Reichstag building in Berlin: description, date of foundation, architect, history and modernity

Probably there is not a single person — well, except perhaps for very young children — who would never have heard the word “Reichstag” and would not know what it is. The Reichstag building in Berlin is known all over the world, but not everyone knows how it was built, what is its history, who was its architect. So, how and how did it all start?

What is the Reichstag

From the German language, the word "Reichstag" is translated as "national assembly" or "state assembly." And for those who still may be in the dark about what the German Reichstag is, it is worth explaining: in this building in the middle of the last century there was a government agency with a similar name.

Modern Reichstag

The organ has long ceased to exist, but the Reichstag building stands in its place.With a capital letter, it is written by chance - this is a tradition dating back from ancient times. Now in this room is the Bundestag.


The history of the Reichstag building dates back to June 1884. But long before that, thirteen years earlier, Germany was finally united. Regarding this joyous event, it was decided to build the most magnificent and beautiful structure of all that existed until now. This future building was to become the building of the country's parliament.

Reichstag building Germany

The first stone in the foundation of the building was laid by the then Kaiser - Wilhelm the First. However, even before this happened, a rather unpleasant story happened. The fact is that for the construction of a new facility, a place was allotted on Kaiser Square, near the river bank. This square was not a public sector, it was privately owned - it belonged to the diplomat Radzinsky. Tom did not like the fact that they were going to erect a building on its territory, and until the end of his life he did not give permission for its construction. It was possible to agree only with his son - three years after the death of the diplomat.So if it were not for the principle of Radzinsky, the Reichstag could have risen above the town square much earlier.


Building construction lasted ten years. It was completed in 1894. Well, the founding date of the Reichstag building is considered to be the day of laying the foundation stone at the foundation - June 9, 1984

For all the work in all ten years, about twenty four million Reichsmarks were spent. This money was not wasted - the building became truly unique: running water, toilets, an electric generator and much more. None of this was available in other houses in Germany, but in the Reichstag it all appeared. The construction, which according to the plan was supposed to be a symbol of the unity of Germany, was already received by William the Second - the First did not live to see the end of work. Not everything went smoothly - so, initially the huge dome of the building was dedicated to the new Kaiser, but Wilhelm did not like this idea, and that is why it was dedicated to parliament. He held his first meeting in a new building in the same year as the work was completed.

The first view of the Reichstag

Already in the new century, during the First World War, the facade of the building acquired the inscription "to the German people".It happened in 1916, and only two years later, after the declaration of the Weimar Republic, the Reichstag became the center of government.


The “golden years” of the Reichstag continued until 1933, when at the end of February there was arson. It is not known for certain who was the cause, but the accusation was made against the Communists. The fact is that just at that time the communists were defeated, nevertheless they gave the National Socialists a reason to fear them. The fire in the Reichstag building, which destroyed the plenary hall and the adjoining premises, gave Hitler and his comrades the opportunity to publicly blame their rivals for it and thus deal with them. Several people were arrested, including a certain Marinus van der Lubbe. It was he who, according to the judges, managed to set fire to the Reichstag building at once in fifty places - so many fires were discovered after inspecting the structure. Almost immediately after the arrest of van der Lübbe, he confessed to evil intent, was executed, and Hitler received national love, being declared the savior and liberator of Germany. Remarkable is the fact that the fire in the Reichstag, the overthrow of the Communists accused of it, the execution of Lubbe and the exaltation of Hitler occurred on the eve of the parliamentary elections - their date was set for 5 March.

The Reichstag ceased to have any political significance, and the meetings of the state body were held in another building. This happened even in spite of the fact that most of the premises of the Reichstag were not damaged in the fire. For several years (since 1935) various exhibitions have been held in the building, and since 1939 it has been used exclusively for military purposes.

The Second World War

During the Great War, the Reichstag building in Germany played the role of an air force base and bomb shelter at the same time. In addition, he worked in it and the hospital and maternity hospital. In the forty-first year, the corner towers were anti-aircraft, windows were walled up. For Soviet soldiers, the destruction of the Reichstag was almost the main goal - this was equal to the victory over the Nazis, since the Reichstag was perceived as the main symbol of Germany. It was possible to achieve the desired, as we all know, in April 1945 - on the thirtieth of the day the first red flag was lifted above it, and at night two more. The banner of Victory is the fourth of them, soaring into the sky the next morning.

