Put in good humor by this well-trained service, when I emerged from my hotel, a few hours after my arrival in Berlin, I turned at once to the historic portal, of which the Berlinese are justly proud, - the Brandenburg Gate.
A Bit Of Berlin.
It is in truth imposing, being some seventy feet in height and two hundred in breadth, and perforated by five different passageways, the central one being reserved for carriages of royalty. " Observe," said my companion, an old resident of Berlin, " observe that chariot on the summit. It has been something of a traveler. When Napoleon in 1806 passed, as a conqueror, under this arch, he ordered that its car of Victory be sent to Paris to adorn one of his own triumphal arches there; but after his downfall, the Prussians brought it back with shouts of exultation, restored the Goddess of Victory to her throne on the Brandenburg Gate, and, still further to testify their joy and pride, named the fine square on which she looks the ' Place of Paris.'"
The Brandenburg Gate.
Thus speaking, we had walked beneath the arch and gazed upon it from the other side. "Do not forget," remarked my friend, "that through these parallel arcades, and in the very direction in which we are now looking, triumphal entries into Berlin are always made. No matter at what station royal visitors alight, they are, if possible, conducted to this gate, so that their first impressions of Berlin may prove agreeable." Of all the grand displays, however, on which the old historic portal has looked down, the most inspiring occurred in 1871, when the old Emperor, the Crown Prince, Bismarck, and Von Moltke, together with many of the war-scarred veterans who had so recently beheld, as conquerors, the Arch of Triumph on the Champs Elysees, marched beneath this into their own loved capital, welcomed by thousands of admiring relatives and friends. Those who witnessed that great scene can hardly speak of it even now without a tremor in their voices, and their eyes filling with tears.
Belle Alliance Platz.
Hamburg Railway Station.
The Brandenburg Gate forms the commencement of Berlin's most celebrated street, - the Unter den Linden, or "Under the Lime Trees." The name suggests abundant foliage, and I was disappointed to find that many of the lindens were scrawny, miserable trees, which furnished little ornament or shade. The street itself, however, is a fine one, - straight as an arrow, and a mile in length; and, at a distance of two hundred feet, imposing buildings rise on either side. The Unter den Linden cannot for a moment be ranked in brilliancy and beauty with either the Champs Elysees, or the boulevards of Paris; yet from the number of palaces, monuments, and statues which adorn this thoroughfare, the boast of the Prussians is probably true, that no city in the world presents so many notable structures, on a single street, as does Berlin.
Unter Den Linden.
One of these buildings is the Berlin Armory, appropriately erected in the very heart of the city; for Mars, the god of war, seems the divinity most worshiped here, and this great edifice might be called his temple, to such an extent is it adorned with warlike statues and insignia. In this respect, Berlin is preeminent. Most other German towns impress us with a feeling of antiquity. In them historic buildings, venerable streets, or old cathedrals greet us at every turn. But in Berlin all this is changed. One feels instinctively that ancient monuments are no more to be looked for here than in a camp. "Prussia," a witty Frenchman says, "was born from a cannon-ball, like an eagle from an egg."
The Brandenburg Gate, Seen From The Unter Den Linden.
The Prussian arsenal contains not only a wonderful collection of weapons, cannon, and armor of all ages and nations, but also models of famous fortresses, and a great number of standards taken from the enemy. Moreover, in the story over these, as if to emphasize the fact that Prussia's glory rests on force of arms, are some superbly decorated halls containing bronze and marble statues of her kings and heroes, as well as historical paintings portraying such inspiring scenes as the " Proclamation of the German Empire at Versailles," "The Meeting of the Kaiser and Crown Prince at Koniggratz," and " The Capitulation of Sedan."