The World's Oldest Elevator?

St. Catherine's Monastery. Note the "birdbox" elevator on the fortress wall. (ccarlstead/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons)
Have you ever been curious as to where the world's oldest elevator is located? One of the world's oldest elevators (if not THE oldest), is located at St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, Egypt!

This elevator is part of an elaborate system of fortifications built at the monastery when the Byzantine emperor Justinian had it constructed in 527 A.D. It was used to pull monks over the fortress walls and into the churchyard.

However, this elevator does not operate like the elevators we know and use today. This one is a pulley-operated elevator in which monks would hoist a person up into the wooden box! From there the visitor would enter the monastery and exit the same way.

In the modern age this elevator seems to have fallen into disuse with the introduction of new entrances into the monastery, but it still exists on the side of the fortress walls.

If you've ever been curious as to where the world's oldest elevator is located, this just might be it!

- (Website about St. Catherine Monastery)
-Article from Nov. 1911 issue of Popular Mechanics showing pictures of the St. Catherine Monastery elevator in use.


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