To a chorus of protest, the German government has disclosed the results of a feasibility study to tear down the former Palace of the Republic in East Berlin. In its place, the government plans to rebuild the Prussian castle that once stood on the site, which would then become home to a 5-star hotel and an important museum collection. The East German parliament building, a relic of the 1970s, is something of a sore thumb on Berlins historic Unter der Linden boulevard, surrounded as it is by the imposing neo-classical architecture of the Humboldt University, the Berlin State Opera House, the Cathedral of St Hedwig and the famous Brandenburg Gate. However the unsightly tan-coloured building, which was gutted in the 1990s to remove asbestos, does have some enthusiastic supporters. A group of artists has erected a massive 50 m tall installation inside the empty shell of the former parliament building to draw attention to what they see as the governments misguided plans to create a Disneyland-style version of history. Work on the new building should start in 2007 after demolition of the current structure at the end of 2006. It is estimated that the replica Prussian castle will cost the German government from between 533 million and 780 million.
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