Brandenburg Gate

Nothing says “Berlin” quite like the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), long the city’s most defining monument and its answer to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Loosely modeled on the Acropolis in Athens and built for King Frederick Wilhelm II in 1791, this 26-meter-high sandstone monument in the Mitte district’s Pariser Platz was Berlin’s first Neoclassical structure, notable for its four-horse chariot, its six large columns on each side forming five passages for use by traffic (the center one reserved for royalty), and the two buildings used by toll-collectors and guards.

Brandenburg Gate continues to be of symbolic importance and has seen many famous visitors, including Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. It was also the scene of a poignant gesture when German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev, and Poland’s Lech Walesa walked through the gate in 1999 to commemorate the tearing down of the Berlin Wall 20 years earlier.