Currently home to the German Bundestag, the Reichstag building has played a major role in Germany’s tumultuous 20th-century history. Construction of the building was completed in 1894 and it housed Germany’s parliament until 1933, when it caught fire. The fire was blamed on Communists, and Hitler used the fire as an excuse to suspend civil liberties in Germany and imprison thousands of Communists. The building was further damaged by Allied bombing raids during World War II and was one of the primary targets of Soviet artillery during the Battle of Berlin.
A victorious Soviet soldier waves the Soviet flag atop the Reichstag following the Battle of Berlin.
The Reichstag was rarely used during the Cold War, as the the West German parliament assembled in the the capital city of Bonn, away from West Berlin, in accordance with the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin. Following German Reunification in 1990, it was decided that the capital of reunited Germany would be Berlin and the parliament would once again assemble in the Reichstag. Reconstruction of the building was completed in April 1999.
On a lighter note, the Reichstag also has a cafe/restaurant on its roof (Käfer Restaurant) which featured excellent panoramic views and a breakfast which I believe should be served everywhere: Weisswurstfrühstück. This particular breakfast consists of white sausage (veal and bacon), pretzels with various sauces, and wheat beer. Beer, sausage, and pretzels for breakfast? I’m going to start looking for flights to Berlin (OK, or Bavaria, where this breakfast hails from) just for that!