Book tickets in advance to avoid the queues to the dome, a Norman Foster designed glass construction which mirrors the shape of the original cupola on top. By night, the views of the city are unparalleled.
Synonymous with government, power and the German state. It was constructed in the aftermath of German unification in 1871 as the result of an architectural competition, in which two hundred architects competed for the rights to construct the seat of the German Empire - the ‘Imperial Diet’ - on the site of the palace of Polish-Prussian aristocrat Athanasius Raczyński.
The building served as the seat of the Republic until 1933, when it caught fire under mysterious circumstances. In the aftermath, the ruling Nazi party used the fire as an excuse to ramp up security and weed out Communists across Germany. It wasn’t used in the following twelve years of Socialist party rule, falling into disrepair, and being damaged by further allied bombing raids and by the Russians in the battle of Berlin in May 1945.
The building narrowly avoided annexation in East Berlin during the Cold War, and continued to remain empty until German reunification and the fall of the Berlin Wall when government and parliament returned from Bonn to Berlin.
A survivor of two World Wars, the building speaks of solidity and strength. Bullet holes are still visible torn into the marble. Inside, you can see the graffiti of Russian soldiers, carved into the walls when they ransacked the building at the end of the battle for Berlin, and on the outside, the democratic essence of a the country speaks out - dem deutschen Volk: ‘to the German people.’
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