The Brandenburg Gate looms over the ornamental gardens of Pariser Platz, from which the grand leafy boulevard Unter den Linden, or “beneath the lime trees”, runs east. The trees line its central island and the first saplings were planted by Friedrich Wilhelm, the Great Elector, in the seventeenth century, to mark the route from his palace to the hunting grounds in the Tiergarten. It gradually became the main thoroughfare of Imperial Berlin and site of many foreign embassies, yet after the war and until 1989 the western extremity of Unter den Linden led nowhere and, lined by infrequently visited embassies, the street had a strangely empty and decorative feel. Today the boulevard bustles with shops and cafés, though their presence is relatively muted.

 

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