The Reichstag building

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Yesterday we paid a visit to the Reichstag building, home of the German parliament, the Bundestag. Visits to this building are carefully controlled: registration must be made in advance on the Bundestag website, and visitors are subject to airport-style security and passport checks.

The exterior of the building dates back to the 19th century, when it was constructed to house the Reichstag, the government of the German Empire. After being burnt down in 1933 it fell into disuse, but was finally reconstructed in the 90s by British architect Norman Foster. As well as giving the building a brand new interior and an extra floor, Foster also designed the famous Reichstag dome, which provides a 360° panorama of Berlin from the viewing platform.

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The design of the dome is quite something: not only is it aesthetically very striking, but the central mirrored cone provides the dual function of lighting and ventilating the chamber below.

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