Asides from laughter, the door is a universal language. It comes in all shapes, forms, and sizes and is always unique to the house. This piece explores doors made hundreds of years ago that are still in use.
In the past, people of ancient cultures, such as the Egyptians and the Sumerians, used to believe that doors symbolise the entrance to the afterlife. For that particular reason, many doors were decorated with such scenes. It is therefore not at all surprising that most of the doors preserved to this day once adorned places of worship. The earliest reports of the existence of doors come from ancient Egypt. And in many tombs, there are still preserved pictures of people crossing the doorway to the afterlife.
See for yourself some fascinating pieces of pure creativity, sophistication, style, and necessity.
Year: 693 AD
Found in: Palaces, homes, and temples
Materials: Cypress wood
Design Overview: Made of plain cypress wood and functioned as a typical door.
Year: 476 / c. 1100 AD
Found in: Castles
Materials: Wood, metal, or a combination of the two.
Design Overview: A suspended gate held up by chains or ropes that rests in a castle’s vertical stone grooves. During an attack, guards would release the chains and easily lower the portcullis. The door itself is latticed with spiked ends.
Year: 1192 AD
Found in: JapaneseHomes
Materials: Wood and tough paper
Design Overview: Latticed doors with removable paper coverings that slide.
Gates of Paradise:
Year: 1425 AD
Found in: The Baptistery of San Giovanni
Materials: Wood and bronze
Design Overview: Function as normal doors would, but they stand out for their beautiful carvings and golden color.
Monastery Door at El Escorial:
Year: 1567 AD
Found in: El Escorial, but inspired Spanish architecture in other places.
Materials: Wood and wrought iron
Design Overview: Heavy wooden door with wrought iron studs that raises instead of swinging.
Dutch Colonial Style Doors:
Year: 1600 AD
Found in: Barns
Materials: Wood and hinges
Design Overview: This appears to be an average door, but has a horizontal division that allows the top half to open. Two middle hinges hold the door together in case the user wants to open the entire thing.
Entry door of the Parish Church of St. Botolph:
Country: The UK
Age: Around 1000 years
In the small town of Hadstock, in the county of Essex, there is a church – the Parish Church of St. Botolph. In spite of its size and the lack of tourists, the town is home to one of the oldest doors in the United Kingdom. An interesting fact to point out is that the door is still, to this day, in use!
Ancient Egyptian door in Karnak:
Age: Around 3500 years
During routine archaeological work in Karnak in 2010, a team of archaeologists made and interesting find. A big red granite false door was discovered in the tomb of the vezire of Hatshepsut; the second female Pharaoh of ancient Egypt.
The door is 175 centimeters tall, 100 centimeters wide, and about 50 centimeters thick. It is engraved with religious texts and tells the many titles of the vezire in whose tomb the door was found. Bearing in mind that the vezire held the title in 1474 BC, archaeologists believe the door is about 3500 years old.
Year: 125 CE
Found in: Roman Pantheon
Design Overview: Several feet tall and quite heavy, but functions on hinges as a typical door does.
Amazing, right? Well, that’s the power of preservation. Thanks to all who made it possible for these doors to still be available for viewing hundreds and thousands of years later. Do you have any question(s) or comments? Do share with us in the comment section.