The Romans invented triumphal arches, arched passageways that often span a road, and which they incorporated into their triumphal processions.
Since Roman times, multiple famous arches have been built all across the world, mostly as decorative landmarks that commemorate special events in major cities. They are often decorated with monumental sculptures and reliefs as well.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the most famous arches that were built all around the world!
1. Arch of Titus – Rome
The Arch of Titus is located just southeast of the Roman Forum, right on the Via Sacra, the main street of ancient Rome. It was constructed by Roman Emperor Domitian to commemorate the victory of his brother Titus and father Vespasian over the Jews in the 60s.
The Arch depicts the spoils of Jerusalem and the procession held in 71 A.D. These spoils were used by Vespasian to build another infamous monument in Rome, the Colosseum.
2. Arc de Triomphe – Paris
The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It’s located on the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of the “Place Charles de Gaulle,” at the crossing of the 8th, 16th, and 17th arrondissement of the French capital.
The monument was inspired by the Arch of Titus in Rome and was built to both commemorate the victories of the French Army during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and honor the soldiers who died during these events.
3. Brandenburg Gate – Berlin
The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is a neoclassical monument that was constructed between 1788 and 1791 on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II.
It was built just west of the city center of Berlin on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of a road from Berlin to a town called Brandenburg an der Havel. The current location is called the “Pariser Platz” and is one block away from the Reichstag Building.
4. Rua Augusta Arch – Lisbon
The Rua Augusta Arch is an arch located in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, on a square called the Praça do Comércio right next to the Tagus River.
It was constructed in 1755 and only fully completed in 1873, and commemorates the reconstruction of the city after the 1755 earthquake, also known as the “Great Lisbon Earthquake,” which destroyed large parts of the city.
5. Arch of Constantine – Rome
It’s the largest of all Roman triumphal arches as it has a height of 21 meters (68 feet). It’s located right next to the Colosseum in Rome on the Via Triumphalis, the route taken by emperors to enter the city during a ceremonial procession.
6. India Gate – New Delhi
India Gate is a war memorial located on the eastern edge of the “ceremonial axis” of New Delhi, an area formerly known as “Kingsway.”
It was built to commemorate the 77,000 British Indian Soldiers who died during the First World War (1914-1918) and the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919). The names of 13,300 soldiers are inscribed on the walls of the monument.
7. Washington Square Arch – New York
The Washington Square Arch is a marble arch located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City. It was inspired by the traditional Roman triumphal Arches.
Just like the Washington Monument, it commemorates Georges Washington, the first president of the United States of America. It was built in 1889 for the centennial of George Washington’s 1789 inauguration as President of the United States.
8. Arch of the Cinquantenaire – Brussels
The Arch of the Cinquantenaire is a monument in the Belgian capital of Brussels in the “Parc du Cinquantenaire. The u-shaped buildings were built in 1880 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Belgium’s independence.
The arch forms the centerpiece of the monuments and replaced a temporary arcade in the year 1905. Inside the buildings, there are various museums such as the Military Museum, the Art & History Museum, and the AutoWorld Vintage Car Museum.
9. Gateway Arch – St. Louis
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is the world’s tallest arch. It has a total height of 192 meters (630 feet) and was clad in stainless steel.
It’s also the tallest monument in the entire Western Hemisphere and was built to commemorate the Western expansion of the United States as a symbolic gateway to the west. It was dedicated to all the American people.
10. Patuxai Victory Gate – Vientiane
The Patuxai Victory Gate is a war monument built between 1957 and 1968 and is located in the center of the capital of Laos, Vientiane. Patuxai literally translates to “Victory Gate” or “Gate of Triumph.”
It was built in honor of those who fought for the independence of the country from the French. Even though it resembles the traditional Roman arches, it has a Laotian design and is decorated with mythical creatures of the local culture.
11. Arch of Triumph – Pyongyang
The Arch of Triumph is located in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. It was built to commemorate the nation’s resistance to the Japanese between 1925 and 1945.
It is the second-tallest triumphal arch in the world with a height of 60 meters (197 feet) and a width of 50 meters (164 feet). It was inaugurated in 1982 on the 70th birthday of President Kim Il-Sung, each of the 25,500 blocks of white granite it consists of representing a day in his life.
12. Arc de Triomf – Barcelona
The Arc de Triomf was built as the monumental entrance for the 1888 Word Fair which was held in Barcelona that year. It’s constructed in reddish brickwork in the Neo-Mudéjar style.
It was designed by Catalan architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas and now forms the entrance of the Ciutadella Park, where the world fair was held in 1888, and faces the Passeig de Sant Joan, one of the city’s major avenues.
13. Arch of Septimius Severus – Rome
The Arch of Septimius Severus is a white marble triumphal arch that is located on the northwest end of the Roman Forum, the central square and most important place of Ancient Rome.
14. Victory Gate (Siegestor) – Munich
The Siegestor (Victory Gate in English) is a white marble triumphal arch located in the German city of Munich. It was commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria and completed in the year 1852.
This landmark in Munich was originally built to commemorate the glory of the Bavarian army and now serves as a monument for the region and a symbol of peace. It got a new inscription in the early 21st century which reads “Dem Sieg geweiht, vom Krieg zerstört, zum Frieden mahnend,” which translates to “Dedicated to victory, destroyed by war, urging peace.”
