Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reichstag Building/Reichstagsgebäude

21 May 2013

We went to tour the capitol, the Reichstag Building or Reichstagsgebäude. By pre-arranged appointment, tourists can enter the roof and dome areas free of cost. First one must go through a security checkpoint in a small building outside, then pass through a security door to get inside the building.

 This high-ceilinged area is just inside the main doors after passing through the security entrance. We then entered a big elevator as a group to go up to the roof.
The glass dome as seen from the roof.
The parliament meeting room is below the dome in the center of the building. Inside the dome is a mirrored cone, which is designed to reflect light into the meeting room through the central skylight at its base.

The outer spiral is a walkway for tourists to go up to the top.

Everyone had to take a photo in the mirrors - including me. :)

There is a large sun shade which moves around the dome with the sun to prevent excessive glare. I imagine that without it, the reflection could be quite blinding to those inside (and broil them as though under a magnifying glass). 

Looking down at the skylight from the spiral walkway.
The top of the dome, which is open to the sky at the top. That's right, no glass - the rain collects and runs down the inside of the cone, and back out to the river.
The side windows are also open to allow free airflow inside the dome. In winter it must be like an icebox. It's lovely to sit at the top and watch the clouds.
At left below is one of the corner towers of the Reichstag Building. Just beyond it is the famous Brandenburger Tor, which looks sadly tiny as it was not intended to be viewed from above, but rather to loom majestically over those passing under it (and it DOES). In the far background are a forest of red cranes due to a tremendous amount of construction going on in the downtown (Mitte) area. I am so glad I visited those areas in 2011 before the construction, as much of downtown is currently torn up.
In this shot you can see the inner courtyard - the outer wall and towers is the only part of the building which is original. The whole interior has been rebuilt in modern style - rather a match for the rest of Berlin, a mixture of old and new.
A view of the River Spree, with the ever-present Fernsehturm (TV Tower) lurking in the distance and marking the center of town no matter where you are in Berlin.
The vaguely Mount Fuji-shaped building in the distance is the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz.
The front of the Reichstag Building, in all its splendor.
Looking up under the columns one can see the initials of Friedrich III, Wilhelm I and Wilhelm II (I think).

I captured the moon! Yay!

Long evening shadows after we came out...
This nearby monstrosity, which houses more governmental bodies, has been aptly nicknamed "The Washing Machine" by the locals.
This fountain let me get ONE photo before they shut it off for the day. Lucky shot!

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