Brandenburg Gate - History and Facts | History Hit

Brandenburg Gate

Berlin, Berlin, Germany

The Brandenburg Gate is a Romanesque gateway, a political symbol and one of Berlin’s most famous landmarks.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020

About Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is a famous landmark in Berlin built between 1788 and 1791 which once served as a city gateway. Commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia it stood in the entrance to boulevard Unter den Linden, which led to the city palace.

Brandenburg Gate history

The Brandenburg Gate was designed by Karl Gotthard Langhans and built in a Romanesque style similar to the Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens, with six Doric columns on each side.

Whilst King Frederick William II intended the Brandenburg Gate to be a symbol of peace, different peoples have attached numerous meanings to it throughout its history.

In 1793, the gate was crowned by the Quadriga statue, designed by Johann Gottfried Schadow. This statue itself has an intriguing history. In 1806, when Napoleon’s army took Berlin, the French Emperor had the Quadriga transported to Paris as spoils of war and a sign of his victory. In 1814, after Napoleon’s forced abdication, the Quadriga was returned to Berlin where it once again adorned the Brandenburg Gate,  facing towards the east and the city centre.

The Nazis adopted the Brandenburg Gate as a symbol of their party during their reign in the 1930’s and 1940’s and it was also a potent reminder of the Cold War when it fell into the no-man’s land within the Berlin Wall.

From 1961 to 1989 the Brandenburg Gate came to symbolize divided Germany, as the Berlin Wall shut off access to the gate for both East and West Germans. During this time, the Brandenburg Gate formed a focal point of many politically charged rallies and speeches, including visits by American Presidents John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. It served as the backdrop for Reagan’s famous 1987 speech in which he entreated the Soviet leader, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

The gate was reopened on December 22, 1989, in the course of the reunification of East and West Berlin, when West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl walked through it to meet East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall , the Brandenburg gate became a symbol of German reunification.

Brandenburg Gate today

Today, visitors from around the world come to see the Brandenburg Gate and its ornate carvings, including its dramatic depiction of Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, driving a horse drawn chariot.

Getting to Brandenburg Gate

The site is easily accessible by public transport. The nearest S-Bahn train and underground station is Brandenburger Tor. Bus lines 100, N5, 300 and 147 also stop nearby.

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