For those wishing to understand Berlin’s rich history, few sights are as important as the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
Commissioned by King Wilhelm II and completed over three years (1788-91), it formerly made up one of eighteen gates spread throughout Berlin, the rest of which have since been lost. Today, the monument stands before Berlin’s international embassies and comes with an appropriately political past. Following his capture of Berlin, Napoleon removed the metal figure of winged victory and shipped it back to France (where it was later found still in its boxes after France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian war). The monument became a focal point of Nazi propaganda in the 1930s and suffered heavy bomb damage during the Second World War before its restoration in the 1950s. During the Cold War, the Gate became part of the wall that separated East from West and was the scene of multiple political protests and speeches, including Reagan’s ‘Tear Down This Wall’ address. When the wall eventually fell, the Gate was the scene of multiple reunification parties, and has since become one of Berlin’s best known visitor attractions.
The monument itself measures at an impressive 66 feet high and 213 feet wide, and is designed in the neo classical style, with twelve Doric columns and multiple reliefs of the Greek figure Heracles. It can be accessed by both metro and bus from the station that shares its name.
Address: Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin MITTE
Transport: 200 bus and Brandenburger Tor U bhan
Cost: Free Admission