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The Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is undoubtedly one of the greatest symbols of Germany. Its origin comes from the 18th century, when it was one of the gateways to the city of Berlin, which at the time was protected by ancient walls. The Neo-Classical Gate survived the two World Wars, in addition to having belonged to a “dead zone” for decades during the Cold War.


Its history dates back to the reign of King Friederich Wilhelm II of Prussia, who ordered the construction of the gate as a sign of peace. The project was coordinated by the architect Carl Gotthard Langhans between 1788 and 1791, inspired by the Propylaeum, the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The Brandenburg Gate was not the only one, as there were still 17 other gates that gave access to Berlin at that time.

The structure of the Brandenburg Gate is basically formed by 12 columns in Doric style, six on each side, which forms 5 accesses for pedestrians. At the top of the structure is the Quadriga, in which Irene, the Greek goddess who symbolizes peace, leads the chariot with her four horses. This bronze piece of work completes the beauty of this centennial project.

A curious story about the Quadriga occurred during the Napoleonic Wars, which after the battle of Jena-Auerstedt was taken to Paris as the trump of the French victory. The return was made in 1814, when the Prussian Empire occupied Paris and brought it back to Berlin. During this period, only the royal family could pass under the central arch, where Quadriga is centralized.

When back in Berlin, the Quadriga received an iron cross as a form of military decoration by King Friedrich Wilhelm III, as well as a Prussian eagle at the top, symbolizing victory. In this same period the square that the Gate is was renamed Paris Square (Pariser Platz).


During the Nazi rise, the Gate was used as one of the symbols of the party. After World War II, the structure remained standing in the ruins of Pariser Platz in 1945. Only one head of one of the horses survived the bombing that occurred in the region, and this relic is stored in the Märkisches Museum.

Access to vehicles and pedestrians was free until August 1961, when the Berlin Wall began to be erected, which blocked the traffic on the site. At the time the Gate was under Soviet rule, there was a restoration of Quadriga, which was removed, melted and redone to be placed in the Gate again. The controversial fact of the time was that the Quadriga always was turned towards the western side towards the state of Brandenburg, so that during the new replacement the Quadriga was placed facing east, that was the socialist side. At the time, the government of East Germany (DDR) claimed that the idea was that the goddess was facing the city of Berlin and not out of the city. This being a good excuse or not, Quadriga is in this position to this day.

During this period of the Cold War, the Gate was isolated and inaccessible and for approximately 30 years only DDR soldiers could approach the Brandenburg Gate. No one could visit this Berlin symbol.


With the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the gate that once was a symbol of divided Germany became the symbol of the reunification of the country. One of the most iconic photos of the fall of the Wall is the thousands of people who stayed in the surroundings of the Gate and under the Wall as a form of liberation. It is understandable that this is one of the greatest symbols of Germany, because its fascinating history has always been linked with the great events of the country.

The Brandenburg Gate was restored between 2000 and 2002, as it still had some damage from World War II. Today in its impeccable state of preservation, it is one of the most visited monuments in Europe! The great festivals like the New Year’s Eve Party, Eurocup, World Cup, Reunification Party, among others, are all celebrated in its surroundings.

The address of the Brandenburg Gate is: Pariser Platz – Mitte, 10117 Berlin. Access can be made by the U-Bahn (U55) subway line at S + U Brandenburger Tor, S-Bahn (S1, S2, S25) at S + U Brandenburger Tor and buses TXL at S + U Brandenburger Tor or line 100 at the Reichstag / Bundestag stop.


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