The solid neoclassical Reichstag, or parliament, building competes with the nearby Brandenburg Gate as Berlin’s most famous landmark.
It’s also been a landmark in history for in 1933 it was set alight, allegedly by communists, enabling the Nazi party to impose martial law and suspend democracy for what soon became a brutal dictatorship.
Equally famously, the Reichstag became a symbol of the Allied victory at the end of World War II, as Soviet soldiers raised their flag on the roof after heavy fighting that left scores of bullet holes around some Reichstag windows — patched but still visible today.
Then, in 1999 the reunified German parliament moved back in after extensive renovations and the addition of a flashy cupola by British architect Sir Norman Foster. This giant glass dome, with its central supporting mirrored column, is now the building’s main attraction and provides superb 360-degree views of the city.
To visit the Reichstag’s dome you need to be pre-booked (free), which can be done online or in-person between two-days and two-hours in advance at a service centre (daily: Nov–Mar 8am–6pm and Apr–Oct 8am–10pm) in front of the building. Avoid all this by making a booking at its Käfer Dachgarten restaurant.