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Exploring the Reichstag building: Berlin's beacon of democracy

The Reichstag Building in Berlin is home to the German Bundestag with a rich political history. Its spacious rooftop, crowned with a striking glass dome, offers breathtaking 360-degree views of Berlin. This iconic structure not only serves as a po...

Also Known As

The German Parliament

Founded On

1894

Founded By

Norman Foster

Quick information

RECOMMENDED DURATION

2 hours

VISITORS PER YEAR

3000000

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Did you know?

In 1933, the Reichstag was severely damaged by fire, an event that played a crucial role in Hitler's rise to power. The building lay dormant for decades until its restoration in the 1990s after German reunification.

During the restoration, graffiti left by Soviet soldiers in 1945 was preserved, offering a poignant reminder of the building's wartime history. You can still see it on your visit to the Reichstag.

If you look closely, you can still see bullet holes from the Battle of Berlin in 1945, a stark reminder of the building's tumultuous past.




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Inside Reichstag: what to see and do?

Reichstag Building Berlin Germany

Dome of the Reichstag

Enjoy 360-degree views of Berlin from the Reichstag dome made of 3,000 glass panels supported by a steel frame. It was designed by Norman Foster and is accessible via a spiraling ramp.

Reichstag Building in Berlin

Reichstag roof terrace

Adjacent to the dome, the rooftop terrace offers panoramic views of Berlin's skyline. It’s an ideal spot for photography and to take in the city's sights from a unique vantage point.

Reichstag Building in Berlin

Plenary Chamber

The heart of German democracy, the Plenary Chamber, is where the Bundestag (Federal Parliament) meets. Visitors can observe the proceedings from the public gallery during sessions.

Reichstag Building in Berlin

Parliamentary history exhibition

Gain insights into the dynamic history of the German parliament building through selected documents, images, and short texts spread across twelve cases inside the Reichstag dome.

Rooftop restaurant

Grab a meal at the Käfer Dachgarten Restaurant on the rooftop while enjoying excellent views of the Berlin skyline. Its open from 9am to 5pm and 7pm to 12am.
Prior reservation required!

Cyrillic graffiti

After the siege of Berlin's Reichstag building in 1945, Soviet soldiers left graffiti on the building's walls. These markings have been carefully preserved, offering a poignant reminder of the building's wartime history.

Artworks

You can see a variety of artworks by renowned German and international artists in Reichstag parliament building. These include pieces by artists from the USA, France, and Russia, reflecting Berlin's former four-power status.

Dem Deutschen Volke inscription

Translated as 'To the German People,' this inscription on the building's facade represents a commitment to democracy and unity. It's a powerful reminder of Reichstag's role in German history.

Reichstag history in a nutshell

Berlin's Reichstag Building

Reichstag building architecture

  • A fine example of German architecture sporting the Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Baroque, and Postmodern styles, the Reichstag building boasts an imposing facade with ornate sculptures and grand staircases.
  • Designed by Paul Wallot, the original building was completed in 1894, and the post-reunification renovation by Sir Norman Foster introduced a contemporary touch while respecting the building's historical significance.
  • The most striking addition was the new glass dome, a transparent marvel that contrasts with the original stone structure. This modern dome symbolizes transparency in government and offers visitors a 360-degree view of Berlin from its observation deck.
  • Inside, Foster's design of the German parliament building integrates advanced sustainability features, such as solar panels and a natural light funnel that illuminates the parliamentary chamber below. The juxtaposition of old and new elements in the Reichstag's architecture makes it not just a functional political center but also a masterpiece of architectural ingenuity.

Berlin's Reichstag today

Reichstag Building in Berlin

Frequently asked questions about the Reichstag Berlin

What is the Reichstag building used for today?

The Reichstag Berlin currently serves as the seat of the German Bundestag, the federal parliament. It hosts parliamentary sessions and legislative proceedings, symbolizing Germany's commitment to democracy.

How long does it take to explore the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin?

Guided tours of the parliament building, Berlin, usually last about 90 minutes, covering the plenary chamber, historical exhibitions, and the dome. Plan for additional time to explore the Reichstag rooftop terrace and enjoy the city views.

What languages are the guided tours available in?

Reichstag guided tours are available in English and German. Please check the availability of your preferred language when booking your tour.

Is the Reichstag dome open year-round?

Yes. The Reichstag dome is open year-round, including weekends and public holidays. However, it may close occasionally for maintenance or official events, so it's best to check in advance.

Can I visit the Reichstag without a guided tour?

Yes. You can visit the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin without a guided tour, but access to the building, including the glass dome and rooftop terrace, requires prior registration. A Reichstag guided tour, however, provides a deeper understanding and a more comprehensive experience.

What are the best times to visit the Reichstag to avoid crowds?

Early mornings and late afternoons on weekdays are the best times to visit to avoid crowds. Weekends and holidays tend to be busier.

What can I expect from the Reichstag dome experience?

The Reichstag dome offers a 360-degree view of Berlin's skyline and an informative exhibition about the building's history and architecture. The spiraling ramp inside the dome is a highlight.

Are pets allowed inside Reichstag?

No, pets are not allowed inside the Reichstag except for service animals with proper documentation.

Can I visit the Reichstag building at night?

Yes, the Reichstag offers evening visits to the dome, allowing you to enjoy Berlin's illuminated skyline. Evening visits are popular, so early registration is advised.

Are there any nearby attractions to visit after the Reichstag?

Yes, the Reichstag is located near several major attractions, including Brandenburg Gate, Gendarmenmarkt, the Holocaust Memorial, Potsdamer square, and Berlin Palace, making it easy to explore more of Berlin's landmarks.