Gates are those anecdotes of history that either prevent you from going in or coming out. Passing through a gateway may seem weird as it just feels like passing through a passage rather than some predominant body. Not everything that you pass by seems to be great but that’s the whole point to make it interesting. So, gates are made with a mindset of being decorative and at a large scale for the particular passage to look interesting just like being in heaven!! Being in heaven best describes the world waiting for us on the other side of the gateway. Don’t you think that the gateways of heaven need to be known to people for an unforgettable experience? Is it just me or is it you as well who somewhere believes that “HEAVEN” does exist and is eager to know what it looks like? Then why wait and not grab the opportunity to have a look at some of the marvellously designed gates for some of the great experiences. To your surprise, these gates are not just put anywhere where they feel like. They locate a gate only where they feel the connection of heaven being connected with the mother earth which simply means a gate that connects two different worlds of the same place that you have been living in for ages. Do you see how small little artefacts change your perception about living in the same city? So, gates are an important asset not only for the country but also for the people as it gives a soothing visual of the two different worlds. I wouldn’t be wrong if I said that it takes years for these gates to be built and be appreciated. A little recognition is wanted by everyone and is given by none. So, just by knowing some of them would I believe develop a certain interest and recognition hence giving an image to the city.
1. BRANDENBURG GATE, BERLIN
With a history of 200 years, the Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s most important monuments along with being a landmark and symbol for the country of Germany. Being a symbol of the divided city, it appealed to visitors who used to climb the observation platform to get a sight of the world behind the Iron Curtain which is a barrier separating East Berlin from the west, geographically and politically. It is a monument of the 18th-century neoclassical era which is constructed on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II. It was made on the site of a former city gate that denoted the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, which was once the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg. The gate acts as monumental access to Unter den Linden which is an avenue of linden trees that heads directly to the royal City Palace of the Prussian monarchs. The gate has 12 Doric columns, 6 on each side, making 5 passageways. Citizens were initially permitted to use only the outermost 2 on each side. Its design is centered on the Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, and is constant with Berlin’s history of architectural classicism. At the top of the gate is a sculpture made by Johann Gottfried Schadow which is a chariot dragged by 4 horses and steered by Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory.
2. GATEWAY OF INDIA, MUMBAI
In the early 20th century the Gateway of India was erected in the city of Mumbai, in the state of Maharashtra as an arch monument. It was initiated to memorialize the landing of King-Emperor George V and Queen-Empress Mary. After the formation, the gateway created a figurative ceremonial entrance to British India for significant colonial personnel. It has been called a symbol of “conquest and colonization” memorializing the legacy of the British colonial. It is situated on the waterfront at an angle which is opposite the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel and watches the Arabian Sea. The height of the gateway’s arch is 26 m with its central dome being 15 m in diameter. The use of yellow basalt and reinforced concrete can be seen in this monument. The stones were found locally while the perforated screens were collected from Gwalior. The face of the monument is towards Mumbai Harbour. There are 4 turrets on the building of the gateway with steps constructed behind the arch of the gateway leading to the Arabian Sea.
3. ARC DE TRIOMPHE, PARIS
The Arc de Triomphe is an exemplary symbol of the capital of France. Along with the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe stands as one of the main symbols of Paris. The Arc gives regards to those who fought and gave their lives for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, along with names of all French victories and generals engraved on its inner and outer surfaces. Below its vault rests the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. It was planned by Jean-François Chalgrin and took 30 years to construct. It was authorized by Napoleon in 1806 at the end of the battle of Austerlitz and instituted by King Louis-Philippe. The 2-century-old Arc de Triomphe has viewed the city’s most significant turning points which included Napoleon’s funeral on 15 December 1840, the World War I victory parade in 1919, and the Victory Day parade to rejoice at the end of World War II in 1944. Each of the 4 pillars denotes principal victories, such as the French resistance during the War of the Sixth Coalition in 1814, the Treaty of Paris in 1815, La Marseillaise, and the Treaty of Schonbrunn in 1810. Though this Roman-inspired arch doesn’t stay as high as the Eiffel Tower, its scenes are equally awe-inspiring. The meeting point of the city’s twelve avenues in the Place Charles de Gaulle is amongst one of the reasons to climb to the top of this Arc.
4. MERIDIAN GATE, BEIJING
The Meridian Gate or as it is called “Wumen”, is the southern and biggest gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. In comparison to the other gates of the Forbidden City, the Meridian Gate has 2 bulging arms on either side which come from ancient que towers which traditionally are used to beautify the main entrances of palaces, temples, and tombs. Chinese emperors assumed that they were the Sons of Heaven and so should exist at the center of the universe. They supposed the Meridian went through the middle of the gate and erected the entire Forbidden City symmetrically to this axis, and hence its name. The central one is a pavilion which is 9 bays wide, with double eaves. On each of the bulging sides, a 13 bays-long building with a single eave, connects the 2 pyramidal-shaped roof pavilions that represented the que towers. The gate has 5 arches. The 3 central arches are near each other together in the main, then the central section, and then not to forget the 2 flanking arches are farther apart from the 3 central arches and are situated between the central section and the protruding arms. The center arch was previously reserved for the Emperor alone and all other officials and servants had to go from those 4 side arches.
