Throughout history there have been a number of occasions when, strangely or not, something as mundane as an exterior door has become a symbol of either a place or an even for some reason or another. As such, these doors are immediately recognized by millions of people in the world. Although we certainly hope our tailor-made exterior doors are as impressive in their quality and craftsmanship, in the rows below we’ll tell you about some of the most iconic doors the world has ever seen. We’ll do our very best to reveal a piece of the amazing stories behind each of these exterior doors, starting with the infamous black 10 Downing Street.
#1. 10 Downing Street
The 10 Downing Street door is probably the most well-known exterior door in the world and definitely the most recognizable in the United Kingdom. 10 Downing Street has been the UK Prime Minister’s residence since 1735. Today the the building in question is only comparable with the White House in terms of political significance. After all, some of the most important decisions in the past 275 for both Great Britain and the world have been taken behind that black exterior door.
We have come to know this door as the background to thousands of interviews, news casts and political statements of world importance. 10 Downing Street is also the country’s most well-guarded building. The door cannot be opened from the outside as there is no handle. And so, no one can enter the PM’s residence without going through a number of scanners. In spite of this, according to the Telegraph, in the first five years of Tony Blair’s mandate as prime minister, 37 computers have been stolen. Among the other things that have gone missing in that time were also 4 mobile phones, two video cameras, four printers and a bike!
It’s interesting to mention that until 1991, the door was made of oak, however, following a mortar attack on the building by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the door was replaced with a bomb-proof one.
#2. 221b Baker Street
The second exterior door on our list is again black and located in the heart of London. This is the door of the most well-know detective – Sherlock Holmes. Interestingly enough, despite the latter being a character of fiction, his residence is a very real place you can visit. The house located at 221b Baker Street is now a museum dedicated to Sherlock Holmes and his adventures. Both the door and the home of the famous detective have appeared in film, which additionally boosts its status.
A curious fact, when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle told the stories of Holmes and Watson, Baker Street went as far as number 85! In the 1930s, however, the street numbers were continued. Numbers from 215 to 229 were reserved for a building, known as Abbey House, where a private financial institution was located. Almost immediately the owners of the building started getting mail from admirers of Sherlock Holmes from around the world. The inflow of letters was such that the company had to hire a permanent “Secretary to Sherlock Holmes”.
#3. The Round Doors of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
Number 3 on our list includes the all well-known doors of the hobbits, recreated by director Peter Jackson in the series “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”. The round doors leading to the neat cottages dug into the hills are truly one of the most memorable elements of the series that have won several Oscars.
Interestingly, like the 221b Baker Street door, round doors live not only in Tolkien’s works and film trilogies, but also in New Zealand. Strange at first glance, the doors are not props in a shooting studio. They are part of an existing set specially built for the filming of the trilogies. Following the completion of The Lord of the Rings filming, the set of the hobbit city was removed. However, fans of the series often visited the location in New Zealand to experience at least part of the magic of their favorite movie. Later, the entire hobbit city was rebuilt for the filming of The Hobbit trilogy. This time, however, after the end of shooting the film, everything was saved. Nowadays, the fictional town called “Hobbiton” is a location that still attracts fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
#4. The Columbus Doors
The Columbus Doors, also known as the Rogers Doors, is a true masterpiece! In addition to their formidable construction, these exterior doors stand notably at the main entrance to the United States Capitol, the building that houses the United States Congress. Each of the scenes depicted on the doors is part of the life of Christopher Columbus. The doors themselves are really massive. They weigh as much as 9,000 kilograms and are over 5 meters high. The doors were installed in the distant 1863, but in 1961, after the extension of the East Front of the Capitol, they were moved to their current location.
The design of the doors is the work of the American sculptor Randolph Rodgers who was entrusted with the project by the chief engineer overseeing the expansion of the Capitol at the time. The sculptor’s proposal for the door was approved in 1855 and Rodgers went to work on it in Rome. Two years later the project was completed, and in 1860 the doors were cast by Ferdinand von Miller in one of the best foundries in the world at that time – the Royal Bavarian Foundry in Munich, Germany. However, due to the Civil War that engulfed the United States, the doors did not arrive in Washington until 1863.
Because of the high attendance at the Capitol and the use of the doors, some parts are damaged and show signs of wear which calls for their frequent maintenance. They were last cleaned and restored in 2008.
#5. The Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican where the relics of the saint are located is one of the largest churches in the world. The building itself was designed by several famous Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo and Bramante. The basilica is one of the symbols of the Catholic faith and attracts millions of believers every year. One of the symbols of the basilica, and as follows, a symbol of Catholicism, is the Holy Door.
The Holy Door, the northernmost entrance to the basilica, rightly occupies its place among the most famous entrance doors on earth. Curiously, the door opens only once every 25 years, a tradition that began in the distant 1450. For reference, the next door opening will take place in 2025. The door itself is sealed with a brick wall. Thus, every 25 years in honor of the so-called jubilee year, the Pope strikes the wall with a silver hammer and symbolically opens it. The door remains open all year round, and at the end of the year the brick wall is rebuilt. The Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica symbolizes Christ as the way to Paradise and salvation. On the door itself, 16 scenes are depicted, which recreate sin and redemption.
And have you seen live any of the front doors we showed you here? What are your impressions of them? We will be happy to share with you in the comments below.