11 Famous Clock Towers 🕒 Architecture Marking Time Change
In the past, clock towers in the town center were the easiest way for everyone to coordinate schedules and keep track of the passage of time. Without an iPhone or watch on their wrist, the clock tower at the local church, city hall, or bank was the official timekeeper for everyone.Most of us have moved past glancing at a clock tower to mark the time; however, the architecture of famous clock tower buildings allows us to time travel through the history of design.
Here are eleven famous clock towers from around the world:
🕒 Peace Tower (aka in French: Tour de la Paix)
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Architect: John A. Pearson
Style: Perpendicular Gothic
Interesting Fact: "The tower is a campanile (bell tower) whose height reaches 92.2 m (302 ft 6 in), over which are arranged a multitude of stone carvings, including approximately 370 gargoyles, grotesques, and friezes." (source)
Learn more about The Peace Tower.
🕒 Big Ben (aka Elizabeth Tower)
Location: Westminster, London, England
Architect: Augustus Pugin
Style: Neo-Gothic; Gothic Revival
Interesting Fact: "The origin of the bell's nickname is open to question; it may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw its installation, or heavyweight boxing champion Benjamin Caunt. Four quarter bells chime at 15, 30, and 45 minutes past the hour and just before Big Ben tolls on the hour. The clock uses its original Victorian mechanism, but an electric motor can be used as a backup." (source)
Learn more about Big Ben.
🕒 Zytglogge (aka in Bernese German: 'time bell')
Location: Bern, Switzerland
Style: Medieval, Baroque with Gothic elements
Interesting Fact: "The eastern clock face features an outer ring of large golden Roman numerals, on which the larger hand indicates the hour, and an inner ring on which the smaller hand indicates the minutes. The golden sun on the hour hand is pivot-mounted so that it always faces up. The western clock face has similar hands, but is an integral part of Victor Surbek's 1929 fresco "Beginning of Time". The painting depicts Chronos swooping down with cape fluttering, and, below the clockface, Adam and Eve's eviction from Paradise by an angel." (source)
Learn more about Zytglogge.
🕒 Saviour Tower (Spasskaya Tower)
Location: Moscow, Russia
Architect: Pietro Antonio Solari
Use: Government & Ceremony
Interesting Fact: "It was named the Frolovskaya Tower after the Church of Frol and Lavr in the Kremlin, which is no longer there. The tower's modern name comes from the icon of 'Spas Nerukotvorny' (Russian: Спас Нерукотворный) translated as 'The Saviour Not Made by Hands', which was placed above the gates on the inside wall in 1658 and removed in 1917." (source)
Learn more about Spasskaya Tower.
🕒 Prague Astronomical Clock
Location: Prague, Czech Republic.
Architect: Mikuláš of Kadaň; refurbished Jan Růže (also called Hanuš)
Style: Art Nouveau facades on a Cubist building
Interesting Fact: "According to local legend, the city will suffer if the clock is neglected and its good operation is placed in jeopardy; a ghost, mounted on the clock, was supposed to nod its head in confirmation. According to the legend, the only hope was represented by a boy born on New Year's night." (source)
Learn more about Prague Astronomical Clock.
🕒 Abraj Al-Bait (aka "Towers of the House")
Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Architect: SL Rasch GmbH & Dar Al-Handasah
Style: Postmodern; New Classical
Use: Hotel, Residential
Interesting Fact: "Behind the clock faces there is an astronomy exhibition. In the spire base and the glass-covered floors (The Jewel), there is a scientific center which is used to sight the moon in the beginnings of the Islamic months, and to operate an atomic clock that controls the tower clocks." (source)
Learn more about Abraj Al-Bait.
🕒 Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Architects: A.C. Norman; R. A. J. Bidwell; A. B. Hubback (built-in stages)
Style: Indo-Saracenic, Neo-Mughal, or Moorish
Interesting Fact: "All three towers are topped by a copper-clad onion dome. The style of the building is sometimes referred to as the "blood and bandages" style—red bricks with white plastered arches and banding." (source)
Learn more about Sultan Abdul Samad Building.
🕒 İzmir Clock Tower (aka in Turkish: İzmir Saat Kulesi)
Location: İzmir, Turkey
Architect: Raymond Charles Péré
Style: Ottoman Architecture
Interesting Fact: "During the protests against the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt, the clock of the tower was stolen." (source)
Learn more about İzmir Clock Tower.
🕒 Independence Hall
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Architect: William Strickland
Interesting Fact: "The Independence Hall is the building where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. A convention held in Independence Hall in 1915, presided over by former US president William Howard Taft, marked the formal announcement of the formation of the League to Enforce Peace, which led to the League of Nations and eventually the United Nations." (source)
Learn more about Independence Hall.
🕒 Rajabai Tower
Location: Mumbai, India
Architect: Sir George Gilbert Scott
Style: Venetian & Gothic
Interesting Fact: "During the 19th Century, it played the tunes of, "Home! Sweet Home!" and "A Handel Symphony", out of a total of sixteen tunes, which changed four times a day. It currently chimes only one tune every 15 minutes." (source)
Learn more about Rajabai Tower.
🕒 Old Main Hall (changing from Tillman Hall)
Year: 1893; rebuilt in 1895 after destroyed by fire in 1894
Location: Clemson, South Carolina
Architect: Bruce and Morgan
Style: Richardsonian Romanesque
Use: Education & Entertainment
Interesting Fact: "A 47 bell carillon replaced a single untuned bell, now hanging in Carillon Garden by Sikes Hall, that rang across campus during Clemson's days as a military school. The bells range in weight from 4,386 pounds to 32 pounds. Clemson Memorial Carillon is one of only 66 traditional carillons located at universities in North America." (source)
Learn more about Old Main Hall at Clemson University. Wasting time chasing building information? PocketBuildings makes it ridiculously easy to organize and share your building information to help you develop, manage, and transact faster. Claim your free building today!