From Bradenburg Gate in Germany to the Arc de Triomphe in France, there are several historically significant gates across the world that are worth visiting for their grandeur and unique architecture. These gates are largely in the form of entrances or arches and are often built to commemorate a historical event, celebration, victory or individual. Here is a look at some such iconic gates and arches.
Brandenburg Gate (Berlin, Germany)
Built between 1788 and 1791, this is the city’s first Greek revival building and a national symbol of peace and unity. The sandstone structure, supported by two rows of six Doric columns, withstood bombings during World War II. The site has since come to symbolize Berlin’s division into East and West during the Cold War and its subsequent reunification.
Gateway of India (Mumbai, India)
Built during the 20th century in erstwhile Bombay, the iconic structure was erected to honor the landing of England’s King George V and Queen Mary on their visit to the country in 1911. The structure overlooks the Arabian Sea and is located on the waterfront at Apollo Bunder.
Arc de Triomphe (Paris, France)
The world-famous triumphal arch was built between 1806 and 1836 in honor of those who fought for the country, particularly during the Napoleonic wars. The Arc de Triomphe is located at the heart of the Place Charles de Gaulle, also known as “Place de l’Étoile, at the end of the Champs-Élysées avenue.
Meridian Gate (Beijing, China)
Called Wumen in Chinese, this gate is one of the four doors to the Forbidden City and the only one currently operational. Built between 1407 and 1420, the gate comprises a superstructure consisting of five arches, known as the “Five-Phoenix Turrets” because when viewed together they look like a flying phoenix. During the imperial era, the structure served as the location where the emperor reviewed his troops. Besides that, a host of special ceremonies and festivals were also held here.
Arch of Constantine (Rome, Italy)
The structure was constructed in 315 A.D. to celebrate Roman emperor Constantine’s victory over Maxentius in 312 A.D. Located between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill, it is made of gray and white Proconnesian marble and consists of three separate arches.
Puerta de Alcalá (Madrid, Spain)
The neo-classical triumphal arch was built under the orders of King Charles III in 1778 and once served as a city gate. The first of its kind to be built after the fall of the Roman Empire, the monumental granite structure consists of five arches and is situated next to El Retiro Park in the center of Plaza de la Independencia.
Washington Square Arch (New York City, New York, US)
The iconic marble structure was erected in 1892 to replace a wooden arch constructed in 1889. It was originally built to honor the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as the first president of the country in New York. Located within the Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, it is a popular spot for tourists, all year round.
Rua Augusta Arch (Lisbon, Portugal)
The Rua Augusta Arch was built to mark the city’s recovery from the destruction caused by a devastating earthquake in 1755 and the construction was officially completed in 1875. The arch is supported by six columns featuring statues of important historical figures.
Cinquantenaire (Brussels, Belgium)
The structure consists of three arches and is part of the Jubelpark, which holds several celebrations and events through the year. It was constructed in 1880 to mark the country’s 50th independence anniversary. The two arms extending out from the arch house three museums.
Buland Darwaza (Fatehpur Sikri, India)
Built during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar in 1601 to commemorate his victory over Gujarat, Buland Darwaza (“Victory Gate” in English) is the highest gateway in the world, with 42 steps and a height of 175 feet (54 meters) from the ground up. The historical structure, built using red and buff sandstone and embellished with marble, serves as the entrance to the Jama Masjid mosque.
Patuxai (Vientiane, Laos)
This war monument was constructed between 1957 and 1968 with funds donated by the U.S. to build an airport. Patuxai, which translates to “Victory Gate” in English, was erected in memory of the Laotian soldiers who lost their lives in World War II and the independence war in 1949. It resembles the Arc de Triomphe and is often called the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane for the same reason.
Roosevelt Arch (Gardiner, Montana, US)
The stone structure dates back to 1903 and is located in the Yellowstone National Park, which was the first of its kind in America. The arch offers an entrance to the park from the north side. Its cornerstone was laid by the then-U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who had been vacationing in the park during the arch’s construction.
Arc de Triomf (Barcelona, Spain)
Built as the main gateway to Spain’s first international fair in Barcelona called Universal Exhibition in 1888, the structure serves as an important landmark of the city. The iconic red brick structure was designed by architect Josep Vilaseca.