5. ARCH OF CONSTANTINE, ROME
Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome that is devoted to the emperor Constantine the Great. The monument is a striking 21 m high and 25.6 m wide rectangular block of grey and white Proconnesian marble entailing 3 separate arches, one being the large central arch which has a shorter and narrower arch on either side. All 3 arches explicitly have the same ratio of height and width. Separating the arches are 4 separate Corinthian columns in Numidian yellow marble, each standing on a pedestal and crowned with an entablature. Over the entablature raise 4 pedestals, each carrying a statue which represents a Dacian prisoner. The Arch is a huge corporation of imperial Roman sculpture as many parts of it were reutilized from the earlier 1st and 2nd century CE monuments.
6. PUERTA DE ALCALÁ, MADRID
The Puerta de Alcalá is a gate in the neoclassical era and is situated in the Plaza de la Independencia in Madrid, Spain. The Gate began in 1778 by the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini, who devoted most of his life operating in Madrid for the Spanish Royal Family. The Puerta de Alcalá substituted a brick monument from the 16th century that King Charles III had destroyed years earlier. It was a gate dedicated to the previous ruler Walls of Philip IV and was situated near the city center. Its name devises from the old path from Madrid to the nearby town of Alcalá de Henares. The arch is termed Puerta which means gate because it was once one of the 5 royal gates that gave entrance to the city of Madrid.
7. WASHINGTON SQUARE ARC, NEW YORK
The Washington Square Arch, formally known as the Washington Arch, is a Roman triumphal arch of marble placed in Washington Square Park. It was made by architect Stanford White in 1892 in the honour of the celebrating the centenary of George Washington’s inauguration as President of the United States. This Arch was constructed of white Tuckahoe marble an imitation of the Roman Triumphal Arch to create an iconic monument which the Roman emperors could make throughout the empire to rejoice their victory or events. Washington Arch has a height of 77 feet with piers standing 30 feet apart and the arch opening with a height of 47 feet. The depictions on the Arch shows images of war and peace.
8. RUA AUGUSTA ARCH, LISBON
Rua Augusta is one of the spots of tourist attraction and acts as a significant landmark for the central part of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. It is situated at the northern end of the Praca do Comercio on Rua Augusta. This arch was constructed to honor the city’s rebuilding after the disturbing earthquake of 1755. This arc represents the rebirth of new Lisbon after the misfortune of the earthquake, fire, and tsunami that almost ruined the city. However, the massive structure was formally completed only in 1875 and was honored to those who worked hard to rebuild the city. Firstly, this structure was designed as a bell tower and after like 100 years was transformed into the enormous arch that we see today. This huge arch is held by 6 tall columns and is ornamented with statues made by a Portuguese sculptor Vítor Bastos, of various historical figures which consist of General Nuno Álvares Pereira and diplomat Marquis of Pombal on the right and explorer Vasco da Gama on the left along with Viriatus. The upper part of the arch is decorated with a group of figures made by the French sculptor Célestin Anatole Calmels. The decoration signifies glory gratifying Valor and Genius.
9. BULAND DARWAZA, FATEHPUR SIKRI, INDIA
Buland Darwaza, or the “Door of victory” as it is called, was made during 1602 A.D. by the Mughal emperor Akbar to celebrate his triumph over Gujarat. This also acts as the main access to the Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri, which is 43 km from Agra, India. Buland Darwaza is one of the tallest gateways in the world and is a great example of Mughal architecture. It exhibits sophistication and some advanced technology that was used in Akbar’s empire. It is composed of red and buff sandstone and is adorned by carving and inlaying of white and black marble. The engravings on the central face of the Buland Darwaza give light to Akbar’s religious acceptance and broad-mindedness. It has a semi-octagonal shape in plan and is crowned by pillars and Chhatris, resonating early Mughal design with simple decoration, carved verses from the Koran, and towering arches. There are 13 smaller rounded kiosks on the roof, rendered battlement and small turrets, and inlay work of white and black marble. Persian writing on the eastern archway of the Buland Darwaza verifies Akbar’s conquest over Deccan in 1601 A.D.
10. PATUXAI, VIENTIANE, LAOS
Patuxai is also known as the Victory Gate or Gate of Triumph is a war monument situated in the center of Vientiane, Laos, and was made between 1957 and 1968. It was made in honor of those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. The outside of the monument is draped with traditional Laotian motifs, which include Buddhist symbols, Hindu deities, and female spirits of the clouds and waters known as apsaras. The ceilings under the 4 arches are adorned with further representations of Hindu gods, such as Brahma and Vishnu, and mythological beings such as the mythical bird-woman Kinnaree and the 3 headed elephant Erawan. The upper part of Patuxai consists of 5 towers built in the traditional Laotian style. Four of these are set on each corner of the monument, while the 5th one ascends from the center making it higher than the rest. These 5 towers are ornamented with flower motifs and each is crowned with a golden finial.
