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City gates were traditionally built to provide a point of controlled access to and departure from a walled city for people, vehicles, goods and animals. Depending on their historical context they filled functions relating to defense, security, health, trade, taxation, and representation, and were correspondingly staffed by military or municipal authorities. The city gate was also commonly used to display diverse kinds of public information such as announcements, tax and toll schedules, standards of local measures, and legal texts. It could be heavily fortified, ornamented with heraldic shields, sculpture or inscriptions, or used as a location for warning or intimidation, for example by displaying the heads of beheaded criminals or public enemies.
Notably in Denmark, many market towns used to have at least one city gate mostly as part of the city's fortifications, but during the Age of Absolutism their functions become closely linked to the collection of customs, the so-called octroi, which from 1660 onwards was charged to the market town's coffers. When absolutism in Denmark came to an end after the revolutions of 1848, gate consumption was abolished in 1852, and since then the city gates also began to disappear.
Medieval Danish city gates are found today only in Vesterport, Faaborg, and Mølleporten, Stege, as well as in Flensburg, today in Germany. Further city gates, in one form or another, can be found across the world in cities dating back to ancient times to around the 19th century. Many cities would close their gates after a certain curfew each night, for example, a bigger one like Prague or a smaller one like the one in Flensburg, in the north of Germany.
With increased stability and freedom, many walled cities removed such fortifications as city gates, although many still survive; albeit for historic interest rather than security. Many surviving gates have been heavily restored, rebuilt or new ones created to add to the appearance of a city, such as Bab Bou Jalous in Fes. With increased levels of traffic, city gates have come under threat in the past for impeding the flow of traffic, such as Temple Bar in London which was removed in the 19th century.
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- Cyprus: Famagusta Gate in Nicosia
- Iraq: Ishtar Gate, Hillah
- Israel: Gates in Jerusalem's Old City Walls
- Japan: Rashomon Gate, Kyoto
- Macau: Portas do Cerco - border gate for Macau with neighbouring Zhuhai
- Pakistan: Walled City of Lahore
- Philippines: Gates of Intramuros
- South Korea: Seoul's city gates, including: Namdaemun and Dongdaemun
- Taiwan: North gate of Taipei
- Yemen: Bab al Yemen of Sana'a
- Austria: Wienertor (1225/65): in Hainburg an der Donau
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Jajce gates, Višegrad gate (Višegradska kapija) as part of the old town of Vratnik in Sarajevo
- Croatia: Walls of Dubrovnik
- Czech Republic:
- Denmark: Vesterport, Faaborg
- Mølleporten, Stege
- Estonia: Tallinn Gate in Pärnu
- Fünfgratturm in Augsburg
- Rotes Tor in Augsburg
- Vogeltor in Augsburg
- Wertachbrucker Tor in Augsburg
- Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin
- Eigelsteintor, Hahnentor, Ulrepforte, Severinstor in Cologne
- Nordertor, Kompagnietor and Rotes Tor in Flensburg
- Martinstor (Saint Martin's Gate) and Schwabentor in Freiburg im Breisgau
- Bayertor in Landsberg am Lech
- Holstentor, in Lübeck
- Isartor, Sendlinger Tor, Karlstor and Propylaea in Munich
- East Gate, in Regensburg
- Steintor, in Rostock
- Old Gate, in Speyer
- Porta Nigra, in Trier
- Greece: Lion Gate in Mycenae, 13th century B.C.
