Constructed to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire, the Reichstag was created as a massive Neo-Renaissance palace, with the foundation stone laid by the Emperor himself in 1884. It opened ten years later but was severely damaged after being set on fire in 1933. In the aftermath of World War II, the building largely fell into disuse, with the German Democratic Republic parliament meeting in East Berlin’s Palast der Republik and the Bundestag parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany meeting in Bonn’s Bundeshaus.
While much of the Reichstag was rebuilt in the 1970s, it wasn’t until the reunification of Germany in 1990 that it underwent a full reconstruction. This was led by architect Norman Foster and by 1999, the Reichstag was again the meeting place of the modern Bundestag.
With prior registration, visitors are invited to explore the magnificent Kuppel dome that tops the Reichstag, offering 360-degree views of the Berlin cityscape. From the dome, you can also see the main debating chamber of the parliament below, with the sun’s light illuminating the floor.
Complimentary audio guides are available to accompany your tour, offering an insight into the construction of the Reichstag building and the history of the German Bundestag, as well as the sights you can see from the dome. It is available in eleven different languages (including English), as well as special versions for children and those with disabilities. To the east of the dome is a rooftop restaurant that’s open throughout the day and for evening meals.