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The Brandenburg Gate History Goes Back Until 1770

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The Brandenburger gate, landmark of Berlin and symbol of the German unit, was built from 1789 to 1791 by Carl Gotthard Langhans. Ten years after the 30 year war, in 1658 were begun to extend Berlin into a fortress. In the place of the today's Brandenburg Gate, a town-gate was established.

In the outgoing 18th century, the middle class won ever more influence. The king wished himself a willful conclusion of the road "Unter den Linden". In 1769, one presented a plan for the adornment of Berlin, which also showed a model of the new gate. But some years went up to the conversion of the plan. Only in 1788 began one with the outline of the old Brandenburg Gate.

Brandenburg Gate, 1770 [Photo: Verlag Gustav Grosser]
Brandenburg Gate, 1770

In contrast of the rulers following to him, the king underestimated however the historical meaning of the Brandenburg Gate and stayed away from the opening on August 6th, 1791. Neither a parade nor another opening celebration took place.

For the opening, the art objects and the Quadriga were still missed, but Schadow, Langhans, and the coppersmith Jury had already conceptions in 1789, how the Quadriga should look. Four years later, in the summer of 1793, the Quadriga was installed on the Brandenburg Gate.

However, it remained on the gate only few years. When the French troops invaded Berlin in October 1806, and marched through the Brandenburg Gate, the fate of the Quadriga was sealed. In December, Napoleon let the Quadriga decrease and remove on the water route to Paris. Only in April 1814, the Quadriga was returned again from Paris to Berlin, and had been set up on the Brandenburg Gate. Now however with a new Trophaee, the iron cross, crowned by the Prussian eagle.

Brandenburg Gate, 1930
Brandenburg Gate, 1930

Parades, marching-up, and demonstrations took place since then to feet of the Quadriga. Napoleon's troops marched at first through the gate, followed by the Aufstaendigen of the March revolution of 1848, and the troops of Prussia celebrated its triumphant advances. Hitler let 1933 the SA march through the gate from cause of the seizure of power.

In the last war days of May 1945, the Brandenburg Gate and Quadriga were destroyed. Berlin was divided in four sectors. The gate, now in the Soviet sector, became again fair its original function as a town-gate. It separated the British and Soviet sector, east and west. But still one could pass the gate.

In 1950, the relics of the Quadriga was removed at the instigation of the East-Berlin authorities and predominantly destroyed. In East-Berlin, one was still uncertain itself whether a new Quadriga should be built, or whether another symbol on the Brandenburg Gate should be enthroned. Fortunately, one decides for the Quadriga. But, the gypsum castings of the Quadriga was in West-Berlin, and between both quarters now a violent controversy inflamed about the repatriation of the gypsum castings to East-Berlin.

Brandenburg Gate surrounded by the Berlin Wall, 1969
Gate with Wall, 1969

The reconstruction of the gate was decided 1956 by the East-Berlin municipal authorities. The West-Berlin senate grants to 1957 the financing of the production of the Quadriga. In July 1958, the restoration of the Brandenburg Gate was terminated, and on August 1st and 2nd, the Quadriga had been built up on Pariser Platz.

In the night from second to third August, the Quadriga had become however against all arrangements secretly removed, had been templorarily stored in the Marstall in east Berlin. In a further night and nebula action on September 16th, the iron cross and the Prussian eagle had been removed. On September 27th, 1958, the Quadriga had then been installed without cross and eagle on the Brandenburg Gate.

Berlin and its Brandenburg Gate became free, 1989
Brandenburg Gate, 1989

All these scandals were harbingers of a by far larger mischief. On August 13th, 1961, when the sector boundary to West-Berlin had been closed, the gate had been closed one day later. The area around the Brandenburger gate had not become the restricted area. Driving through or strolling the gate was not possible any longer.

The gate remained closed nearly 30 years long. Only with the downfall of the wall in the night of November 9th to 10th, 1989, it opened the chance of the reopening of the gate. To 22.12.1989 it finally happened. At the "Brandenburger Tor" a border crossing had been opened, and within fewer months the wall disappeared.

Berlin Brandenburg Gate in 2004 [Photo Berlin Tourismus]
Brandenburg Gate, 2004

In the meantime, the buildings at Pariser Platz, destroyed in the war, were reconstructed again. From March 1998, to 2002, cars could drive through the gate. However, since 2002, the passage is closed for motorized vehicles. The bus No. 100, from "Bahnhof Zoo",  makes an elbow around the gate.

Today, a red line on the roadway in front of the Brandenburg Gate marks the former course of the border of the west wall.


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How to get to the Brandenburg Gate

S-Bahn (Suburban Railway) S 1, 2, 25
Exit: Unter den Linden
Bus Bus 100
Exit: Unter den Linden
Car / Taxi Car / Taxi
Destination: Platz der Republik
Note: You don't know the above signs? Here is an explanation.
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Germany Travel > Country > German Cities > Berlin > Brandenburg Gate