Brandenburg Gate (in German- Brandenburger Tor) being a symbol of the capital of Germany remains its most visited sightseeing must and just a beautiful architectural and historical monument.
Year by year the number of tourists visiting the capital of Germany is increasing dramatically. And that dramatical number tells also on the visits to Brandenburg Gate which is undoubtedly one of the most popular and most recognizable tourist attractions in Berlin.
If you look up on your monitor you will also see that above the site Berlin Germany Fanclub is flowing a banner with the gates-one is the Brandenburg Gate and the other one is Ishtar Gate. We also wanted to be a bit poetic and hinting that Berlin has two very famous and historically significant gates.
When you come to the gate you might start to be concerned: Why is it in the center of Berlin? The natural thing for gates is to be an entrance. And how does it work to enter from the center? And if it is in Berlin why it is called Brandenburg Gate? So many questions...
Brandenburg Gate is relatively old, of course, not that old as Ishtar. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and built by Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 until 1791. When the gate was constructed Berlin was limited to the territory of the district called Mitte before the reunification. Nowadays Mitte is a bit bigger due to new districts which entered Mitte. When you hear Berlin Mitte, just know that in middle ages it was actually Berlin.
The modern Berlin, we all love and highly appreciate, at that time was represented by neighboring villages, towns and forests which Berlin successfully absorbed year by year slowly but surely. And such areas of Berlin as Pankow or Reinickendorf were towns and villages. Every such absorbed town or village had its own center with a church and an administrative building.
Now you can see those buildings also and you can guess that formerly they played more important roles in bureaucracy of the area.
Yyou can see that originally it was really a gate to Berlin from outside. Tiergarten was a forest where Royal family of Prussia liked to hunt or just to ride. The name Brandenburg was used because the gate was actually the starting point to the town called Brandenburg.
The gate was constructed as a city gate which was also necessary for fiscal demands which included taxation of the population which was conducted in a very simple but productive way-all who entered the city had to pay, of course, under some circumstances those who left the city could also pay.
Berlin Wall we all know has not been the only one in the history of Berlin. There was another wall which surrounded the city of Berlin and which had several gates with the same functions-Spandauer Tor, St. Georgen Tor, Stralauer Tor, Coepenicker Tor, Neues Tor, and Leipziger Tor.
You can imagine that Berlin was not that huge as it is now and it was effective way to fight against enemies whom in middle ages every respectable and rich country had more than enough. Later this way of defense was not more effective and the wall itself and the gates slowly disappeared. Just some fragments were left which are very carefully kept for the future generations and tourists.
The gates disappeared but the names still exist and some still have influence in the city place-name study.
Looking at the gate you can see twelve Doric columns, six from each side, forming five passageways. Inhabitants were allowed to move on the outermost two passageways. On the top of the gate you can see the famous Quadriga- a chariot drawn by four horses driven by Victoria who was the Roman goddess of victory.
The gate was constructed to emphasize peace and it was after the Thirty years war which was one of the most destructive wars in Europe.
After Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt in 1806, Napoleon ordered to take the Quadriga to Paris. Later on after Napoleon was defeated and Prussians were in Paris of course they wanted to return Quadriga to the original place i.e. on the top of Brandenburg Gate. Solely the Royal family was to pass the central archway as well as the Pfuel family and under special circumstances ambassadors of other powers. Such a situation lasted until 1919.
The Pfuel family achieved such an extraordinary priority due to the outstanding contribution of their family member General Ernst von Pfuel who played a key role during the war with Napoleon.
Nowadays no monarchy is in Germany. That is why all can use any way they want. When you are in Berlin and visiting Brandenburg Gate try to play a game- I am a monarch and use the central path walking to and fro. And then another turn- I am miserable ( as by Victor Hugo) and use outer ways.
May be you will feel the difference, may be not. But due to the noise and people around it will be difficult to concentrate. We love for instance to listen to Indian Peru music which sometimes you can hear in some corners of Berlin and especially at Brandenburg Gate.
Absolutely beautiful music of Peru and Brandenburg Gate at the background can influence the meditation process- impossible to do but who cares... Festival of nations and cultures just at the gate. It should also be mentioned that during the rule of fascists in Germany Brandenburg played a special role being a symbol of fascist party.
The Gate survived after the World War II but was damaged as the whole Berlin was in ruins in 1945 .
Hereby we used photos of a Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov who kindly permitted to use his works. He uses technique called perspective-matching photography or the fancier computational rephotography, which consists of precisely matching the points-of-view of vintage and modern photographs and exploring what happens where they merge.
To partially renovate the Gate the East and West Berlin had to cooperate. In some special circumstances they could reach agreements and do more or less ok with each other as in 1956. Of course, there were some discussions and argues of political understanding of some instances. But the main thing was that the Gate was no more damaged and looked more or less good.
After Berlin Wall was constructed and until Berlin Wall fell Brandenburg gate was a border. It became again a gate between two parts of Berlin. What a coincidence that the border between the sectors was put exactly on the gate! On October 3, 2002 during the twelfth anniversary of German Reunification celebration, the Brandenburg Gate was once again reopened after being renovated. New beautiful looks of Brandenburg gate was totally of 6 million dollars value.
Nowadays you can see the gate when things are about Berlin. For instance, New Year celebration each year with great salute which is usually shown world wide.
Looks like the gate will continue to be number one attraction in Berlin as nothing comparable from the point of view of history and architecture appeared in Berlin.