flag over the Reichstag

Soviet soldiers at the Reichstag

Having reached the Reichstag and hoisted the Soviet flag there, the soldiers of our army could not leave just like that.It was necessary to leave evidence of their stay, their celebrations - so numerous inscriptions appeared on the walls of the Reichstag building, proving the triumph of the Russian children. Some of them reflected the happiness that engulfed the soldiers, some recorded their names and ranks, and some were very obscene. For a long time, all the inscriptions remained inviolable, until in the mid-nineties the obscene ones were removed - the so-called “Soviet graffiti” restoration took place. At the beginning of this century, the question of the elimination of inscriptions was seriously discussed. The Germans would prefer not to see this evidence of their humiliation and shame, but for the Russians they are the sacred autographs of their ancestors, and therefore they still live on the original Wall of Memory in the Reichstag, protected by a special solution from those who want to erase them. These inscriptions are practically all in those areas where tourists can get, respectively, are available for viewing.

After the war

The first years after the war, the Reichstag building was in a state of destruction. Dilapidated, it was practically in oblivion in the territory of West Berlin.Nobody paid attention to the former symbol of the country until the threat of collapse arose - this happened in the fifty-fourth year. Then what was left of the dome was blown up in order to avoid a possible tragedy. At the same time, it was decided to restore the building and repair it, but it was not possible to agree on the need to adapt the structure. Work on the restoration of the building ultimately conducted only nearly twenty years later. The plenary hall was restored, the dome was dismantled, and most of the old carvings were removed.

Reichstag after the war

Of course, the Reichstag was no longer the seat of parliament. It became a historical institute and remained so until the next reconstruction, which took place in the nineties.

The nineties

The long-awaited reunification of Germany occurred in 1990, and only six months later, in the summer of 1991, the Bundestag moved from Bonn to Berlin - to the Reichstag building. The question arose about the new reconstruction of the facility, which was commissioned to the famous British architect named Foster. This man had a weight in world architecture - it was he who owned the projects of the airport in Beijing, the Millennium Bridge in London and many others.

Dome of the Reichstag

The former dome of the Reichstag was destroyed, and Foster did not initially plan to create a new one, hoping to get by with a flat roof. However, the Reichstag would not be the Reichstag without a dome, and eventually the building received it - glass, forty meters in diameter and twenty-three and a half - in height, with a viewing platform, where everyone can go. For his project, which allowed both to preserve the historical appearance of the structure and introduce modern elements, Foster later received various awards.


The story of the search for the architect of the Reichstag building is also quite curious. Since the decision to erect the symbol of a united Germany was taken in the early seventies of the nineteenth century, then the competition for the right to build it was held at the same time. No one thought that the diplomat Radzinsky would balk and time would be lost.

Reichstag building in the mid 1950s

The competition was then won by a certain Russian architect who moved to live in Germany. His name was Bonstedt, but he did not live to see permission for the construction of the Reichstag. That is why in the eighty second year the competition was held again.This time the winner was the German Paul Vallot, who ultimately designed the building, focusing on the style of the Italian Renaissance (by the way, in the competitive race Vallot overtook one hundred eighty-eight competitors).

The Reichstag has precisely this appearance, since Germany, according to the architect, is a country of power, might and power. The four corner towers on the building represent the four German kingdoms, combined into one.


Deserves a separate description of the Reichstag building in our days. About how the dome looks today, it has already been said. However, it is worth mentioning in addition that the roof of the building can be accessed using two large elevators, and from the observation deck there is a unique view of both the city itself and the meeting room.

dome inside

About him should be said separately, but in direct connection with the dome of the Reichstag - it is through this light that penetrates into the meeting room. By the way, there are solar panels on the roof of the building.

The appearance of the facade resembles the style of ancient Rome - with a colonnade at the entrance, with a portico and bas-reliefs. On the towers of the Reichstag are sixteen figures, allegories that depict various phenomena of social life - art, farming, army, and so on.

Reichstag Germany

In the building itself, everything is divided into levels, each of which has its own separate color. So, on the first floor and in the basement there are rooms for the secretariat, the meeting room is located on the second level, above it there is a level for visitors. Next - the presidium, the faction and, finally, the roof with a dome.

Tourists and the Reichstag

Currently, the Reichstag building is accessible to tourists, of course, not alone, but by organized groups. Tours to the building, which was a symbol of Germany, are held daily from eight in the morning until twelve at night. You must sign up for it in advance on the official website, preferably at least two days in advance. Some people are uncomfortable, but there is no other way to get into the Reichstag. In consolation it can be noted that the entrance to the building is free.

Reichstag at night

And now the Reichstag building is considered the most magnificent not only in Berlin, but also in the whole of Germany, being at the same time not just a beautiful architectural structure, but also a stunning monument of historical events. And if there is an opportunity to see it personally, then you should not miss it.

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