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Throughout Skyrim, there are tower-like structures with four fenced gates inside: in the middle of them, there are four gears and a level.

I couldn't figure out how to open these doors: what do I need to do to open them?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

They cannot be opened from the outside. They can be opened by accessing them from below - specifically from Blackreach. You can get there via Alftand Glacial Ruins, and will need to do so for a portion of the main quest.

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Thanks, then I will wait until the main quest take me there. – Amaranth Nov 21 '11 at 22:39

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