Background of one of the most famous photographs in the world marking the fall of Nazism, immortalizes a Soviet soldier while hoisting the flag with hammer and sickle on its top, the Reichstag is the seat of the German parliament and like most Berliners monuments, it brings all the signs of the Second World War and has its own story to tell.
Born as a building to house the rooms of the German Parliament, it was exactly from one of the windows of the Reichstag that in 1918 was proclaimed the birth of the German Republic, marking the decline of the monarchy and the dynasty of the emperors of Germany. In February of 1933, a terrible fire almost completely destroyed the building and during the Second World War, it was used as a clinic for new births.
One year after the fall of the Wall, right inside October 2, 1990, was celebrated the official ceremony of the reunified Germany. Only in 1999, less than 66 years after the Great Fire, he has officially returned the symbol of German democracy hosting the Houses of Parliament again. The beautiful dome of steel and glass that we see today was designed by the renowned British architect Norman Foster, as a symbol of openness after the dark period of division and through its windows, you can see the whole of Berlin and the Parliament’s internal area.
The seat of the German parliament, with its characteristic panoramic dome of steel and glass, for over a century, is the witness of the history of Berlin
This building dating back to the end of the 19th century with on the pediment the inscription “To the German people”, held since 1894 the role of the German parliament. For its long history and for its role in the European history of the last two centuries, the Reichstag is a must-see in Berlin. In fact, Kaiser William II never accepted the construction of that place dedicated to democracy, which he liked to call the “apotheosis of bad taste” or “House of the Apes.” Today, it attracts many visitors especially for the viewing dome, one of the best places from which to admire Berlin. Especially at night, the panoramic view rewards the long wait to get in.
A little history of the Reichstag
When the building was finished in 1894, the Berliners especially admired the dome of glass and steel, a true masterpiece of the art of that time. Since then, the Reichstag has been, like the Brandenburg Gate, a symbolic protagonist of German history.
The end of the Empire and the birth of the Weimar Republic were announced from a balcony of the Reichstag.
A few decades later, the burning of the palace, at the hands of Hitler’s loyalists, was the pretext for the suspension of democracy and the end of civil rights. During the 12 years of Nazism, Parliament played no role and almost never met. With the fall of Hitler and the Red Army siege in Berlin, the Reichstag became a symbol to conquest at any cost. In order to raise the flag with hammer and sickle above the Palace, the Russians sacrificed more than 1,300 men in a long and bloody battle against the last Nazi soldiers. This historic moment eternalized is the famous picture by the Ukrainian photographer Yevgeny Khaldei portraying a Russian soldier while hoisting the flag over the roof.
The viewing dome
The stunning steel and glass dome is the main reason that drives many people to get in line to enter the Reichstag. It was designed by Norman Foster as a symbol of openness after the dark period of the division. Through its windows, you can see the whole of Berlin as well as the Parliament’s internal area.
For security reasons, the entrance to the Reichstag is no longer free but requires a mandatory advance booking. Can access freely only people who have a booking at the Dome restaurant or a guided tour.
Opening hours: daily (08.00 AM – 10.00 PM)
Admission: free with mandatory advance booking
How to reach: Metro Brandenburger Tor (U55, S1, S2, S25), Bundestag (U55)
Address: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin