The Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks. Designed by architect Carl Gotthard von Langhans and completed in 1791, the structure became the gateway into the city through Unter den Linden, a tree-lined, pedestrian boulevard that led to Stadtschloss Palace, the royal residence of Prussian kings. The Gate features 12 Doric columns and at the pinnacle sits the Quadriga of Victory, a bronze sculpture of a horse-drawn chariot guided by Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory.
Famous throughout the world for its beauty and significance, this towering example of Greek Revival architecture possesses a long and compelling history. Initially commissioned by Prussian King Frederick William II, the Brandenburg Gate was to represent peace; in fact, the Quadriga’s figure of Victoria carried a symbolic olive wreath. Unfortunately, within a few years time, peace gave way to conflict and during the Napoleonic Wars, Berlin fell to the French army in 1806. Napoleon dismantled the Quadriga from atop the Gate and brought it to Paris as spoils of his victory.
When Prussian forces in turn defeated Napoleon in 1814, they restored the Quadriga to its original pride of place on top of the Brandenburg Gate. However, they added a military decoration, the Iron Cross, to the centre of the olive wreath, resulting in a symbolic juxtaposition of peace and power. More than a century later, the Nazi party used the Gate to symbolize their rising power in Germany. After suffering serious damage during Second World War, it remained enmeshed in conflict, this time between East and West Berlin. However, when the Berlin Wall finally fell in 1990, the Brandenburg Gate once again became a symbol for unity and peace, and in 2000, a private benefactor restored the Gate to its former glory.
Located in the heart of Berlin, in Mitte, the Brandenburg Gate lies on the west side of Pariser Platz, an open square that also includes the Kennedy Museum and the Academy of Art Berlin. The Gate is a stop along bus line 100, a famous route that passes by many popular tourist attractions; you can also take metro line S1, S2 or S25 and disembark at Anhalter Bahnhof S-Bahn station. After enjoying the stunning landmark, you can stroll leisurely down Unter den Linden, grab a bite to eat and take in more sights including Tiergarten Park and Reichstag to the west of the Gate and the German Historical Museum to its east.
- Address: Brandenburg Gate, Mitte 10117 Berlin, Germany