Top 10 Most Renowned Clock Towers

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In my opinion, humankind’s fascination with clock towers does not really stem from the architecture of these magnificent edifices, but rather from time itself. Back in the day, when the vast majority of people didn’t have watches, the town’s clock tower served mainly a functional role and most clock towers were equipped with bells to signal the important upcoming events in the community. If we were to go further back in time, we would soon realize that man has become fascinated with time when he realized that there are “right times” for growing crops and harvesting.

As time passed by and Patek Phillippe invented the first wrist watch – which was later on improved by Louis Cartier – the need for the faithful clock towers became obsolete. Still, nowadays when everyone can easily learn the time by checking their watch or smartphone, the allure of clock towers remains just as powerful as in the past. Following is a list of the most famous clock towers worldwide, all charming buildings you should check out if you ever plan your holidays in those areas.


1. Big Ben

Big Ben

By far the most notorious clock tower in the world, the great bell located in the Northern part of the Westminster Palace in London has become a symbol for the United Kingdom, even greater than the red double-decker bus and the notorious black cabs. Built in 1858, Big Ben is still in the top 3 tallest clock towers in the world and it is also the world’s largest four-faced clock.


2. Spasskaya Clock Tower

Spasskaya Clock Tower

Overlooking the heart of Russia, the famous Red Square, the Spasskaya or Kremlin Clock has had a turbulent history. Initially designed in 1491 by Pietro Solari, the clock itself was taken down repeatedly, only to be installed again with more appealing architectural details. However, it is important to note that the clock you see guarding the entrance to the Red Square today dates back to the early 1900s, when the tsar Nicolai was murdered by the Soviet Party.


3. Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower

Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower

While today the bell tower is a standalone landmark in Hong Kong, the Tsim Sha Tsui is a remnant of an impressive railway station, the Kowloon-Canton Railway. The remarkable edifice is 144 feet tall and you can only reach the top by climbing an interior wooden staircase. Sadly, while the tower was open for visits for several years, nowadays it is closed for maintenance. Nonetheless, the granite and red bricks construction is still worth checking out if you plan a visit to China.


4. Zytglogge


If you are passionate about medieval architecture, then one monument you should place at the top of your itinerary is the Zytglogge clock tower in Switzerland. During its 800 years of existence, the Zytglogge has played many roles, from serving as the gate tower for the early Bern fortifications and a prison to being the focal point of civil memorials and urban life. Featuring impressive details, an astronomical dial, a frieze with ancient Greek gods and a facade with Roman numerals, the Zytglogge is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Switzerland.


5. Allen-Bradley Clock Tower

Allen-Bradley Clock Tower

The landmark of Milwaukee, the Allen-Bradley clock tower has made it into the Guinness Book of records as the largest four-faced clock with an office addition. Because each of the facades has a diameter of over 40 feet and the distance between each hour is of about 16 feet, meaning twice the size of the emblematic Big Ben, the architect ruled against adding chimes to the clock.


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