Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of the reunification of Germany. Pariser Platz, which was a desolate area at the time of the Cold War, has been completely rebuilt and has regained much of the 19th century grandeur.
The Brandenburg Gate is located at Unter den Linden, a major boulevard in Berlin. It was originally part of a wall around Berlin and was the main entrance to the city.
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It is the only port that still remains of this ancient rampart. The monumental gate was designed by Carl Gotthard at the request of Emperor Wilhelm II. The design of the gate, 65.5 meters wide and 28 meters high was based on the Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens. It was built between 1778 and 1791 and replaced an ancient city gate. Another four years were needed to complete decorations, including reliefs depicting events from Greek mythology.
The Quadriga of victory which crowned the gate was made in 1793 by Johann Gottfried Schadow. The bronze chariot is led by a peace goddess. Originally the Quadriga, as well as the whole gate, was a symbol of peace. In 1806, during the occupation of Berlin by the French, Napoleon took the Quadriga to Paris. After the Battle of Waterloo, the Quadriga was triumphantly brought back to Berlin and became a symbol of victory. That is also the time, when they named the area around the gate, the Pariser Platz. They also renamed the goddess on the chariot to Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory.
The gate, which had become a symbol of Prussian militarism, was heavily damaged during World War II. After the war and the division of Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate was just on the border between East and West Berlin, just inside the Russian sector. The gate was restored in 1958 by East Berlin, while West Berlin paid for the reconstruction of the Quadriga.
When the Berlin Wall was built right through the Brandenburg Gate in 1961, the gate became a symbol of the division of Germany. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the residents gathered in droves together at the reopened port to celebrate. In 2001 they started a thorough renovation of the monument, and it reopened as new on October 3, 2002.
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