Why did we choose the Reichstag? With only a few days in Berlin, we did want to hit as many of the most memorable sites as we could and the Reichstag was definitely on our list since we could do it in a day.
|Tour bus anyone?|
|Make sure you have your appointment before going inside|
|Grilling is FORBIDDEN!|
You enter the building and provide the registration form and your passport. We were an hour early and of course, I completely slipped up and forgot my passport, but they let me in anyway. Not sure if they should have done that or not, but they did. You are then escorted by groups to stand to the side to wait until you can enter.
Do not miss the detail work all over the exterior of this building, but if you do while you are going into the building, take a minute on the way out to stop and appreciate the handiwork of the artisans who created it.
Hitler never used the Reichstag, but instead a former opera house opposite the Reichstag. Just four weeks after being sworn in as Chancellor, the Reichstag was on fire and the Nazis said this was evidence that the Communists were beginning a plot against the German government. In reality, it was later learned that the fire was started by the Nazis.
Some post-World War II information from Berlin.de:
The Reichstag building suffered heavy damage in bombing raids during World War II, and the fight to take the building continued until the very end. In 1955, the Bundestag decided to rebuild it, although without a dome, the original of which had been demolished in 1954 because it was structurally unsound. Renovation was carried out according to plans by Paul Baumgarten and not completed until 1972. The decorative figures that had been destroyed were not restored, and the façade was simplified. Despite the restrictions on use mandated by the Four-Power Agreement, parliamentary committees and groups met in the Reichstag building as often as possible. On 4 October 1990, the first parliament representing all of Germany and consisting of members of the Bundestag and former members of the GDR’s Volkskammer (People’s Chamber) met in the plenary chamber of the Reichstag building, followed two months later by the first sessions of the freely elected, all-German Bundestag beginning on 20 December 1990.
|Inside the Dome|
|View to the east from the Reichstag|
|The dome was the creation of British architect Sir Norman Foster|
The new Reichstag building was officially opened on 19 April 1999. The new dome, which visitors can enter, has proven to be an especially strong attraction and has become a symbol of the parliament and government district. Eight hundred tons of steel and 3,000 square meters of glass went into building this structure, which is 23.5 meters high, while 360 mirrors provide daylight to the newly designed plenary chamber. The parliament took up its work in Berlin at the end of the summer recess in 1999.
Back down at the main level, there are photographs with historical information in German and English that you can view prior to leaving. Once you are ready to leave, queue up again and when there are enough people in line, they will pile everyone back up again inside the elevator to the main floor.
Next up? More Berlin, of course!