Branderburg Gate, also known as Branderburger Tor, is one of the most important symbols of Berlin and the German nation. The gate has symbolized the separation and union of Germany in different time periods throughout history.
The gate was one of the 18 entrances of the Berlin City Wall. Today, it is the only standing gate left. The structure was built between 1788 and 1791 by the architect Carl Gotthard Langhans, who was inspired by the Propylaea entrance to Athen’s Acropolis. Despite the Ancient Greek influence on the architecture, the gate has become the best sample of German Classicism.
This magnificent gate was perfect for the architectural ambitions of the Prussian monarch Friedrick Wilhelm II, who wanted to have a grand entrance to Unter den Linden Boulevard, which led to the Prussian palace. The gate also conveyed the meaning of peace and prosperity.
Branderburg Gate is topped by the Quadriga, a statue that depicts the goddess of peace riding a four-horsed chariot. The goddess, designed by Johan Gottfried Schadow, changed its meanings soon and started to symbolize victory rather than peace. This statue is famous for catching the attention of Napoleon when he was passing through the gates. When Berlin was under the French rule, the Quadriga was removed to Paris and returned to its rightful place only after Germany’s liberation. The gate has also served as a symbol for the National Socialists during World War II. After Berlin Wall was taken down, Branderburg Gate turned into a sign of union.
The landmark is built out of sandstone and consists of twelve Doric columns that make up five entrances. The central entrance was exclusively used by the royal entities, today any traveler and local can walk through it. The gate is 20 meters high and 65 metres wide. It is neighbored by two smaller buildings on each side. The walls are adorned with reliefs and wall statues, the majority of which depict the deeds of Heracles. It took around four years to complete the wall decorations.
Branderburg Gate was damaged during the World War II, but was not destroyed entirely. It suffered considerable damages during the reunion Germany as well. The renovation of the gate was finalized and brought back to its original appearance in 2002. When passing through the gate from West Berlin and walking up the boulevard, you’ll be able to see the most prominent German buildings such as the Humboldt University, Berlin State Library, Crown Prince’s Palace, Berlin State Opera, and more.
Today the gate separates East Berlin from West Berlin, although there is no Berlin Wall anymore. The gate is located at the border of Pariser Platz and Platz des 18 Marz.