Clock towers have a certain, almost unexplained charm to them. In the present times of phones and digital watches, they seem like they don’t belong. Standing tall in the middle of iconic cities around the world, these clock towers are symbolic of a time when the sound of the tower’s dongs dictated daily lives of locals. By Shubhanjana Das
The Big Ben (Elizabeth Towers), London
Undoubtedly the most popular clock tower in the world, the Big Ben stands tall and proud over London at the Palace of Westminster. Dating back to as long as 1858, it is the third tallest free-standing clock tower (96m). That’s not all! It also has the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. Apart from being London’s most famous landmark, the Big Ben is also one of the most popular and significant monuments in all of Europe.
Spasskya Tower, Moscow
Way older than Big Ben, the Spasskya Tower is also known as Kremlin Chimes. Dating back to 1491 and 1585, this tower was designed by an Italian architect. Even today, this imposing structure overlooking the Red Square looks grand and continues to display the official Moscow Time.
Abraj Al-Bait Towers, Mecca
Standing at a height of 601m, the Abraj Al-Bait towers in Mecca are also known as the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel. Not only is this the fourth largest free standing structure in the world, but it is also the world’s largest clock face. It overlooks the Masjid al-Haram, Islam’s most sacred site.
Prague Orloj, Prague
The Prague Orloj claims the title of being the oldest functioning astronomical clock in the world. It is mounted atop the Old Town Hall and has its inception dating back to 1410. The clock, interestingly, has three main parts — the astronomical dial, the ‘Walk of the Apostles’, and the calendar dial. While the astronomical dial represents the position of the Moon and the Sun, the ‘Walk of the Apostles’ is a series of moving sculptures. The last one is where medallions depict the month of the year.
Rajabai Clock Tower, Mumbai
Closer home, the Rajabai Clock Tower in the Fort campus of University of Mumbai stands at an impressive height of 280 feet. Built between 1869 and 1878 by a British architect George Gilbert Scott, Rajabai Clock Tower is yet another reminder of the Gothic and Venetian style architecture that punctuates all of South Mumbai. The clock tower is named after the mother of a wealthy Indian broker, Premchand Roychand who funded its construction.