The Brandenburg Tor is the first tourist attraction I visited on my first day in Berlin. It’s an imposing neoclassical gate that appears conspicuously in almost every postcard in the city. Throughout its existence, the Brandenburg Gate bears witness to a tumultuous history of the city and country. And at the same time, it’s an eyewitness to the historical events of a unified European continent.
It was here in June 1987 when the US President Reagan declared his famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
There were only very few people when I arrived at the gate. The morning sun was just beginning to appear, and its rays peeked through the wide gaps. I was mesmerized by the play of lights and shadows as I looked up, admiring its magnificence. It reminded me of the chiaroscuro paintings of Caravaggio and Rembrandt.
Frederick William II of Prussia directed the construction of the Gate to symbolize peace.
As you can see, the gate has 12 doric pillars with five walkways to pass through.
Its gate’s structure also reminded me of the Acropolis in Athens.
Don’t just admire the Brandenburg Gate from afar.
Go near, look up, and investigate what those wee carved sculptures are.
You would be surprised to find its homo-erotic theme – at least to me ;). See the photo below to know what I mean. 😀
On top of the columns, you will find four horses pulling a chariot, a quadriga. The Goddess of Victory is riding the chariot and manning the horses.
Once you enter the gate, you find an array of shops and cafes. Sit in one of these cafes (or at Starbucks) and observe the locals and tourists go by.
Hostel / Hotel in Berlin
I stayed at Hostel a&o Berlin Hauptbahnhof, which is around 7 minutes walk to Berlin Train Terminal Station. You can book it via Booking, Expedia, and HostelWorld. The hostel was a convenient choice for me as I had an early train trip to Prague on my last day. The hostel is clean, and the rooms are quite spacious, too. They have a pool table, bicycle rental, luggage storage, a spacious lobby, a bar, and a souvenir shop. They’ve got a nice laundry room, too. If you’re a traveler who likes to walk, the Bundestag, Brandenburg Tor Gate, and Reichstag are just 30 minutes walk from the hostel. It’s a good value for money.