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The Brandenburg Gate

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

The Brandenburg Gate's History

The gate was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a symbol of peace and built between 1788 and 1791. It was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans in the neoclassical style, and is inspired by the Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens. The gate is adorned with six Doric columns, and the Quadriga, a sculpture of a chariot drawn by four horses, sits atop the gate, all representing peace riding its way into the capital of Prussia.

Peace would not last long though. Napoleon after defeating Prussia would triumphantly parade through the gate claiming the Quadriga as war booty shipping it to France. With this act though the Quadriga afterwards became wartime propaganda for Prussia and thus was not due to stay in France long after Napoleon's defeat. After returning to Berlin a large celebration was planned and the Quadriga is a now a symbol of victory representing the goddess Victoria was put on top of the gate.

This celebration of victory became a tradition leading all the way up to the Nazis and less expected, the fall of the Berlin Wall with a surprise guest David Hasselhof. Following reunification, the gate became the logical symbol of a unified Berlin and is a popular if not the most population sight in Berlin.

Personal Experience and Tips

A visit to Berlin without a visit to the Brandenburg Gate is no visit at all, but best to time it right. I suggest visiting the gate with a tour - contact me about arranging this - but otherwise if you want to go on your own, get there before 9AM or towards sunset. The lighting is perfect is both cases and the crowds are minimal. But if you cannot manage that, enjoy the show because there is always something going on at the gate! Check out my first photo from there below!


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