The Reichstag building, which is a synonym for German parliament, has a comparatively short history, but a very eventful one. It was open in 1894 and right away was contemptuously termed вЂњa chatter houseвЂќ by the last Kaiser of Germany, Wilhelm II. However, it was here, in вЂњthe chatter houseвЂќ that Germany became a republic in 1918, and in 1933 the building nearly burned down, set on fire by communists or by Nazis framing communists вЂ“ nobody knows for sure. Some people indeed believe that it was part of HitlerвЂ™s plan to use the Reichstag arson as an excuse to seize power in the republic. In 1945 HitlerвЂ™s Germany was finally brought to its knees, and the Reichstag again played a symbolic role in the process: on April 30, 1945, the Russian army defeated the German troops making a last stand in the centre of Berlin, and soon the World War II was declared over.
The Reichstag was barely touched let alone used from 1933 to 1999. However, in 1995, on its 101st birthday, it was covered in beautiful silver-gold cloth and subsequently in the different kind of covering вЂ“ scaffolds. The responsible task of rebuilding the symbol of German democracy was entrusted to the British architect lord Norman Foster, and the majority of Germans seem to agree that he did a good job of resurrecting the Reichstag (now termed Bundestag). The rebirth of the Reichstag started a new page in German history, closing the tragic 20th century one. Not surprisingly, apartments in Berlin near its symbol are quite expensive to stay in.
The famous glass dome of the Reichstag is 47 meters (155 feet) tall. From inside it is lined with two ascending ramps, altogether 230 meters (755 feet) long, from which visitors can observe the fantastic view of Berlin and its attractions, as well as take a peek into the legislative chamber and see members of parliament at work. The government in Germany is transparentвЂ¦ quite literally. Another notable thing about the dome is its eco-friendliness: inside the dome a special sun-reflecting cone is installed that illuminates the chamber and also acts as a sort of air conditioner, drawing hot air out and replacing it with cool air from below.