Since our last visit to Berlin the Reichstag building had acquired its glistening new dome, the work of Norman Foster. As an admirer of his work, and a fan of “new meets old” architecture, I was keen to tour the dome and to see what are reputed to be the great views from within. Unfortunately the information that new restrictions are in place, meaning that only pre-booked visits are allowed, was buried rather deeply in the official website, and so when we turned up (early in the morning as advised by our guidebook and other VTers) we found that we were unable to go in. And by the time we returned to our hotel that evening and went online to book, the earliest slot we could have got was for the morning of our departure. So, no tour of the Reichstag dome on this occasion – one of several reasons to go back to Berlin sooner rather than later!
The Reichstag was built in the 1880s to house the German parliament, which it did until 1933 when it was damaged by fire. It was further damaged by bombing raids during the Second World War and afterwards it remained unused; the German Democratic Republic was governed from Berlin, but not from the Reichstag which lay in the West, but from the Palace of the Republic, while the Federal Republic of Germany was governed from the Bundeshaus in Bonn. The building remained in ruins until the 1960s when the government of the West decided to restore it, despite no longer using it as a parliament building. When we first saw it, in 1985, it was in this restored condition, and I didn’t realise at the time that it was missing its original domed roof or cupola.
After reunification it was decided that the seat of government for the newly restored single Germany should be Berlin, despite fierce opposition from Bonn. A further reconstruction was planned and Norman Foster won the contract, with his design eventually adding the striking glass dome as a replacement for the original cupola.
Last week i did a trip to Berlin!
I planned my trip with virutaltourist. But sadly i figured out, that the Reichstag is closed for public since October 2010, and there was no tip on this page.
The police there told me that if you wanna go inside you have to fill out an online formular at:
Do this at least 2 weeks before you are going to visit Berlin.
A busdriver told me, that you also have the chance to book a table at the restaurant "käfer" (it´s a restaurant inside the reichstag), but i have no idea if it´s possible to have access to the other parts of Reichstag as well, or just to the restaurant itself.
The best way is to fill out the online formular!
Enjoy your trip
I visited the Reichstag only about a week after it was wrapped by Christo and Jeanne Claude in 1995.
The building has had an interesting history. it was built between 1884–94 by Paul Wallot to house the parliament of the newly-founded German state.
On February 27, 1933 a fire partly destroyed the Reichstag. The exact cause has never been identified. However, the fire was used by Hitler to pass the Enabling Act which gave him dictatorial power and allowed the Nazis to justify their persecution of political opponents.
During WWII, the building was devastated from Allied bombings. During the Cold War the building was located in West Berlin. The capital had moved to Bonn and to ease tensions the government chose not to occupy the building. Rebuilding took place between 1961–72 under the supervision of Paul Baumgartner. The dome was not rebuilt and most of the interior decoration and archetecture was lost.
With the reunification of Germany the captial moved back to Berlin. The Reichstag was reconstructed and extended by the Architect Sir Norman Forster to prepare it for use. A glass dome was added to the top. In 1999 the government of Germany moved back to Berlin and the German Bundestag now sits there.
19th April 1999 heralded the first meeting of the Bundestag in it's new Berlin home... 66 years after the Reichstag was burned to the ground. From the river you get one of the best views of the Norman Foster cupola that has attracted international attention.
The cupola offers a wonderful panorama across the city and houses as somewhat low-tech and home-made photographic exhibition of the history of the building - although downbeat in presentation it is well worth a look. Otherwise the sheer elegance of the ascent along wide ramps and the kaleidoscopic reflections on the central mirrors are really the must see.
The roof garden restaurant next to the dome looks out over Pariser Platz, and is open daily from 09.00 hrs to 24.00 hrs. Tables can be reserved by telephone on +49 (0)30 -22 62 99 33 or online at email@example.com.
After seeing Branderburg Gate I walked to nearby famous Reichstag building which is the seat of the German Bundestag or federal government.
The rectangular building was quite huge but it didn't look very special from the outside in my opinion. The most insteresting were some its architectural details and its rebuilt, partly old, partly new and modern interior with famous or unfamous dome on the top.
This lovely statue - street-lamp on my picture stood by the eastern facade of the Reichstag. On its top there was the goddess of... hmm... I skipped that lesson at school, I see :-).
She kept gold laurel wreaths in both hands. E-mail me please if you know her. Was she the Goddess of Victory ?
The lower part of the column which supported the statue of Victory (I suppose) was highly decorated around with beautiful sculptures or rather bas-reliefs. They must had been renovated recently, I think.
The Reichstag was more historical and eventful than beautiful edifice in my opinion.
1884–94 - construction of the building by Paul Wallot because a representative building was needed to house the parliament of the newly-founded German state,
9 November 1918 - the politician Philipp Scheidemann announced the establishment of the German Republic from a window of Reichstag,
27 November 1933 - the fire partly destroyed the edifice. The exact cause has never been identified. But the fire was used by the Nazis to justify their persecution of political opponents.
1939 - 1945 - WWII, the building was devastated during bombings.
1961–71 - rebuilding of the damaged edifice but it was not used for parliamentary functions. The dome was not rebuilt.
Before 1989 - inside the edifice bordering the Berlin wall there was an exhibition Questions on German History, which is now displayed in the Deutscher Dom.
1994–99 - the Reichstag was reconstructed and extended by the Architect Sir Norman Forster. The glass dome was added on the top. Before the edifice was wrapped by Christo and Jeanne Claude.
Since 1999 - the seat of the German Bundestag.
There was huge (a few stores high and open to the public) glass dome added in 90' on the top of the Reichstag edifice. The dome was at first the subject of great controversy. I think that there were similar controversies when glass pyramides where built in a courtyard of Louvre Museum in Paris. But now the Reichstag has become one of the newest landmarks in the city and a must see for many visitors who wants to see Berlin panomaric views.
Daily (almost) 8.00 am - 12 pm (warning: last entry was at 10.00 pm).
Click here to see when the Observation of the dome is closed.
The neo-classical Reichstag edifice has four facades of which the western one was the most interesting. It overlooked the large, empty and green Square of the Republic (Platz der Republik).
The inscription "Dem Deutschen Volke" (To the German people) was added on the western facade in 1916 during the First World War and because Wilhelm II had previously been against the war.
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