Brandenburg Gate is an 18th century neoclassical triumphal arch in Berlin, one of the most well-known landmarks of Germany. The Brandenburg Gate is the national symbol of the country, and German history was made here – many different times.
The Brandenburg Gate gate is 26m (65 ft) high, 65.5 m (213 ft) wide and 11 m (36 ft) thick. Based on the Propylea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens, the Brandenburg Gate was the first Greek revival neo-classical structure in Berlin.
It is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstrabe, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. Having suffered considerable damage in World War II, the Brandenburg Gate was fully restored from 2000 to 2002 by the Stiftung Denkmalschutz Berlin.
The Gate was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans, the Court Superintendent of Buildings, and built between 1788 and 1791, replacing the earlier simple guard houses siding the original gate in the Customs Wall.
In the Napoleonic Wars in 1806, after the French forces defeated the Prussian army, Napoleon’s troops took the sculpture of the Quadriga to Paris as a war trophy. The Prussian army reclaimed it in 1814 with their victory over the French.
More than a hundred years later, the Nazis would use the Brandenburg Gate for their own means. In 1933, they marched through the gate in a martial torchlight parade, celebrating Hitler’s rise to power and introducing the darkest chapter of German history.
Following the Second World War the Brandenburg Gate found itself just inside the Soviet sector, putting it under control of the East Berlin government.
Between 1956 and 1957 the Gate was restored in an act of cooperation between both halves of the divided city. The Quadriga was also reproduced using the original forms, although East Berlin insisted on the removal of the Iron Cross and Eagle as symbols of militarism.
Napoleon, perhaps preoccupied with the crumbling of his recently established empire, appears to have forgotten about the statue, and it languished in storage until 1814, when Paris itself was captured by Prussian soldiers following Napoleon’s defeat.
The Quadriga was returned to Berlin and once again installed atop the Brandenburg Gate, this time with one change: As a symbol of Prussia’s military victory over France, an iron cross was added to the statue. The Gate consists of twelve Doric columns, six to each side, forming five passageways.
Citizens originally were allowed to use only the outermost two on each side. During 1990, the Quadriga was removed from the gate as part of renovation work carried out by the East German authorities following the fall of the wall in November 1989. Germany was officially reunified in October 1990.
After the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 which was built right near the Brandenburg Gate, the Pariser Platz, on the East-Berlin side, became completely desolate. The gate symbolized Germany’s division. With the fall of the wall in 1989, people flocked to the reopened Brandenburg Gate to celebrate.