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Although there are folklore tales and superstitions surrounding doors, what about the fun element? Let’s take a look at some of the slightly unusual and funny facts about something we completely take for granted: the good old door.

The oldest door

In 2010, archeologists made a remarkable discovery in Zurich when they uncovered a “fantastically preserved” 5100 year-old door in the Swiss city. The door, which measures 153cm (5ft) high and 88cm wide, was discovered amongst the traces of a Neolithic village and is made of incredibly solid poplar wood. Historians have gauged that the door would have been built into the wooden stilt house to protect the inhabitants against the icy Lake Zurich winds.

The largest door

The world’s largest doors protecting the entrance to the NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. They rise to an incredible height of 456 feet (or 45 floors) tall and take 45 minutes to open or close. Which when you consider it’s the only building that has contained the assembly of a space rocket, you begin to understand why, in this particular case: size matters !

Slammed doors

The British Monarchy has always been required to comply with traditional pomp and circumstance via various historic ceremonies, but one of the strangest has to be the opening of Parliament. Incredibly, no English Monarch has entered through the doors of the House of Commons since King Charles I failed in a bid to arrest 5 members in 1642.

Every year at the annual State Opening of Parliament, the Queen takes up her seat in the  House of Lords and sends her messenger, Black Rod, to summon the MPs. As tradition states, he arrives at the doors to the House of Commons, whereby the door is slammed in his face. He then has to knock three times with the rod, the door opens and the MP’s all follow him to the Commons Chamber.

The colourful doors of Dublin

The ‘Doors of Dublin’ isn’t just an homage to the brightly painted front doors of Fitzwilliam Square in the heart of Dublin, it’s also the name of a widely popular poster. The ‘beauty and symmetry of the Georgian doorways’ was to become the flagship for Irish Tourism in 1970 in New York, although there are a few conflicting tales of how they came to be.

One of the stories states that on the death of Queen Victoria the people were ordered to paint their doors black as a sign of respect, but with the Irish people’s discontent at being under British rule they rebelled and painted their doors the most vivid colours they could.

Another story tells of two writers who painted their doors red and green so the other wouldn’t be mistaken when coming home drunk.

The more likely reason is that the Parish council passed a strict rule preventing homeowners making changes to the exterior of the townhouses. Since these rules didn’t mention the Georgian doors, residents began painting them as a reflection of their individual character and style. In our next post we shall continue a look at the more interesting aspects of doors and why we couldn’t possibly live without them.

[Photo by falco]