The Reichstag, Berlin’s Legislative Building

This is post #7 of our Dublin-Berlin trip in September 2018.

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The night of the Berlin Marathon, Sunday, September 16th, we visited the Dome atop the Reichstag, the building that contains the German Bundestag.  That legislative body is equivalent to our US House of Representatives.  The dome is built atop the main hall of the debating chamber, and going inside the dome is a fantastical experience if done at sunset, which many recommended.  So we looked up the times of sunset and set our appointment for 30 minutes before that.

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We arrived early, and they did let us in.  Above is the Memorial to Politicians Who Opposed Hitler, a very low-key memorial, their names written on edges of slate-like slabs.  They were imprisoned, and then died, generally in a concentration camp.  It’s easy to dismiss or overlook, but shouldn’t be.

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Dem Deutschen Volke  means [To] the German people, according to Wikipedia, where more little informational nuggets about this building can be found. We first went through a little building to the left, passing through security, and they kept us controlled and moving, so random photographs were harder to take down here at ground level.

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But up on top, our audio guides obtained, we had lots of chances for taking pictures.

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The dome is one of those constructions that marries new with old, as the reconstruction (finished in 1999) was put on top of a building first erected in 1916.

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Looking east, towards Alexanderplatz (the tower) with the river Spree at left.

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Some of the other governmental buildings, looking Northwest

We entered at the ground floor, the mirrored center rising high above us to the top of the doom, and we started our climb on one side of the double ramps (one going up, one coming down).  Since this post is mostly about the visuals, I will mention only one more thing before letting the photos do the talking.  There is a large sun shield which tracks the movement of the sun electronically, and blocks direct sunlight.  It looks like an apron made out of metal tubes, and you’ll see that in the photos. You can also mark our time here by the changing of the light inside.

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The Brandenburg Gate in the foreground, the WELT balloon in the distance

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The sun shield

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This is the central legislative chamber, with the stylized eagle representing the Bundestag.  There are doors marked Ja (yes), Nein (no), and Enthalten (abstain), which according to Rick Steves’ guidebook is an homage to the Bunderstag’s traditional way of counting votes by exiting the chamber through the corresponding door.  However, for critical votes, they use electronic cards.

We could glimpse the purple chairs looking down into the room from the dome above, but we didn’t linger here.  They ushered us to the exit, and out we went, into the night.

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