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Palast der Republik

The Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic) is a building in Berlin, on the bank of the River Spree, and on Schlossplatz (formerly Marx-Engels-Platz). It served as the parliament building for the German Democratic Republic.

The Palast in 2003

It was constructed in the 1970s in the prevailing style for East German buildings, with bronze mirrored windows. The Volkskammer moved in in 1976. It was built on the site of the old Berliner Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace), which was demolished by the GDR authorities in 1950 as a symbol of Prussian imperialism.

It was nicknamed by some East Germans Ballast der Republik ("Ballast of the Republic"), Erichs Lampenladen ("Erich's Lamp Shop", referring to Erich Honecker), or Palazzo Prozzo, and was not used only for parliamentary business - it housed restaurants, art galleries, and a theatre.

After German Reunification, in 1990 it was found to be contaminated with asbestos and dangerous. By 2003, all the asbestos had been removed, and all internal and external fittings removed, ready for demolition - but funding for the demolition and proposed reconstruction of the fašade of the City Palace (estimated at €400,000,000) has not been forthcoming.

The carcass of the building was opened for visitors in summer of 2003, and a group is campaigning for temporary use of the building to be allowed until it is destroyed.

In November 2003 the Bundestag decided to demolish the building and leave the area as a green space until funding for the reconstruction of the Stadtschloss could be found.

The Temporary Palace Use group say that its programme will start in May 2004.

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