Best view in Berlin
Have you ever visited a famous icon, only to find a fear of heights stops you from seeing it?
I found this during our visit to Berlin, when my family tried to show us “The Best Views in Berlin”
Two historic icons vie for the “best view in Berlin”. You have magnificent views from the top of the Berliner Dom However the final climb up a narrow spiral staircase, is not great if you have a problem with heights.
The Reichstag Building takes you to the roof via elevator and you can walk to the top of the roof dome via a gently sloping ramp.
The Berliner Dom, Berlin’s largest cathedral was originally built in 1465 as a parish church on the Spree River. It underwent ongoing extension and improvement until it was finally completed in 1905 under the rule of the last German Kaiser, Wilhelm II.
Located on Museum Island, in former East Germany, the Berliner Dom suffered significant damage during World War II. It was closed until post-reunification restoration works in 1993.
For a small entry fee you can enjoy a self guided tour, or take advantage of scheduled guided tours. Inside you will be amazed by the awe inspiring architecture. Christian Dauel’s magnificent baptismal font, Guido Reni’s Petrus mosaic and the 7000 pipe organ, which is the largest in Berlin.
The viewing gallery provides a panoramic views from around the dome, a mere 270 stairs away. Undaunted, I started the climb with my husband and family. The initial wide staircases provided no problem.
Until we reached the final, spiral staircase to the top of the dome. I do not do heights. Urged on by my family, I embarked up the final spiral staircase to infinity. I completed around 20 stairs, until the sheer fear of heights kicked in. I threw my Iphone to Ian to take photos from the top, before pushing my way back down the one way staircase to the safety of solid ground.
Relaxing for a few moments in a window seat, I was relieved to be back on solid ground. With my limited German, I managed to decipher a sign saying I was, “beyond the place of no return”. The rest of my family would not return this way.
So I continued my way “out” through the “ins” towards the exit.
With no phone, I couldn’t contact the rest of the family to let them know where I was. But my husband knew me too well.
Everyone else enjoyed the views over Mitte from the outdoor viewing platform around the top of the “Dom”. They then wondered “where is Mother”? Is she in the main church? Maybe she Is she outside? Is she still waiting at the bottom of the stairs where we left her ?
Ian assured them that if there was a crypt, that is where they would find me.
Relatively untouched by WWII bombing, the Hohenzolloerm family tomb houses over 90 sarcophogi and tombs, including the gilt encrusted tombs of Prussian kings. I was soaking up this history when my family found me. At least I could still enjoy the views from the top of the Berliner Dom from the photos taken on my Iphone.
Fortunately the Reichstag building provides a more accessible viewing point for those unable to deal with the heights of the Berliner Dom.
Kaiser Whilhelm I laid the foundation stone in 1884, despite concerns that the dome of the building may be higher than the city castle.
Opened in 1894, the building was home to the Imperial Diet until destroyed by a suspicious fire in 1933.
The modern Reichstag building
Post-reunification, the building once again became the seat of German Parliament. British Architect Norman Foster designed a new building between 1994 and 1999. His brief was to provide a modern parliament building, whilst retaining the integrity of the original historic building.
The Reichstag is within walking distance of the iconic Brandenburg Gate. It has an accessible glass dome, replicating the original dome, which has become a major Berlin landmark.
Entry is free to the Reichstag Building, however visitors must register up to 2 days in advance to book access. You will need your passport for identification at the security check.
A lift takes you to the top of the Reichstag building. A gentle spiral ramp then lets you meander to the top of the glass dome, enjoying the panoramic views over Berlin. I found this a much more suitable option than “The Dom” if you have a problem with heights. You can also enjoy a coffee or meal at the rooftop restaurant.