933. The Nazis blamed communists and used the incident to take power. It was damaged again at the end of the war.

The building is about a block from the Brandenburger Tor and was closed in by the Berlin Wall. There was no use for the building during the Cold War because the East German government used its Palace of the Republic and West Germany's capital was in Bonn.
After unification, Germany moved the Bundestag from Bonn back to Berlin. Reconstruction started in 1995 and in 1999 the Reichstag was once again the seat of the German Parliament.

A glass dome was added over the plenary hall. It has a 360° view of the cityscape. The main hall can also be seen from the cupola and natural light from above radiates down to the parliament floor.

Free tours are given of the Reichstag. While waiting in line to enter, a guide came up and offered us a specal pass to enter the plenary hall. We were given a lecture in German on the building's history. It was very cool to sit inside parliament and to be able to do something most tourists don't get to.

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