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Key attraction information

Erected: 1788-1791

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The Brandenburg Gate was erected between 1788 and 1791. Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm II wanted an architectural element to enhance the entry into the Boulevard Unter den Linden. The Quadriga, a sculpture representing the Goddess of Victory was erected on the Gate in 1793. 

Langhans designed the Brandenburg Gate in the style of the ancient city gate of Athens. The Prussian King had it built in remembrance of the wars and peace treaties of his predecessor, Friedrich II, known as Frederick the Great.

After the wars of unification in 1864, 1866 and 1871 the troops marched into Berlin through this gate. Until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II only the imperial family and their guests were allowed to use the middle gate entrance. On 30 January 1933 the National Socialists marched through the gate in a torchlight procession of the SA to mark the occasion of taking over power.

During the attacks on Berlin in April 1945 the quadriga was seriously damaged. It wasn’t until 1957 that a copy based on old plaster casts could be placed on top of the gate again. In August 1958 the Prussian Eagle and the Iron Cross were removed by the SED as an “emblem of Prussian militarism”.

After 13 August 1961 the gate was within the restricted area of the Berlin Wall along the sector border between East and West. The Brandenburg Gate thus became a symbol of the division of Europe during the Cold War.

On 12 June 1987 US President Ronald Reagan spoke his legendary words during a ceremony at the gate: “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Two years later the peaceful revolution began in the GDR. One result was the overrunning of the border crossings into Berlin/West on 9 November 1989. On 22 December 1989 the SED regime, in the presence of Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and 100, 000 onlookers, had to open the Brandenburg Gate again.

After 1990 it became a symbol of reunited Germany.

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