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"Brandenburger Tor" Brandenburger Tor Tip by Blatherwick

Brandenburger Tor, Berlin: 190 reviews and 313 photos

  Brandenburger Tor
by Blatherwick

When I came across the Brandenburg Gate I met a former American soldier who was stunned that there weren't tanks here anymore.

The Brandenburg Gate is a triumphal arch that is the symbol of Berlin. It is the only remaining one of the series of gates through which one entered Berlin. It was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II as a sign of peace and built by Karl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791. The gate consists of twelve Greek Doric columns, six on each side. This allows for five roadways, although originally ordinary citizens were only allowed to use the outer two. Above the gate is the Quadriga, consisting of the goddess of peace holding a wreath and driving a four-horse chariot in triumph.

While the main design of the Brandenburg Gate has remained the same since it was completed, the gate has played varying roles in Germany's history. First, Napoleon took the Quadriga back to Paris in 1806 after conquering Berlin. When it returned to Berlin in 1814, the statue exchanged her olive wreath for the Iron Cross and became the goddess of victory. When the Nazis rose to power, they used the gate to symbolize their power.

The Gate was the only structure left standing in the ruins of Pariser Platz in 1945, apart from the ruined Academy of Fine Arts. It was restored in the 1950's. East Berlin restored the gate, while West Berlin recast the Quadriga from its original molds. It was 13 August, 1961 when the Gate would again change symbolism for another generation. It was on that night that East German soldiers closed off their half of the city and started building the Berlin Wall at this point. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) removed the Prussian eagle and cross from the Quadriga.

Finally, when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the gate symbolized freedom and the unity of the city, re-opening on 22 December when the West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl walked through to be greeted by the East German Prime Minister, Hans Modrow.

Address: Pariser Platz, Berlin-Mitte
Directions: S-Bahn: Unter den Linden, Bus 100
Phone: 100200

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Dec 18, 2004
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