"on the site of the old Palace of the Prussian Kings pulled down by the Communists, is the parliament building of the GDR, the Palast der Republik"
Palast der Republik in the 1980s
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePalast der Republik in the 1980s - Credit: Lutz Schramm

The Palast der Republik, constructed in 1973, was the seat of the East German parliament, with the additional amenities of two large auditoria, art galleries, a theatre, restaurants and a bowling alley. However, the history of this central square begins much earlier, as the site of the Stadtschloß (the Palace of the Prussian Kings).

Closed to the public in 1990 due to asbestos, the interior was gutted but the skeletal structure remained throughout years of debate, indecision and various set-backs. Its eventual dismantling was complete by 2008 and, fascinatingly, much of the steel frame was shipped to the United Arab Emirates for use in the construction of the Burj Khalifa.

There is currently a massive project in place to reconstruct the facade of the original Stadtschloß, down to the very last detail. The interior will house the Humboldt collection of non-European art.

In the meantime a temporary art gallery is showing exhibitions, events and films in response to this incredible site with all its complex history.