Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Reichstag

27 September 2011

This is a picture of the Reichstag taken during our boat cruise on the River Spree. It was such a sunny day, and I liked the way this phenomenal symbol of German history looked with the sunshine upon it. The Reichstag is home to the German Parliament, the Bundestag. From 1894-1933, this building was the venue for sessions of the actual Reichstag, the Parliament of the German Empire and then the Weimar Republic. It is still commonly referred to as the Reichstag, although the "Reich" has long since ended. Its history, however, helps to make it the most visited parliamentary building in the world.

The Bundestag chose to make the Reichstag its home for a very particular reason: not only is it a historic emblem of Germany, but it was never used by the Third Reich. Hitler never gave a public speech or appearance at the Reichstag, and his minions were behind the burning of the building in the 1930s (an act which was blamed by Hitler on dissidents and used to unjustly arrest them). After World War II, the Reichstag sat on the line between East and West Berlin. While the vast majority of the building was in the British sector, a corner actually sat in what became the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Following the reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990, the newly reunited Bundestag decided to renovate the building to be the seat of the German Parliament. It is a breath-taking modern building inside, cloaked in a majestic historical exterior!

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