While it might seem obvious that you would want to visit famous architectural sites on your travels, the doors leading to them might be slightly lower on your list. However, these doors leading to some of the most gorgeous and famous locations are often worth taking another look at—and can often create a history all on their own.
Here are five doors you should take a look at on your travels in 2017.
1. The Columbus Doors, United States of America
Located at the entrance to the rotunda in the U.S. Capitol Building, the Columbus Doors were created in Germany in the year 1855. Because of the Civil War, they were not transported to Washington DC until 1863. Depicting the life of Christopher Columbus from 1487 until 1506. The panels include his entire sailing career from the beginnings of convincing King Ferdinand to fund his first voyage to the Americas, until his final voyage there. At the top, there is a panel of Columbus landing in the New World.
2. The Ishtar Gate, Iraq
Dating back to 575 BC, the Ishtar Gate was ordered to be built by King Nebuchadnezzar II as a tribute to the goddess of fertility and war. As one of the eight major gates to the ancient city of Babylon, it was once considered one of the original wonders of the world. However, if you are planning on seeing it, you will have to head to Berlin, where it has been reconstructed with the original materials in the Pergamon Museum.
3. Imperial Door at the Hagia Sophia, Turkey
There are plenty of reasons to visit Istanbul, but the Hagia Sophia and its beautiful entrance is reason enough. Made of oak, the doors are covered in gold plate and were originally only allowed to be used by the current emperor. While earthquakes, wars, and other disasters have caused peril inside the Hagia Sophia, these doors have remained as a testament to one of the great empires of all time, and have stood strong since 537 AD.
4. The Baptistery Doors, Italy
St. John’s Baptistery doors in Florence have a competitive history. In 1401, a contest was announced for artists who wished to design the bronze imagery that would appear. Shockingly, the 21-year-old Lorenzo Ghiberti ended up as the winner of the contest, causing an uproar within the Renaissance community. Ghiberti took his project seriously, however, and it took him over 21 years to create the stunning north doors that face the cathedral.
5. Westminster Abbey, England
Westminster Abbey has only recently discovered the significance of its large wooden doors. After a piece of hide was found on them in the 19th century, many assumed that a criminal might have been flayed on the door as a warning. The doors held an even more important secret—they are the last surviving Anglo Saxon doors remaining and date back to 1050 BC. Since then, they have been the backdrop for 16 royal weddings and countless coronation, burials, and holiday-themed events.
Have you ever seen any of these doors on your travels?