The Reichstag, the seat of the German Federal Assembly, is one of Berlin's most famous landmarks, which millions of tourists from all over the world come to see every year. First of all, it attracts with its difficult and rich past, which is inseparable from the history of the country and the events of the Second World War. The building, located near the Brandenburg Gate, was renovated after the reunification of Germany and now has a striking glass dome. The Reichstag belongs to the German people: there are not only elected representatives here - it is open to all!
After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, the need arose for a large parliamentary building in Berlin. The German architect Paul Vallot created an impressive building in the style of the Italian Renaissance. Its design, in particular the magnificent iron dome - at that time a technological masterpiece - was highly appreciated by everyone. The construction began on June 9, 1884 under Kaiser Wilhelm I, who laid the first stone in the foundation of the Reichstag, and was completed 10 years later under Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The building was equipped with the latest technology of the time:
- Double glazed windows;
- Electric generator;
- Electric fans;
- Pneumatic mail;
- Central heating with temperature sensors;
- Water pipes;
- The toilet rooms.
The cost of construction work amounted to 24 million Reichsmarks.
The fire of February 27, 1933 almost completely destroyed the dome and the conference room. Nevertheless, most of the premises survived: until 1939 they were used by the library and the administration of the state assembly.
The real culprits of the fire were not found, and the communists were blamed for the arson of the building, which allowed Hitler and his supporters to collect enough votes during the elections and legally come to power.
The Second World War
During the war, most of the windows of the Reichstag were walled up, and the building itself became a bomb shelter. In 1941, the corner towers of the building were modified for flacturms. Additionally, a military hospital was equipped in the Reichstag, and Charite maternity ward was placed in the basement.
The inscriptions of Soviet soldiers
The question of preserving the texts of the soldiers of the Soviet army was first raised during the reconstruction of the Reichstag in the 1990s. In 1996, the federal assembly decided to remove obscene texts, while retaining 159 inscriptions. In 2002, parliament raised the question of deleting all texts, but was rejected by a majority vote. All surviving texts of Soviet soldiers are in rooms accessible for viewing only with a guide by appointment.
In 1999, according to the project of British architect Baron Norman Foster, a modern Reichstag dome with a height of 23.5 m and a diameter of 40 m was created from glass and steel.
Two large elevators lead to the roof of the building, directly below the top of the dome. Visitors can not only enjoy the stunning views of Berlin from the observation deck, but also view the plenary room.
A feature of the dome are 360 mirrors in 30 rows, which create the Reichstag eco-energy system. Software-controlled mirrored panels allow you to adjust the amount of light entering the meeting room and create the perfect lighting at any time of the year.
For the feasibility of using the building of the Federal Assembly is divided into several levels. The first level is intended for the secretariat of the federal assembly, life support systems and technical services. The second, plenary, for the conference room, behind them are the levels for visitors, the presidium and the faction. And the observation deck under the dome completes the architectural composition.
The residence of the German Federal Assembly is one of Germany's most visited attractions. On the roof of the building there is a restaurant with a garden where you can enjoy wonderful views of Berlin and have a delicious lunch.
Since 2010, excursions to the Reichstag have been organized only by appointment made on the official website, by mail or in a special office near the building. Visiting the residence of the Federal Assembly and using the audio guide service is absolutely free.
Object type: building.