All Locked Up

I thought that it was silly to turn my key in my Prague apartment three times before the door was unlocked when we lived there, but that was nothing compared to getting into our apartment here in St. Petersburg. I have to turn the key six times before the deadbolt slides out of the lock.

They take locks very serious on apartments here. We have three sets of deadbolts on our door. The middle one is only accessed from the inside our flat. The other two sets have keys so they can be locked from the outside. We never even bother with the top deadbolt. That's where my husband stores his keys.

When we were at our temporary flat in the older part of the city in June, I was surprised by the multiple locking system. I assumed that because of the years of Soviet occupation, they added extra locks to the doors. I must have been wrong, however, since our new flat has several sets of deadbolts as well. I'm sure our building has been built in the last three years, so the USSR had no effect on the locks in our building.

Usually when I'm home alone, I turn the middle deadbolt since it only needs to be turned one time to lock the door securely. The drawback is that my husband can't get in the door then since there's no key to that lock.

Recently our landlord installed our domophone in our flat. That is a word that is actually in the Russian language - домофон - which literally means house phone. It's the intercom system that links the front door of the building to each apartment. If we have a visitor, they call our apartment number and we buzz them in the locked door. Then they can come up to the third floor without us going down to let them in. That's another piece of the security for our building.

Don't you love the way that they wired the domophone on our wall with a lovely red wire coming out of the ceiling? That's very typical in Russia - easiest and quickest no matter what it looks like.


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