Brandenburg Gate

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Brandenburg Gate at
Brandenburg Gate at

[ source: Wikipedia]

No other architectural structure in Berlin (Berlin vacation rentals | Berlin travel guide) symbolizes the dramatic history of the city better than the Brandenburg Gate. Built of sandstone and located on the edge of the Parisier Platz, the gate was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a symbol of peace. The Brandenburg Gate was the main gate into Berlin. It was the most elegant of a series of access points in the city wall, and is the only one that still survives today. The gate also functioned as the terminus of Unter den Linden Strasse, the famous thoroughfare lined with linden trees that led to the palace of the Prussian kings. The gate was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans, the Court Superintendent of Buildings, and was constructed between 1788 and 1791. The sculptural decoration on the gate was executed by Johann Gottfried Schadow.

Measuring 29 meters in height, the Brandenburg Gate consists of 12 Doric columns that form five passageways. The model for the gate was the Propylaea in Athens, the entrance hall to the Acropolis. Just as the Propylaea led to the sacred shrine of Athena, the Brandenburg Gate was the main entrance to the most important city in Prussia. The gate is topped by a quadriga by Schadow, a sculpture of a coach with four horses depicting the goddess of victory. In 1806, Napoleon marched into Berlin, and in honor of his triumph, he sent the quadriga back to Paris as a trophy. After Napoleon's defeat in 1814, the sculpture was returned to Berlin.

The gate gained further layers of meaning during the 20th century. In 1933, the Nazis staged a triumphal march into Berlin through the Brandenburg Gate, thus heralding the years of their dominance. During the war, the gate was heavily damaged and was one of the most harmed structures on Parisier Platz. After the war ended, the governments of East and West Berlin worked together jointly to restore the gate. Throughout the years of Germany's division, the Brandenburg Gate functioned metaphorically as a symbol of the Cold War and of the division of both Berlin and Germany. The gate became inaccessible after 1961 due to the close proximity to the Berlin Wall. The Brandenburg Gate gained new significance after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, when the gate became a symbol of reunification and freedom.

[ source: wikipedia.org ]



About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany

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