There are 195 countries in the world today, and each has a seat of power where their leaders gathers for official and ceremonial governing of the country.
Each capitol buildings represents their country’s independence. Some buildings go beyond functional and are stunning works of art.
The Reichstag is a neo-Renaissance structure in Berlin that houses Germany’s Bundestag, or parliament. It housed the German legislature from 1894 to 1933, when it burned down under suspicious circumstances, likely under Hitler’s orders.
During World War II and the division of East and West Germany, it fell into disrepair. When the country was reunified in 1990, a great symbol of reunification was that the government again met in the building.
The building originally had a large glass dome, remarkable for its time, but it was damaged in the 1933 fire and during World War II bombing.
As part of the renovation in the 1990s, a great glass dome was installed, which provides a beautiful finish to the building, as well as an amazing 360 degree view of Berlin from inside the dome, an experience not to be missed!
U.S. Capitol Building
The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. houses the country’s legislative branch of government. The rectangular neoclassical building is home to the Senate and the House of Representatives. The two co-equal bodies work in the two wings of the Capitol. The great cast iron dome, which was installed during the expansion in the 1850s, gracefully completes the building.
Construction began in 1793, with George Washington laying the cornerstone. The building was built with slave labor, which has since brought shame to the government. During the Civil War, the large Rotunda in the center of the building was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers, and stories abound about the lost souls of laves and soldiers haunting the halls today.
While Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, recent laws have granted more authority and power back to the regional government in Edinburgh , a process called devolution.
The government has met since 2004 in the Scottish Parliament Building, which is a very modern design that draws on Scottish themes, landscapes and traditions. The roof line represents Scottish landscapes and upturned fishing boats, and the governing body meets directly above public meeting spaces to remind them that their power comes from those below them.
The structure has received much recognition, and some criticism, for its design, sustainable features and creativity. It is widely recognized as one of the most interesting capitol buildings in the world.
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminister was originally constructed in the 11th century as a royal palace, and after a fire in 1512, officially became the house of the Parliament of England. Another fire caused significant damage in 1834, and it was damaged by bombs during World War II, but the Parliament has always rebuilt.
Westminister has three towers, the most famous of which is Big Ben, which features a giant clock with faces on all four sides of the tower. Built in the 1850s, the clock has remained remarkably accurate, and bells mark the time each quarter hour.
The Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest was designed as a grandiose structure to commemorate the sovereignty of the young nation. Completed in 1904, the Gothic Revival structure built along the Danube River is the largest building in Hungary, and is a beautiful work of art, especially lit up at night.
The building serves as a living history of the country, with artwork, frescoes, stained glass and statues telling the story of the country and recognizing famous and important historical figures. One of the most moving features are the pellets on the exterior walls that mark the bullet holes from the 1956 revolution, when citizens rose up in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow their oppressive and unelected Communist government.
These are just a few of the many fascinating capitol buildings throughout the world, and they highlight the unique culture and history of each country they represent. If you’re ever in a capital city, you should certainly seek out their capitol building to learn more about the country and appreciate it’s government.