11. ROOSEVELT ARCH, GARDINER, USA
The Roosevelt Arch is a triumphal arch situated at the north most entry to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, United States. The notion of the arch is credited to Hiram Martin Chittenden, who sensed that the area surrounding Gardiner was not satisfactorily remarkable and that it required a definite statement of arrival at the famous park. The arch is made up of hexagonal blocks which are of columnar basalt and are extracted locally. It is a 52 feet high arch with 2 towers or buttresses flanking the main archway and being merged by pedestrian channels with heavy wood doors. The arch is bordered by curved walls of the same basalt stone. The quote from the Organic Act is located right above the arch in a rectangular slab of concrete. For its construction, hundreds of tons of natural columnar basalt were towed from an excavation in the area. To your surprise, the completed arch escalates 50 feet high, and can still be comprehended from miles away.
12. ARC DE TRIOMF, BARCELONA
This arch is a triumphal arch situated in the city of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. It was planned by architect Josep Vilaseca I Casanovas to provide a main entrance gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. The architect proposed such a monument of classical style and proportions as a symbol of Barcelona’s admiration for the nations and provinces taking part in the exhibition. On the other hand, Vilaseca chose to make the arch from brick and beautify it with sculptural motifs suggestive of the neo-Mudejar style that was very much in style in Spain at that time. The arrangement of red brick with the sequence of friezes around the arch makes it an exceptionally beautiful landmark. Taking a close look at the arch, you would comprehend that this arch was the doorway to the modern Barcelona of the late 19th century. There are reliefs on one side indicating agriculture and industry, and on the other side indicating commerce and art. At the top of the arch, the armors of the 49 Spanish provinces are headed over by the city of Barcelona.
13. INDIA GATE, DELHI
It is a war memorial that is positioned across the Rajpath, on the eastern edge of the ceremonial axis of New Delhi. India Gate positions as a memorial to 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died between 1914 and 1921 in the First World War. A glimpse of an edifice consisting of a black marble plinth with an inverted rifle, covered by a war helmet and surrounded by 4 eternal flames can be seen beneath the archway. The name of the structure is Amar Jawan Jyoti (Flame of the Immortal Soldier) which has functioned as India’s tomb of the unknown soldier since 1971. It is 42 meters high arch and was created by the famous architect Edwin Lutyens. India gate was called the All India War Memorial in the early times. The building is built with materials such as red stone that elevates in stages into a huge molding. At the top of the arch, INDIA is printed on both sides. Inscriptions of over 70,000 Indian soldiers are adorned on the walls of the monument in whose reminiscence it is built. A narrow domed bowl at the top can be seen, which was planned to be filled with burning oil on special occasions. In the evenings, the India gate is well-lit with no. of lights surrounding it which gives it a splendid appeal.
14. SIEGESTOR, MUNICH
This gate also known as the victory gate, placed in Munich is a 3 arched triumphal arch capped with a statue of Bavaria with a lion-quadriga. It marks the end of Ludwigstraße and the beginning of Munich’s Schwabing district. Siegestor was authorized by King Ludwig I of Bavaria, constructed by Friedrich von Gärtner, and finished by Eduard Mezger in 1852. Lions were mostly used in the quadriga, instead of the more typical horses, because the lion was a heraldic trust of the House of Wittelsbach which was the ruling family of the Bavarian monarchy. The gate was formerly made in honor of the glory of the Bavarian army. Throughout the Second World War, the gate was badly dented. After the harsh devastation caused by the War, reconstruction efforts were put into action which converted the gate into a memorial for peace.
15. TEEN DARWAZA, AHMEDABAD
Teen Darwaza is an ancient gateway on the east of Bhadra Fort, Ahmedabad, India. As the name implies, the structure shows 3 complete arches with amazingly decorative buttresses. Starting from a grand entry of a former royal fort to a historical attraction bounded by a busy market, Teen Darwaza has come a long way over the last few centuries but its appeal remains pure. It was Ahmad Shah I of the Muzaffarid Dynasty who constructed this Darwaza along with Bhadra Fort in the 15th century. He commenced the building of these structures just after making Ahmedabad the capital city of the Gujarat Sultanate. The ornate Teen Darwaza is made in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture and marks an inscription by Chimnaji Raghunath who was the previous Maratha governor. It consists of 3 arches with a height of 25 feet. The middle one has a width of 17 feet while the other two have a width of 13 feet. Teen Darwaza unseals a large open square with an elevated terrace and fountain in the center, past which the fort and its connecting structures are located. This open stretch between the gateway and the fort was before called Maidan Shah or the royal square.
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