The Brandenburg Gate, named after the city to which a wide paved road led from them, amazes with its monumentality and incredibly beautiful architecture. They meet guests 24 hours a day, 7 times a week, so we just can not help but introduce you to this most important historical monument.
Where are the Brandenburg Gate? This question interests many travelers who come to Berlin, so we are simply obligated to satisfy their curiosity. So, the most recognizable Berlin attraction is located almost in the city center in the middle of the famous Paris Square. Being a visiting card of the German capital and one of the main historical symbols of Germany, they can boast an interesting and rather long history – not so long ago this architectural monument celebrated its 228th anniversary.
If you look at the photos of the Brandenburg Gate, located on almost every tourist avenue in Berlin, you can easily notice that this building is a huge triumphal arch, whose height is 26 m, its width is 11 m, and its length is 66 m. on 6 supports, consisting of 12 paired Doric columns. The monument itself was built of stone blocks lined with fine sandstone. During the last reconstruction, conducted in 2002, residents of the German capital were offered to choose the shade of the main city attraction on their own. As a result of the vote, the victory was white, so now the building looks exactly the same as at the time of its opening.
Between the supports of the arch there are 5 passages, in the niches of which are sculptures of ancient Greek gods, embodying the glory and prosperity of not only the country itself, but also its ruler. The widest of them is the middle one – it was originally intended for tuples belonging to the crowned guests and rulers of Berlin. As for ordinary people, they could use only narrower side crossings, and even then not always.
On the ceiling of the monument, decorated with engravings and reliefs with an allegorical meaning, a 6-meter sculptural composition is installed, which depicts a chariot drawn by four horses and the Roman goddess of peace Eiren. The entire sculptural composition is directed to the east, so it is often used instead of a compass. And also by the location of the Brandenburg Gate in Germany, one can easily judge the growth and expansion of Berlin. At the time of opening, the arch was part of the fortress wall surrounding the city – now it is located in the heart of the German capital.
The history of the Brandenburg Gate, which is also called the Gate of the World, began in 1788. Their appearance on the tourist map of Berlin, they are obliged to Emperor Frederick Wilhelm II of Prussia, who wished to decorate the approach to the Linden Alley and the Royal Castle. The prototype for the first significant work done in the style of Berlin classicism was the Propylaea of the Greek Acropolis. And you know, the Berlin building is not inferior to them either in beauty, or in monumentality, and even less in historical value, because over the more than 200-year history of its existence, it managed to witness a number of tragic events that fell to the lot of the country.
The best architects of Germany then worked on the creation of the triumphal arch. The result of their work was a monumental structure that conquered Napoleon himself. Having captured Berlin during the Franco-Prussian war, he not only left the gates safe and sound, but also ordered the soldiers to dismantle the quadriga and transport them to Paris. However, the French capital did not enjoy the most beautiful part of the World’s Gate for a short while – having defeated Napoleonic France, the German authorities returned the chariot to Berlin. By the way, it was after those events that the goddess of the world changed not only her name, but also the vestments. So Victoria appeared on the site of Eirena, whose head was decorated with an oak wreath, and in her hand rested an iron cross, which became a symbol of victory over the French invader.
And this is far from the only case. This building can be without exaggeration called the most lucky architectural monument of the country. The fact is that the history of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin could end in the middle of the 18th century, when this city not only became the capital of Prussia, but also significantly expanded its territory. Then the old walls and other fortifications were completely demolished, and of the 18 entrance gates through which you could get into the city, only these survived.
The next difficult test, which befell the triumphal arch, was the Second World War. During numerous air bombardments, she received serious damage, and the unique quadriga with the goddess Victoria was completely destroyed. Then, in its place, the USSR flag was set, which developed over Paris Square until 1957. Despite the deplorable state, the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Berlin, managed to survive in this confrontation, and at the end of the war were restored using preserved casts and drawings. Then the masters managed to restore not only the arch itself, but also the long-suffering chariot, together with the goddess controlling it.
However, the disasters of this historical monument do not end there. On August 13, 1961, the famous wall that divided Berlin into 2 separate parts closed the passage through them. For almost 30 years, the Gates of the World were hidden from prying eyes and only in November 1989 they again appeared “at the court of the public.” True, on New Year’s Eve, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the inhabitants of the German capital so violently expressed their joy at the unification of the nation that they harmed the quadriga. The next restoration of the sculptural group took a whole year, at the end of which it was once again installed in its rightful place.
Brandenburg Gate today
Today, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is almost the most popular local attraction. In the square in front of them is always very crowded, and every tourist who has been here has a selfie against the background of the main symbol of the German capital. Moreover, this place was very fond of street actors, souvenir sellers and musicians making a walk along the pedestrian area of Paris Square even more enjoyable. Among other things, in front of the triumphal arch you can see horse-drawn carriages offering to plunge into the atmosphere of antiquity.
If you look closely at the photo of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, you will surely notice a small extension located at the north wing. Previously, a guard was located in it, now the Hall of Silence is equipped, in which grave silence reigns. Having come to this room, local people like to reflect on the lessons that history has taught them. Entrance to the hall is free.
And one more tip – be sure to come to the gate after sunset. In the evening, they are illuminated by a modern and well-designed illumination, which gives the surrounding space a completely different look. It seems that the columns and the chariot soar in the sky and slowly move in the approaching twilight. Also, laser and light shows are often held here, gathering huge crowds of spectators.
Knowing where the Brandenburg Gate is located and what difficulties have befallen them, you will surely want to see everything with your own eyes. However, for starters, do not forget to familiarize yourself with the tips of those travelers who are already lucky enough to visit this famous architectural monument:
- Tourists who decide to drive to the main symbol of Berlin by personal or rented transport will have to spend a lot of time searching for a parking lot. In this area there are practically none;
- Despite the fact that there are several pedestrian zones near the Arc de Triomphe, one should be careful – cyclists scurry around here and there;
- Concerts, gala processions, performances and other celebrations are regularly held on Paris Square. If you are in Berlin during such festivities, come – you will not regret it. Berliners still recall the performances of Scorpions and the Rostropovich Orchestra, organized on the anniversary of the reunification of Germany;
- For those who prefer peace and solitude, we recommend that you look here in the early morning – at this time at the gate the least crowded;
- When strolling through the square in front of the Gate of the World, do not forget to visit other important sights located in the immediate vicinity of this place. We are talking about Tiergarten Park, the Reichstag, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the Holocaust Memorial, Museum Island and the legendary Linden Alley (Unter Den Linden Boulevard), which extends to the main royal residence;
- Near the gate there are various cafes, restaurants and hotels – all for the convenience of tourists;
- You can get here by bus, taxi, subway or train;
- The south wing of the arch houses the Berlin Information Center. Here you can find out about the sights of the city and buy tickets for cultural and holiday events.
Despite the fact that in Berlin you can easily find many other attractions, the Brandenburg Gate remains the most important and, perhaps, the most recognizable architectural monument of this city.
Video: One-day tour of Berlin’s main attractions.