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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrOne of Berlin’s original city gates, Brandenburger Tor is one of the most iconic symbols in all of Germany and one of the most visited landmarks in the whole city. Although initially a symbol of aristocratic and imperial opulence, its meaning evolved through the decades and is now considered the country’s most pertinent symbol of unification. Its conveniently central location, just south of the Reichstag Building, east of Victory Monument and north of Potsdamer Platz, makes it a very hassle-free, must-see attraction.
Brief HistoryBack in the 1800s, Brandenburg Gate was one of Berlin’s city gates, leading all the way to the Prussian Royal Palace along the Under den Linden Avenue. The sandstone structure, built high and mighty and adorned with a quadriga-riding, winged-goddess sculpture, was modeled after the Propylaea built by the Ancient Greeks as a gateway to the Acropolis of Athens. The gate measures 26m in height, 65.5m in width and boasts walls up to 11m in thickness. The two smaller versions, on either side, served as gatehouses at the time. This was only one of 18 gates built in the late 1700s, however Brandenburg is the only one left still standing. Many of the fellow gates’ names have been transferred to streets or entire suburbs in which they once stood.
The chariot atop the gate was promptly carted off to Paris by the kleptomaniac Napoleon in 1806 and returned to its rightful place merely 8 years later when the French military leader’s time came to pass. Yet of all times in history when this gate was prominent, none were more significant, than the more than 30 years Berlin passed as a divided city. During the building of the Berlin Wall, after WWII, Brandenburg Gate was poignantly left to stand in the midst of no-man’s land. Once the wall came down ceremoniously in 1989, the gate almost immediately became THE symbol of Germany’s reunification, a title it still holds to this day and probably always will.
Visiting Brandenburg GateThe gate is certainly impressive yet what is of interest here is the history and importance of it, rather than just its massive proportions. If you want to make the most of your visit, we recommend joining an organized tour with a local, knowledgeable guide. New Berlin Tours offer free walking tours every day of the year in either English, Spanish, or Dutch.
How to Get ThereThe gate is on Pariser Platz in central-western Berlin, a lovely cobble-stone square which is mostly closed off to traffic. You’ll find both S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations right next door. Brandenburg gate is also within easy walking distance to the famous Reichstag Building.
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Author: Laura Pattara. Last updated: Jun 26, 2015