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Famous Gates of the Modern World

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There are many 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. You’ll struggle to drive a car through most of these iconic gates and arches, nevertheless, here they are.

Brandenburg Gate (Berlin, Germany)

The Brandenburg Gate is a landmark of the central district of Berlin, Germany. The gate was erected in 1788 to mark the new eastern division of the city, and was completed ten years later at the behest of Frederick William II of Prussia. The gate is named after Margrave John Frederick of Brandenburg-Schwedt, who initiated the construction of the first Brandenburg Gate as a celebration for his coronation as Margrave of Brandenburg.

Photo by Thomas Wolf CC-BY-SA 3.0

Gateway of India (Mumbai, India)

This monument in Mumbai commemorates the landing of King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder on their visit to India in 1911. In an elaborate ceremony, the couple were greeted here by a contingent of colonial troops before they made their way to Delhi. The monument is actually a gateway which leads from the waterfront to the Veermata Jijabai Shahid Marg, formerly known as King’s Circle.

Photo by Jawahar Soneji CC-BY-SA 3.0

Arc de Triomphe (Paris, France)

The Arc de Triomphe is a public arch in Paris. It stands at the center of the Champs-Élysées and it was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon in 1806 to honour those who had died in his campaigns and in the years leading up to his reign. For this purpose it was built on top of old mausoleums that were located on the spot.

Photo by Morio CC-BY-SA 3.0

Meridian Gate (Beijing, China)

The Meridian Gate is an arch located on the Meridian Hill in Beijing, China. It was constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and completed in 1664. The arch was surrounded by 10 halls, which were built for ceremonial use by emperors of the Ming court for their coronation ceremonies.

Photo by Morio CC-BY-SA 3.0

Puerta de Alcalá (Madrid, Spain)

The Puerta de Alcalá is one of the two main gates of the old city wall that surrounded Madrid. It was designed by architect Alonso Carbonell, who also built the gate at Puerta Cerrada.

Photo by Edescas2 CC-BY-SA 3.0

Washington Square Arch (New York City, New York, US)

The Washington Square Arch was built in 1892 as a memorial for George Washington, patriot and the first president of the United States. The monument stands over 106 ft tall and is a popular tourist attraction in Manhattan.

Photo by Matt Joseph CC-BY-SA 3.0

Rua Augusta Arch (Lisbon, Portugal)

The Arco da Rua Augusta is an arc monument located in the civil parish of Santa Maria Maior, in Lisbon. It was constructed in 1882 to mark the 45th anniversary of the reign of Queen Maria II.

Photo by Diego Delso CC-BY-SA 3.0

Cinquantenaire (Brussels, Belgium)

The Cinquantenaire is a major landmark in Brussels, Belgium. The arch was built in the period from 1835 to 1840 to commemorate the Belgian Revolution of 1830. It was destroyed in a fire during World War I and rebuilt years later at a different location.

Photo by Marc Ryckaert CC-BY-SA 3.0

Buland Darwaza (Fatehpur Sikri, India)

The Buland Darwaza is one of the biggest doors in the world. It was built by Akbar to commemorate his victory over Gujarat in 1573. It stands at a height of 54 meters and is located at the western entrance of the palace complex of Fatehpur Sikri.

Photo by Marcin Białek CC-BY-SA 3.0

Tiananmen Gate (Beijing, China)

The Tiananmen Gate is one of the most important monuments in Beijing, China. It was constructed in 1420 and became the main entrance to the Forbidden City. It was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and later reconstructed. It was the location of the infamous 1989 civilian protest and subsequent massacre committed by the Chinese government.

Photo by LuxTonnerre CC-BY-SA 3.0

Patuxai (Vientiane, Laos)

The Patuxai is also known as the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane, the capital of Laos. It was constructed in 1961 during the reign of Souvanna Phouma, to commemorate his father King Sisavang Vong who ruled the country from 1904 to 1959.

Photo by sluj78 CC-BY-SA 3.0

Arc de Triomf (Barcelona, Spain)

The Arc de Triomf is the most prominent landmark of Barcelona, Spain. It was built in 1883 to commemorate the Universal Exhibition of 1888. At its inauguration, Queen Isabella II gave the speech “Arriba Catalunya” which roughly translates from Catalan to “Go Catalonia!”. In the following years, the monument became a symbol of Catalan nationalism.

