Heavily laden with historical association, the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), modelled on the entrance of Athens’ Acropolis, was built as a city-gate-cum-triumphal-arch in 1791 and soon became a symbol of German solidarity. In 1806 Napoleon marched under the arch and took home the Quadriga, the horse-drawn chariot that tops the gate. It was returned a few years later, and the revolutionaries of 1848 and 1918 met under its form, as did the Nazis with their torch-lit marches. The Berlin Wall placed the Gate in the East in a heavily guarded death-strip, and the opening of the border here just before Christmas 1989 symbolically re-created the historic east–west axis of the city.

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