Images of Russian soldiers on the roof of the Reichstag are one of the symbols of the defeat of the Nazi's, and the victory of the Allied Forces in World War II. For a long time the Reichstag building was there but it never had its former function, inscribed on the frontside of the building: "Dem Deutschen Volke". Actually, the Berlin Wall just ran along the backside of the building. When Germany reunified in the early 1990s, and Berlin was to become the capital of Germany once again, the Reichstag was the obvious place where Parliament should be housed.
The Germans, in their typical and famous "Gründlichkeit", or thoroughness, decided that not only Berlin needed a huge face-lift as a whole, but also the face of the Reichstag should be changed for good. The result is that the building has retained its former grandeur, the main structure is still intact, while on top a cupola of glass and steel has changed its appearance for good: the classical style of the old building has been mixed with the modern, futuristic style of the additions on top.
Symbolically so, the Germans were very keen to show the world and especially Europe that their country may have reunited, but has also modernised to become a strong democracy as many others in the continent. In fact, when you are on the roof of the Reichstag, you can look down into the Parliament Hall (although the mirrors take away most of the view). The mirrors serve, by the way, to let in daylight through an ingenious system. You can walk right to the top of the cupola, the view over the city is, of course, great, and you can only wonder how different the view must have been for the Russian soldiers who raised their flag in 1945.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Reichstag (Germany). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Reichstag. Read more about this site.