The Brandenburg Gate is a military monument that has come to symbolize peace and unity. Here are a few facts about the iconic monument that you probably won’t know.
It’s one of the most iconic scenes of recent German history: Hundreds of thousands of people celebrating before the Brandenburg Gate as the Berlin Wall fell on November 9th 1989.
The Gate has now come to represent German unity and freedom since the end of the Cold War and divided country.
Not only is it “a symbol of the German-German divide”, but it also “stands for the reunification” of East and West Germany in 1990. Despite being heavily damaged in the Second World War, the Gate has withstood the test of time.
Today, people from all over the world link the Brandenburg Gate with freedom, tolerance and cosmopolitanism
But there is far more to the famous landmark than initially meets the eye.
Here are a few facts that you probably didn’t know about the Brandenburg Gate.
1. August 6th 1791 – that’s when the Gate was opened, after having been commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II. The Gate was erected not as a political symbol, but instead for a rather more simple reason – to mark the end of the boulevard Unter den Linden.
2. The Propylaeum of Athens’ Acropolis – that’s what the gate was modelled on.
3. 1806 – that’s when the Quadriga (the sculpture of the horse-drawn chariot on the top of the Gate) was stolen by Napoleon’s soldiers and taken back to France as a victory trophy. But after Napoleon was defeated, the Quadriga was returned to Berlin.
4. January 30th 1933 – that’s when the Nazis held a torchlit procession through the Gate to celebrate Hitler’s seizure of power.
5. 1945 until 1957 – that’s when the Soviet flag was flown on the top of the Gate. However, the flag was ripped down during the peaceful protests on June 17th 1953, when demonstrators protested against the political and economic conditions in the GDR.
6. June 12th 1987 – that’s when the then-US President Ronald Reagan made his rousing speech before the Gate, exclaiming, “As long as this gate is closed […] it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind […] Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”.
7. December 1989 – that’s when the Gate was opened as a border crossing by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and East German Premier Hans Modrow.
8. 2000 until 2002 – that’s when the Gate was renovated by Berlin’s Foundation for the Protection of Monuments, costing a massive 6 million Euros.
9. 4000 – that’s the number of counter-demonstrators who gathered to prevent 300 supporters of the anti-Islam group Pegida from marching from the city hall to the Gate on January 5th 2015. In addition, all the lights at the Gate were switched off.
10. 26 metres – that’s the height of the the Gate, which is made up of six Doric columns on either side, supporting a transverse beam 11 metres deep. There are five walkways through the gate.
11. 130,000 – that’s the number of people who gathered at the Gate following the attacks on an Orlando gay club last year. The Gate was lit up in rainbow colours to commemorate the 49 victims.
12. The luxury Adlon Hotel, the French and the US embassies – those are the buildings which surround the Gate, in its prime location at Pariser Platz, otherwise known as Berlin’s “gute Stube” (“best room”).
13. The Märkisches Museum in Berlin – that’s where you can see the horse’s head from the Quadriga sculpture.
14. About a million – that’s the number of people who flock to the Gate every year for its famous New Year’s Eve party, complete with music and fireworks.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882
And I behold once more
My old familiar haunts; here the blue river,
The same blue wonder that my infant eye
Admired, sage doubting whence the traveller came,—
Whence brought his sunny bubbles ere he washed
The fragrant flag-roots in my father’s fields,
And where thereafter in the world he went.
Look, here he is, unaltered, save that now
He hath broke his banks and flooded all the vales
With his redundant waves.
Here is the rock where, yet a simple child,
I caught with bended pin my earliest fish,
Much triumphing, —and these the fields
Over whose flowers I chased the butterfly,
A blooming hunter of a fairy fine.
And hark! where overhead the ancient crows
Hold their sour conversation in the sky:—
These are the same, but I am not the same,
But wiser than I was, and wise enough
Not to regret the changes, tho’ they cost
Me many a sigh. Oh, call not Nature dumb;
These trees and stones are audible to me,
These idle flowers, that tremble in the wind,
I understand their faery syllables,
And all their sad significance. The wind,
That rustles down the well-known forest road—
It hath a sound more eloquent than speech.
The stream, the trees, the grass, the sighing wind,
All of them utter sounds of ’monishment
And grave parental love.
They are not of our race, they seem to say,
And yet have knowledge of our moral race,
And somewhat of majestic sympathy,
Something of pity for the puny clay,
That holds and boasts the immeasurable mind.
I feel as I were welcome to these trees
After long months of weary wandering,
Acknowledged by their hospitable boughs;
They know me as their son, for side by side,
They were coeval with my ancestors,
Adorned with them my country’s primitive times,
And soon may give my dust their funeral shade.
By Robert Frost
March 7, 1923
A winter Eden in an alder swamp
Where conies now come out to sun and romp,
As near a paradise as it can be
And not melt snow or start a dormant tree.
It lifts existence on a plane of snow
One level higher than the earth below,
One level nearer heaven overhead
And last year’s berries shining scarlet red.
It lifts a gaunt luxuriating beast
Where he can stretch and hold his highest feast
On some wild apple tree’s young tender bark,
What well may prove the years’ high girdle mark.
Pairing in all known paradises ends:
Here loveless birds now flock as winter friends,
Content with bud inspecting. They presume
To say which buds are leaf and which are bloom.
A feather hammer gives a double knock.
This Eden day is done at two o’clock.
An hour of winter day might seem too short
To make it worth life’s while to wake and sport.
In the winter forest
The trees move in the Winter Forest,
They sway with the gental breeze.
Naked as the leaves fall to the ground,
And the water will slowly freeze.
The forest casts shadows on the snowy grounds,
As the light of a thousand stars shine through.
The angels dance and sing in the snow,
As the sky turns to a midnight blue.
One angel sings of the moon and stars,
Another sings of the sun.
They play in the trees and howl with the wind,
Their wings glistening as through the forest they gracefully run.
By day the Winter Forest is quiet and peaceful,
But by night it’s alive with games and song.
The angels, fairies, moon and stars,
Beckon you to come along.
Join in with their dance in praise of the night,
Run with the wolves fast and free.
When the sun comes up they will say goodnight,
Silent again the Winter Forest will be!
I have spent many years now living in the Irish countryside , so I just loved being in Berlin! the train system is just amazing, you never have to wait more than ten minutes before the next train arrives 🙂 , you can get a weekly ticket and train hop all day.
The Berlin Stadtbahn was the most fun as it sits above the city streets and offers amazing views ….
History and details
The Berlin Stadtbahn (“city railway”) is a major railway thoroughfare in the German capital Berlin, which runs through Berlin from east to west. It connects the eastern district of Friedrichshain with Charlottenburg in the west via 11 intermediate stations including Hauptbahnhof. The Berlin Stadtbahn is often also defined as the slightly longer route between Ostkreuz and Westkreuz, although this is not technically correct.
The windmill at Sanssouci, Potsdam is simply one of the best restored windmills in Germany, Potsdam was the home of the Prussian royal family and as such this windmill like many of the buildings located in and around the city are nothing other than the best of examples in German, even the world, architecture.
History of the Wind Mill
In 1736 the soldier king, Frederick William I of Prussia, gave permission for the construction of a windmill, which was started in 1737. This first windmill, completed in 1738, was a post mill, whose entire superstructure, supported on a wooden post, was turned “into the wind” depending on the wind direction. The first mill and actual Historic Mill was thus older than the nearby summer palace, built in the years 1745 to 1747 for Frederick the Great.
The legend of the Miller of Sanssouci
The legend of the Miller of Sanssouci first appeared in 1787 in a French book about the life of Frederick the Great (Vie de Frédéric II by an anonymous author) and in a watered-down form one year later in Germany.
The legend goes that Frederick the Great was being disturbed by the clatter of the mill sails and offered to buy the mill from its miller, Johann William Grävenitz. When he refused, the king is supposed to have threatened: “Does he not know that I can take the mill away from him by virtue of my royal power without paying one groschen for it?” Whereupon the miller is supposed to have replied: “Of course, your majesty, your majesty could easily do that, if – begging your pardon – it were not for the Supreme Court in Berlin.”
The mill in June 2009
This is only a legend. According to Frederick the Great the mill underscored the rural character of his summer palace and said “that, … the mill is an ornament for the palace.” The miller was reportedly a difficult man, who cheated the local farmers over their flour and constantly pestered the king with petitions. At least one of these petitions was heard by Frederick II. Grävenitz pointed to the fact that, as a result of the construction of the palace, the post mill no longer stood in the open, but was partly shielded from the wind. So he demanded that the king let him build the mill in another site and to pay him for it. Frederick II acceded to this, with the result that, shortly thereafter, the wily Grävenitz was the proud possessor of two mills thanks to the king’s grace, until he eventually resold the old mill.
View from the Erlöser Church
In 1768 there was a legal dispute at another location over water rights and the remaining lease between Christian Arnold, the tenant of a mill in Pommerzig in the Neumark, and his landlord, the Count of Schmettau. After the miller was found guilty on two accounts, he appealed to Frederick the Great, who intervened in the ongoing proceedings in favour of the miller. Wrongly, as it turned out later. The king referred the case to the Berlin Court of Appeal, who once again ruled against the miller. Frederick the Great, then demanded a condemnation of the judges and their imprisonment in Spandau Citadel for their unjust judgments and thus precipitated an abuse of his name.
This legal battle and the story of the Sanssouci miller were woven together in the legend and were intended to emphasize the king’s justice towards all his subjects. After the death of Frederick the Great, the case was reopened. His nephew and successor, Frederick William II decided in a compromise that “… the Miller Arnold case … should be viewed as the consequence of a mistake, whereby the praiseworthy judicial zeal of our royal uncle, who rests in God, was misled by incomplete, inadequate reporting of the true situation by badly informed and preoccupied [biased] people.”
In the years that followed there continued to be disputes between the reigning kings and the millers for different reasons.
The Federal Chancellery (German: Bundeskanzleramt) in Berlin is the official seat and residence of the Chancellor of Germany as well as their executive office, the German Chancellery. As part of the move of the German Federal Government from Bonn to Berlin, the office moved into the new building planned by the architects Axel Schultes [de] and Charlotte Frank. The building is part of the ″Federal Belt″ (Band des Bundes [de]) called assembly in the Spreebogen [de], Willy-Brandt-Straße 1, 10557 Berlin. more……
One of the most moving things about a visit to Berlin is just how many public locations have been dedicated to the unavoidable history of Germany. Memorials to the victims of the first and second world wars along with the cold war are located all around the city and they are free to visit and open to all.
Germany is not hiding from its past or running away from it, they welcome both inquiry and then knowledge!
It is a true credit to newer generations that they have made sure that so many victims of what was only a selective group of German people, are remembered into the future in this way.
The Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims is located just across the road from the Reichstag building, the German government buildings. It is peaceful place erected in 2012. When you enter the garden you are greeted by musical tones playing from the trees around you, this experience allows you time to stop and remember so many souls that were removed from life , rejected as people not wanted, not perfect and killed for just being from a different social background,location or belief.
The establishment of a permanent memorial to Sinti and Roma victims of the Nazi regime was a long-standing demand of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma and the German Sinti Alliance. In 1992 the Federal Government agreed to build a monument but the memorial faced years of delay and disputes over its design and location.
The city of Berlin initially wanted to place it in the less prominent district of Marzahn, where hundreds of Roma and Sinti were held in terrible conditions from 1936. In 2001 it was agreed to site it in the Tiergarten close to other Holocaust memorials but work did not officially commence until 19 December 2008, the commemoration day for victims of the Porajmos. The memorial was completed at a cost of 2.8 million euros and unveiled by Angela Merkel on 24 October 2012.