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The Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate

This Neoclassical structure is one of the best-known landmarks of Berlin and Germany.

Visual Arts


Brandenburg, Langhans, Berlin, classicist, Classicism, gate, Frederick William II, peace, symbol, Germany, architecture, edifice

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Brandenburg Gate

  • gate - The design is based on the Propylaea, the gateway of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. It was originally named the Gate of Peace.
  • statue - It depicts Victoria, the goddess of victory, on a chariot drawn by four horses. The 5-metre-tall statue that adorns the top of the Brandenburg Gate was designed by Johann Gottfried Schadow. The figure originally depicted the goddess of peace.
  • gatehouses - The Brandenburg Gate was one of many gates within the Berlin Customs Wall. In the gatehouses today there are sculptures of the gods Mars and Minerva.
  • columned halls - Originally there were gatehouses on both sides of the Gate for customs and excise officers. After becoming obsolete, they were replaced by open, columned halls by Heinrich Strack, matching the style of the of the Gate itself.

Close-up view

  • passageways - The pillars of the Brandenburg Gate form five passageways. The central passageway is wider than the other four; it was designed for royal carriages. The ones at both sides were used by pedestrians.
  • columns - The Brandenburg Gate is supported by twelve 15-metre-high Doric columns. The columns have a diameter of 1.75 metres at the base. Interestingly, the column shafts are fluted in Ionic style.
  • attic - An architectural element typical of Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture; a low wall above the cornice of a classical façade. It is decorated with reliefs depicting the triumphal procession of Eirene, the goddess of peace.
  • statue - It depicts Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, on a chariot drawn by four horses. The 5-metre-tall statue that adorns the top of the Brandenburg Gate was designed by Johann Gottfried Schadow. The figure originally depicted Eirene, the goddess of peace.
  • reliefs - The inner surfaces of the archways are decorated with reliefs showing, among other things, the deeds of Hercules.


  • Victoria - The winged goddess of victory, known as Nike in Greek mythology and Victoria in Roman mythology.
  • quadriga - An ancient war chariot drawn by four horses. The goddess of victory is depicted riding into the city and bringing peace.
  • Iron Cross - This symbol originates from the cross symbol of the Medieval Teutonic Order which was founded in 1190; it was also the emblem of Prussian king Frederick the Great. In the Kingdom of Prussia, it was one of the highest military decorations, established by King Frederick William III in 1813. Today it is used as the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the modern German armed forces. The goddess originally carried an olive wreath, the symbol of peace, which was later replaced by an Iron Cross surrounded by an oak wreath, with a Prussian eagle sitting on it, in order to emphasise the new role of the Brandenburg Gate as a Prussian triumphal arch.
  • Prussian eagle - The eagle had traditionally symbolised courage, strength and immortality. It was also considered to be the 'king of the skies' and messenger of the gods. It became a symbol of power and strength in ancient Rome, where it was associated with Jupiter, while in Greek mythology to Zeus, and in Germanic mythology with Odin. It was one of the military and royal symbols of the Roman Empire, then of the Frankish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. Its importance further increased in the Kingdom of Prussia. Today it is featured on the coat of arms of Germany.



The Brandenburg Gate is located in Berlin, the capital of Germany. It was commissioned by Prussian King Frederick William II. The gate was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans and built between 1788 and 1791.

The Neoclassical design of the gate is based on the Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. It was built from sandstone. The gate is supported by twelve Doric columns that form five openings. The interior of the openings and the attic adorning the top of the gate were decorated with reliefs.

The central piece of the structure is the statue placed above the attic. This 5-metre-tall statue depicts Victoria, the winged goddess of victory on a chariot drawn by four horses, called a quadriga.

Today, the Brandenburg Gate is one of the most important landmarks in Berlin and Germany. It has witnessed numerous historic events – historic both for Europe and the entire world.

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