Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The Reichstag building...Seat of the German parliament and crazy-historic... Built in 1894, a good 23 years after Germany was united as a country...In 1916 they added the words "DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLKE" above the entrance, "to/for the German people"...a marker of democracy, in a country in which the Kaiser was slowly losing his power.

In 1933 a fire destroyed the Reichstag building, and Hitler blamed the Communists, which led to a witch-hunt and propaganda which turned a lot of the population against the extreme leftist parties. The building wasn't used during the Nazi era, and after the Berlin Wall went up nearby the ruin of a building had no use (Western German government was in Bonn). Only after 1989 was it again used to hold the reunited German Bundestag. This fancy shiny dome was built in 1992, designed by Sir Norman Foster. It has a ramp you can walk up to the top for great views of the city. It's also a very enviornmentally-friendly design, with mirrors which let in natural light into the room below where the congress meets.

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