After Bern was declared the Swiss capital in 1848, a new building had to be constructed for its parliament. The construction of today’s west wing began in 1852. The east wing was added in 1884 – a mirror image of the west wing. The imposing center section with its dome and golden ribbing was completed in 1902. The dome is clad in copper and had a reddish hue in the time right after its completion. Over time, the turquoise patina developed that is typical of aged copper. The decorations in and on the Parliament Building were the work of a total of 38 artists from all over the country.
The Parliament Square was inaugurated on July 31 and August 1, 2004 (Swiss National Day). The square now serves as a gathering place for young and old, rather than providing parking spaces for cars as it used to. It also hosts the traditional weekly market.