- Porta Galliera, Bologna
- Porta Saragozza, Bologna
- Porta Paola, Ferrara
- Pusterla di Sant'Ambrogio, in Milan
- Porta Nuova (Medieval), in Milan
- Porta Nuova, in Milan
- Porta Ticinese (Medieval), in Milan
- Porta Ticinese, in Milan
- Porta Capuana, Naples
- Porta San Gennaro, Naples
- Port'Alba, Naples
- Porta Nolana, Naples
- Porta Felice, in Palermo
- Porta Nuova, in Palermo
- Porta San Giovanni, in Rome
- Porta del Popolo, in Rome
- Porta Maggiore, in Rome
- Porta Pinciana, in Rome
- Porta Tiburtina, in Rome
- Porta San Sebastiano, in Rome
- Porta San Paolo, in Rome
- Porta Camollia, Siena
- Porta Palatina, in Turin
- Lithuania: Gate of Dawn, in Vilnius
- Amsterdamse Poort, a city gate of Haarlem
- Waterpoort (water gate), Sneek
- Vischpoort (fish gate), Elburg
- Vischpoort (fish gate), Harderwijk
- Koppelpoort (combination gate), Amersfoort
- Zijlpoort (Eastern gate), Leiden
- Koepoort (Enkhuizen), Enkhuizen
- Drommedaris, Enkhuizen
- Sassenpoort, Zwolle
- Munttoren, Amsterdam
- Eastern Gate (Delft), Delft
- Groothoofdspoort, Dordrecht
- Koornmarktspoort, Kampen
- Brama Floriańska (St. Florian's Gate), Kraków
- Żuraw (Crane Gate), Gdańsk
- Brama Zielona (Green Gate), Gdańsk
- Brama Wyżynna (Highland Gate), Gdańsk
- Brama Mariacka, Gdańsk
- Brama Krakowska (Kraków Gate), Lublin
- Brama Mostowa (Bridge Gate), Toruń
- Brama Klasztorna, Toruń
- Brama Opatowska, Sandomierz
- Brama Młyńska (Mill Gate), Stargard
- Brama Pyrzycka, Stargard
- Brama Garncarska, Malbork
- Brama Lidzbarska (Lidzbark Gate), Bartoszyce
- Nowa Brama (New Gate), Słupsk
- Romania: Catherine's Gate, Brașov
- Spain: See Category:City gates in Spain
- Switzerland: The gates of the Basel City Walls, Basel
- Ukraine: Golden Gate, Kyiv
- United Kingdom:
- Canada: Kent Gate, Prescott Gate, Saint-Jean Gate, and Saint-Louis Gate at the ramparts of Quebec City
- Mexico: San Francisco de Campeche, a World Heritage Site, it is a colonial walled city. Are preserved today two city gates: Puerta del Mar completed in 1710, and Puerta de Tierra built in 1732.
- Trinidad and Tobago: City Gate (Port of Spain), Port of Spain
- Puerto Rico:
- In San Juan, a World Heritage Site, the Walls of the city had five gates. The main was the Puerta de San Juan, today preserved, built in 1635. It also had the Puerta de San José, the Puerta de Santa Rosa, the Puerta de San Justo and the Puerta de Santiago the latter built between 1635-1641 by Captain General Íñigo de la Mota Sarmiento.
- In San Juan, the main gate of the Castle San Felipe del Morro, built between 1589 and 1650.
- Dominican Republic:
- In Santo Domingo, a World Heritage Site, its City Walls had seven gates, today are preserved four of them, the Puerta del Conde built between 1543 and 1655, the Puerta Carlos III completed in 1797, the Puerta de las Atarazanas Reales built between 1509 and 1541, and the Puerta de la Misericordia built in 1543, the Walls of Santo domingo is the oldest military construction of European origin in the Americas.
- Guatemala: In Antigua Guatemala, a World Heritage Site, its main city gate the Arco de Santa Catalina is preserved, built in 1693.
- Colombia: Puerta del Reloj, built between 1704 and 1738, was the main city gate of Cartagena, Colombia, a World Heritage Site.
- Bolivia: In Tiwanaku, a World Heritage Site, The Gateway of the Sun, was built between 500-950 CE, Pre-Columbian.
- "Byporte under enevælden" [City gates under the dictatorship]. web.archive.org (in Danish). 10 March 2016. Archived from the original on 2007-12-17. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
- "Colonial City of Santo Domingo". UNESCO World Heritage Centre website.