A clock tow­er on one or more sides is a com­mon sight in almost all parts of the world. Pre­vi­ous­ly, they were built in the cen­ters of cities and towns to help peo­ple know the time. Back in the 18th cen­tu­ry, the pos­ses­sion of a per­son­al watch was the lot of only the rich­est peo­ple.


Today, mag­nif­i­cent clock tow­ers around the world serve as icon­ic land­marks. The ear­li­est of them had a sun­di­al. Grad­u­al­ly, tow­ers with astro­nom­i­cal clocks appeared, and then with tow­er ones. Let’s take a look at 10 amaz­ing struc­tures from around the world.

10. Tower of the Winds, Athens

The Tow­er of the Winds is locat­ed in the Roman Ago­ra of Athens. It is an octag­o­nal clock tow­er made of Pen­tel­ic mar­ble. In fact, it is the ear­li­est clock tow­er, sup­pos­ed­ly built by Andronikos of Cyrrhus around 50 BC, although many sources also state that it was built in the 2nd cen­tu­ry BC. The tow­er has eight sun­di­als and a water clock inside. There is also a weath­er vane.

tower of the winds in athens

9. City Hall-Glockenspiel

The Town Hall-Glock­en­spiel is locat­ed on the Marien­platz in Munich and is a major tourist attrac­tion. It is part of the New Town Hall, installed dur­ing the sec­ond phase of con­struc­tion in 1908. It has 32 life-size fig­ures that come to life every day at 11 a.m. and in the sum­mer at 12:00 and 17:00, after which a lit­tle roost­er crows three times.


8. Prague Astronomical Clock Tower

The Prague Astro­nom­i­cal Clock, also called Orla, is installed on the south wall of the Old Town Hall in the cap­i­tal of the Czech Repub­lic. Installed in 1410, this is the old­est work­ing astro­nom­i­cal clock in the world and the third old­est among all astro­nom­i­cal clocks with a dial show­ing the posi­tion of the sun and moon, as well as many oth­er details. Hourly, thou­sands of tourists gath­er around this pop­u­lar Prague land­mark to watch the show.

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prague town hall

7. Minneapolis City Hall

The Min­neapo­lis City Hall and Hen­nepin Coun­ty Cour­t­house are locat­ed in Min­neso­ta and are the main build­ing used by the gov­ern­ment of Min­neapo­lis. The largest four-sided chimes with dials of 7.5 meters each are declared in its tow­er. A 15-bell chime sounds reg­u­lar­ly. The tall 105-meter clock tow­er was the tallest build­ing in the city until 1920.

minneapolis city hall

6. Skyscraper NTT Docomo Yoyogi

The NTT Doco­mo Yoyo­gi Build­ing is locat­ed in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. The clock with a diam­e­ter of 15 meters is an excel­lent exam­ple of a mod­ern clock tow­er. With a height of 240 meters, it is one of the tallest clock tow­ers in the world. At the top of the tow­er there are lights to indi­cate weath­er fore­casts, as well as clock hands and num­bers on the dial.

skyscraper in japan

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5. Zytglogge clock tower

The Zyt­glogge Tow­er is locat­ed in Bern, Switzer­land and is a pop­u­lar attrac­tion. The medieval tow­er was built in the 13th cen­tu­ry as a prison, watch­tow­er, civic memo­r­i­al and cen­ter of city life. It has under­gone sev­er­al ren­o­va­tions, but thanks to its astro­nom­i­cal clock, it is still a rec­og­niz­able sym­bol of Bern’s her­itage. It is a UNESCO World Cul­tur­al Her­itage Site.


4. Allen Bradley Clock Tower

The Allen-Bradley clock tow­er is locat­ed at the Rock­well Automa­tion head­quar­ters locat­ed in Mil­wau­kee, Wis­con­sin. The Guin­ness Book of World Records describes it as the largest four-dial clock, in addi­tion to being the tallest four-dial tow­er with­out a chime at 86.26 meters.

clock tower

3. Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Tower

The Joseph Cham­ber­lain Memo­r­i­al Clock Tow­er is locat­ed in the Chancery build­ing of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Birm­ing­ham in the sub­urbs of Edg­bas­ton. The memo­r­i­al is com­mon­ly referred to as Old Joe, and accord­ing to var­i­ous sources, its height ranges from 100 to 110 meters. How­ev­er, it is the tallest free­stand­ing clock tow­er in the world, mak­ing it a great addi­tion to this list.

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joseph chamberlain clock

2. Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben)

The Eliz­a­beth Tow­er is locat­ed in Lon­don, in the north­ern part of the Palace of West­min­ster. Despite its offi­cial name, it is known through­out the world as Big Ben, although only the bell inside is called Big Ben. As the tallest chim­ing tow­er in the world at 96 meters, it is a promi­nent sym­bol of the UK and is often used as a frame in films.

Big Ben

1. Tower of Abraj al-Bayt

Abraj al-Bayt is locat­ed in Mec­ca, Sau­di Ara­bia, a few meters from the Masjid al-Haram, the largest mosque in the world, which is also called the clock tow­er of the Mec­ca Roy­al Hotel. This is a state-owned mega­mall build­ing com­plex, which is part of the char­i­ta­ble project of King Abdu­laz­iz. It is the high­est clock tow­er in the world with a height of 601 meters, and the largest clock face in the world. You can study the list of the tallest build­ings in the world in our spe­cial selec­tion.


There are many oth­er mag­nif­i­cent clock tow­ers in dif­fer­ent parts of the world. Anoth­er icon­ic land­mark is the Fed­er­a­tion Tow­er in Moscow with the tallest dig­i­tal clock in the world. These and many oth­er build­ings are promi­nent sights and rec­og­niz­able of their city for the whole world.

To con­tin­ue, check out Life­Globe’s list of 10 Mod­ern Archi­tec­tur­al Won­ders.