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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 makes its 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.


The Reichstag 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 century.

The Reichstag was constructed from 1884–94 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 1961–71 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 Dom.

After reunification, the German Federal Government decided to use the building as a parliament once again. From 1994–99 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.