Instead of lining up at the break of dawn in a futile attempt to snag a TV on sale, we slept in at our fabulous Rocco Forte De Rome hotel situated in the best part of the city across from the Deutsche Staatsoper.
Breakfast completes, Our leisurely stroll began at the Deutscher Dom built during the Prussian era and reconstructed by the GDR regime as their pride project on museum island. Evangelical in denomination today, this massive mixed architectural style building has been further renovated and opened to the public again in 2012.
A 182 step climb up into the cupola offers panoramic views of the city as seen below with trumpeting angel and a view of Alexanderplatz with the Berlin City Hall.
From there we made our way to the Reichstag for a visit if it’s famous publicly accessible dome. Note that It is by appointment only and guests can either register online 2 months to 1 week prior to the visit or get a spot at the visitors office for short notice visits. Either way you need a passport to reserve your spots and plan it a couple of days out.
This is a definite “must see” for every Berlin visit. The buildings tormented history, from the early days of its disfunctional democracy under the post WWI Weimar Republik to the Nazi day’s under Hitler epitomized by the Kristallnacht burning of the plenary hall, continued to grab the world’s attention. By the fall of 1989 and its momentous days when the Wall finally came down, Germany’s Chancellor Helmut Kohl began the tough sell to the Western Allies (France, UK, & USA) of wanting to move the Bundestag of the re-unified Germany back to this famed location.
He succeeded and by 1993 the Bundestag was back at its originally intended locale with a functioning democracy leading the way in Europe.
This brief and succinctly told and illustrated history can be seen at the base of the dome. Then visitors make their way to the top of the dome (see video) where the “people” can see for themselves (through transparent glass windows) their parliament in action.
Personally, I find this a very powerful manifestation of the brilliance in design that was applied to this building and to its historical value for generations to come.
PS: There is nothing like it anywhere in the world to my knowledge.