Doors fascinate me. The mystery of what lies behind them and the stories of the generations that have come and gone through each door are enormously intriguing. On a recent trip, I took pictures of doors and gates.
I felt like I was in Hogwarts. I imagined zipping around on a broom playing quidditch, chasing a quaffle, while simultaneously taking pictures. Naturally, questions about door styles loomed large in the frontal lobes.
Wooden doors are the most popular in ancient history. The Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and Greeks used them widely. The Egyptians did not frame their doors because there was no fear of warping in their dry climes. The Pantheon in Rome was the first to use monumental double hung doors. The purpose of a door ranged from access control to rituals. Having a key to the door endowed you with privileges that were envied.
Ancient doors were made of wood, copper, bronze, and alloys. Doors by themselves may not be as attractive as the frames and the roofline they are embedded in. The carvings, woodwork, arches, lines and the lighting contribute to the mystery.
Some doors are austere like the one in the picture above. The no-nonsense architecture of the frame, the building and the unadorned access instill a sense of foreboding.
Others welcome you with a charm that is hard capture and to impossible to deny. The slightest bit of color on the arch transforms a drab entry into an attractive one.
My favorite doors are actually gates, the wrought iron, see-through kind. I love to stand on the outside looking in, imagining the life inside. Of course, I worry about being taken for a crazy woman, so I smile and greet liberally. The intricate designs of these gates are dazzling to say the least. Embedded in greenery and stone work, they heighten my senses.
Wrought iron gates are low on carbon and infused with slag which gives it a grain when it is molded through a process of hammering or rolling while the metal is hot. Wrought iron literally means "worked iron". It was invented by the Chinese Han Dynasty in (202 BC to 220 AD). Did you know that the Eiffel Tower is made from a kind of wrought iron? Steel replaced wrought iron in the 1800s. Sadly, I am yet to see a steel gate as enticing as the gates above.
The next time you are in an ancient site like the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, observe the doors. They tell marvelous stories of engineering, science, art, and ingenuity that are often lost in the admiration for the building.
And if you come across an enticing door or a gate, click a picture and text it to me. I will happily get on my broom and take an imaginary trip through the portal.