The Brandenburg Gate is the only surviving city gate of Berlin and symbolizes the reunification of East and West Berlin. Built in the 18th century, the Brandenburg Gate is the entry to Unter den Linden, the prominent boulevard of linden trees which once led directly to the palace of the Prussian monarchs. It is regarded as one of the most famous landmarks in Europe.
The valuable gate of the history of war
Following Germany’s surrender and the end of the war, the governments of East Berlin and West Berlin restored it in a joint effort. The holes were patched, but were visible for many years following the war.
Vehicles and pedestrians could travel freely through the gate, located in East Berlin, until the Berlin Wall was built, 13 August 1961. Then one of the eight Berlin Wall crossings was opened on the eastern side of the gate, usually not open for East Berliners and East Germans, who from then on needed a hard-to-obtain exit visa. On 14 August, West Berliners gathered on the western side of the gate to demonstrate against the Berlin Wall, among them West Berlin’s governing Mayor Willy Brandt, who had spontaneously returned from a federal election campaigning tour in West Germany earlier on the same day.
On the eastern side, the “baby Wall”, drawn across the eastern end of Pariser Platz rendered it off limits to East Berliners, as well. The section of wall in front of the gate was built shorter and wider to protect it from a potential Western invasion in the event of a war breaking out between the two superpowers.