Berlin – Reichstag   14 comments


The Reichstag is one Berlins most famous and iconic buildings and has been the home of the German Parliament since 1999


It’s free to enter and climb the dome if you book a ticket online so we did just that and took our cue on time in the late afternoon


A glass lift whisks you to the roof of the main building on top of which is the glass dome designed by the famous architect Sir Norman Foster in his overhaul of the building after the fall of the wall. They provide you with a free audio commentary that helps understand the design and function and the views across the city


The dome is there as a visual metaphor for the new open-ness and transparency of German politics. The main plenary chamber sits right beneath the dome. The views as you climb are excellent


There is a spiralling ramp that ascends to the top allowing plenty of time to look at the views from all sides. I really liked the design and the idea behind it.


The top is open with an oculus much like the one in the Pantheon in Rome. Rain water is dispersed by a clever system of ducts and sunlight is harnessed for energy by a rotating mechanism that tracks the movement of the sun




Once back down from the dome the views from the roof terrace are equally fine


The building was completed in 1894 and was the home of the German Parliament until 1933. Its had a role in most of Germany’s most famous and infamous moments. The German Republic was proclaimed from here in 1919. More infamously the Nazis seized power, using a mysterious fire in the building, on 27th February 1933, as a pretext. An anarchist was arrested for arson although that in itself was shrouded in mystery. The Nazis proclaimed that this was a part of a large-scale communist conspiracy and implemented the “Reichstag Fire Decree” that led to civil rights being quashed and widespread political persecution.

It was a pivotal moment in Hitler’s power grab and modern history. We all know what followed


Victorious Red Army troops raised the Soviet flag over what was the bombed out building at the end of the war. The Berlin Wall ran right alongside the eastern facade and major pop concerts took place on the lawns in front. After the wall came down German reunification was enacted here in 1990 although the building was still largely a shell.


In 1995 work began on a complete overhaul of the building, led by Sir Norman. Only the original 19th century shell and facade remained, while the inside was completely rebuilt and the landmark glass dome added


We spent a happy half hour wandering about the roof and admiring the views of both the dome and city beyond




The glass offices of Potsdamer Platz in the distance


Brandenburg Gate



The Fernsehturm tower behind a building that despite dominating the skyline, I never found out what it was



We headed out toi take another look at the Main Facade. The inscription over the main entrance reads “Dem Deustchen Volke” – To the German People although this wasn’t added until 1916


A hugely impressive building of huge historical significance. I’d happily see it again although I’d like to go on an organised tour that I think allows you to peek in to the Bundestag Plenery chamber if it’s not in session


A nice evening stroll back to the apartment along the river Spree


And a couple of shots of our local neighbourhood


And the street where we lived (for a few days)


A lot packed into our first day in the city



14 responses to “Berlin – Reichstag

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  1. That is impressive!


    Brenda-Dawn Linney
  2. One place I really wanted to go for the views but there was a huge queue to get in for some reason so we explored the nearby park instead then CC. Did think the multi level train and transport stations were amazing with all the different floors.


    Blue Sky Scotland
    • It was fairly quiet when we were there although it was the backend of the summer. The views are great and a very interesting building. I really loved the urban travel in both Berlin and Budapest (hence my geeky photos of trains and stations). Sadly where I live down in rural Herefordshire, Public Transport is pretty poor. The whole county has only two railway lines and four stations


  3. Another amazing building!


  4. I forgot to ask. Is there still masses of graffiti along the back streets in central Berlin?. That was one thing that really surprised me was the sheer amount of it. More than any UK city I’ve visited and loads around the rock and roll district ( an area where the youth of Berlin usually gather of an evening) Made me think then of a direct link between graffiti and rock music as the USA, the UK and Germany have historically the biggest connection with that type of music. There were also many bars and clubs themed around popular western culture icons as I mentioned. Just a stray thought on my own visit around ten years ago but might be way off target. Curious to know if its still the same as spray paint on walls has mainly died out here in big cities…


    Blue Sky Scotland
    • Yes, lots of graffiti but some of it was really good. In fact everywhere in Europe has a graffiti problem. We wanted to to see the East Side Gallery where they’ve given over a remaining section of wall to street artists. Its supposed to be really good but we ran out of time to see it


  5. What an amazing dome. This post has made my brain work over time. In 1976, I had stood in front of the Reichstag and had you asked me now, I would have said it was a working parliament then! Oh the haziness of time.
    I still clearly remember passing through Check Point Charlie to be confronted by the sombre colours, soldiers and air of repression that greeted us.
    I would clearly not recognise either sections of this great city now. Your photo of the Altes Museum [previous post] does spark the memory. I recall it as a memorial of war, or Russia or something similar. Armed, grim faced soldiers manned the stairs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think back in 1976 the building may have looked much the same as the shell was intact I think. Just inside it was unused and of course no dome on the top. I really wish I could have seen the city in the dark DDR years so I could see the contrast. It still feels like city under construction in many ways. Tower cranes everywhere. It does still have that dark grey feel of Eastern Europe about it


  6. Love the dome. The photos do make the building look quite small – like a town hall – curious that.



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