The Reichstag building (Reichstagsgebäude; officially: Plenarbereich Reichstagsgebäude) is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. After World War II, the building fell into disuse, since the parliament of the German Democratic Republic met in the Palace of the Republic in East Berlin and the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany met in the Bundeshaus in Bonn. The ruined building was made safe against the elements and partially refurbished in the 1960s, but no attempt at full restoration was made until after German reunification on October 3, 1990, when it underwent a reconstruction led by internationally renowned architect Norman Foster. After its completion in 1999, it once again became the meeting place of the German parliament: the modern Bundestag.
The term Reichstag, when used to connote a parliament, dates back to the Holy Roman Empire. The body meeting in this building -- the Reichstag of the German Empire, then the Weimar Republic and finally Nazi Germany -- ceased to act as a true parliamentary assembly in the years of the Nazi regime (1933–1945). In today's usage, the German word Reichstag refers mainly to the building, while Bundestag refers to the institution. Construction of the building began well after 1871. Previously, the parliament had assembled in several other buildings in Leipziger Straße in Berlin; but these were generally considered too small; so in 1872 an architectural contest with 103 participating architects was carried out to erect an all-new building. Work did not start until ten years later though, owing to various problems with purchasing property for the new building and arguments between Wilhelm I, Otto von Bismarck, and the members of the Reichstag about how the construction should be performed.
In 1882, another architectural contest was held, with 200 architects participating. This time the winner, the Frankfurt architect Paul Wallot, would actually see his plan executed. Decorative sculptures, reliefs, and inscriptions were by sculptor Otto Lessing. On 29 June 1884, the foundation stone was finally laid by Wilhelm I.
The Reichstag is now the second most visited attraction in Berlin, not least because of the huge glass dome that was erected on the roof as a gesture to the original 1894 cupola, giving an impressive view over the city, especially at night. The Reichstag dome is the large glass dome at the very top of the building. The dome has a 360-degree view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape. The main hall of the parliament below can also be seen from the cupola, and natural light from above radiates down to the parliament floor. A large sun shield tracks the movement of the sun electronically and blocks direct sunlight which would not only cause large solar gain, but bedazzle those below. Construction work was finished in 1999 and the seat of parliament was transferred to the Bundestag in April of that year. The dome is no longer open to anyone without prior registration.
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|Geographical coordinates||52.5183330, 13.3758330|
|Address||Berlin, Platz der Republik 1|
|Construction dates||1871 - 1894|
|More information||official website|