The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most important landmarks in Germany and is very rich in history.

The almost 300-year-old city gate witnessed Napoleon’s victory and defeat, the strengthening of the Nazis, and the Berlin Wall ran right by it.
Nowadays, small demonstrations take place daily on Pariser Platz, the square in front of the Brandenburg Gate, where you can find the Adlon Hotel, the U.S. Embassy and, for example, a Starbucks.

After reading a book about the Brandenburg Gate, I recorded the most important data and facts for me about this unique city gate and the “Quadriga” located on it.

Most important things to know about Brandenburg Gate

  • The old Brandenburg Gate was built in 1734 under King Frederick Wlhelm I in simple baroque style.
  • In its first years it was a city gate of Brandenburg.

Why is the Brandenburg Gate so famous for Berlin? – It was the scene of many important historical incidents such as:

-1806 Napoleon’s entry
-Bismarck’s victory parades
-1918 November Revolution
-1933 Hitler came to power
-1945 End of the World War
-People’s Uprising in the GDR on June 17, 1953
-1961 Construction of the Berlin Wall
-1989 Reunification of East and West
-In the more than 200 years it was also a place for thousands of marches, celebrations, rallies and thus became a symbol of German history.

  • The Brandenburg Gate celebrated its 200th birthday in 1991.
  • C.G. Langhans constructed the new Brandenburg Gate by order of King Friedrich Wilhelm II with the words “… The location of the Brandenburg Gate is undoubtedly the most beautiful in the world, and in order to take advantage of this and to give the gate as much emphasis as possible, I have taken the city gate of Athens as a model for the construction of the new gate…”.
  • Its width x depth x height is 65,5x10x26m.
  • Most of the sculptural works were made according to the models of Schadow.
  • 20 reliefs with scenes from the Heracles legends, designed by Christian Bernhard Rode, can be found on the inner sides of the 5 passages (the middle one was formerly reserved for high dignitaries).
  • Also the crowning of the Br. gate, the quadriga made of copper, was designed by the sculptor Schadow.
  • In the afternoon of October 27, 1806 the emperor Napoleon passed through the gate. As a result, the approximately 170,000 Berliners had to provide quarters for the 60,000 French soldiers. A heavy burden.

On December 21, 1806, the Quadriga was brought to Paris on Napoleon’s orders.

  • After the successful Battle of the Nations, it reached Berlin again on June 8 on six horse-drawn carts and was placed on the gate on June 30. However, the goddess of victory now received an iron cross of copper in oak leaves in the right hand#
  • The square in front of the Brandenburg Gate used to be called “Quarré” because of its shape. The current name “Pariser Platz” was created in memory of the victory over Napoleon.
  • Since April 1, 1824 it is forbidden to put up posters or anything similar at the Br. gate.
  • “What a turn by God’s guidance” can be read on the Br. gate. The saying dates back to a telegram from Wilhelm I to his wife after the French were defeated at Sedan in 1870. It was placed in 1895 for the 25th anniversary of that battle.
  • In 1936 the Brandenburg Gate decorated the posters of the Olympic Games.
  • In the cold war it became the border between East u. West on the territory of the GDR.
  • The popular uprising of June 17, 1953 took place at the Br. gate workers invaded it and tore down the Red flag, burned it.
  • 1946/47 rumors circulated that the Brandeburg Gate should be torn down by the communists, this was fortunately denied on 17.11.1949.
  • The Quadriga, which we see today (the old was badly damaged), was after some Heckmeck between East and West only in 1958 newly cast and built.
  • It should be mentioned also the speech Reagans of 12.06.1987 before the gate, when he requested Gorbachev to tear down this wall.

On 22.12.1989 the Brandenburg Gate was reopened and again from both sides accessable.

If you can remember that it is about 230 years old, constructed by Langhans, that the Quadriga came to Paris under Napoleon and back again a few years later, that Reagan held his speech to Gorbvachev there in 1987 and that it was the border between East and West during the Cold War, you already know more than most Berliners!

Image gallery – Brandenburg Gate

Video: The Brandenburg Gate


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