Why visit the Brandenburg Gate

This 18th century gate has been a witness to countless stories of Germany's dark history. One of the few buildings to survive WWII in tact, the Brandenburg Gate has played various political roles in German history. Originally a monument to peace, it soon became a tribute to Prussian and then Nazi power. When placed in the death strip separating East and West Germany, the Brandenburg Gate was a defining symbol of division. However, as the Wall fell, it came to epitomise reunification. The site of many historical events, the Brandenburg Gate is national symbol which unites Germany’s turbulent past and its peaceful achievements.

When visiting Berlin you have to visit Brandenburg Gate. I recomend you walk down the Unter den Linden, visiting other places along the way such as the Berliner Dom. Visited during the day sadly, I regret that we didn´t see it at night also when all lit up.

Emilia. T, 06 Nov 2012, Romania

The Brandenburg Gate is definitely worth a look. It's a mighty and commanding sight in a great location. It's a great starting point for further explorations to see the Reichstag and other key buildings, and is accessible really easily by its own U-Bahn station.

Emma G, 07 Sep 2012, England
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Guided tour

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On this leisurely 4 hour bike tour, you will cover many more of Berlin’s major attractions than on foot. With knowledgeable guides explaining the city’s diverse history, you will leave with a new understanding of the ‘kiez’.


Brandenburg Gate history

Construction of the Gate to Bring Peace

The Brandenburg Gate, also known as Brandenburger Tor, was built between 1788 and 1791 as the grandest of a series of 18 city gates.The gate was a monumental entry point to Unter Den Linden, the boulevard which formerly led to the Prussian city palace.

The Brandenburg Gate was crowned with the Quadriga, a chariot drawn by 4 horses driven by Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, ‘who brings peace’. Reliefs in the passages allude to the time of war and the subsequent period of reco...

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Construction of the Gate to Bring Peace

The Brandenburg Gate, also known as Brandenburger Tor, was built between 1788 and 1791 as the grandest of a series of 18 city gates.The gate was a monumental entry point to Unter Den Linden, the boulevard which formerly led to the Prussian city palace.

The Brandenburg Gate was crowned with the Quadriga, a chariot drawn by 4 horses driven by Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, ‘who brings peace’. Reliefs in the passages allude to the time of war and the subsequent period of reconstruction, during which Prussia became a center for trade, art and science.

While the design of the Berlin Brandenburg Gate has remained essentially unchanged since its conception, the peaceful symbolism has changed dramatically throughout German history.

The Quadriga’s Paris Trip

In 1806, Prussia was defeated by Napoleon, who used the Brandenburg Gate for a triumphant procession back to Paris, carrying away the Quadriga as trophy. After Napoleon’s defeat in 1814 and Prussian occupation of Pairs, the Quadriga was returned to Berlin. It was at this time, the peaceful oak wreath adorning Victoria’s staff was supplemented with a new symbol of Prussian power, the Iron Cross.

Imagery for Nazi Propaganda

When the Nazi Party ascended to power, the Brandenburg Gate was used extensively for Nazi propaganda, beginning with the torchlight parade by the Nazi Storm Troopers following Hitler's rise to power in 1993.

Brandenburg Gate Checkpoint and the Berlin Wall

Vehicles and pedestrians could travel freely through the Berlin Brandenburg Gate until 1961, when construction of the Berlin Wall began. One of the eight checkpoints was opened near the east side of the gate, however was barely used. Shortly after its establishment, West Berliners gathered at the Brandenburg Gate checkpoint to demonstrate against the Berlin Wall. Under the pretext of the demonstrations, the East closed the Brandenburg Gate checkpoint “until further notice”; a status that persisted until the fall of the wall.

The final concrete wall was erected as an arc just west of the Brandenburg Gate, cutting off access from West Berlin. On the eastern side, a ‘baby wall’ was constructed, rendering the area off limits. Thus, the Brandenburg Gate would lie in the death strip, isolated and inaccessible, for 30 years as a symbol of division.

The quadriga, almost entirely annihilated during the final battle for Berlin, was reproduced using the original forms, however the Iron Cross and Eagle were removed.

Role in Reunification

The gate began to play a central role in decrying a divided Berlin. It was at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, Ronald Reagan issued his now infamous command to “Tear down this wall”. The speech echoing West Berlin Mayor Richard von Weizsäcker’s words that “The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed”.

In November 1989, thousands gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Wall. One month later, the Brandenburg Gate was officially reopened when the West German Chancellor walked through the gate to be greeted by the East German Prime Minister, symbolizing freedom and unity.

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Opening hours

Always accessible

Time to visit

30 minutes

Transport

U55, S1, S2, S25 to Brandenburger Tor‎

Address

Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany