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.
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!
As an addition to my post on Sophie Scholl and the White rose movement , here is a link to the six documents (in English) that they publish and that in the end got them arrested!
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.
Yesterday I posted some images relating to the fantastic Jewish memorial in Berlin, I did not want to add any words to these images because I just wanted to and hoped that these images would share a feeling that I had walking and standing among the stones of this amazing public sculpture.
Today’s post is a little different, while In Berlin I came across the story of Sophie scholl and the body of Students of which she was a big part, called the “white rose“, Sophies’ story needs words, is all about words!. Words they, and she,this group used, words full of truth! yet by the simple act of using these words so many of these students including Sophie lost there lives!
If you want to try and understand what life was like under the Nazi dictatorship of the 1930’s and 1940’s, in Germany then you would be hard pushed to find any better example than the life story of Sophie scholl and the white rose movement, This was a group of German students who like many felt extremely disturbed and deeply saddened by the events they found happening around them and they simply wanted to express this feeling.
For the act of using their minds and voices to express what was a natural reaction, they lost their own lives. Sophie Scholl is one of the most famous of these student she was executed on 22 February 1943 (aged 21). She is just one individual among millions who lost their lives during the horrors, but I feel her story adds pure clarity to the events that she could not and would not tolerate unfolding around her!
How many of us today would be so brave?
“Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible crimes – crimes that infinity outdistance every human measure – reach the light of day”
It is an absolute tragedy and as Sophie herself said inhuman CRIME that someone who could and should have spent a lifetime adding to the world around herself, contributing to man kind! was killed by men who only held bitterness and discrimination of all kinds in their hearts.
I feel that by knowing more about human people like Sophie scholl, I understand the history of the Nazi’s much better, these men and women who formed their ranks embodied the very heart and soul of evil and bitterness, heartless discrimination of all kinds and not just racist discrimination but ones based of what they felt was a social right to be better than other humans based on nothing!
There is no-one better than anyone else, there is no position based on wealth, location of birth or physical standing that puts anyone higher in life than anyone else !! PERIOD!
I would like to declare myself a member of the “white rose” ! as I know if I lived Back then at 21 I would have wanted to join!
Sophie Scholl – an ANGLE in the darkness !!
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.