Brandenburg Gate, Germany


An enduring symbol of a nation

Expedition Overview
CyArk partnered with the Landesdenkmalamt Berlin and the Institute of Photogrammetry at the University of Stuttgart to scan Brandenburg Gate as well as the entire Pariser Platz in 2015 in preparation for Germany’s 25th anniversary of reunification. Using LiDAR technology and photogrammetry, the site was digitally recorded to complement a historical archive of documentation and conservation materials housed in Berlin's Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt (Senate House for Urban Development and Environment). The project was completed through the generous support of Iron Mountain. 
Introducing the Brandenburg Gate
For over 200 years, Brandenburg Gate has been an icon for a transforming German identity. Brandenburg Gate was commissioned by Prussian Emperor Frederick William II, to represent peace at the end of the 18th Century.  When Napoleon invaded Berlin in 1806, he sacked the bronze quadriga and took it back to Paris.  After Napoleon’s defeat, the quadriga was returned, with an added Iron Cross to commemorate the victory. The gate became a central symbol for the Nazi Party, only to become inaccessible for years to come after the demise of the Nazis and the division of Germany. It was walled off from both sides with concrete and barbed wire when Germany, and consequently, Berlin, was divided into two. However, with the fall of the German Democratic Republic, better known was East Germany, in 1989, the Brandenburg Gate has again become central in symbolizing a reunited country.
A Neoclassical Masterpiece
Completed in 1791 by architect Carl Gotthard Langhans and sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow,  Brandenburg Gate immediately became one of the most recognizable structures in Berlin. Langhans modeled the Brandenburg Gate on the Propylaea, the entrance gate to the Athenian Acropolis, which includes Doric columns, a capped pediment, and adjoining temples. In the small temple to the left of the Brandenburg Gate which once served as a guardhouse, there is a small statue of Mars, the Roman god of War, sheathing his sword, and thereby, bringing war to an end.
Symbolism on the Gate
Originally the bronze quadriga that crowns the gate was a depiction of Eirene, the goddess of peace. Her iconography included a scepter of leadership and a wreath of olive leaves. However, after the sculpture was captured by Napoleon and returned some years later, the goddess was refashioned. By placing the Iron Cross inside the wreath and topping it with the Prussian Black Eagle, the goddess no longer represented peace, but military victory. Although the iconography of the goddess statue changed from peace to victory not long after it was built, the relief sculptures on the Gate still reflect the original message of peace. The panel below the bronze quadriga depicts the goddess Eirene surrounded by the personifications of virtues such as Friendship, Joy, and Public Policy. 

Summary of Data Captured

This project resulted in the following data which is now freely available for non-commercial use.

Areas with LiDAR documentation are indicated in grey. Areas with photogrammetry are indicated in yellow.

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Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the following partners:

Landesdenkmalamt Berlin

Institute for Photogrammetry

Iron Mountain

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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