The Brandenburg Gate, the former gateway to Berlin, has become one of the main icons of the German capital. And is a symbol of the triumph of peace over arms.
This is a symbol of its two-hundred-year history, in which the war with France, the Cold War. The division of the country into West and East Germany remained. Now. After these sad events, it is a national symbol of peace and unity. A unique architectural monument in the style of Berlin classicism.
Brandenburg Gate Construction history
The initiative to build the Brandenburg City Gate belonged to Frederick Wilhelm II of Prussia. Who wanted to improve the approach to the Boulevard Unter den Linden. The construction project was developed by Karl Gottgard Langgans, inspired by the Propylaea of the Athenian Acropolis. Johann Gottfried Shadow created the most famous decoration for the structure – the Quadriga.
Construction lasted from 1788 to 1791. The main material is , which was subsequently painted with dazzling white paint. The monumental gate was 26 m high, 65.5 m long, and 11 m deep. Interesting fact: the original name of the building is “The Gate of the World”.
In 1795, the monument was crowned with a copper chariot representing the Goddess of Victory. In a chariot drawn by four horses in the direction of the city. The statue that can be seen today is a copy made in West Berlin in 1969. As the original was destroyed during World War II.
Although the door has five entrances. From its construction until 1918. The central passage of the door could only be used. By members of the royal family and a few lucky ones.
Pride and drama
After its construction, the Brandenburg Gate enjoyed the splendor it. Deserved by watching royals, Napoleon’s troops pass under its arches and witnessing some Nazi parades.
The tranquility of the Brandenburg Gate ended after the advent of World War II. Which caused severe damage to the structure and practically destroyed the chariot.
In 1956, both parts of the divided city joined forces to rebuild the gate. It was in 1961. After the construction of the Berlin Wall , when the gate was lost in no man’s land. Trapped between east and west, with practically no one having access to it.
After the reunification of the city, the Brandenburg Gate, after so many troubles, finally regained the place it deserves.
Brandenburg Gate Appearance
The upper part of the structure rests on 12 majestic columns arranged in two rows and forming five openings. The columns are made in the Doric style , which formed in Ancient Greece around 600 BC. Decorating the upper part of the structure, the Quadriga is a chariot drawn by four horses. It is ruled by the goddess Victoria, who personifies victory. The height of the decorative element is 6 meters.
Internal walls are installed in the gateways between the columns. They are decorated with bas-reliefs depicting the exploits of Hercules. In the northern wing. In the former guardhouse, there is the Hall of Silence. (literally translated as the “Room of Silence”). where the inhabitants of Germany can honor the memory of their ancestors. Reflect on the tragic events that took place in the country.
The south wing houses the Berlin Tourist Information. There you can learn about the sights of the city, book tickets for cultural events.
Brandenburg Gate in historical events
Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate has witnessed many tragic events and suffered greatly from them. When Napoleon Bonaparte entered the city with his army. He did not remain indifferent to the beauty and grandeur of Quadriga. He gave the order to remove it and send it to France. There she was until the victory over the conqueror. Upon his return to Berlin. The sculptor Friedrich Schinkel supplemented the symbol of victory. With the Iron Cross , which was awarded only to the bravest warriors of Germany.
In 1871, the victors of the Franco-Prussian War marched through the Brandenburg Gate. At the same time the German Empire was proclaimed.
Already at the beginning of the 20th century. A solemn procession through the gates marked the creation of the German Republic.
In the 1930s, when Hitler came to power, Nazi flags and a swastika adorned Berlin’s main landmark.
And in 1945 bloody battles took place in the background.
During the Second World War. The structure suffered the most: the Quadriga was completely destroyed. And the columns were covered with traces of bullets and artillery shells. From 1945 to 1957, the place of Quadriga was occupied by the Soviet flag.
In 1961, the gate was isolated by the famous Berlin Wall, which divided Germany into West and East. Its fall in 1989 was violently celebrated by the inhabitants of the united country. And the Brandenburg Gate suffered even more from irrepressible joy.
Brandenburg Gate Restoration
The complete restoration of the Quadriga was carried out after the Second World War in 1958. The restoration in its original form became possible thanks to the preserved drawings and casts. However, the main decoration of the Brandenburg Gate. Again needed the hands of skilled restorers after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The work was completed in 1991.
Large-scale restoration was carried out from 2000 to 2002. At the same time, residents of the city were asked to vote for the color of the building. An alabaster copy of the landmark, painted in 4 colors, was displayed next to the original. Everyone could vote for any of them by throwing a coin into the appropriate slot.
As a result, the white color won. So now the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin looks the same as it did immediately after construction.
Brandenburg Gate today
Both by day and by night. The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most important and pleasant sights to see in Berlin. Tourists continually crowd in front of his majestic countenance to take the most representative photograph of his trip to Berlin.
The main symbol of Berlin is located on Paris Square in the city center. Next to him: Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Reichstag. Boulevard Unter Den Linden. Tiergarten park.
Festive processions, concerts and other significant events are regularly held in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
At night, the structure is illuminated, which gives it an even more majestic and solemn appearance.
Not far from the gate. Residents and visitors of Berlin can find various cafes, restaurants, a couple of hotels and a pharmacy. The Tiergarten Park, full of greenery, is especially pleasant to walk during the warm season.
You can get to the Brandenburg Gate by metro, train, bus, taxi. There is hardly a single resident of the city who does not show the way to the main attraction.