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.
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.
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.
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.
See also: The most beautiful skyscrapers in the world
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.
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.
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.
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.