15. La Grande Arche de la Défense – Paris
La Grande Arche is a monument and building located in the main business district, “La Défense,” in Paris, the capital of France. Construction of the monument started in 1985 and was completed in 1989 on the bicentennial of the French Revolution.
It was constructed as a modern version of the Arc de Triomphe and represents humanitarian ideals instead of military victories. It completes the “Axe Historique” in Paris which forms the central line of historical monuments through the French Capital.
16. Roosevelt Arch – Gardiner
Roosevelt Arch is located at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, United States. It was constructed under the supervision of the US Army stationed at Fort Yellowstone.
The construction of the rusticated triumphal arch started on February 19, 1903, and the first stone was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt. The arch was completed on August 15 of the same year.
17. Wellington Arch
The Wellington Arch is an amazing arch in London and is also known as the “Constitution Arch” or “Green Park Arch” and forms the centerpiece of Hyde Park Corner in central London. It’s located between the corners of Hyde Park and Green Park.
It was commissioned in 1825 to commemorate the British victories in the Napoleonic Wars. It was constructed between 1826 and 1830 and used to stand in a different location nearby and has only been in its current location since 1883.
18. Triumphal Arch of Orange – Orange
The Triumphal Arch of Orange is located in the town of Orange in the southeast of France. It’s unclear when exactly the arch was built, but the inscription suggests that it was built during the reign of the famous Roman emperor Augustus (27 B.C. – 14 A.D.).
It was built to commemorate victories during the Gallic and Germanic Wars and is the oldest arch with this design that was constructed outside of Rome to be built in Rome itself later. The design was also used in the arches of Titus and Constantine.
19. Porta Macedonia – Skopje
The Porta Macedonia in the Macedonian capital of Skopje on the Pella Square is the most recent arch in our list as construction only started in 2011 and was completed in January 2012.
The arch was commissioned in honor of the 20 years of independence of Macedonia and its marble surface is decorated with reliefs related to the country’s history. The arch is 21 meters (68 feet) high and the total price tag for its construction was 4.4 million euros.
20. Monumento a la Revolución – Mexico City
The Monument to the Revolution is a monument in the Mexican capital of Mexico City and was built to commemorate the Mexican Revolution (1919-1920). It’s located right in the heart of Downtown Mexico City.
The Monumento a la Revolución is the tallest triumphal arch in the world with a total height of 67 meters (220 feet). The internal structure is actually made of iron and the stone façade was made with Italian marble and Norwegian granite.
21. Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch – New York
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch is located at Grand Army Plaza in the New York City neighborhood of Brooklyn, just north of Prospect Park.
The triumphal arch was built between 1889 and 1891 and was built in honor of the “Defenders of the Union between 1861 and 1865.” The arch has an observation deck that was closed in the 2000s but is scheduled to reopen after a renovation project.
22. Arco di Trionfo di Castel Nuovo – Naples
The Arco di Trionfo di Castel Nuovo is one of the most remarkable triumphal arches in the world. It was built in 1470 between two towers of the medieval Castel Nuovo in central Naples in Italy.
It was built to commemorate Alfonso of Aragon’s entry to Naples in 1443 and is part of the castle’s gatehouse. It has a total height of 35 meters (114 feet) and consists of two arches stacked on top of each other.
23. Palace Square Arch – Saint Petersburg
The Palace Square Arch is the monumental entrance gate of the General Staff Building in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This building used to house the headquarters of the General Staff (western wing), Foreign Ministry, and Finance Ministry (eastern wing), until the capital was moved to Moscow in 1918.
The arch is part of a building that has a bow-shaped façade stretching 580 meters (1,902 feet). It’s located just in front of the Winter Palace in Palace Square in the center of Saint Petersburg.
24. Porte Saint-Denis – Paris
The Porte Saint-Denis is a monument in Paris located in the 10th Arrondissement of the city. It was built on the site of one of the gates of Paris’ former city wall.
The original gate used to be the gateway through the Wall of Charles V which was built between 1356 and 1383 and protected the Right Bank of Paris. The construction of the Porte Saint-Denis Monument started in 1672 and commemorate the victories of France during the Franco-Dutch War.
25. Arch of Galerius – Thessaloniki
The Arch of Galerius is a monument in the city of Thessaloniki in the region of Central Macedonia in northern Greece. It forms part of a dual monument together with the “Rotunda.”
It was commissioned by the Roman emperor Galerius and completed in the 4th century A.D. as decorative elements of his palace which was located in the area.
26. Marble Arch – London
The Marble Arch was designed in 1827 and was intended to be the glorious entrance of the courtyard of Buckingham Palace. The arch stood there from 1833 until it was replaced in its current location at the junction of Oxford Street and Park Lane in 1851.
Similar to ancient Roman arches, only the members of the Royal Family are allowed to pass through the Marble Arch in ceremonial processions.
27. Arch of Neutrality – Ashgabat
The Monument of Neutrality is an arch with three legs, nicknamed “The Tripod,” that was originally located in the center of the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat. It was moved to the suburbs of the city in 2010.
It was constructed in 1998 to commemorate the country’s official position of neutrality. It’s 95 meters high (312 feet), has an observation deck that is reachable with elevators in the legs, and was topped by a 12-meter (39 ft) tall gold-plated statue of President Niyazov, the man who commissioned the monument.