Brandenburg Gate © Ed Webster
The impressive and symbolic Brandenburg Gate that lay forlorn for so long in the no man's land behind the Berlin Wall, is now once again renovated and accessible, along with the newly reconstructed Pariser Platz that links the gate to the beautiful Unter den Linden Boulevard. The Brandenburg is Berlin's only remaining city gate, built of sandstone between 1788 and 1791, with 12 Doric columns according to a design by C.G. Langhans. Six columns support a 36-foot (11m) transverse beam, similar to the propylaeum of the Acropolis in Athens; the massive gate is topped with a stunning statue of the Goddess of Victory facing east towards the city centre, which was added in 1794. The gate is closed to traffic, as is the adjacent Pariser Platz, a gracious square that was once surrounded with beautiful buildings sadly destroyed in the Second World War. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall new buildings have been built, however, to designs closely following those of the originals.
It is easy to hire a guide for the area and it is worthwhile because the Brandenburg Gate has an intriguing history and a special place in the German culture and hearing about its significance and past from a local greatly enriches the visit.