Top Ten Gates

Top Ten Gates

  1. Gateway of the Sun (Gate of Viracocha), Tiwanaku, Bolivia

    The so-called Gate of the Sun is a megalithic solid stone arch or gateway constructed by the ancient Tiwanaku culture of Bolivia over 1,500 years before the present. It is located near Lake Titicaca at about 3,825 m above sea level near La Paz, Bolivia. The object is approximately 9.8 ft. (3.0 m) tall and 13 ft. (4.0 m) wide, and is constructed from a single piece of stone. The weight is estimated to be 10 tons. When rediscovered by European explorers in the mid-19th century, the megalith was lying horizontally and had a large crack going through it. It currently stands in the same location where it was found, although it is believed that this is not its original location, which remains uncertain. The Gate of the Sun is a valuable monument to the history of art and ancient architecture. Some elements of Tiwanaku iconography spread throughout Peru and parts of Bolivia. Although there have been various modern interpretations of the mysterious inscriptions found on the object, the engravings that decorate the gate are believed to possess astronomical and/or astrological significance and may have served a calendrical purpose.
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  2. Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

    The Brandenburg Gate is a former city gate and one of the most well-known landmarks of Berlin and Germany. It is located west of the city center at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. It is the only remaining gate of a series through which Berlin was once entered. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building. The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and built by Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791. Having suffered considerable damage in WWII, the Brandenburg Gate was fully restored from 2000 to 2002 by the Stiftung Denkmalschutz Berlin (Berlin Monument Conservation Foundation).
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  3. Ishtar Gate, Babylon (Present Day Iraq)

    The Ishtar Gate was the 8th gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. Dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the gate was constructed using a rare blue stone called lapis lazuli with alternating rows of bas-relief mušḫuššu (dragons) and aurochs. The roof and doors of the gate were of cedar, according to the dedication plaque. Through the gate ran the Processional Way, which was lined with walls covered in lions on glazed bricks (about 120 of them). Statues of the deities were paraded through the gate and down the Processional Way each year during the New Year’s celebration. Originally the gate, being part of the Walls of Babylon, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World until, in the 6th century AD, it was replaced by the Lighthouse of Alexandria. A reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way was built at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin out of material excavated by Robert Koldewey and finished in the 1930’s. It includes the inscription plaque. It stands 47 feet high and 100 feet wide (14 m by 30 m). The excavation ran from 1902–1914, and, during that time, 45 feet of the foundation of the gate was uncovered. The gate was in fact a double gate. The part that is shown in the Pergamon Museum today is only the smaller, frontal part, while the larger, back part was considered too large to fit into the constraints of the structure of the museum. It is in storage. Parts of the gate and lions from the Processional Way are in various other museums around the world. Only three museums acquired dragons, while lions went to several museums. The Istanbul Archaeology Museum has lions, dragons and bulls. The Detroit Institute of Arts houses a dragon. The Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden, has one dragon and one lion; the Louvre, the State Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Oriental Institute in Chicago, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, each have lions. A smaller reproduction of the gate was built in Iraq under Saddam Hussein as the entrance to a museum that has not been completed.
    Links: Top Ten Babylonian Artifacts, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Iraqi Attractions,,
  4. Meridian Gate and Gate of Supreme Harmony, Forbidden City, China

    The Meridian Gate is the southern (and largest) gate of the Forbidden City. It has five arches. The three central arches are close together; the two flanking arches are farther apart from the three central arches. The center arch was formerly reserved for the Emperor alone; the exceptions were the Empress, who could enter it once on the day of her wedding, and the top three scholars of the triennial civil service examinations, who left the exams through the central arch. All other officials and servants had to use the four side arches. Above the arches are a series of buildings. The central one is the palace of nine bays wide, with double roofs. In each side, the 13 bays-wide building, single roof, connects the two pavilions on the top. The Emperor of China reviewed his troops from this location during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Its superstructure is also called the “Five Phoenix Turrets” because it is composed of five buildings. Imperial proclamations and almanacs were issued from the gate house. After successful campaigns, the Emperor received prisoners of war here, sometimes followed by mass decapitations. Although urban myth has it that senior officers were executed here in Imperial China; in reality only corporal punishment was actually carried out. Behind the viewer is Duanmen Gate, the principal entrance to the imperial palace grounds. When proceeding northward through the palace grounds, the next major gate encountered is the Gate of Supreme Harmony.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures,,,
  5. Dolmabahçe Palace Gate, Istanbul, Turkey

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  6. Gateway of All Nations, Persopolis, Iran

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  7. Janganmun, North Gate of Hwaseong Fortress, South Korea

    Janganmun, known locally as Bungmun (North Gate), is the largest such gate in South Korea. Some believe this is intentional, as it is through this gate that visitors from Seoul will have entered Suwon and this would be in keeping with King Jeongjo’s original desire to move the capital of the country to Suwon. Janganmun’s stone base is capped with a two-story wooden pavilion. A small, semi-circular protective wall known as an ongseong, is located outside the gate. The gate was destroyed in the Korean War and reconstructed in the 1970’s.
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  8. Gateway of Ptolemy III Euergetes/Ptolemy IV Philopator at the Precinct of Montu

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  9. Yōmeimon Gate

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  10. Hattusa Liongate

    Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 Middle Esatern Sculptures, Top Ten Rivers, Top Ten Middle Eastern Rivers,,
  11. Bonus: St. Peters Gate

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  12. Links: Architecture, Top Ten Triumphal Arches,