Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate has become the symbol of a reunified Berlin. The desolate area that Pa riser Plato was during the cold war, is now completely redeveloped and has regained much of its 19th century grandeur.
The Brandenburg Gate is situated at the end of Enter den Linden, a grand boulevard in Berlin. It was originally part of a wall surrounding Berlin and was the main entrance to the city. It is the only gate that remains of this former city wall.
The monumental gate was designed by Carl Gotthard and commissioned by Emperor Wilhelm II. The design of the gate, 65.5 meter wide and 28 meter tall was based on the Propylene, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens. It was constructed between 1778 and 1791 and replaced an older city gate. The decorations, including bas-relief scenes depicting Greek mythology took another four years to complete.
The quadriga of victory crowning the gate was built in 1793 by Johann Gottfried Schadow. The bronze quadriga is driven by the goddess of peace; originally the gate was a symbol of peace.
In 1806, during Berlin's occupation by France, Napoleon ordered the quadriga to be taken to Paris. After the Battle of Waterloo, the quadriga was triumphantly taken back to Berlin, and it was turned into a symbol of victory. At the same time the square near the gate was renamed Pariser Platz and the statue on the quadriga was now called Victoria, after the Roman goddess of Victory.
The gate, which by that time had become a symbol of Prussian militarism, was badly damaged during World War II. After the war and the division of Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate was right at the border between East and West Berlin, just inside the Russian sector.
In 1958 the gate was restored by East Berlin, while West Berlin funded the reconstruction of the quadriga.
After the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 which was built right near the Brandenburg Tor, the Pariser Platz, on the East-Berlin side, became completely desolate. The gate symbolized Germany's division. With the fall of the wall in 1989, people flocked to the reopened Brandenburg Gate to celebrate.
The monument was renovated again in 2001; it opened as good as new on October 3, 2002.
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