Travel Special: By The Book, Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate, German Brandenburger Tor, the only halting town gate of Berlin, Germany, existing at the western end of the avenue Unter den Linden. It has furnished as a symbol of both the distribution of Germany and the country’s reunification and is one of Berlin’s most-visited memorials.


The gate was instructed by Frederick William II as an avenue to Unter den Linden, which led to the Prussian palace. The Gate was built in 1788–91 by Carl G. Langhans after the classic of the Propylaea in Athens. The sandstone architecture is poised of 12 Doric columns that create five portals—the middle of which was basically reserved for royal use only—and stands roughly 66 feet (20 metres) high, 213 feet (65 metres) wide, and 36 feet (11 metres) deep. It is belted by two small buildings, Haus Liebermann and Haus Sommer, which were constructed in the late 1990s by architect Josef Paul Kleihues to reinstate the pavilions that were destroyed during World War II. The gate is festooned with comforts and sculptures designed by Gottfried Schadow, the majority of them based on the deeds of Heracles.


In 1793 a quadriga icon depicting the goddess of victory mannering a symbol of peace was added. During the French dodge of Berlin (1806–08), Napolean took the icon to Paris, where it remained until 1814. The epic gate was later used broadly in Nazi propaganda, and a parade was held there on Adolf Hitler’s climb to power in 1933. The entire architecture was heavily damaged during World War II, and in 1957–58 it was renewed, with the quadriga adjust from the original molds.


From 1961 to 1989 the Gate came to embody divided Germany, as the Berlin Wall shut off entry to the gate for both East and West Germans. It provided as the backdrop for U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan’s popular 1987 elocution in which he entreated the Soviet chief, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The gate was reopened on December 22, 1989, in the develpoment of the reunification of East and West Berlin, when West German Authority Helmut Kohl walked through it to meet East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow. It underwent reclamation beginning in late 2000 and regularly reopened in 2002, nevertheless it remained closed to vehicle traffic.

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