Tiergarten is the largest park in Berlin, an outdoor oasis for Berliners
which is transformed into a massive barbecue site every summer.
It originally served as hunting grounds for the Prussian princes until
it was made into a park in the 18th century. From 1818, the landscape
architect Peter Joseph Lenné laid out the site in the English
landscape style, and statues were added from 1850. On the former Siegesallee
(Avenue of Victory), Wilhelm II. set out 32 marble sculpture groups
which were supposed to depict the royal ancestors but which the Berliners
jokingly dismissed to as "puppets". The Siegesallee was relocated
by Hitler, and the remains were dismantled after the war.
Because the grounds border directly onto the »Reichstag, many
embassies were found here before the war. Today, several embassies are
being restored or newly built in Tiergarten, lending renewed splendor
to the former "Diplomatic quarter". The park was badly damaged
in the Second World War, and in 1945/46 many trees were cut down for
firewood. Reforestation began in 1949.
Today, the park is used by many Berliners for relaxation, and is a
popular site for picnics and barbecues. Once a year, the Loveparade
way through the Tiergarten. Its grand finale takes place in the very
centre, at the »Siegessäule. »Schloss Bellevue, seat
of the federal president, is also in the Tiergarten, as is the former
Hall of Congress, now the House of World Cultures. The »Kulturforum
and »Potsdamer Platz lie at the borders of the Tiergarten. On
the western side, the park borders onto the »Zoologic Garden.
is the seat of the German Bundestag or federal government and, with
its new dome, one of the Berlin's biggest crowd-draws in Berlin. Its
colorful past reflects the turbulence of German history since the 19th
The Reichstag was constructed from 188494 by Paul Wallot, since
a representative building was needed to house the parliament of the
newly-founded German state. The inscription "Dem Deutschen Volke"
("To the German people") was only added in 1916 during the
First World War, because Wilhelm II. had previously been against it.
On 9 November 1918, the politician Philipp Scheidemann announced the
establishment of the Republic from one of its windows. Part of the Reichstag
was destroyed in a fire on 27 November 1933: the exact cause has never
been identified, but the fire was used by the Nazis to justify their
persecution of political opponents. After the war, the devastated building
was rebuilt in a simplified form from 196171 to plans by Paul
Baumgarten, but it was not used for parliamentary functions. The dome,
which had been blown up in 1945, was not rebuilt. Inside the edifice
bordering the »Berlin wall there was an exhibition, "Questions
on German History", which is now displayed in the »Deutscher
After reunification, the German Federal Government decided to use the
building as a parliament once again. From 199499 the Reichstag
was reconstructed and extended by the Architect Sir Norman Forster,
taking into consideration both the immense historical implications and
its function as a modern working parliament, and adding an accessible
dome. Before the renovation work began in 1994, the building became
the stage for one of the most spectacular art events in Europe: it was
wrapped by Christo and Jeanne Claude. The glass dome, which was at first
the subject of great controversy, has now become one of the newest landmarks
in the city. Since 1999 the Reichstag building has once again been the
seat of the German Bundestag.