The famous Brandenburg Gate is one of the best known symbols of Berlin. The truth is that this monument has witnessed events of great importance for the history of Germany. For this reason, due to its beauty and its meaning, it is usually the starting point for any visit to the German capital.
Discover the mysteries of brandenburg gate
When referring to the Brandenburg Gate, we are talking about a really beautiful monument which has witnessed some of the turbulent changes that both the city and the country have undergone.
It was built in the time of King Frederick William II of Prussia, between 1788 and 1791. The architect was Carl Gotthard Langhans, who used elements of neoclassicism to tackle this construction.
It is 26 meters high by 65 meters long. It has five passage areas, which are separated by six columns made in the Doric style, with the central passage wider than the rest. If we get closer, we can discover a series of reliefs that represent mythological characters. We will observe Heracles, Mars or Minerva.
As a curiosity, until 1918 the central passage could only be crossed by the royal family, the Pfuel military family and their designated guests.
The story of the door crowning
It was 1794 when the decision was made to crown the monument with a statue placed in the center. Made by Gottfried Schadow, it is five meters high and is known as the Quadriga. It represents the goddess of Peace riding a chariot pulled by four horses and headed for the center of Berlin.
In 1806, after a Napoleonic parade to celebrate victory at the Battle of Jena, the French emperor took Berlin. As well, Napoleon decided to take the statue to be displayed as a symbol of triumphbeing deposited in the Louvre.
Eight years later, he made the decision to relocate the sculpture to its original location.. However, she now represented the goddess of Victory, not Peace. The change came by incorporating an iron cross designed by Schinkel with a laurel wreath and a Prussian eagle. The image that remained is what we can see in the XXI century.
A few years later, in 1867, two porticoes were built on both sides of the Brandenburg Gate that Johann Heinrich Strack created. They are smaller than the monument, but in the same decorative and architectural style. A short time later, the gate witnesses the triumph of the Prussian army over the French.
Hitler’s rise to power
When Hitler becomes the German head of state, the Brandenburg Gate witnessed another moment in historyboth from Germany and from the rest of the world. The mythical parades celebrating the rise to power.
Then came World War II. The monument was extensively damaged by the armed struggle at the siege in Berlin. This meant that the city had to see the monument in poor condition until 1956, when it was decided to rebuild it.
“War makes the victor stupid and the vanquished spiteful.”
The Berlin Wall
In 1961 it began to be built and it became one of the thirteen gates responsible for separating the two Germanys from each other. All this caused all the solemnity and grandeur of the monument to be forgotten.
This ended when the wall fell in 1989. The gate regained its splendor and is the only one that remains standing of those that were part of that wall. Today it is a symbol of the reunification of Germany.
New century, new reform
At the beginning of the century, more specifically in 2001, a new renovation of the monument took place. The idea was to polish and fix the damage that the passage of time had caused. In 2002 it was reopened on the occasion of the anniversary of reunification, which had occurred thirteen years earlier.
As you can see, today the German population has ensured that this outstanding monument continues to be its emblem and reminder of the past. It takes on special importance, given its role in recent and hectic centuries, both in the capital and in the rest of the country.
So you already know, if you visit Berlin, enjoy one of its greatest symbols. And not only from Germany, but also from the continent. Thus, at the same time, you know one of the main European capitals.