Reichstag Building

Berlin, Germany

The Reichstag building (Reichstagsgebäude) is a historical edifice in Berlin, constructed to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. After World War II, the building fell into disuse; the parliament of the German Democratic Republic met in the Palast der Republik in East Berlin, while the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany met in the Bundeshaus in Bonn.

In 1894, after ten years of construction, the Reichstag was completed and its dome towered above the city castle. Yet the Parliament building remained and, from that point onwards, it has reflected the turbulence of German history. On 9 November 1918, Deputy Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed from the window the creation of a republic. On 27 February 1933 under mysterious circumstances that still have yet to be explained, the Reichstag caught on fire, destroying the chamber and the dome. The Reichstag fire served as a pretext for the Nazi regime to persecute their political opponents.

After being destroyed in the war, it was rebuilt between 1961 and 1971 in a simplified form without the dome, which was blown up in 1945, according to plans by Paul Baumgarten. After German reunification, the German Bundestag decided to use the building as a seat of Parliament again.

Between 1994 and 1999, the Reichstag was redesigned and expanded by the British architect Sir Norman Foster as a modern Parliament building while retaining its extensive, historical dimensions. The accessible glass dome, which initially generated a lot of controversy, has since become one of the landmarks of Berlin. Since 1999, the German Bundestag has been convening in the Reichstag building.

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Details

Founded: 1884-1894
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany
Historical period: German Empire (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jools (2 years ago)
Great views of the city. Remember your passport ID to get in (even if you’ve booked). However, I preferred the TV Tower and if you visit during a quiet period (look online) it’s even better!
Gomathy Natarajan (2 years ago)
360 degree views of the city from an impressive dome. The audio guide pretty much points out most of the points of interest in the city as you traverse through the dome.Plan to spend some time here to read the history of the building. The roof is very windy and cold during evenings.
Tonko Lacmanovic (2 years ago)
Beautiful building with a lot of history and modernistic dome. If you want to visit inside you need to reserve in advance before coming to Berlin and it will be free of charge. Even from outside it is impressive building and always full of tourists.
Corissa George (2 years ago)
Wonderful tour. I visited it first over 15 years ago & was glad to visited it once again, this time with my family, in 2017. The headset voice tour is done so well. Really enjoyed it & learned a lot! Really good views of Berlin too. Ontario, Canada
Aejaz Loonat (2 years ago)
Awesome government building that is free to visit. Just get your pass from the office and they will give you a time slot to visit, make sure you have phot id. The dome at the top is remarkable with 360° views of the city. An audio guide is also given which tell you the history of the building and its surroundings as you walk up the dome. Highly recommend visiting this place!
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The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.

At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.

During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.

In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.