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Was the Reichstag in East or West Berlin?

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Cold War Tour Berlin

The Reichstag, a prominent symbol of Germany’s history, is a historic building located in the capital city of Berlin. It has witnessed significant events and transformations throughout the years. To understand its location, we need to explore the history of Berlin during the Cold War era.

The Division of Berlin

Following World War II, Berlin was divided into four zones controlled by the Allied powers: the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. This division was a result of the political tensions between these nations. The eastern zone, controlled by the Soviet Union, became East Berlin, while the other three zones collectively formed West Berlin.

The Reichstag during the Cold War

The Reichstag building, which has great historical significance, found itself located close to the border between East and West Berlin. During the Cold War years, the Berlin Wall was constructed to physically separate the two parts of the city, and it ran just a few hundred meters north of the Reichstag.

Due to its proximity to the border, the Reichstag stood within the territory of East Berlin. However, it was inaccessible to the residents of the city due to its location in the heavily fortified and restricted area near the Wall.

Reunification and the Reichstag’s Role

In 1989, a series of events led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent reunification of East and West Germany. The reunified German government, focused on overcoming the division, decided to make the Reichstag the seat of the German parliament once again.

The Reichstag underwent a substantial renovation project, led by British architect Sir Norman Foster, to restore its historical features and modernize it for parliamentary functions. Additionally, Foster’s design introduced a stunning glass dome that symbolizes transparency and allows visitors to enjoy panoramic views of Berlin.

Visiting the Reichstag Today

Today, the Reichstag building is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin. Visitors can explore the impressive glass dome, learning about German history and enjoying the breathtaking views it offers. It is advisable to book a visit in advance, as there can be high demand due to its popularity.

Summary

The Reichstag building is located in Berlin, specifically within the territory of former East Berlin. Throughout the Cold War, it stood close to the border with West Berlin, but was inaccessible to most residents due to its location in a heavily fortified area near the Berlin Wall. Following the reunification of Germany, the Reichstag was renovated and currently serves as the seat of the German parliament while also welcoming tourists from around the world.

Was the Reichstag in East or West Berlin?