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Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic)

The presentation and prestige project of the SED leadership was inaugurated in 1979 as events and parliament building in East Berlin. The "House of the People", as it was called in the past, is located between the Berlin Dome and Marstall, on the site where the royal palace used to stand in the past. During the reign of the GDR, the palace was divided into three sections: the People's Chamber sat in the left section. The centre section which was open to the public sported restaurants, cafes a small theatre and an art gallery with monumental paintings of state artists. The right wing had a large hall equipped with state of the art lifting technology which can take up to 5 000 visitors. This hall was the venue or regular large political and cultural events such as party conferences, festivals but also television shows. During the changeover ("Wende"), the palace was the venue of a number of media-relevant events - such as for example on October 7, 1989, when the leading functionaries of the party were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the GDR with their guests, while the demonstrators outside were calling Gorbi!" and "Gorbi help us!". Afterwards, there were reports in connection with important sessions of the People's Chamber and a symbolic occupation by alternative artists and finally the 18/3/1990 when the media from all over the world broadcast from inside the palace to inform the audience about the first and last free elections to be held in the GDR.
With the end of the GDR, the building lost its purpose and was closed down as it was contaminated with asbestos. Since then, the dispute about whether to renovate or pull the building down has been simmering which has not been decided to date.

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