This is quite simply a compulsory visit for anyone in Berlin.
The Reichstag is one of the main symbols of the German capital, a historical and classical building with a modern dome. It is located alongside the line that marked the former Berlin Wall and that for 29 years was separated from the Brandenburg Gate, located to its right.
The Reichstag building is the home of the Bundestag (lower chamber), the German Parliament. However it is not to be confused with this, although the Reichstag was home to the Parliament during the imperial age and is today still referred to in the same way although the Reich (empire) no longer exists.
A visit to the parliament is totally free of charge but it is necessary to register beforehand online at the web site. It is possible to visit the dome and building terrace on presentation of the relevant registration slip and identification (passport or drivers licence). There may be queues but visitors are assigned a particular entry time to avoid long waits (On a recent midweek visit entry was queue and hassle free, so the system is good). After security controls, visitors are accompanied into the building.
A free audio guide is available when you visit the dome. You just put the headphone on and the audio guide starts automatically as you climb to the top of the dome, giving information about the history of the building and parliament, the design of the dome and the buildings you can see from up high. This is one of the best views of Berlin you´ll find.
In the centre there is a small exhibition on the history of Berlin and the consequences suffered by the building during the Nazi period. On close inspection it is even possible to see some of the parliament seats through the glass that looks onto the building’s interior.
Designed by Sir Norman Foster, the dome is so fantastic for photographing that even your average snapper will get some stunning photos of the glass and steel interior.
The visit begins by gradually going up to see all the important buildings surrounding the Reichstag, such as the television Tower, the Riedrichstrasse station, the New Synagogue, the Red Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus) and the Brandenburg gate.
Once at the top, visitors can appreciate the open style of the dome that provides natural light, and water channels to protect the interior when it rains. It is a great spot to sit and enjoy the fabulous panoramic views over Berlin.
On the way down, other famous sites such as the Postdamer Platz, the Victory Column and the Tiergarten Park come into view. Notice that the central column of the dome is made of mirrors that reflect the natural light inside.
Once back to the base of the dome, visitors can go out onto the terrace with the four columns surrounding the Reichstag building and its structure. One of the inner courtyards is home to work Der Bevölkerung (The Population/People).
It really is quite impressive to be able to visit the Parliament Dome and gain such a distinctive view of the city from its heights up above the German capital. Sign up and enjoy!
The German Parliament
Platz der Republik 1, Berlin, 11011
Daily 8.00 – 23.00 h
Every fifteen minutes
Last admission at 23.00h
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