Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A Visit to the Chancellor

Wilkommen im Reichstag!

Germany's Parliament is one of the most important and breathtaking edifices in Berlin. This building has seen its' share of history since its' opening in 1894, including the Cold War, the Battle of Berlin, and the Reichstag fire. The Reichstag was a symbol for democracy up until the Reichstag Fire; it remained unused during World War II until the reunification of Germany in the late 1980s and now once again stands as a symbol of German democracy.

I highly recommend that you include a tour of the Reichstag to your itinerary. It's not your typical tour of another political building; what you will see and hear inside is a combination of history, politics, art, and design fused into one building. What I personally love about the Reichstag is that it promotes art within the world of politics. The Reichstag lends itself to various local and international artists to display their artworks around the building. Not only does it symbolize Germany's political power, but its' rich history and expanding culture as well.

(photo cred: Arvid Hoefgen)
Exterior of the Reichstag
The first building was designed by a Frankfurt architect named Paul Wallot (after he won an architectural contest). However, the building burnt down in 1933 by a Dutch communist, and the building was not fully restored until 1992 (seen above) by internationally renowed architect Norman Foster. 

The following pictures are a preview of what you will see inside the Reichstag...

(photo cred: Arvid Hoefgen)
The Plenary : Where the Bundestag congregate for meetings
The Reichstag refers to the building itself, while the Bundestag refers to the institution 

The Prayer Room 

 Past and Present: Reminents of the first Reichstag combined with today's Reichstag along with Soviet graffiti from the Battle of Berlin

Model of the Reichstag

Black boxes
Created by French artist Christian Boltanski, this Archive of German Parliamentarians contains 5000 metal boxes with the name of deputies from 1919 - 1999. The box that has a large dent in it (with the label which people have tried to peel off several times) is Adolf Hitler's.

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