The Brandenburg Gate A Sight to Behold
Author: Anisha Vidinha
The Brandenburg Gate, located west of the city of Berlin, is one of the main symbols of both the city and the country of Germany. When you visit Berlin, you will find this important national symbol and tourist attraction just west of the Pariser Platz. It is the former city gate and is the entrance to the Under den Linden, which is a boulevard of linden trees that at one time led to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs of the country. King Frederick William 11 of Prussia commissioned the building of this gate in the late 18 the century and it was built by Carl Gotthard Langhams who completed the project in 1791. Today it is one of the most famous landmarks in all of Europe.
The design of this gate consists of five passageways between twelve Doris columns. Of these passageways, the ordinary citizens were only permitted to use the two outer ones. A Quadriga adorns the top of the gate. This is a chariot of four horses driven by Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory. If you have ever visited the Acropolis in Athens you will see similarities between the gateway to this ruin and the gate in Berlin. The gateway of the Acropolis provided the inspiration for the design in order to provide a semblance of Athens on the banks of the River Spree.
Throughout the centuries since it was built, the design of the gate has remained unchanged. It has played an important role in many of the events that shaped the history of Germany. Even though Napoleon confiscated the Quadriga and took it to France, it was returned after the Napoleonic Wars. The wreath of flowers around the head of Victoria was also replaced by the Iron Cross. Despite the devastation Berlin suffered during the Second World War, this gate was basically undamaged. What damage it did suffer was repaired after the war. The Quadriga, though, was completely destroyed during the war. It was recast and replaced in 1958.
It was incorporated into the Berlin Wall when it was erected at which time it symbolized the division of the country. When this wall came down, the gate remained and is now a symbol of national unity. It is the symbol of the reunification of East and West Berlin as well as the reunification of the country as a whole.
The gate was alone and isolated after the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Today it is part of the surrounding district. House Liebermann and House Sommer stand next to it. These buildings were designed by Josef Paul Kleihues to closely resemble that buildings that existed on this location prior to 1939. Other impressive buildings in this area include the Dresdner Bank, the French Embassy, the DG Bank and the Academy of Arts.
Visitors to the city can choose accommodations in the area of the famous gate as well with the luxurious Adlon Hotel on the site. This hotel is an highlight of the city of Berlin in its own right.