Berlin is an incredibly lively city with much to offer, but if you only have time to visit one sight, make it the Brandenburg Gate. Not only is it simply a beautiful sight aesthetically speaking, but it is also such an important historical and cultural symbol that one has to have visited it. It was originally commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace.
The monument used to be one of many gates through which one could enter Berlin; it is now the only one that has remained standing. The gate has five archways, of which only the outermost two could be used by citizens. The inner archways were reserved for members of the royal family. On top of the monument, there is a Quadriga, a chariot drawn by horses and driven by the goddess of victory. The gate’s design is in fact inspired by another famous European landmark. Indeed, it is quite similar in its architecture to the gateway to the Acropolis of Athens.
The gate was badly damaged in World War Two and subsequently, every effort was made by the government to restore it to its previous splendor. The gate also has political significance in that during times of the Berlin Wall, citizens could not travel freely through the Brandenburg gate. Once the wall fell, the gate became a symbol for the people’s will to live together and be united. The fall of the Berlin Wall has since often been celebrated publicly at or around the Brandenburg Gate. The gate is now considered one of the most important European landmarks, which is why everyone should have seen it at least once in their lives.
If you have little time, cheap weekend flights to Berlin are readily available with low-cost airlines. In case you are in very much of a hurry, you might want to visit only the Brandenburg gate and the city centre, but given the cultural riches of Berlin, that would be a shame. If you can spare the time, go visit at least one of the 153 museums that Berlin has to offer, or immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife of the city even for just a few hours. Even better, if you can take off more than a couple of days, it can only be recommended that you visit Potsdam as well as Berlin. Potsdam is some 15 miles southwest from Berlin and it is home to the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, which are so magnificent they are often said to be Germany’s very own Versailles, even though it is a lot smaller.