Photo by Canaan CC-BY-SA 3.0

Arco de Santa Catalina (Antigua, Guatemala)

The Arco de Santa Catalina was built in the 17th century as part of the wall that guarded the city of Antigua, Guatemala. It was constructed by a Spanish convent in 1693 to connect two buildings so the nuns could cross above, from either side, avoiding the street below. The arc is located on Santa Catalina street and is an important present-day attraction for tourists visiting this famous colonial city.

Photo by MrPanyGoff CC-BY-SA 3.0

Catherine Palace Gate (Pushkin, Russia)

This Palace was built for Catherine the Great, as a gift from Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, in 1710. The palace was originally a two-story sixteen-room building but was expanded in 1745 to be 300 m long. By 1756, it comprised 40 apartments of more than 100 rooms of incredible opulence. Its front gate is truly one-of-a-kind.

Photo by Alex ‘Florstein’ Fedorov CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Gate of Honour (Versailles, France)

The Gate of Honour is the main and unmissable entrance to the Palace of Versailles. The building complex was built in the 17th century. The gate is covered with over 100,000 gold leaves, stands 18 metres high and is supported by structures made entirely of marble. Annually, several millions of visitors walk through these gates.

Photo by Farz Brujunet CC-BY-SA 3.0

Dolmabahce Palace Gate (Istanbul, Turkey)

The Dolmabahce Palace was built between the years 1843 and 1856 by Turkish Sultan, Abdulmejid I. He ordered the palace to be built in European style which he believed represented progress. From the outside, the palace seems like a typical European building, but it is entirely decorated inside with elements of Ottoman design.

Photo by Maurice Flesier CC-BY-SA 3.0

Gate of Heavenly Purity (Beijing, China)

The Gate of Heavenly Purity is the main gate of the Inner Court of the Forbidden City in Beijing. It was built in the Ming dynasty between 1420 and 1425. The gate is made of limestone and features two magnificent gilded Chinese lion sculptures defending the front side of the gate.

Photo by N509FZ CC-BY-SA 4.0

Admiralty Arch, London (England, UK)

Admiralty Arch was constructed in 1733 by King Edward VII in memory of his mother, Queen Victoria, and is the entrance to the mews of Admiralty House, which is the official residence of the First Sea Lord, head of the Royal Navy. The arch has four Corinthian columns supporting a pediment.

Photo by Carlos Delgado CC-BY-SA 3.0

Warrington Town Hall Gate (Cheshire, UK)

The Warrington Town Hall Gate is the main entrance to the town hall of Warrington. Made from cast iron, believed to have originally been commissioned as a gift to Queen Victoria, who declined them, it was later donated to the Warrington Borough Council. Atop each of the four columns is a statue of Nike, the goddess of victory and the center archway features the council coat of arms.

Photo by Racklever CC-BY-SA 3.0

Temple Bar Gate (London, UK)

London’s only remaining old boundary gateway is typically attributed to Sir Christopher Wren. In the 14th century, a barrier was built as a protection to the City of London. The gate was added in 1760 but demolished in 1878. It was returned to the city in 2004 and situated as a gateway to St Paul’s Cathedral at Paternoster Square.

Photo by Lonpicman CC-BY-SA 3.0

Belvedere Palace Gate (Vienna, Austria)

These majestic wrought iron gates front the Belvedere, a sumptuous palace and highest example of baroque architecture. Built between 1697-1723 by Prince Eugene, the palace has been used for many purposes since the founding of the Austrian Republic in 1918, from being a much-vaunted state-run public museum to being bombed and looted by Nazis during World War II.

Photo by Uwe Aranas CC-BY-SA 3.0

Place Stanislas Gate (Nancy, France)

Located on the west and east sides of this large pedestrian square in Nancy feature gilded wrought iron gates was built in the late 17th century and named after King Stanislas I, former King of Poland and father-in-law to King Louis XV of France. Known as “Place Royale”, the square is surrounded by an architecturally harmonious ensemble of cultural buildings.

Photo by Patrick CC-BY-SA 3.0

Porte Saint-Jean (Vieux Québec, Quebec City, Canada)

Porte Saint-Jean is the oldest of three remaining gates of the wall that surrounded the fortified city of Quebec City, Canada. Built in 1690 by Governor Frontenac, it overlooks the Plains of Abraham, where the decisive battle between British and French military forces in 1691, marking the first time the young city’s fortifications were truly tested.

Photo by Eric Fortin CC-BY-SA 3.0

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