Brandenburger Tor: symbol of reunited Berlin
The Brandenburger Tor at the end of Unter den Linden is the ultimate symbol of reunited Germany and Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Everybody remembers or has seen the crying people, standing on top of the Berlin Wall near Brandenburger Tor in November, 1989. After so many decades of being surrounded by the Berlin Wall the Brandenburger Tor became the ‘Tor’ to freedom again.
Between 1961-1989 the Berlin Wall surrounded the Brandenburger Tor. East Berlin was on one side – a couple of meters further was West Berlin. It was quite tragic, or even ironic, especially because the Brandenburger Tor had originally been the representation of triumph.
The oldest gate of Berlin was built in 1788. The Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm II gave orders to build the Brandenburger Tor after he defeated the Dutch Republic. On top of the 26 meter high gate are the spoils of war shown: the quadriga, a wagon with two wheels ad four horses.
Stealing the quadriga of Brandenburger Tor
The French emperor Napoleon stole the quadriga in 1806. It took Germany eight years to recover the quadriga in Paris and to safely return it to Berlin. Since then the goddess Victoria carries a staff with a Prussian eagle and an iron cross with a laurel wreath. Another funny fact: the goddess used to be naked, but Friedrich Wilhelm II didn’t like a naked lady on top, so he ordered her makers to give her clothes. Berliners call Victoria the Retourkutsche, because the goddess and her carriage (Kutsche in German) on top of the Brandenburger Tor became severely damaged during the Second World War. She had to be renovated a couple of times until she looked tiptop again. But that victory didn’t come easy. Those ladies who get a make over on tv are nothing compared to the slightly unfortunate Victoria. The people who had to climb on top of the Brandenburger Tor to fix the statue in 1926 were true heroes. Imagine the height. But Victoria triumphed in the end, at the end of 1989. It’s not difficult to imagine how happy the Germans were that the Berlin Wall fell, and that the hated piece of concrete no longer divided this gate of triumph.
At the 22nd of December 1989 the Brandenburger Tor was opened again. To commemorate the unification many important speeches are held at the Brandenburger Tor. For example American president Barrack Obama held his Berlin speech at the Brandenburger Tor. The 25 year fall of the Berlin Wall was also held at the gate. And the gate is represented at Germans 50 euro cent. But the Brandenburger Tor is also a good party place. During Silvester the biggest party’s are held here.
Nearby is Hotel Adlon, a hotel where a lot of celebrities stayed. It was also the spot where Michael Jackson dangled his newborn out of a window.
The slightly unfortunate Victoria and her horses had to repaired by Berlin craftsmen from time to time. As you can see, it’s not an easy task to climb on top of the Brandenburger Tor to make Victoria beautiful again.
Build after defeating Dutch Republic
Oldest Berlin gate
Quadriga taken by Napoleon (1806)
Former border West East Berlin
Berlin has a lot of landmarks to sightsee.
Read here where you can find the best cultural spots, where the best Berlin bars and restaurants are, the best Berlin shops and where you can still find the remains and best stories of the Berlin Wall.
The Fernsehturm is one of the most remarkable landmarks of Berlin. The tallest building of Berlin was the pride and joy of the East German government when it was erected in 1969. You can easily understand why. The cone with the large shining discoball is hard to miss and when you are in the top of the Fernsehturm you will have the greatest view on Berlin.
The Bundestag is the stage where democracy failed poorly and rose out of it’s ashes again, after the Cold War. When the Bundestag was built in 1894, democracy was on the verge of collapse. No one knew how to govern the country because there was hardly any experience with governing Germany. Now you can see where the German government is during a free tour.
Potsdamer Platz was the place to be before World War Two. The square was one of the main traffic hotspots of Europe. But during World War Two it was bombed to pieces and ended up in noman’s land. The Berlin Wall ran straight through this area. When the Berlin Wall fell, this area became Berlin’s pride and joy with the architecture of the Sony Center and Deutsche Bahn.